Insights
What makes an excellent product team?

Katie Beaton

Head of Product

September 14, 2022
5 min read

As the first Product person at Phlo, building our product team has been as rewarding as building our products. I love our team. When we get together on our check-ins or in office for product focused days, we leave with shared motivation and vision for the next week, quarter, year and years!  

Here are 7 things that make an excellent product team:

Feels like a team

Being the only Product Owner in a cross functional team can feel like a lonely sandwich sometimes.  You could feel between the team and the business – you are between the team and the business. Being part of a team of Product people gives the support and check-in you need for those ‘am I going in the right direction here?’ moments.

Shared goals

Have you done the boat retro with your team? It’s a good one, we should all be on the same boat, going in the same direction. One of us might be monitoring the mast, another steering, but we are all facing the risks (rocks), restrictions (anchors) and can pull together to use our strengths (tailwind) for the most value. If you can all see the same gorgeous island you are heading to, you can get onboard.

Shared growth

The “when one of us shines, all of us shine” gif has real weight here - in a good team this is true. Shared responsibility, shared value delivery, sharing what works, sharing what doesn’t, all equals shared growth. When you are in a fast-growing team and company this is even more important.

Stepping back and looking forward

When you are too close to the day to day it can be hard to get perspective on where you are going and where to focus in a sea of possibilities. If you are deep in testing for a big release with bugs bugging you down, your purpose can seem foggy. Getting together as a product team, ideally in person, to step back and look at the big picture, is key to refreshing motivation and purpose.

Day-to-day collaboration

Seeing as I seem to have embraced cliché quotes in this, “it's good to talk” or “it's good to Slack” is a top product team tip too. As well as your daily stand-ups with your team, check-in with your product team if you're stuck or need another opinion, or check-in to ask how your team are doing if you know it is a big release day. Shout out your team for all the amazing work you see shared.

Learning together

One product person can only read so many articles and blogs, only listen to so many podcasts.  If you learn something new, see a tweet that resonates, notice an event worth attending, share with your team. Highlight points that stand out to save them reading/listening. Ask questions, start conversations, and always keep learning.

Alignment with engineering, design and testing

You are not building products yourself. Alignment, individually and as a product team, with your engineers, designers and testers is essential. Share the vision, communicate why, share user feedback, share success, and empower your team with all they need to design and build your products together. Ask for input early, get to know what is important to each function of your team, and collaborate consistently.

So, in summary, for those scanning through

An excellent product team:

  • Feels like a team
  • Shares goals
  • Shares growth
  • Steps back and looks forward  
  • Collaborates daily
  • Learns together
  • Aligns with engineering, design and testing

What makes an excellent product team for you?

If you want to be part of our Phlo product team, we are looking for our next Product Owner now - apply here!

Written by

Katie Beaton

Head of Product

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