We kicked off our work with an assessment of the product organization so we could better understand the current state and landscape of athenahealth. We identified current gaps within the company that needed to be addressed in order to implement a successful transition into a product organization: product strategy, org design, product operations, and training and coaching all needed attention.
Our first step was to teach athenahealth’s 350 product managers the same product language. We used our online school, Product Institute, to baseline product management knowledge and training, making sure to adjust the curriculum so it spoke directly to athenahealth’s core language and culture. The course was paired with small group coaching to ensure the content was sinking in; we trained leaders on tools and techniques and set up biweekly coaching sessions. We supplemented training with deeper dives in targeted areas, creating specialized content to speak directly to these company-specific gaps. Product coaches also paired with teams to implement work in the highest priority areas of the company.
Next, we needed to create and deploy a holistic vision and strategy. We collaborated with athenahealth’s CEO to format a clear and concise company vision, and ensured it was communicated throughout the organization. Then we worked between the C-suite and VPs to set strategic intents with measurable goals, and broke them down into product initiatives. We set up a cadence so each initiative was open for reviewing, refining, and reprioritizing. We also created a product operations division that was specifically tied to metrics and experimentation, and implemented cadences for strategy, training, and coaching. In that division, we created guidance around testing and experimentation for enterprise companies.
By the end of our engagement, the product managers had clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and the rest of the organization understood the value of product management. The leadership team was ready to ship a new vision and strategy for the company, and deploy it into teams.