To create successful products, Product Managers must assume a larger role than the tactical day-to-day management of project execution. While it is imperative to keep the team on track and moving toward the end goal, a broader, more strategic stance will create long-term success and viability.
At Handsome, our Product Managers are part of every dedicated project team. They ensure that we’re hyper-focused on details, while also taking a comprehensive look at the project overall. This enables us to help our clients establish a long-term strategy for their product system as a whole.
Recently, we’ve been working with FedEx to help them reimagine the customer experience around their drop box. Since this is one of FedEx’s largest retail channels ($1 billion+ a year in revenue), I, as the Product Manager, knew there was a major opportunity to help establish a long-term strategic vision that would truly set them up for success.
Setting the Standard
One of our first steps in this type of engagement is to gather varying levels of stakeholders for a kickoff workshop. This typically consists of one or two days of in-person activities during which we begin unpacking the complexities of our client’s business and the problem they want us to address. In this case, we coordinated a 2-day workshop at our headquarters in Austin, TX, and included a large group of mid- and senior-level FedEx leaders.
These kickoffs enable everyone involved to align early, and they give us the opportunity to set client expectations before a project starts. Coordinating this with FedEx required typical meeting preparation such as establishing an agenda, prepping the team, and ensuring that all the right people ended up in the room. The kickoff is a crucial part of our process. It’s important for me, and other Handsome Product Managers, to immerse ourselves in the problem space so we can have informed, productive discussions with our clients and gain a deep understanding of their business and industry. One of the most effective ways we’ve discovered to accomplish this is by working directly with clients to build out a Service Blueprint.
Beyond The Box
In preparation for the Service Blueprint exercise, our Lead UX Designer and I outlined the typical customer journey of someone trying to ship a package using a FedEx drop box.
We used this outline in our meeting as a framework upon which we could build our understanding of the drop box experience and the shipping industry as a whole. We worked alongside our FedEx stakeholders to outline all of the steps in a range of different use cases. We highlighted pain points and opportunities surrounding everything from the first time someone decides to ship a package, to discovering the drop box as a viable option, to using it and beyond.