Productivity Startups

9/ Decision making, key roles & team

Thoughts around the key stakeholders in any product team or the people you need to build a great product. We will not talk about designations here but only the purpose.

Thoughts around the key stakeholders in any product team or the people you need to build a great product. We will not talk about designations here but only the purpose.

Yogyata’s note : In each essay, I draw from my experience and learnings at startups. My last essay had 520 reads and I feel excited to share more. Feel free to share your thoughts or get in touch to discuss more. This is essay #9.

Every other day we spend working on a product or idea, it’s not just us who drive the success of it but there are many other stakeholders involved to actually make it a success. No matter how great you are at execution or thinking, if the team members are not equally motivated or inclined, the product won’t be a success.

After working in different kinds of teams and products, I can finally draft my thoughts around what a real product team should look like. This list may not be saturated and depends from product to product but I tried to compile the key traits of the key roles required to be on the “A-team”.

The Recommenders

This role is mostly played by the product managers, who gather input and do research to come back with the findings and recommendations. We have to hear the stakeholders and bridge them with the findings in order to move the ship in a certain direction. This is pretty structured and involves a lot of documentation and brainstorming.

The Input givers

Once the recommendation has been made, the input givers provide their sense of the recommendations and help decide if it is feasible or not. They also provide inputs on short-term and long-term strategies or requirements. They can also help highlight how practical the recommendation is or not. Not a lot of people should be a part of it as not everyone will provide important or considerable contributions. Be very conscious about who will play this role else there can be a never-ending exaggerated loop of inputs.

The Agreers

This role is played by people who help negotiate the initially created plans or documentation. They raise issues or concerns which are unaddressed and help to reach closure in order to finally help everyone agree to the plan. They are the ones who have veto power over the recommendations made for the direction of the product. Not a lot of people should play this role, as they will end up paralyzing the recommenders. Also if many people quickly agree then it just means you have not pushed the recommendations far enough within the organization or the group of agreers doesn’t involve people from various departments.

The Executors

Once the decision has been made, it comes into the hands of executors. These people are responsible for the actual execution of the product or building the product as per the plans agreed by everyone.

The Decision Makers

Finally, the people who act as a single point of accountability or the business drivers for the product, who have the power to decide things and bring closure to the overall team. This should be only one person, else you will face a tug of war when an important decision is to be made and it will impact the overall product with delays and lack of direction.

In order to effectively move things ahead and not remain stuck at any stage of building your product, it is very important that each of the roles know exactly what they have to do and are not trying to play the other roles that they are not required to.

What do you think can be added to this list? Feel free to share your thoughts.

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Featuring an episode from my podcast about building a MVP.