I often keep myself, as an ex-developer and current product director, what is my purpose? How can help my organisation to grow?
If i were to be still a developer, the answer would have been easy: continue developing fault-free software, keep environment bug free, improve infrastructure and so on. 90% technical stuff, rest is helping personally, contributing to the culture. I am not saying developers have an easy task, but in terms of having a clear definition of what they are supposed to do, it is a lot easier for them.
I somewhat believe the same applies for marketing and sales as well. Their purpose is clear. For one is to sell, for the other is to market and create a brand. Again, i am not saying their jobs are easy, it is just their definition of done, definition of existence is clearer.
So, what about product people? Product people are supposed to know everything related to products, from start to finish. They actually need to know better than everyone. Of course i am speaking idealistic and this is what i expect from myself as well. Live and breathe the product. Could this be a definition of existence? For sure. But to me, there is one more ingredient regarding to product development and that is leading change in an organisation.
See, all departments are focusing on their area of profession. Yet products are a mix of their efforts. Can you imagine a product that cant sell or a product without a brand? or a product without a development team? No. Their mixture makes a product successful.
But just like in any given situation, when there are too many voices willing to be heard, there is chaos. To me, this is where product people comes in. Since product people live and breath the product, they should be able to empath other roles within the organisation. Understand where they are coming from and where they are willing to. Their day to day task should be to negotiate everything. Make trade offs, find the common ground between teams and make sure the organisation stays on track. Product people orchestrate the chaos and make sure everyone is heard. They need to make not just external customers but also internal ones happy by showing that they care.
Why this article is titled “Leading change” you might ask, well, change happens bit by bit. It is not something that can happen top-down or bottom-up. In order to have a healthy change in a good way, it is a must to make sure everyone says what they have on their minds and i believe product people have this power of hearing everyone out, combining their thoughts and coming up with ideas that would help everyone. I am not saying our job is to make people happy, but our job is to listen, consume thoughts, be creative for new solutions and show people that we are there. We are the product and we are in charge of happiness of our all customers. Changing the way they communicate, the way they interact, the way they communicate. Product people are the bridge between different disciplines and i believe change only happens when everyone is heard.