Coaching Product Managers for App Development as Interim Head of Product for MedApps Company

The Client: MedApps Company

Our client is a health insights company operating Europe's leading ecosystem for real-world insights in the healthcare sector. Their mission is to enable personalized and individualized medicine, thereby focusing on patients and their individual needs. The company achieves this by linking health-related data from various sources, which are processed into valuable insights in compliance with the GDPR. They develop and offer a range of patient companion apps designed to empower patients to monitor their health, adhere to treatment plans, and engage in a more informed and proactive approach to their well-being, across a diverse range of therapeutic areas.

The Mission: Interim Product Lead/Head of Product

TTo provide a 360° understanding of patients, this MedApps Companu breaks down data barriers in healthcare by fostering an environment in which every healthcare stakeholder can contribute to and derive substantial health data and insights.

Their ecosystem involves various partners, including healthcare professionals (HCPs), researchers, patients, and the life sciences industry.

When we joined the company to cover the Product Leadership position, they had moved recently from being a pure app development company to a health insights company. Their main goal was to facilitate better practices in app development and establish a strong connection between the app that can gather anonymized data and their health insights platform for healthcare partners.The app product development part of the company included four product managers, and while the company was looking for a full-time VP Product, they needed the support of an interim Product Leader to mentor and coach these Product Managers and help them grow further in their roles.

In the absence of more senior Product Leadership, this role reported directly to the founder. At the end of the engagement, we prepared detailed handover documentation for the newly hired Head of Product and VP Product and run multiple handover sessions.

Our Main Quest: Coaching for App Development

Each of the Product Managers in the team was responsible for one app and had their own focus:

  1. Continuous delivery and discovery: Two of the apps were already established and the main focus was on developing new features that would provide further user and business value
  2. Discover a new product and kick off an MPV: Following a new commercial contract with a pharma partner, a new app was planned to be discovered and designed
  3. Bring an app into maintenance mode: For one of the existing apps, the decision was not to continue developing it but to preserve it in maintenance mode with minimal tech effort and with a small tech team.

Explore and Conquer: Solved for the Client

The main focus of the mission was to support PMs in the goals that were relevant to their product and support each of them individually with their professional development.

Topic 1: Continuous Delivery and Discovery

For the two existing products, we focused on establishing best practices for product delivery and continuous discovery:

  • Advised on and supervised quarterly OKR planning.
  • Helped in identifying and prioritizing product opportunities.
  • Supervised developing data skills and took data-informed product decisions.
  • Facilitated the regular exchange of know-how between product teams.
  • Initiated further training of PMs in the best product discovery practices: book discussions and book-inspired workshops (Marty Cagan “Inspired”, Nir Eyal “Hooked”), presentations by external speakers (other seniors PMs from Product People and Product Leaders in the healthcare space)

Topic 2: Discover New Product

After a new commercial agreement with a pharma partner, we kicked off the discovery of a new product with one of their PMs:

  • Together with the UX researcher, conducted and analyzed research of the target user group.
  • Executed market analysis of the direct and indirect competitors.
  • Run a 4-day workshop following Lean Inception methodology to design the MVP of the new app:
  • Defined user personas and user journeys.
  • Identified and prioritized product features according to their user and business value as well as technical complexity.
  • Defined the minimal feature scope for the MVP and created a first roadmap for the new product.
  • Mapped the first Lean Canvas for the product.
Lean Inception Workshop

Topic 3: Bring Product into Maintenance

To successfully move one of the apps into the maintenance mode, supported a Junior Product Manager in:

  • Establishing team rituals (modified Scrum practices) and feedback cycles.
  • Defining the scope of work and organizing project management measures (Kanban).
  • Building extensive product documentation.
  • Managing relationships within the team and team dynamics.

Better Product Alignment: Our Side Quest

Historically, the development of different apps in the company was conducted rather independently, and stronger alignment of the product teams was required to improve apps’ ROI and make sure that internal know-how was used to the full extent. To enable this, we have

  • Established strong product team rituals - fortnightly Product Circle with team updates and fortnightly Sharing Sessions to learn from each other.
  • Mapped user flows of all the existing apps to define overlapping and varied functionality - this became a basis for defining a technical boilerplate of services and designing the new app.
  • Run roadmap alignment sessions to prepare for the quarterly planning and foster team collaboration.
  • Improved ways of communication to ensure regular stakeholder updates and more transparency in communication.

Coaching Product Managers

As this was a Product Leadership position, an important part of the responsibility was coaching and mentoring Product Managers in their individual growths. Through weekly 1:1s, Product Managers received coaching in:

  • Career planning, and developing their product management skills.
  • Selecting the right training.
  • Working with junior team members and direct reports, managing underperformance.
  • Stakeholder management and engagement.
  • Team dynamics, team ceremonies.
  • Effective communication with different audiences.

Mission Achievements: Delivered Outcomes

💡 Discovered and Designed an MVP for a new companion app for chronic diseases (app successfully launched in 2023)
💡 Improved alignment and collaboration between product teams and their stakeholders through individual coaching and established better communication practices
💡 Mentored 4 Product Managers to grow in their roles

In the Client's Own Words

Space Crew of this Mission

Associate Management Consultant
Product Management Consultant
VP/Director/Head of Product

For Clients: When to Hire Us

You can hire us as an Interim/Freelance Product Manager or Product Owner

It takes, on average, three to nine months to find the right Product Manager to hire as a full-time employee. In the meantime, someone needs to fill in the void: drive cross-functional initiatives, decide what is worth building, and help the development team deliver the best outcomes.
If you're looking for a great Product Manager / Product Owner to join your team ASAP, Product People is a good plug-and-play solution to bridge the gap.