Executing tens of millions of trades annually, CMC Markets uses Productboard to build what its 80,000+ active global clients need most (here’s the case study). Sharing a single source of product truth, the financial services company has already cut 9 hours of team meetings monthly and can even solve specific customer needs during Build in a Day events.

Now, Productboard’s new collaboration capabilities are helping teams create even more customer value in less time.

Alister Sneddon, Head of Product, shares 5 ways these new capabilities have helped CMC Markets increase org-wide productivity and outcomes by providing not only the product org, but all stakeholders throughout the business with better access to the right product information. Now, teams can more effectively move work forward  — up, down, and across the organization.

“My goal is always to remove any restrictions or frictions that just come with working in large teams, working in large orgs, with regulation. Everything we can do to streamline a process with Productboard, to help people understand where they should be spending time, effort, energy — that’s key for me as a director to help us achieve absolute focus on the customer’s problem.”

Alister Sneddon

Head of Product, CMC Markets

Learn how to make CMC Markets’ wins yours: 

  • Help EPD solve the right problems faster
  • Give Go-to-Market teams direct access
  • Maximize the value of group meetings
  • Balance short-term execution with long-term strategy
  • Strengthen Customer Support conversations
Note: image illustrates mock data – not belonging to CMC Markets

1. Help EPD solve the right problems faster 

Above all, Alister wanted to spare CMC Markets what so many face in product management: missing opportunities when teams store feedback in siloed Excel sheets or have no central place to capture and share information from one-off meetings.

“It’s the iceberg effect: the data your Product team thinks it has vs. this whole world of data that’s invisible to them because it’s held in one-time meetings and video calls since it just wasn’t easy enough to get that transparency across the whole department. You’re not segmenting data and you’re not understanding it to the maximum capacity.”

Alister Sneddon

Alister Sneddon

Head of Product, CMC Markets

Having a centralized system for all product information was already helping CMC Markets more effectively identify customers’ biggest challenges. But, Alister saw immediate potential in Productboard’s new teamspaces and folders functionality to provide teams even better focus and access — the chance to use product data in a way that works best for their needs. With their own “shortcut to success,” CMC Markets teams now move even faster solving the right problems.

“Productboard reduces the cognitive load. The beauty of having all these structures and folders in the platform is the data set is fundamentally the same, but we’re giving each individual, each team, their slice to work the way they work best. It maximizes the benefit when you can say: ‘Here’s your shortcut to success. This is what you need to know, when you need to know it.”

Alister Sneddon

Alister Sneddon

Head of Product, CMC Markets

Here’s how CMC Markets creates value faster for customers while ensuring compliance — a play-by-play of the way Alister set up teamspaces and folders:

Note: image illustrates mock data – not belonging to CMC Markets
  • Execute faster with standardized processes and customizable views. Alister created a standardized process for each stage of EPD work to drive efficiencies while allowing for customization at a squad level — helping teams set up views that play to their strengths.
  • Boost Product’s productivity and reduce delays with one place to view the full lifecycle. Product now turns to one real-time source of truth for evaluation, priority planning, objective sessions, and compliance — increasing team focus and preventing risk.
  • Save PMs time providing updates now that other teams access a General teamspace. Product managers have more focus time now that other teams can answer their own questions by viewing a complete feature board and a curated collection of roadmaps showing what’s in the backlog, what’s just been released, and what’s Now, Next, Later.
  • Ensure compliance with a clear checklist and tasks embedded into Product’s process. Alister created a dedicated Compliance folder (also in Product’s teamspace) that helps PMs and leaders easily check regulatory status for every feature. Clear instructions explain tasks to be done; each one is embedded into Product’s Productboard workflow and nothing can be released without compliance task completion.

“The more time we can spend dedicating ourselves to truly solving problems, the better the customer experience and the outcomes will always be. The product managers with strong technical skills, the product designers with an in-depth ability to engage with customers – they can collaborate more effectively while working in a way that functions best for them and tailor their views within Productboard to their needs, which leads to better focus on the customer problem.”

Alister Sneddon

Alister Sneddon

Head of Product, CMC Markets

2. Give Go-to-Market teams direct access

Note: image illustrates mock data – not belonging to CMC Markets

Naturally, Alister didn’t leave the rest of the business out of the equation. First, he set up CMC’s General teamspace where every division can grasp long-term product strategy and the details of roadmap progress. 

“We have cut multiple hour-long weekly and fortnightly meetings focused on the alignment of multiple teams by encouraging everyone to join this general teamspace and providing them with a live view,” Alister says. 

Then, he created a teamspace for every department, including Go-to-Market.

This way, CMC Markets increases product transparency business-wide while cutting down meetings, manual updates, and the overall time it might otherwise take to keep everyone informed and aligned. Now, customer-facing teams have only the essential product data they need to more effectively message, promote, and support releases.

Here’s how Alister made this possible in Productboard:

  • Help teams save time finding the product data they need with a bespoke teamspace. Alister created a dedicated teamspace for Project Management, Design, Marketing, etc, so that each department can collaborate around product data tailored for their needs.
  • Give Go-to-Market a teamspace that provides only actionable data: 

-A view of all features in the test stage

-The designs, how the solution interacts, the benefit(s) of the new feature 

-Confirmation that the feature has passed compliance

-The projected release date and the milestones required to get there

“With a 100% bespoke view in Productboard, we’ve cut down the noise and wastage of people having to ask, ‘what do I need to know?’ Now, Go-to-Market understands exactly what’s being delivered when and what’s expected of them. They’re not bothered by what’s in early discovery or prioritization. They’re interacting, asking questions about the roadmap, and leaving comments to bring everything more to life for our customers.”

Alister Sneddon

Alister Sneddon

Head of Product, CMC Markets

3. Maximize the value of group meetings

With Productboard’s new features, Alister says CMC Markets has also been spared the cost of unproductive cross-functional meetings — the kind “where every team sits around the table and half of them have nothing to contribute, usually because their involvement just hasn’t begun.”

With teamspaces, CMC Markets ensures group meetings always matter. Here’s how: 

  • Ahead of cross-functional meetings, every team member now has a link to the exact teamspace they need to consult for context and any prep work needed
  • If their focus requires a specific view within a teamspace, they’ll get directions right to it

“It’s about removal of doubt,” Alister explains. “It’s very explicit, and that’s how we’re increasing focus and decreasing risk.”

Note: image illustrates mock data – not belonging to CMC Markets

Now that CMC teams understand the what and why behind every cross-functional initiative, they’re more strategic about deciding when to collaborate — ensuring meetings are not only more efficient, but also more focused on customers’ core problems.

“I’m excited to see the context of our meetings shifting, where we’re starting to say, ‘we know the problem, let’s talk more about the customers who are having it. Why do they want this now? How do we solve this to the 10th degree? And, how can we really sell this?”

Alister Sneddon

Alister Sneddon

Head of Product, CMC Markets

4. Balance short-term execution with long-term strategy

Every Director of Product knows the struggle of monitoring everyday roadmap risks while trying to steer the strategic ship in the right direction. 

With Productboard’s new navigation capabilities, Alister says he’s able to create the right views to zoom in and out quickly from feature-level issues to strategic opportunities.

Note: image illustrates mock data – not belonging to CMC Markets

“You can plan your business, your objectives, your outcomes way in advance with Productboard while also seeing new opportunities emerge much, much sooner so that you don’t have to feel erratic as a director, changing things all the time,” Alister explains.

When Alister gets an extra hour in his day, he can easily check the following, among other items:

  • Overall roadmap progress and feature-level delays 
  • Regulatory compliance status of everything on the roadmap
  • The balance of workloads and key areas of focus across EPD

“Now, I have an overview in Productboard across all the teams at the level of complexity I’m comfortable with. My team can operate with more confidence and autonomy, without fear that they’ll miss something knowing that I can sense-check what they’re doing. For new hires, that means I can really speed up the time it takes to get people to a level where they’re productive.”

Alister Sneddon

Alister Sneddon

Head of Product, CMC Markets

What should leaders consider when creating their own teamspaces? Alister offers some tips:

  • Start your first view at a high-level, with your business objectives and overall strategy
  • Represent what you want to achieve, what you’ve finished, your next step time frames 
  • Filter down from the strategic level, and ask for each initiative or work area: who needs to have oversight daily? i.e: “Do I need this view or does someone else on my team?”
  • Think about jobs to be done by function to make the right person accountable i.e.: “Is this a product manager’s responsibility or a project manager’s?”

5. Strengthen every customer interaction

Lastly, in a difficult economy where customer retention is essential, Alister shares how Productboard’s new collaboration and flexible navigation capabilities have helped CMC’s customer-facing teams, particularly Customer Support, strengthen every customer interaction. 

Here’s the process CMC Markets established to strengthen customer calls:

  • Standardized intake: when teams receive feedback on customer call, they log it as an Insight in Productboard to ensure Product can review and appropriately prioritize 
  • Guaranteed review: because product managers consistently review Insights, Support can “say with confidence: ‘someone will be looking into this!’” — boosting user loyalty
  • Easy search to close the loop: whether customers share a new idea or ask for an update on a request made, Support or CS can quickly turn to the Customer teamspace that CMC created and quickly identify anything relevant to share, with context and status 

Whereas Support teams in financial services and beyond often have to “go into 50 different systems,” reps at CMC can offer answers of this caliber easily with Productboard. “I can see you mentioned this idea two weeks ago, and Product is now in discovery,” Alister shares. “I see they also wrote to you about it. If you haven’t seen the email, have a look since they’d love to talk to you!”

That’s where Alister says CMC Markets stands out not only for quality of service, but also speed. 

“Support is able to enrich their conversations without having to explicitly train for it,” Alister explains. “They’re getting this nice benefit with teamspaces and that adds to the experience our customers are getting. They’re being listened to and can tangibly see that and feel that whenever they engage with us.”  

By empowering teams across the business with the right “slice” of data in Productboard, Alister has helped CMC Markets offer customers a level of attention that’s second to none.

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