How to Identify and Overcome Unwanted Product Principles
Simplifying how you can create value faster by ditching misleading principles
Hey, how are you doing today?
Lately, something has been disturbing me. I’m stumbling upon some unwanted product principles trapping teams. Despite having my full-time job, I still give keynotes and coach some product teams, and what I see is scary.
Teams are falling prey to dangerous traps, and sometimes that goes unnoticed. I want to picture such dangers as vividly as possible and equip you to overcome them.
Now, let’s set expectations for this episode of Untrapping Product Teams. It’s longer than usual. You’ll need around 15 minutes of reading time because I need to scratch beyond the surface to reach the goal of this post.
Shall we rock the product world together?
The Five Unwanted Product Principles
I give talks at conferences worldwide, remotely and on-site. At the beginning of my presentations, I often ask the participants to complete a survey to get a glimpse of their reality. Then, I present the results to everyone.
The survey results are alike no matter where I give the keynote. That astonishes me.
The following example is from the Agile Swarming 2023 conference. On the first event day, I gave the keynote: "Are you doing product management or bullshit management?” I call the survey reality check because it helps me understand what people experience at work.
I use the same survey when consulting companies. I ask product teams, business stakeholders, and management to fill it. Each participant rates how often they experience five unwanted product anti-patterns. And then, I get the chance to exchange with the leaders about each aspect.
The ultimate goal of this survey is to understand how ready teams are to step into the unknown.
The five unwanted principles are:
Output over Outcome → Creating features nobody cares
Opinions over Evidence → Pleasing the boss at the cost of creating customer value
Prescriptive Roadmaps over Embracing the Unknown → Speculating what creates value instead of uncovering real opportunities
Meeting Deadlines over Achieving Goals → Encouraging teams to cut corners instead of empowering them to deliver value
Implementing Solutions over Solving Problems → Crafting solutions for the sake of it even though you may not know the problem it solves
Now, let’s dig deeper into each one of them:
1. Output Over Outcome
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