Product management at dxw

Product management principles #

Product managers at dxw follow these principles.

  1. Set the destination, don’t chart the course

    Product managers help empower multidisciplinary teams by refining and articulating the problem the team is trying to solve, and the outcomes they‘re trying to produce.

    Communicating the vision and goals for a project through a clear and well-maintained roadmap is a core part of product management.

  2. Define and defend scope

    Getting agreement from everyone involved is crucial to successful delivery.

    Product managers should set the direction at the start of a project, and continue to articulate, communicate and defend the scope throughout, so that the team can focus on delivering.

  3. Convert insight into action

    User research helps inform our objectives, goals, and priorities by telling us more about the problems users are having with the current state, or the needs they have for something different.

    Product managers need to be able to balance user research insights with constraints like time, capacity, and strategic objectives to prioritise the next most important thing.

    Product managers help the team to work together, across disciplines, to identify potential solutions before choosing a way forward.

  4. Have a service mindset

    Product managers recognise that a digital product is often not the whole solution to a problem, and that the people operating a new service day to day are users too.

    We think about the processes and systems around a product, including how those might change.

  5. Communicate clearly how short term outcomes contribute to long term goals

    Product managers need to own and articulate a vision that is consistent and meaningful to everyone with an interest in the project, from the delivery team all the way through to the most senior stakeholders, and users.

  6. Be present, collaborative, and consistent

    Being available to the team to discuss the unexpected and share in the decision making is central to building empowered and protected teams.

    Product managers should regularly and actively communicate, review and defend our decisions - especially the unplanned or unexpected ones.

  7. Maintain a focus on outcomes

    In the midst of delivery, key dates can loom large, and teams can be diverted onto things which seem urgent but aren‘t important.

    Product managers must help teams and stakeholders remain focused on outcomes over outputs, facilitating discussion and making space for reflection.

  8. Lead without authority

    Product managers shouldn‘t be bottlenecks. Product managers and delivery leads work together to build skilled multidisciplinary teams and create the space in which those disciplines can do their best work.

    Product managers are open to new tools, techniques and approaches, working with teams to find what works.

  9. Take blame, give credit away

    Good product managers leave their ego at the door, taking negative feedback on board whilst ensuring the team are rightly recognised for their work and achievements.

    Being kind is more important than being right - it‘s a good rule of thumb to enter every conversation without assuming that you already know most, or best.

  10. Strong opinions, softly held

    Product managers make the best decisions based on the available information with confidence, staying open to the possibility that things could change when more information is available in the future.

    Product managers communicate the trade-offs they’re making and the rationale for their decisions so that teams can understand how a decision was reached, even when they don’t agree.

  11. Set clear priorities

    Product managers work with the team, stakeholders and users to define priorities, and ensure these are clear.

  12. Measure outcomes

    Product managers facilitate and work with service designers and business analysts to work out key metrics and goals for the product and work with the team to define roadmaps to achieve these goals.

Hat tip to Ross Ferguson for inspiring several of these principles.