So You Think You Can Scale?

by Sean Boyce
product ready scale

Everyone thinks their product is ready to scale, but few are truly ready.  I’ve been on my fair share of teams scrambling during the 11th hour for something that should have been done weeks ago.  Scaling is no joke.  Building a product that is ready for the masses takes a lot of planning and testing.  When will you know you’ve achieved it?  Probably when you start sleeping more consistently because the fires have died down.  Until then, here are some questions to ask yourself (and your team) to see whether or not you are truly ready to scale.


Is Your Product Ready?

If it hasn’t been roasted battle tested – it NEEDS to be.  A product that everyone loves simply CANNOT be ready.  If you haven’t gotten a bad review about your product, then it hasn’t been used by enough people.  Someone will hate it.  Find that person.  As irrational as their feedback may be, it may also include information others have been unwilling to give you for whatever reason.  As a Product Manager, as much as I care about the positive feedback, I care so much more about the criticism.


Do You Have the Right Team in Place?

If you don’t yet have someone dedicated in the product role then you’re short at least one.  Scaling means you won’t have time to be the CEO and the Product Manager.  Your operation needs to grow with your product.  At some point the primary responsibility of what’s right for the product and what’s right for the company will wrestle for your attention.  At this point it will be critical to have proper representation in both areas.


Are You Ready for Your Role to Shift?

Your product may be your baby, but at this point you need to be able to make difficult decisions or risk thwarting your momentum.  That’s why it’s best to separate the CEO and Product Manager role before you prepare to scale.  I’m an advocate of brining in a battle tested Product Manager.  There’s value in a seasoned PM that is external to your organization.  You want to make the decisions that are in the best interest of your product and company.  Being too close to either can jeopardize your ability to see the right decision that might otherwise be obvious.  


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Will Your Systems Scale with You?

What systems are you using in product development?  What about bug tracking?  Customer success?  Make sure each and every system in each and every area of the business is built to scale.  Audit your systems for unnecessary manual steps and limitations. They may seem small and minorly inconvenient now, but when your product is scaling up in a major way these “small” issues manifest into nightmares.  


Are Your Processes Optimized to Scale?

A less obvious, but maybe more important step to check is whether or not your processes are designed to scale.  You need to get rid of inefficiencies before you plan to scale.  Inefficiencies in your process will become major time sinks at scale.  It may seem ridiculous to optimize your processes when you only have a few customers, but it will make all the difference when they show up en masse.  


Scaling is a process that everyone should prepare for.  Following this guide is a great place to start.  Battle testing your processes, systems, and team will ensure you’re keeping your eye on the prize no matter when it’s coming.  You can never be too efficient.  Be ready to scale long before it’s necessary.  You’ll thank me later.

If you’d like to learn more about product management or talk more about the services I offer as a consultant please visit our NxtStep website or reach out to me directly at  Keep disrupting.

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