Four years ago, as a result of asking the “why” question a little bit too often, I ended up becoming a product manager—that dream job at the intersection of business, technology, and design.
Ever since, I’ve been obsessed about using technology to solve real human problems. Driven by this desire to constantly build meaningful software, I’ve been working very hard on sharpening my product management skills: attending & organizing product meetups, following the greatest product thinkers (big thanks to Des Traynor, Rahul Vohra, and Jason Fried), reading product books (Inspired from Marty Cagan is probably the best of all), and most importantly actively exchanging best practices with fellow product, design, and engineering leaders.
In all that time building software and training myself to become a better product manager, I’ve been using all the product tools you can think of. I always felt frustrated not because I was lacking tools but rather because I was overwhelmed with so many of them. I was thinking to myself: Designers have Figma ; Sales teams have Salesforce ; Why is it that I’m still getting lost in tabs to get my most basic work done? Couldn’t we create a tool that puts the product at the center and helps engineers, designers and product leaders to work better together and build software that matters to people?
Six months ago, I was lucky to meet Thibaud Elzière, CEO of eFounders — the French startup studio behind great companies like Front, Spendesk, and Aircall. Having launched 22 software companies from scratch, Thibaud was also very familiar with the issue. The fit was immediate, and after a couple of mock-up iterations, we decided to join forces and build this tool we had been dreaming about. A few weeks after, Benoit Epopi joined the adventure as a co-founder & CTO. Cycle was born.
We revisited product management from the ground up: creating a new way to explore, prioritize, plan, write specs, deliver as a team, and communicate with stakeholders and clients.
Introducing an all-in-one framework for product-centric teams: Cycle is revolutionizing the way products are being built. With Cycle, your team can work together and focus on shipping stuff people need. All from a neat, collaborative space.
Cycle is a horizontal platform made of flexible building blocks that you can use in customizable workflows. Your way of working shouldn’t depend on your tools, we built Cycle so that product teams could collaborate the way that works for them.
Every product team is unique
As true product people, we decided to put user research at the center from Day 1. Since we started, I actually interviewed 200+ product teams across the world in order to understand their pain points and validate my assumptions. The goal was to get a deep understanding of the problem even before designing the solution.
Many insights came out of those interviews — I’ll write another blog post about it very soon. The most important one is that every product team is unique. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits all way to ship products. Every team has its own culture, its own typology, and its own way of collaborating. Hence there are as many possible product processes as there are product teams.
With this knowledge, it appeared very clear that Cycle had to embrace that concept of uniqueness. It became a no-brainer that Cycle was going to be an extremely flexible framework that could adapt to any product team’s typology.
More than a tool, a repository of best practices
Wait, if it’s so flexible, does it mean that Cycle has no product opinions? Nope. Actually, Cycle has a lot of strong opinions about how to build great products. But those opinions are not forced onto product teams. They are suggested through the concept of templates.
Cycle has a lot of product management templates built-in. Those templates are inspired by what other great product teams are doing. At the moment, we already have the “Cycle Way” template, which consists of all the product best practices that are being followed at eFounders. Additional templates are currently in the building: “Shape Up” methodology from Basecamp, “RICE” prioritization technique from Intercom, and “Product/Market fit engine” from Superhuman, to name a few.
In the future, Cycle will become a repository of product best practices. Every product team will be able to share their own templates with the community. That way, you’ll have access to a ton of product knowledge. And most importantly, you’ll be able to pick the templates that are relevant to you based on your beliefs and team’s typology.
More than a tool, we want Cycle to become a community-based education platform.
Who is Cycle for?
We don’t like to say that Cycle is a tool for product managers. Actually, it’s not always a product manager who leads a product. It’s sometimes a product-centric CEO, an engineer, a CTO, or even a head of design. Cycle is for product-centric teams. Everyone in the product team will benefit from Cycle: designers, engineers, and product leaders will get to work better together. We believe that independently of their typology, product-centric teams share one common goal: ship stuff that people need.
As long as you you’re working on a product, however small it is, you can start using Cycle.
Up to now, Cycle was reserved for eFounders teams only—ask them, they’re loving it 😍 Today, we’re very excited to share the news that we are inviting additional product teams to use Cycle. It’s the start of our Private Beta: a way for product teams to get early access to Cycle and help shape our product roadmap. We’re just getting started, so right now the only cost is your feedback.
The possibilities of what you can do with Cycle are limitless. I can’t wait to see the awesome workflows you’ll create.