The most important thing Dropbox did to scale Product Management

tl;dr version of

“I want to talk through the framework we developed for keeping the growing company on the same page through the product development process.

…For most of my tenure at Dropbox, the product team was led by our cofounder and CTO.

…There are only so many hours in a day and all of our CTO’s time was booked solid. It was hard for PMs to get time with him for the feedback and approvals they needed.

…proposed a simple framework for labeling the phases of a project’s lifecycle. Each of the three phases had a review associated with it, designed to answer a specific question:

Phase 0 — What is the problem we’re solving? Why is it worth solving?

Phase 1 — How are we going to solve that problem?

Phase 2 — What does our solution look like?

…We quickly saw results:

  • Reviews got shorter as the feedback became more targeted for the project.
  • Our CTO was able [to] delegate some reviews because he knew when his feedback wouldn’t be helpful.
  • The larger company could understand progress and felt more in the loop.”