I have been "head hunted" for a Director of Product role with the potential to grown an entire team of product and UX folks. I have some ideas on how I would potentially grow at team (dependent on business needs of course), but I'm curious if you could grow a Product team from scratch, what would be your first priorities?

Or if you've done this before, any lessons learned or things to avoid? I've started and grown other types of teams but never a Product specific team.


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If the option exists, I'd start by pulling some of my most trusted and reliable colleagues from previous work. In the early stages, your relationship with core team members is important. You have to know that they'll do what needs to get done, even if it means being out of their depth once in a while. From there, ask them for references on top of a very selective hiring process. You want passion and energy, and with any team members who come in completely new, you want to foster a tight relationship where they feel comfortable voicing hiccups and struggles so you can address them early on. Get that initial core team right, and you're most of the way there honestly.


Do they already have any PMs? Or are you expected to hire a completely new team?

If they already have some PMs, or even someone who is filling those shoes temporarily, make sure you understand their issues first. Whether it’s collaboration with other stakeholders or writing better stories or whatever, prioritize those problems which have most impact but ensure you get everybody along for the ride.

Treat the whole process as a “product” - gather requirements, prioritize, prototype, MVP etc.


They have one PM already who is "not ready for a director role" and they anticipate hiring 3-5 more PMs and UX team. That's all I know so far :)

If you haven’t done it before, good luck not being screened out. The headhunter is rewarded for producing warm bodies who may or may not be qualified.

i am vetting the company just as much as they are vetting me. I'm pretty happy where I am but a Director role is not in my near future currently and it sounds intriguing. I've built teams before and really enjoy it. But I've also worked in very toxic environments and refuse to go back to it again :)


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