Product Profiles: Rahm Fehr, Senior Director of PM at Gong
Welcome to another edition of “Product Profiles”, where product leaders share everything from how their teams are structured to how they release new features.
We were fortunate enough to chat with Rahm Fehr from Gong, a Revenue Intelligence Platform that uses proprietary AI technology to help GTM teams capture every customer interaction, understand it, and act on their learnings quickly and effectively.
Rahm is currently a Senior Director of Product Management and was the company's first Head of Product. He has a wealth of experience in product management, not only at Gong but also from his time at Verint and Kenshoo.
You can read on to learn more about Rahm and the product team at Gong!
Can you tell me a little bit about your background at Gong?
I’ve worked at Gong for just over 5 years now and spent the first couple of years leading the product function. Eventually, one of our co-founders (and my manager) decided that he wanted to focus solely on product management, so his role evolved from CTO to Chief Product Officer.
As our product function scaled, we added several groups under me that focused on key areas of our platform. This includes groups on Conversation Intelligence, Mobile, Data Capture, and Sales Assistance.
More recently, I’ve taken on an initiative that involves leveraging the Gong in other domains. I can’t say too much about this platform at the moment; suffice to say, it will serve a new audience and address additional pain points for GTM, as well as other teams.
How is the product team structured today?
We work in pods that focus on a specific persona and/or use case; each pod has a product manager, team lead, developer(s), and a product designer. Several pods share an analyst and a writer.
A set of related pods makes up a group; each group solves a broader problem or use case, like deal management or sales engagement. The product group managers and other related units report to our CPO.
Outside of these groups, we have centrally-managed product design and analyst teams to ensure that the designers, writers, and analysts in the pods and groups are aligned. And we have a product operations function that builds out, monitors, and optimizes all of our processes. This includes how we capture and assign requests, approve specific plans, communicate with go-to-market teams, release new features, and so on. Their work ultimately takes a lot of work off of our product managers’ plates, allowing the PMs to focus on core parts of their role.
Do your pods run sprints?
We decided early on that we didn’t want to enforce specific processes for each pod; we felt that they should have the autonomy to work in the way that suits them best.
Also, to be frank, we don’t really believe in sprints. I’ve found that they force teams into one of two extremes: There’s either not enough to do during the sprint, leading the employees to experience quite a bit of down time; or there’s too much to do, which compromises the quality of execution.
That said, we do have certain requirements for our pods, mainly in areas that require collaborating with managers or a team outside the pod.
Each PM from a pod has to fill out a feature brief, which requires them to provide context on what they’re looking to solve, why, and how. In addition, they need to include insight from users that backs what they’re looking to accomplish, which they usually provide via actual snippets of conversation that’s recorded and analyzed in Gong. Once the PM provides all of this, other pod members (along with our leaders and complementary teams, like R&D) can review the briefs and provide their input on it.
We also have recurring planning meetings every quarter and year. Similar to the product brief, each PM from a pod has to provide context in a doc around what they’re looking to solve for the coming quarter (or year), why, and how. The PMs present these docs to management during the meetings, and management can provide approvals or constructive feedback—with the goal of having plans fully-approved before the coming quarter (or year).
Finally, we have monthly meetings between the group lead (along with the PMs and team leads of each pod and a few heads of specific functions) and the head of product and the head of R&D. They’ll use the time to assess their progress, discuss obstacles, opportunities, etc.
How does Gong release new features?
Gong continuously deploys product updates, but we open new features to customers on a monthly cadence to prevent overwhelming our GTM teams and clients.
We typically release a feature within Gong first, which gives us a chance to “drink our own champagne” and see if there are any kinks that need to be sorted out. Then, depending on the feature, its potential impact, and what we’re looking to learn, we may release it to a subset of clients. Once the associated PM is fully confident that the feature delivers its intended value, they push it to GA in coordination with our GTM partners, like product marketing and sales.
How does Gong approach integrations?
We didn’t have the best experience with the other unified API solutions we tried in the past, so we decided to build our integrations ourselves or with the help of partners. And at this point, it’s safe to say that we and our partners have built 140+ native integrations. This includes CRM systems, BI solutions, calendar tools, and other categories of software.
However, my current pod can’t afford to allocate resources to building and maintaining the integrations with our soon-to-be-released platform. We need our team to focus on building out the features and functionality that differentiates our platform and drives unique value to our clients.
That led us to try Merge roughly a year ago; and given the success we’ve seen so far in setting up the integrations through one of your unified APIs, we’re now looking to expand our usage of your platform; namely, we’re looking into adopting Merge’s CRM Unified API.
Want to learn more about Merge? Schedule a demo with one of our integration experts to see the platform in action.