How Product People Ran Discovery to Build a Strong Roadmap for a first Product Team

The Client: Hrmony

Hrmony is a Berlin-based start-up that was founded in 2015 as Lunchio. Since then, the company has raised 4 1/2 million in funding and has become a major player in the HR tech market. At the end of 2017, Hrmony launched its digital meal vouchers (DEM) which enable customers to provide tax-free meal subsidies to their employees, whether they are working in the office or remotely.

Today the company boasts over 600 satisfied customers and more than doubled its revenue in 2022.

Hrmony has successfully removed all barriers to adopting digital meal vouchers by guiding its customers through the onboarding process and later checking every purchase for tax refund eligibility. Providing benefits to their employees helps Hrmony’s customers get recognized as top employers, leading to increased employee motivation, successful recruitment of highly qualified employees, and smart increases in employee income (up to €103.50 tax-free subsidy every month).

Hrmony is well positioned in the market with its current DEM product. In 2023 the company aims to expand its offerings to include a full range of benefits, starting with the acquisition of Benefitsy.

The Mission: Build the Product Team Foundation

As Interim Product Managers, we were brought in by Hrmony to establish their first-ever product team. This was a crucial step for Hrmony, given its rapid growth and the need for a more structured approach to product development. Our first task was to quickly onboard and provide immediate value by setting up the foundational elements for the product team to scale.

To achieve this, we closely collaborated with the tech team and the ops team to identify quick wins that would enable Hrmony to make their technology more scalable and efficient.

With the initial Operational challenges addressed, we shifted our focus towards developing a product strategy that aligned with Hrmony's long-term goals. Our primary objective was to conduct a Discovery process, which included in-depth customer research, market analysis, and competitor benchmarking, to gain insights into Hrmony's target audience and identify areas of opportunity.

If you’d like to dig deeper into Product Discovery check out this YouTube playlist with our best talks about it featuring Product Leaders like Teresa Torres and Colleen Graneto from Airbnb.

As part of our mission, we onboarded a new Senior Product Manager and worked closely with him and the leadership team to refine the product vision and roadmap. Working together, we were able to develop a clear product vision and roadmap that would guide our product development efforts and ensure alignment with Hrmony's 2023 OKRs. By working closely with the tech team and Hrmony's leadership, we were able to establish a strong foundation for Hrmony's product team to build upon as they continue to scale and grow.

Our Main Quest: Building the Product Team Foundation and Product Strategy

Ops Team Process Automation

Problem:

Hrmony's current operations processes involve a range of different formats and are very time-consuming. To support the company's growth objectives and streamline its operations, Hrmony aims to create efficient processes and scalable structures in 2023.

As Interim Senior Product Managers, we collaborated closely with the Operations Team to identify the biggest pain points and time-consuming tasks across three of Hrmony's most critical processes. Here's what we achieved:

  • Created User Flows: We developed detailed user flows for the three most time-consuming processes done in Hrmony's Admin Backend Portal. These user flows were crucial for identifying pain points and inefficiencies in the process and provided a framework for future optimization efforts.
  • Developed a Pain-Points Backlog: We created a backlog of pain points that needed to be addressed in the transaction management process. This backlog served as a roadmap for prioritizing improvements and reducing the Ops team's manual work.
  • Conducted a RICE Assessment for Prioritization: We used the RICE framework to assess the potential impact, reach, confidence, and effort required for Pain-Points Backlog. This helped to ensure that the most significant pain points would be tackled first, while also considering the feasibility of implementing solutions.
User Flow and Pain Point Identification for Hrmony

Prototypes for a Customer Portal

Problem:

Hrmony's operations team manages all customer operational tasks which involve significant manual work, including order list management, month-end closing, and other administrative duties. To enhance customer value and reduce the operations team's admin burden, Hrmony has identified the need for a customer portal.

Developing a customer portal is a medium-term goal requiring careful planning and implementation to ensure it meets both customer and operational team needs. The customer portal will enable a customer-centric approach, with greater visibility and control over accounts and orders, streamlining the operational team's workload.

What we did:

  • Detailed analysis of the current Admin-Backend User Flows.
  • Supported the UX Designer in creating the first Click-Dummy designs for the Customer Portal
  • Customer interviews for initial feedback

Product strategy - Employee Benefit Platform

Problem:

Hrmony has achieved a strong market position with its Digital Meal Vouchers (DEM) product. However, to achieve its 2023 OKRs, the company is looking to expand and offer a more comprehensive range of fully integrated benefits to both new and existing customers. To achieve this, a robust product strategy is required that aligns with Hrmony's goals and provides a clear path to achieving the 2023 objectives.

As Interim Senior Product Managers, we conducted a thorough Discovery phase to develop a clear product vision for Hrmony's future state. We conducted market research on the competitor landscape and did an in-depth analysis of key competitors to identify potential opportunities for Hrmony. We also conducted two internal workshops using the "Opportunity Tree" methodology to identify sub-opportunities within Hrmony's organization.

Following the Discovery process, we onboarded the newly hired PM into the team and supported him in conducting customer interviews. We shared our findings and insights from the Discovery process to help the new PM understand the product landscape. Based on our research, we developed a "Now/Next/Later" product roadmap that outlined the steps needed to achieve our goals.

Finally, we conducted a thorough handover process to the new PM to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities. We shared all relevant documents and insights from the Discovery phase and provided guidance on how to move forward with the product vision and roadmap. With this handover complete, we are confident that the new PM is well-equipped to lead the product team towards Hrmony's future state.

What we did:

  • Conducted market research on the competitor landscape
  • Analyzed the product features of five competitors
  • Conducted two internal workshops using the "Opportunity Solutions Tree" methodology
  • Identified, mapped, and prioritized specific sub-opportunities within Hrmony that will help them to make progress towards achieving the 2023 OKR.
  • Conducted customer interviews to validate the need for an "Employee Benefit Platform"
  • Onboarded the new PM into the Team
  • Collaborated with the new PM in the creation of the Product Vision for Hrmony's future state one year from now
  • Developed a "Now/Next/Later" product roadmap to achieve the product vision.
Extensive Competitors Research for Hrmony

Mission Achievements: Delivered Outcomes

💡 Prioritizing quick wins we optimized the OPS process, positioning the organization for continued success.
💡 The discovery process for a potential Customer Portal led to the development of a prototype.
💡 New Product Vision and a "Now/Next/Later" Product Roadmap

In the Client's Own Words

Space Crew of this Mission

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

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.