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Product management is a team sport

Have you ever heard a product manager say their role is a breeze and they have so much free time? Almost certainly not! Most product managers are busy with schedules packed full of meetings. So what is the difference between a team with a high growth product and one creating low value for the organisation - it’s not how hard they work.

Here are my top five commonalities I have observed among the teams smashing it out of the park.

The first is a purpose. High-performance teams have a well understood and shared goal across every member of the team. The aim is always front of mind helping avoid distraction and prioritise their efforts. 

The second is agile solutionising to achieve an outcome. The performing teams do not celebrate releasing software, or pushing new features, instead they celebrate achieving meaningful results. They are agile and test ideas quickly as they find the best solutions to achieve their desired outcomes. 

The third is they safely collaborate. The entire cross functional team is aware of the key assumptions, of the customer problem and feel comfortable providing solution ideas. The product manager helps the whole team understand the customer problems and everyone's ideas are considered. Product discovery doesn't happen in a vacuum, instead the team is aware and involved. 

The fourth is experimental driven. The team hypothesis ideas and rapidly experiment to learn. Experiments are purposefully designed and always involve customer interaction. The learnings reduce the unknowns and increase confidence, leading to evolved ideas and value creating solutions. 

Finally the fifth is trusted. The team is given a level of freedom and responsibility by leadership to achieve their goal. This doesn’t mean there is no feedback loop to leadership, there is but it's not one where leadership is micro-managing or dictating the solution. 

Sounds simple eh? Mastering all five needs the right governance and support from leadership. Great talent cannot perform if leadership won’t let them. I coach leaders and product teams to achieve these five key factors, and when they nail them their performance is considerably improved. 

How many out of the 5 do you currently do? Which one are you going to make your big challenge to make happen?