Product People transformed the Firstvet team for high performance and fast delivery
The Client: Firstvet
FirstVet is a digital veterinary service provider that allows pet owners to consult with licensed veterinarians remotely through a video call service. The company provides an online platform where pet owners can book a video call with a veterinarian to receive advice and guidance on their pet's health and well-being. The service is available 24/7 and can be accessed from anywhere, making it convenient for pet owners to get professional help without leaving their homes.
Their service is designed to complement traditional in-person veterinary care and can be used to address a range of issues such as behavioral problems, routine check-ups, and minor medical concerns. The veterinarians who provide consultations through FirstVet are licensed professionals who are able to prescribe medication and make referrals to in-person veterinary clinics when necessary.
The company is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, but operates in several other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
The Mission: Interim Product Managers
We joined the FirstVet as interim Product Managers of the Treatment team. The team had an Engineering Manager, a Development Team of 5 Developers, and 1 UX Designer. The Product Manager was leaving, and we came in during his last week.
The most important initiative of FirstVet was migrating the current app to React Native, an initiative called ‘FlexiApp’. And the Champion, CPO of FirstVet, explained how it had been a pain point that the team was struggling with delivering at a desirable velocity.
Therefore, the first priority was to ensure a healthy delivery pace for migrating the current app to React Native - to carry out the migration process smoothly and efficiently, and to make the transition as fast as possible.
The second priority that required our focus was the existing app’s maintenance. We had to maintain the stability of the existing app and web portal, addressing any bugs.
The Champion also asked us to improve the way of working in cooperation with Veterinarian Operations, the Treatment team’s main stakeholder, and to work on the product strategy for the treatment team.
Our Main Quest: Be a high-performing Agile team to deliver FlexiApp
Initiative 1 - Scrum & Agile Practice
Early in the mission, we held a Scrum training session where the whole team got together to learn about the fundamental theories of Scrum and Agile and how we can apply them specifically to our team. Then we succeeded at holding ceremonies such as Sprint Planning and Retrospective more according to the Scrum framework. We also started implementing Refinement sessions twice a week.
Over a short period of time, we’ve seen a significant improvement, which was noticed and praised by multiple members of the organization. The team was not only visibly performing better, but also the team members said they feel much happier and more confident at work.
Initiative 2 - FlexiApp
As a result of the continuous improvement with Scrum & Agile practice, the Treatment Team was on track with every epic in the FlexiApp 1.0 roadmap - even ahead of the timeline sometimes. For example, the CallKit feature took only 1 month to deliver now while it took 4 months in the past.
Despite the initial lack of momentum, we were able to drive the team to this state after just a few sprints. This was, to quote one developer, ‘a complete transformation’ from a team whose main concern was that they were “not delivering at a healthy level” just a few months before.
Mini-Missions: Our Side Quests
As Interim Product Managers of the Treatment team, we supported various other teams at FirstVet with multiple missions:
Cooperation with VetOps (Veterinarian Operations): To improve cooperation between VetOps and the Product & Tech teams, we limited the number of individuals involved. We would be the point of contact for product and tech and the Global Lead for VetOps would represent VetOps. Each would manage conversations within their respective organization. We met once a week and used a simple Notion board to raise requests, track tasks & progress, and leave async updates. The board was open to everyone to increase transparency. Put together, these measures simplified the lines of communication while improving transparency for VetOps as a whole regarding ongoing product and tech work.
Analytics: Part of the Treatment Team’s responsibility within the FlexiApp initiative was to drive the implementation of the analytics setup. Together with the Data team, we defined the framework, identified the key milestones in the product, and set up the data governance rules for events and user properties. We worked with the other product teams to define the necessary events. We delivered a comprehensive tracking plan for the first version of the app with a few simple rules to keep the events consistent as well as understandable without intimate knowledge of the tracking setup.
Treatment Strategy: The Treatment team needed direction for when the Flexiapp work was over. We looked into potential directions for the team both short and long-term and came up with an overall vision and roadmap for the team. Both were developed enough that the new product manager could take over without difficulties but open-ended enough to leave him with room to decide where to go next and how to get there.
JTBD Opportunity Score: The previous Product Manager had left us with a good job map based on various user interviews. We picked up this work towards the end of our engagement. The goal was to launch an opportunity score survey. Together with the UX research team, we vetted the jobs and outcomes and prioritize the jobs that were mentioned frequently in interviews, and carried strategic value for FirstVet. When we left, we left the new product manager with a survey ready to go.
Completion: Handover to the new PM
When it was time for us to off-board and welcome the new PM, we created an extensive handover document to be used as a reference for all the important information he’ll need to jump right in. In addition, we set up daily morning meetings to help the new PM prepare for the day, and also had 1-hour onboarding sessions every day.
Our thorough onboarding process - both the handover document and onboarding sessions - was constantly praised by the new PM. The new PM started to take the lead in team meetings almost immediately, which again he attributed to our well-prepared handover. We ensured that despite the frequent changes of the PM, the transition was smooth and frictionless for the team.
Mission Achievements: Delivered Outcomes
💡 The team became well-versed in Scrum and Agile practice, which improved the team performance substantially.
💡 The team was on track to succeed at launching FlexiApp on time, despite previous concerns about delivery velocity.
💡 Onboarded the new PM fast with comprehensive handover documents and sessions, making the transition frictionless for the team.
In the Client's Own Words
Space Crew of this Mission
Fractional Director of Product
Product Management Consultant
Associate Product Management Consultant II
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.