Product team meetings are a crucial part of great product management. When done correctly, these meetings help your team to stay aligned with developers, with management, and with each other.

Great meetings reveal what’s missing and reinforce what’s working well – all while ensuring your product trajectory is on track with overall strategy and OKRs.

The question is: how do you run a great product team meeting? Any successful meeting requires planning, preparation, facilitation, and follow-up – and that’s true for PMs as well.

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • Questions to ask yourself before the product team meeting
  • How to prepare for product team meetings
  • Different types of product team meetings
  • How to follow up after a product team meeting

Questions to ask yourself before the product team meeting

  1. Why is this meeting necessary?
  2. Is this a regular meeting or a one-off?
  3. How long do we need?
  4. Who needs to come? Product team. Product managers and UX designers. But this will change depending on the type of meeting.

Everyone’s had a work week that felt swallowed up by meetings, and everyone’s been in a meeting that seemed like a waste of time. The fact is that some meetings aren’t necessary! 

So, the point of these questions is to qualify whether you actually need to gather folks together and, if so, what exactly is needed for the meeting to be fruitful.

Your answers to these questions will naturally inform how you prepare for product team meetings.

How to prepare for product team meetings

  1. Decide who needs to be there and who’s optional
  2. Plan a clear agenda and share it with others
  3. Assign roles to handle meeting tasks
  4. Share relevant data or information ahead of time
  5. Prepare a short debrief to explain the meeting’s context

Preparing for a product team meeting is mostly about communicating clear expectations ahead of time, and a little bit about preparing actual information, talking points or slides.

If you follow these five steps, the meeting is likely to run much more smoothly.

1. Decide who needs to be there

Be clear about who must be there and also who could be there – which is to say, be generous with the optional invites. Optional attendance means people can join the meeting if the subject is something they have input on or want to review. Another option is to allow people to listen in on the discussion without the obligation to be present or an active participant.

But do give people an out, if their attendance isn’t necessary. After all, bigger meetings are more expensive – and not always effective.

2. Plan a clear agenda and share it with others

Always have a meeting agenda! The agenda can be a simple outline of the subjects to be covered and the sequence they’ll follow during the meeting, with an estimated time frame allotted to each section. Share it with attendees at least a day or two beforehand, so people know what to expect and can prepare if necessary.

See the “Product team weekly kickoff” section for an example agenda here at ProdPad!

3. Assign roles for meeting tasks

Before the meeting, assign a couple of roles to attendees who will handle certain tasks during the meeting. This takes a load of responsibility off your shoulders and helps the meeting run smoothly. If you can, assign these roles to different people during each meeting. The tasks should rotate, not stick with one person forever.

Some example roles might be:

  • Notetaker. This person keeps track of the discussion, especially action items and other points worthy of follow-up.
  • Timekeeper. This person keeps an eye on the clock to help you stick to the agenda.* 

*Tip for refocusing the discussion: With a cue from the timekeeper, you can give a gentle nudge to the room, reminding them of the agenda. “We gave ourselves 10 minutes for this topic, and we’ve reached that limit. Do we want to continue with this, or move on to the next thing?”

Let the people decide whether to extend or not so that you don’t stifle creativity. If you absolutely must call it yourself, tell them to take it offline or schedule a follow-up.

4. Share relevant info ahead of time

Just as you share the agenda ahead of time, you should also send around any necessary information or materials, such as data assessments or reports. This gives attendees a chance to review and formulate questions before the meeting – which ultimately leads to a better, more productive discussion.

5. Prepare a short debrief

Prepare a short debrief of why the meeting is necessary, and an introduction of shorts. Because even if everyone knows what’s going on, it’s still helpful to situate the meeting in a bit of context. Plus, you never know if some people aren’t quite sure what’s going on! 

We recommend that you answer some of the obvious questions, starting from square one if needed: 

  • Why are we doing it?
  • What is it we’re trying to achieve? 
  • How far have we got with it?

Types of product team meetings

Product team weekly kickoff

The product team’s weekly kickoff is part check-in, part review, and part planning. Here’s an example agenda of our product team’s weekly kickoffs at Prodpad.

When: Monday mornings, about 30 minutes long
Why: Ease into the work week with a check-in, a data review, and quick planning for the week ahead

5 minutes: A weekend update. This is an informal chit-chat about what’s going on, a chance for teammates to socialize a bit before launching into work for the week. It’s important to give these small moments of bonding, so people aren’t only asking for work favors from each other.

5 minutes: Metrics run-through. This is led by the product manager, who usually assesses the data ahead of time and can summarize trends or explain any anomalies.

15 minutes: Work planning and prioritization. During this segment, the team looks at different sides of the product and discusses what needs to be (and will be) done this week. First is looking at the app and what progress has been made. Each person shares what they’ve been working on and what their tasks are for the week ahead. Then they’ll look at the website and do the same thing, etc.

If any tasks need to be assigned to a designer or someone outside of the team, that’s discussed here!

5 minutes: Announcements. Here the head of product can announce any new policies, hiring plans, schedules, etc. It’s a chance to keep the whole team up to date and answer questions.

Product strategy meeting

The point of this meeting is to align OKRs with the product planning. Product strategy, at any given moment, is based on the existing resources and assets that the company has and that the product has. So for a successful product strategy meeting, you need that information, as well as insights from both the business management and the product side.

How to prepare for a product strategy meeting:

  1. Invite the head of product and executives to the meeting.
  2. Outline what’s been done, what’s currently in flow, and the key problems that the product team is seeing. You could outline and highlight this in ProdPad, present points on a Miro board, or use some other tool. The key is to present that information clearly (and ideally circulate it beforehand).
  3. In the meeting, talk through the constraints. These could be business constraints and technical constraints. Part of designing a clear product strategy is understanding what limitations stand in the way.
  4. From there, prototype the strategy. Lay out your assumptions and potential paths, and have a collaborative discussion about how you’ll get there. You might hash it out right there in the meeting, or you may define a few actions that need more research before a final strategy decision is made.

How often should you have a product strategy meeting?
At ProdPad, our roadmap planning is flexible. (That’s our whole product, after all!) If we learn something new that affects our strategy, then we’ll have a meeting and adjust.

Otherwise, we have an update meeting every quarter to make sure that everything is aligned based on our OKRs:

  • What’s been done in the past
  • What’s being worked on now
  • What’s planned for the short-term future

Backlog grooming meeting

An important part of good product management is backlog grooming. These sessions are to methodically go through your product backlog and determine what should be archived and what goes on the roadmap.

These meetings keep your backlog in a cleaner, tidier, more usable state – so that you have more information to work from and make healthier decisions for the business.

Who: Generally speaking, the direct product team is involved. You can even have just a single PM handle it. Involve developers on an ad-hoc basis, or schedule a separate follow-up meeting with developers.*

How often: Find a review interval that makes sense for your team and your development cycles. The more feedback and ideas you have coming in, the more frequently you should groom your backlog. If your backlog is rather steady, then you could get away with just monthly grooming sessions where you clean up the newest ideas and review those that got old.

When: Groom before every sprint meeting, to ensure all the top priority tickets are fleshed out and ready to go. Then the sprint meeting can stay laser-focused on the tasks at hand.

*As you go through the backlog, you’ll come across items that need more research or insight from a developer perspective. Collect these in a separate “pile” and save them for a quick follow-up with a developer. In ProdPad, you can @ mention them directly in the backlog, or classify the item in a specific status to indicate it needs dev review.

Starting with a backlog that’s out of control and daunting? Check our advice on how to clean up a messy product backlog.

Product launch meeting

The product launch meeting is part of our ultimate product launch checklist. Whenever the company is rolling out something new – be that a new feature or new pricing – the product launch meeting is a chance for everyone to align ahead of time.

The reasons for (and research behind) the new launch can be explained to the wider team. The release plan is reviewed and vetted. Plus, teams can check with each other: What needs to happen? Who is responsible for it? Is anything falling through the cracks?

Product operations meeting

The product operations meeting covers all the processes and policies surrounding product management, to make sure the team is humming like a well-oiled machine. Do we need a new hire, a different tool, or more data connections? Do we need to run our meetings differently? All of these questions and discussions fall under product operations.

A general product operations meeting might be about:

  • Tools that need to be reviewed
  • Data connections or data inputs that need to be reviewed 
  • Any processes that need to be updated
  • Retros on how the team is working, both internally and with other teams
  • What information, services, training, etc. could help the product team 

If you work at a large organization with a dedicated product ops team, they might meet once a week. If you don’t have a separate product ops team, you can probably roll these topics into your general product meetings. You can also meet quarterly to look at the bigger issues that align with the OKRs.If you’re unclear whether your team should dedicate extra time or people to handle this, check out our post on harnessing the power of product operations.

How to follow up after a product team meeting

Of course, no meeting is complete without follow-through. Be sure to follow up with relevant people – both the ones who showed up and those who were optional! – by providing meeting notes and action items.

  1. Review the notetaker’s notes and make sure everything is captured. 
  2. Put the summary somewhere central and visible. It could be in Notion, Slack, a Google Doc, or wherever makes sense for you.
  3. Highlight whoever needs to take further action.
  4. Use these notes as a touchpoint in the next meeting.

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