February 2022

Nailing digital product at Series A

Why the behaviours that got you here might be holding you back

At Loomery we’re lucky to work with some high-growth companies that are scaling up at pace. We’ve worked with startups creating their first product like dopay, rapidly scaling businesses like BeZero Carbon experiencing hyper growth, and established scale-ups like Naked Wines working out how to take the next step. 

At each stage we see a common set of challenges and changes happening within the business. One of the most difficult changes is the transition from early-stage, boot-strapped, lean team to a well-funded, rapidly scaling organisation. 

Loomery is helping businesses make this transition from Seed to Series A, from early chaos to having a methodical approach to growth and experimentation. When it comes to building great digital products and experiences, what we’ve found is the things that work at seed stage are often your worst enemy as you scale. 

There are five common behaviours that we are helping founders to unlearn and rewire to seize their next stage of growth. 

#1 ‘The founder makes all the product decisions and holds the roadmap in their head’ 

Rapid, clear decision-making is critical, and the smoothest path to that while small is to have one individual, often the founder, make those decisions. But when you’re scaling, building larger teams and adding more customers, it’s irresponsible for the strategy and roadmap to be in your head, and it will slow things down. 

We work with founding teams at this stage to codify and capture a framework for decision-making. From here we can draft a roadmap or backlog to help the organisation map the road ahead. Don't get bogged down by too much detail at this stage. Instead, focus on the outcomes you want teams to achieve for your customers. 

#2 ‘We’re holding off on hiring to keep the team lean while we prove demand’

Making a lot happen with a small team is a super-power that sets successful startups apart but can embed counterproductive attitudes and behaviours when the time comes to scale. You will hit a point where your early core team just can’t handle all the work, and when you do it’s probably 3 months too late to do something about it. Hiring great people takes time you now don’t have.

We’re working with rapidly scaling businesses at Series A to increase their capacity across Product, Design and Engineering teams. We deliver experienced contributors who can start delivering value fast. Our average time to deployment is 2.4 days. 

#3 ‘Everyone wears multiple hats and plays many roles’

Because you’ve been keeping the team lean, everyone has learned to play multiple roles, and to ‘get by’ in areas they aren’t expert in. That means while you’re trying to rapidly scale up you don’t necessarily have the experience to hire new product leaders. 

Loomery places interim Heads of Product, Design and Engineering with businesses to help them establish a capability. We are also experienced hiring to replace ourselves, and typically set out a hiring plan in the early weeks of any interim leadership placement. 

#4 ‘We’re allergic to process; it slows things down’

With a team of 5-15 people, having no process just about works. But with a growing team you need a better way to make decisions and share plans. This is especially true given many of us are working remotely; forcing no process by having everyone in one room is no longer an option. 

As a company founded in the remote age, Loomery is experienced in handling these challenges and tailoring working models. Our remote working assessment develops a series of recommendations, and our 121 coaching helps leaders design ‘just enough’ process to speed things up, not get in the way. 

#5 ‘We’re laser-focused on improving the core experience’

As you should, you invested all of your time and resources into the core customer experience. However that probably means you neglected other elements, whether that’s the marketing website, or internal tooling, or supplier interfaces, they’re each building technical and experience debt which will come back to bite. 

Loomery teams are working with rapidly scaling businesses to address these secondary product weaknesses. We’re using our deep expertise in low-code tools and automation to create new digital products in days or weeks, rather than months. 

If any of these challenges sound familiar, get in touch with Loomery founders Tim and Brett to hear more about how we can help. 

Loomery is a faster path to product progress. We deliver trusted teams, when you need them. Our community of expert makers, remote teaming approach and flexible partnership model mean we can demonstrate progress on your priorities next week, not next year.

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