Every size company has its pros and cons. In large companies, communication processes can become challenging, whereas in a small company each individual wears multiple hats and must be highly effective in task management.
Product Manager at StubHub, Matt Wolf, discussed these and more differences in managing large and small product teams.
Product Manager at StubHub
Matt Wolf has been managing product for over five years in companies from 35 people, all the way up to 10K+ person organizations. He has worked in B2B, B2C, Government, AdTech, and FinTech after graduating with a degree in Computer Information System. Currently, Matt is a Sr. Product Manager at StubHub where he has launched multiple new products, redesigned critical app flows, and is a recipient of the eBay Critical Talent Award.
Differences Between Small and Large Product Teams
In this session, Matt talked about the stages of companies, small and large company teams, key differences in company size, and how to understand the Product Manager role based on company size.
He gave insight on what the company needs are at different stages, how to think about your career arc and where you want to be over the long term (and when), and how to plan accordingly. He also discussed how you can think strategically about your career path and company size.
- Startups are usually:
- Less than 200 people
- Less than 5 years old
- Focused on growth in users and customers
- Not as focused on revenue yet
- Executive leadership:
- Small: May not have a lot of experience and may change focus quickly and often.
- Large: Usually has a long established background with lots of experience and has higher focus on shareholder value and risk mitigation.
- Your manager:
- Small: More hands-on, manages down and across, more direct communication, less experienced.
- Large: Manages down, up and across, less present, more experienced, wider focus.
- Small: Doing more, more responsibilities, lots of “say”, smaller product means more knowledge.
- Large: Limited knowledge base, higher need to influence, more competing priorities, revenue accountability, less control.
- Growth & Skills
- Small: “Figure it out”, execute, trial by fire.
- Large: Balancing priorities, managing through complexity, interpersonal skills, patience.
- Small: Longer hours, more on-call, going out with work people.
- Large: More balance, casual hours, less happy hours.