In the first part of this series, I talked about some of the barriers to product-led growth (PLG) that come from the market and the products themselves. The right product-market fit, understanding customer needs, lack of data, and a lack of viral growth loops are just a few examples. In this section, I will talk about organizational and cultural issues. 

PLG can only thrive in organizations that are culturally and structurally aligned. Unlike other approaches, this approach requires extensive cross-functional collaboration between product, engineering, and marketing to address the inevitable conceptual, technical, and market challenges. Below are the three organisational barriers to product-led growth and suggestions on how to overcome them: 

1. Slow product iterations 

PLG is based on a simple premise: Shipping is learning. This means that learning how to consistently release product is the best way to invest your team’s early effort. Your top priority should be to establish a solid process for delivering meaningful improvements to users as quickly as possible. Continuous delivery has a learning curve, and establishing this pattern early provides a solid foundation for PLG. You will not be able to learn to adapt to market changes or meet changing customer needs if you do not have it. 

2. Weak cross-collaboration 

In order to innovate a product regularly and quickly, there needs to be strong cross-functional collaboration. Across the organization, you need no-silo, cross-functional, collaborative, and user-focused teams. Common factors for weak collaboration supported by research are: 

Team members prioritize their common in-group identity over the importance of various viewpoints (e.g., engineers ignore product people or the opposite). Those in the team are more likely to ignore or reject the contributions of those working in other areas. As a result, the team is unable to effectively integrate knowledge and perspectives from different functional areas. Interdepartmental rivalry and political maneuvering become the norm. 

The degree to which team members are connected, share common values and goals, and work together with mutual trust and respect is called social cohesion. It is the glue that holds a team together and is closely related to team performance. Although some social cohesion is necessary, excessive social cohesion has a negative impact on overall innovation capability. The organization’s ability to adapt suffers from the sunk cost fallacy, risk blindness, and aversion to change caused by groupthink and conformity pressures. 

If your team exhibits any of these patterns: 

3. Cultural misalignment 

Culture is made up of interactions between people and is shaped by environment, strategy, structure, and systems. There are three main factors you should think about: 

Always check if your working methods are still in line with the goals of your customers, your product and your business. It may be a difficult task, but it is possible to change a culture. By creating an atmosphere where your employees are allowed to experiment and make mistakes, and by setting clear expectations, you can help your team adapt to a new organizational structure.