Debate

Does Localization Require In-Country PMs?

The world is shrinking, right? Remote work is a new normal, video meetings something we take for granted, and that restaurant menu in Prague is just a “translate this page” click away from comprehension. Well, sort of. Technology may have given us the illusion that place doesn’t matter, but when you’re building a product that has to serve different users in different places it’s not just language and distance that you have to bridge. Their digital habits might be different, and the interactions between your product and the rest of their lives may surprise you.

If your product is growing and making its ways down continents and across ponds, can your team stay put and still manage growth and localization? That was our poll question this week. 70% of you thought that a local team is not necessary for successful localization. Our debaters, meanwhile, feel that a local presence is crucial, even if it’s not from the PM side.

Have you had experience localizing a product with a centralized team? How did it go? Tell us in the comments.

Yes

My guess is that having a PM and translation team on the ground would increase the likelihood of a successful roll-out, but it's really going to depend on the depth of internationalisation vs. simply offering various languages. In an ideal world, you'd have an entire squad dedicated to each market - which would potentially benefit from being in situ and understanding their market and needs better.

Holly Kennedy
Head of Product, 15Five
Yes

It's really hard to make a good local product without a local person on board. Having said that, that person doesn't necessarily have to be a PM. It could be local support, sales, or others who would be able to advise the remote PMs.

David Schwartz
VP Product, Wix
User Comments