Retail Spotlight

Global Apparel Brand

Reimagining how a global brand delivers a 150 year old product in a digital world

About the Client

  • A US-based, publicly traded global clothing company with products currently being sold in 110 countries, accounts for roughly $6.5B in revenue year-over-year as of this publication.
  • Personnel was tasked with helping the company reduce time-to-floor for their merchandise, with a global planning process that historically took 18 months from concept to floor.

The Challenge

The Vice President of Product and the Director of Product of a struggling program at a San Francisco-based global retail company had a challenge: “How do we change the perception of our portfolio in the face of mounting internal scrutiny?”

In two quarters alone, 14 engineers had exited the company on their own volition  (including 2 technical leads), internal culture feedback surveys were at an all-time low, progress toward company objectives was weak, and an increased executive presence was felt across the program.

Product teams were working at an unsustainable pace, deadlines were being missed consistently, and no one knew how to measure the success or failure of their product initiatives, including the VP and Director of Product.

These issues culminated in early funding for the portfolio being slashed by 40% from the previous year. The VP and Director of Product were now tasked with doing more than ever before with less than ever before.

“We need help focusing on the things that matter most. Forget the rest. We need to show impact.”

The Solution

Our product coach collaborated with the VP, Director of Product, and 6 product teams from across North America and Europe to:

Define a decision-making framework that provided clarity and enabled the business for immediate action.

Make informed, ruthless cuts to strategic fluff that provided no clear value to the business, while also aligning six product teams to a new, actionable strategy for success.

Instrument products for data, not opinions so key portfolio decisions could be made smarter, faster, and more informed by user behavior.

Create the conditions for trust in the face of uncertainty and stress, to take root across the product, engineering, design, and business organizations.

Put good product management into practice by walking the walk through the exercise of taking an idea to market in one of the highest-priority areas of focus for the business.

The Result

The reputation of the program and portfolio changed for the better with dramatic results:

  • C-Suite executives saw a product leadership team making tough choices to focus on and align the portfolio strategy. An example: The product leadership team was able to take 15 initiatives down to the six most impactful in just one quarter alone with a revamped product strategy.
  • The successful launch of two complimentary technical products, and focused, strategic enhancements to their flagship global planning product.
  • Product leaders who knew the difference between coaching, developing, and managing the people they serve, resulting in the promotion of two junior product members, four engineers, and a designer now in charge of leading the UX efforts across the entire portfolio.
  • Highly focused product teams releasing product at least twice a month (a delivery improvement from once a quarter) and roadmaps aligned to the most impactful strategic objectives.
  • A product organization with a new standard of working together to bring truly impactful technical products to market. An example: the portfolio teams generated 34 hypotheses to test through 15 experiments (A/B tests) in six months, resulting in five new features and seven abandoned ideas/existing features.
"Pathfinder was able to significantly support accelerating our product management capability. For the last 12 months, we have used Pathfinder in both a coaching and interim product management capacity. They have set the standard for how we should do product management at our company. The team has grown tremendously from having Pathfinder engaged. If you need seasoned results-driven product Leaders to help level up your product management capability, look no further."
Director of Digital Product

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