Building product at Emma

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  • Updated 5 years ago
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Last week, Kat Amano, our product engagement lead, and I had the privilege of walking a few hundred customers through some of our product plans for 2015. If you joined us, I hope it was an informative recap of recently-built features that are available today, work currently in motion, and some particularly exciting stuff we have planned for later in the year. 

As our VP of Product, I could (and do) talk about our roadmap for hours on end. I love the challenge of taking the variety of inputs we receive — such as the valuable feedback we get right here in Emma Community or the in-depth conversations we have with select customers around early product concepts — and assembling it all into a cohesive product experience that’s going to propel your marketing efforts forward.

Of course, all of that planning would be for naught if we weren’t constantly refining the process that starts with “hey, that’s a good idea — let’s build it!” and ends with great new features implemented in your account. We need to pick the *right* stuff based on qualitative and quantitative data, grounded with a bit of instinct, and deliver it with the quality and style you expect from Emma.

Organizationally, we’ve learned quite a bit regarding how to plan, design, build, test, launch and measure product over the past 12 years. When I joined Emma three years ago, we were primarily focused on getting our drag & drop editor ready for launch and had two smaller teams focused on, well, everything else. We’ve grown to a team structure that allows us to focus on several components of Emma simultaneously, which requires a fair amount of coordination across our teams, but also with *you* to ensure that you’re in a position to benefit from the new capabilities we introduce.

So, how are we structured, what are we focused on and how often do we release updates to Emma?

We have six product teams designing, building, testing and releasing code aimed across eight categories. Our teams are multidisciplinary, comprised of the required expertise to deliver these product ideas to you. Each team is led by a product owner and an engineering lead, who partner to ensure we have a collective understanding of *why* we’re building something, *what* it is exactly and *how* we’ll get it done. Accelerating our product teams is a discovery process where we research and prototype solutions, talk with customers and validate viability before we start building.

Our teams are aimed at a few big goals: delivering an efficient experience (both in terms of how easy it is to do what you want to do *and* how performant your experience is), introducing powerful new features that drive great results, ensuring Emma can be integrated into the other tools you use, and providing easier access to the data you’re looking for. 

We have projects in motion both big and small to support our big ideas in each product category. We also have two separate product experiences for which to account between our standalone accounts and our tiered accounts (which are great for agencies, franchises and universities — any customer who might benefit from the managing multiple accounts from a single login). All of this adds up to features being in various phases of development, from not ready for customers, to in beta for some customers, to on for *all* customers.

In general, our teams set small goals that can be developed in short iterations of 1-3 weeks, on our way to the big goals, and we strive to release code every iteration. Sometimes you’ll see these changes, and other times you won’t. For example, we have had two brand-new product experiences — Home and our lightbox forms — in beta for select customers for a few months as we’ve been improving each, on our way to releasing them for everyone later this month.

We delivered some of our best product work in 2014 and the first quarter of 2015, between Metric for iPhone and Android, our new response overview, a collection of editor enhancements from pre-header text to our video block, a dashboard for tiered accounts, and an entirely new automation section. We’re excited to build on this momentum and continue to deliver a lot of great stuff as we trek further into 2015. 

Our product planning is fueled by your ideas, so please keep the great ideas and use cases coming in Emma Community, and be sure to add your voice to any current conversations about tools you'd like to see built. I’m looking forward to evolving the product together to help grow your business and deliver results.
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David Wright, VP of Product Management

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Posted 5 years ago

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