Product Love Podcast: Scott Hebert, and Russell Olsen of WebPT

Published Mar 3, 2021

This week on Product Love, I sat down with Scott Hebert and Russell Olsen of WebPT. WebPT provides web-based electronic medical record systems for physical therapists. While the pandemic has significantly impacted several industries, the face of healthcare has drastically changed. If healthcare providers can no longer meet patients in-person, how do you help?

In this episode, Scott and Russell shared their experiences in pivoting their product roadmap and vision to meet these demands, as well as the amazing insights they unlocked on the way.

What had to change was the delivery of mechanism of care. Physical therapists, the primary users of WebPT, had to depend on telehealth to deliver quality care to their patients. While Scott admits it was a fascinating situation for a product manager, it was certainly difficult on how to unpack a problem that grew tenfold overnight.

Scott and Russell wanted to ensure the best user experience possible, but when you launch a product quickly, many support issues arise. They couldn’t risk hastily shipping something and creating a support nightmare for the organization as a result. That’s worse than doing nothing.

Instead, they opted for organization buy-in. They surveyed their customers and uncovered workflow problems that revealed that users were using four or five different tools to handle patient communication, the video visit, and follow-up. On top of that, they had to use WebPT to document their process. While they also quickly adapted to COVID, it still highlighted a huge dissatisfaction in the market.

The product team realized they needed an integrated workflow, that allowed them to partner effectively as well as de-risk potential technical problems. Scott shared that they shipped in a 10-10-10 process. The first ten users get a piece of software (or feature), provide feedback, and then the product team iterate s on that. Afterward, they scale it to 10% of their user base, repeat the same process, and then go to the last 100%.

During the pandemic, they didn’t get rid of this process — they figured out how to do this faster.

But as most product managers know, the most difficult part of shipping products is organizational alignment. Yet this time proved to be a rare instance where they had alignment from CEO to support rep, and it helped streamline their process.

Scott and Russell also provided tips on how to ship faster: make the scope smaller. If it’s a small enough project, it’s easier to get more consensus and then gradually expand to other parts of the product.

Check out the rest of the episode to hear how they aligned better internally, their thoughts on rapid development, and what north star metrics mattered the most.