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

For many readers it might seem surprising to you to see me publish on working from home when I’m such a vocal fan of the magic of co-located teams.  But in this situation of COVID-19, with the need to delay the spread as much as possible, it is far more important to...

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...

Team Objectives – Empowerment

NOTE: There is so much widespread confusion out there on OKR’s, it’s a very difficult topic to discuss because everyone brings their own very different experiences and perspective to the conversation.  If your company is using OKR’s today and you believe they are...