The significance of product teams

03.06.2021 – I am in love with building products. It’s one of the very few things in my life where I have demonstrated perseverance. Product mastermind Jeff Patton crafted a definition which resonates strongly with me and explains my ongoing affection:  “The truth is, your job is to change the world. Every great idea you turn into a product solution changes the world in some small, or not-so-small way for the people who use it.”* As you read this article it’s likely that you also know that building products is very hard.

Lots of products fail, companies fall behind their potential, start-ups go bankrupt, people are frustrated and burned out. Companies unfortunately confuse output with success. It doesn’t matter how many lines of code you write or how fancy your product marketing is when nobody uses and buys what you have built. We know that creating products is complex. There is no magical method which ensures success. But I believe that there is a single most important factor which is the foundation of how we create great products that can change the world: Being part of a product team.

Contrary to popular belief such a team is not just about putting together complimentary skills. Achieving success is not about the process, methods or tools used. It’s also not about a single brilliant product mind at it’s top. Everywhere in our culture we celebrate individual heroism. The myth that great products are only created by the geniuses, the exceptionals, the chosen ones. But this is not how it works. Worthy problems fight back so we have to tackle them as a team. Product is a team sport, don’t do it alone. Even Tony Stark teams up with the Avengers. A product team is the catalyst where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. 

It is all about forming the right team, empowering them and then clearing the way of things that might slow them down. A product team owns the problem and is accountable for the impact of the solution they built.

“Work the team, then the problem. When faced with a problem or opportunity, the first step is to ensure the right team is in place and working on it.” (Trillion Dollar Coach).

The times I spent in such teams were the peak experiences in my professional career. Unfortunately such teams are rare or to be more precise, environments enabling such teams are rare. I have worked with many high potential teams within the last decades. But most of them had to deal with just executing orders and surviving internal politics. The teams had to face environments which were not enabling but disabling them. 

We need to rebel against that. Product teams are central to creating great products and with that to change the world. We need more of those teams. We need more environments which enable such teams to thrive.

The few times I have worked in such a product team I have created lasting relationships. People have changed companies but the teamwork and friendships still continues. 

Working in a true product team is unfortunately rare. It’s also rare that we deliberately surround ourselves with people who will inspire and challenge us to grow and to become a significantly better version of ourselves. 

For this reason I have joined TalentFormation. 

We want to create the environment to inspire and challenge both our professional and personal lifes. We give talents and product teams a home. 

Let us know your experiences. The good ones and the struggles you have faced. 

We would love to hear your story and learn from it. 

Get in touch with me: 

daniel.neuberger (at) talentformation.com

or via Linkedin: 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielneuberger/

 

 

*Link to Jeff Pattons article:
http://www.jpattonassociates.com/read-this-first/

 

 

posted in:

General