Transforming The Product Org…Exploring the Product Trio Model

May 9, 2024 Steve

Companies often undergo significant organisational transformations as they scale and adapt to customer and market needs. I’ve experienced and driven some of these transformations in product orgs over the years, and the one team setup that has really increased team performance and output is linked to Teresa Torres’ Product Trio model.

The Product Trio in its basic form, is the collaboration between three core roles: Product Manager, Design Lead, and Engineering Lead. This is very dependent on how large these cross-functional teams are, so essentially, it’s the ongoing and consistent collaboration of product, engineering and design teams. This cross-functional team takes ownership of the entire product development process, jointly managing ideation, testing, and execution. The Product Trio is designed to ensure product decisions align closely with customer needs, market demands and the company’s mission in life, avoiding traditional silos by fostering a unified understanding of goals.

Dynamics of the Product Trio

A Product Trio functions through a series of collaborative activities including joint customer interviews, opportunity mapping, and iterative testing, be it via usability testing and conversion optimisation. Each member plays a unique role:

  • Product Managers Focus on product viability and market alignment. While also undertaking all other tasks of a PM, including alignment across other departments internally such as commercial & ops…
  • Design Leads Ensure usability and a user-friendly interface and lead UX research and overall design direction.
  • Engineering Leads Assess the technical feasibility of product solutions.

The trio does not isolate tasks but instead collaborates on all aspects to promote a shared understanding of challenges and solutions. This happens at roadmapping and product strategy level, down to actual execution of new and existing product updates.

Team Transformation with the Product Trio Model

When companies adopt the Product Trio model, they often undergo a significant organisational transformation. This change brings Engineering, Product, and Design under unified leadership. In iGaming, for instance, Sportsbook product leadership typically manages these functions together to foster cohesion across customer experience and technical feasibility. However, platform-related operations, tech ops and infrastructure often remain separate under engineering leadership due to their specialised nature. Similarly, in the casino product vertical, product, engineering, and design are managed collectively, ensuring alignment from concept to execution, with the exception of platform in some cases, where technical teams may have unique control yet are working closely with the product trio to ensure the platform’s roadmap is in sync with the product vertical direction.

This transformation redefines accountability and promotes a holistic perspective. By removing silos, the trio enables faster decision-making and a unified vision across departments. Engineers gain a better understanding of user needs, designers comprehend technical constraints, and product managers benefit from close collaboration with both. The end result is a more cohesive team that iterates rapidly, iterates efficiently, and aligns product decisions with customer and market demands.

“When a product trio works together to develop a shared understanding of their customer, they are in a much better position to create products that customers love.” Teresa Torres

Challenges of Implementing the Product Trio Model

While the Product Trio model offers significant benefits, such as enhanced collaboration and faster decision-making, it also comes with its own set of challenges. One major hurdle is the initial realignment of roles and responsibilities, which can disrupt existing workflows and require significant cultural shifts within the organisation. Additionally, the need for intense collaboration can sometimes lead to decision paralysis if not managed properly. Ensuring all trio members are on equal footing and possess strong communication skills is crucial to mitigate these risks. Moreover, companies must be ready to invest in continuous training and support to maintain the effectiveness of the trio, especially in rapidly changing industries such as igaming and fintech. In my article, Go Slow with Effort to Go Faster EffortlesslyI touch upon the time and commitment needed to tackle any type of transformation.

Case Studies from Various Industries

In the fintech space, Stripeleveraged the Product Trio to speed up decision-making and streamline their development of new features. Their Trio engaged customers frequently, identifying user pain points around payments processing and testing various design solutions to simplify and accelerate transactions. Through iterative testing and fast prototyping, Stripe improved their API’s usability and added innovative features for more seamless integration with clients’ existing systems.

Shopify, a leader in e-commerce, utilised the Product Trio model to refine its platform’s checkout process. By interviewing customers jointly and creating experience maps, their Trio identified several friction points leading to cart abandonment. Through collaborative decision-making, they prioritised feasible, high-impact solutions that really reduced the checkout time and improved conversion rates.

Netflix exemplifies how the Product Trio can enhance user experience by prioritising customer-centric solutions. Their Trio relies heavily on opportunity mapping and testing assumptions to deliver content recommendations that cater to different tastes globally. This model helps Netflix continuously refine its algorithms, personalise content effectively, and engage users for longer viewing times.

In the iGaming space, Kaizen Gaming adopted the Product Trio set up in each of its product verticals bringing product, design and engineering together under one team, speeding up product discovery through to execution, while delivering better solutions for their customers globally.

Integration with Agile and Lean Methodologies

Many companies either adopt an agile mindset or lean principles. In Agile product development, the Product Trio acts as a cohesive unit, supporting short sprints by iterating on new features and enhancements based on customer feedback. With all three roles collaborating, the Product Trio can quickly pivot based on sprint review insights. Their continuous feedback loops align seamlessly with Agile’s emphasis on incremental development and responsiveness to change.

Under Lean principles, the Product Trio ensures that development resources are focused on value-adding activities by engaging customers early and often. Lean’s “build-measure-learn” cycle is naturally supported by the Trio’s continuous testing and validation of product ideas. By minimising waste and prioritising high-value features, the Trio helps teams avoid overengineering and concentrate on solving pressing customer problems. Conversion Rate Optimisation, or what I prefer to call, Product Optimisation, is a key element of lean principles: testing, learning and shipping solutions as fast as possible.

Will your company adopt the Product Trio Model?

This model involves a transformative shift in product management, enabling companies to respond rapidly to market changes and build customer-centric products. Whether in igaming, fintech, e-commerce, or online media, this framework has proven its adaptability and effectiveness across industries. Its successful integration with Agile and Lean methodologies further underscores its relevance in modern product management.

It’s important to highlight that adopting the Product Trio model is part of a long-term strategy for business transformation. Organisations should be prepared for an ongoing process that requires patience, persistent effort, and a willingness to adapt. This transformation is not just about changing how teams are structured but also about evolving the company culture to embrace continuous learning and improvement.

“Your success in life isn’t based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers and business.” Mark Sanborn

To gain deeper insights into this approach and how continuous discovery drives successful product strategies, I’ve listed a number of links below, including an unaffiliated link to Teresa’s book.


Teresa Torres book (link not affiliated!)


Get In Touch.

Let me know how I can help your business grow. Contact me via email and I’ll get back to you within one hour.

Outside of work I’m a proud dad of two boys and an avid open water swimmer. My biggest open water swimming challenge so far was swimming ~37km non-stop around the beautiful Island of Gozo in Malta at the end of June 2019. Read more about it here

Steven Grech’s CV is also available at