Cross-product owners

What are cross-product owners?

Cross-product owners are created for priorities that:

  1. Require the consistent collaboration or attention of multiple engineering teams
  2. Are ongoing beyond the scope of a single quarter’s work
  3. Have high enough impact that it justifies the use of this process

Why do we have cross-product owners?

Priorities that meet the above criteria have higher risk of failure without additional process, because:

  1. It’s more difficult for individual team stakeholders to prioritize across teams if no one’s focused on the project-level priorities
  2. It’s more difficult to track and collaborate with many stakeholder teams on the same project than to have an owner and process for ensuring inputs and outputs are routed effectively

Cross-product owner components

Ownership responsibilities

The owner of a cross-product initiative takes on this responsibility in addition to their current role.

Owning a cross-product initiative is neither a role change nor a title change.

The owner is directly responsible for:

  • Setting the vision, strategy, and goals of the initiative
  • Maintaining effective collaboration with all other initiative stakeholders
  • Leading planning and managing dependencies for the initiative
  • Creating scalable, repeatable processes for tracking and managing initiative inputs
  • Ensuring the cross-product owner handbook pages are maintained and up-to-date
  • Reporting to executive leadership on a cadence befitting the ownership area

Ownership commitment

Cross-product owners can give initiatives a range of priority, depending on the work involved and the speed desired. To ensure all stakeholders of the owner’s original role, the cross-product area, and product leadership are aligned on the relative priority, we note a relative commitment.

A “50-50” split commitment means the ownership area is equal in priority to the owner’s other responsibilities, so the top-priority half of [this project’s tasks] and [the other responsibilities] will get done.

Slack channel

Every cross-product owner should maintain a public slack channel named #cp-[ownership_area].

Handbook page

Every cross-product owner maintains a handbook page describing relevant ownership area components. These usually include:

  • The goal of the initiative
  • Concrete examples of what the ownership area is and is not
  • The current strategy and processes
  • Links to resources (such as GitHub labels, meeting notes, research folders, roadmaps)