New Employee Bootcamp

SVPG Partner Christian Idiodi has built a powerful reputation over the years for developing very strong product teams. In his past companies, he created his own new-employee bootcamp that is an excellent example of coaching ordinary people into extraordinary teams. I...

Product Management – Start Here

There has never been more interest in becoming a product manager.  There has also never been so many strong and helpful voices that can help these aspiring product managers (at the end of this article I’ll share several of my favorites). However, there has also never...

Advocating For Racial Equity

For those that haven’t yet met Christian, he joined as an SVPG Partner about a year ago.  He is one of the most effective and inspiring product leaders I have ever met, but even more than that, he’s one of the most exceptional human beings I know.  So many...

The Origin of Product Discovery

I’ve been meaning to write this article for many years, but since it’s mainly historical in nature there have always been more pressing topics.  But every so often someone will reach out because they’re trying to track down the origin of the term, and during this...

Transformation in Action

My last article on Meaningful Transformation got a very good response from people, and several people wrote to ask what product looks like in companies that have successfully transformed?  I decided to answer this by sharing one of my favorite chapters from my...

Meaningful Transformation

Now that more people have a clearer understanding of the differences between feature teams and empowered product teams, by far the most common question I get is how to move to true product teams? This is essentially a question of transformation.  Most companies have...

Spotify vs. Fitbit

I thought I was done with the series of articles on the importance of empowered engineers, but then an article came out a few days ago criticizing the Spotify model of Agile at scale, and I could not pass up the opportunity to try to turn this into a teachable moment....

Empowered Engineers FAQ

In my last article I spoke about the concept of an empowered engineer, which I consider the single most important concept for companies that want to move from feature teams to product teams. Overall my sense was that most people understood the points, and many told me...

Where To Work?

It’s no secret that due to the pandemic, many people in many different industries are being furloughed or their companies have shut-down.  This has impacted product people as well.  Where just a few short months ago, a strong product person had their choice of great...

The Most Important Thing

During these work-from-home times, I’ve been doing a lot of video-based AMA’s (Ask Me Anything).  It gives me a break from my writing, and I enjoy the questions.  Every so often I get a question that really makes me think, and that happened recently, and is the...

Discovery When Working Remotely

Normally the question I focus on in my work and in my writing is “How can we leverage the best practices of the very best companies in order to give ourselves the very best chance for continuous innovation?” While there are many practices that are important and...

The Role of Technology

I’ve been spending a good amount of time this past couple of years – and especially the past few weeks – thinking about the root causes of the chasm between the best product companies and the rest. Most of you know that my writing is intended to be very practical and...

Working From Home

Certainly there are disadvantages to being physically separated from your colleagues, and those are well known, but in this article, I’d like to focus on the potential advantages of working from home (WFH), and encourage you to make the most of this situation. Most...

Team Objectives – Summary

We need some way to assign and manage work to product teams, and we want to do this in a way that is empowering and executes on our product strategy.  This is the purpose of Team Objectives. Assuming you have embraced the empowered product team model, and you have...

Team Objectives – Accountability

The companion to empowerment is accountability. Product teams are given the space and time to come up with the solutions to the problems they are assigned, but with that empowerment comes responsibility and accountability. So we need to discuss what happens when a...

Team Objectives – Management

Continuing on our series on team objectives, once product teams have their team objectives for the quarter and are pursuing, active management will still be needed. Much as the product strategy requires ongoing tracking and managing by the product leaders, the team...

Team Objectives – Collaboration

Continuing with our series on Team Objectives, there are several forms of collaboration that are essential, yet often confusing to product organizations as they optimize for team autonomy and empowerment. Shared Objectives The first and most basic form of...

Team Objectives – Commitments

While most objectives are meant to be aspirational, where we aren’t sure which will succeed and to what degree, and we can vary the degree of ambition the team strives for, there are always certain cases where we need the team to make what is called a high-integrity...

Team Objectives – Ambition

We have now assigned one or more specific problems to solve to each product team, but we’re not quite done providing the necessary context.  When leaders ask a team to work on solving a problem, it’s important to be clear with the team on the level of ambition they...

Team Objectives – Action

Keeping in mind the principles of empowerment that team objectives are designed to encourage, we are ready to have the product teams get to work.  So let’s discuss the mechanics of assigning objectives to product teams. Assigning Objectives To Product Teams To be very...