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Beyond Practices and Mindsets: The Foundations of Successful Product Development
👋 Hi! Nacho here. Welcome to Product Direction’s newsletter. After a summer break, I’m back with more content and also a few “leader’ challenges calls” that have been very interesting to learn more about the struggles and provide some tips to overcome them. If you are interested in having one, send me a note!
When thinking about improving how we build successful products, I have encountered two conflictive trends:
The ones overly focused on processes and practices, trying to implement every scrum ceremony, building strategy on a fill-in-the-blanks canvas, and
The ones who claim that we should focus on having a product mindset, or being product-led, without really saying what it means and relying on the “in love” excuse (when you are, you will know).
Isn’t there a middle ground?
I believe there is, and it’s essentially based on thinking about what we are trying to achieve with our ways of working.
Considering the end result of our efforts, it’s easy to say that we want to build products that deliver great value to our customers while building a sustainable and growing business.
But doing that is really hard. Our ways of working describe how we attempt to do that effectively and efficiently.
We know that over 70% of products and initiatives fail to deliver the expected results. Yet most companies keep deciding what to build in the same ways we have been using for decades: highly opinionated debates, in best cases with unproven business cases, in worst cases simply based on political influence.
Now if we switch sides and see how the best companies are building these products, we see a very varied set of practices! Even worse, two teams in the same great company may be using very differently!
Foundations of Product Excellence
What if we analyze the situation differently? What if we focus on the foundational basis for good product decisions, regardless of what practice or framework gets us there?
Over the years, I have identified 5 principles that you can repeatedly see in how great companies work. And to avoid buzzwords or high-level impractical advice, I have described the behaviors you can see for each foundation and resources that distill their essence.
In summary, they are:
Transparent evidence guidance
Diverge and Converge into a Radical Focus
Fast loops with long-term sight
If you want to learn more about them and read the behaviors and resources, I have created a resource summarizing it all (no paywall or registration required):
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