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What makes product teams great?

What makes product teams great?

Product Team Performance Study

You can participate: what makes product teams great

What if you were able to name just five things that:

  • if you don’t do them, you have just a 2% chance of high level team performance
  • if you do all of them, you have a 67% likelihood of high level team performance

Last year’s Study of Product Team Performance found just that. Five factors to a 65%-more-likely high performance team:

  • unwavering executive team support
  • strong team alignment w strategy
  • post-production development focus and accountability
  • effective on-boarding of new team members
  • assigning core team members based on skills needed

One of the reasons the study is so useful is that several of those require getting your senior execs on board and the rest require getting your peers on board. And one of the hard truths – about senior managers, at least – is that they tend to believe studies and consultants more than their own people. (And that’s one reason why my co-author and I collected 300 Rules of Thumb for managing software people and teams that we share as a quickly thumb-able center section of our book, Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams (Addison Wesley, Oct. 2012). And why studies like this one are so important.)

But we need your help.

There were disproportionately too few techies in last year’s survey mix. We need to get the word out to developers and development managers and UX designers to join the other members of product teams to ensure teams are fully represented.

Participate in the 2013 Study!

The study is a great way to get data we can all use to influence our management and our teams. (And if you want, it’s a great way to get notified of the 2013 study’s findings.)

As for those five factors, you can download all of last year’s study (including some of the comments behind the data).

(And for a little on another satisfying finding of last year’s study, see my last post, “Better cross-functional collaboration, trust and communication“)


About the Author

Ron Lichty has been transforming chaos to clarity and making software development “hum” for most of his 20-plus years managing software development and product organizations. Ron co-authored 2012's highly regarded Addison-Wesley title, Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams ( ), his co-author Pixar/Broderbund/Gracenote CTO Mickey Mantle. With over 70 years of combined experience, these two software industry veterans crafted a book designed to help any software manager be more successful. Having spent their careers developing software, leading software development projects, and managing programmers and teams, they distilled their experience into a book that every beginning programming manager would get value from, both to read and to pull from their bookshelves for reference. It's a book that is also helping executives who struggle sponsoring projects dependent upon software success – CEOs, COOs, CTOs, and others – to understand the craft of software development and the intricacies of how to manage software people and teams to deliver software projects successfully. Ron has repeatedly been brought in as a “VPE of Fix-It” to coach and mentor programming managers at all levels and to solve problems like painfully slow product development, past-due estimates with no delivery in sight, challenges arising from geographically dispersed teams, scalability stymied by sluggish data integration, productivity bridled by uncertainty, an "order-taking mentality" from teams that should be eagerly proactive, and teams unable to break out of research and move on to development and delivery. Ron untangles organizational knots, creates roadmaps everyone can follow, builds communications with other parts of the organization, coaches and trains organizations in agile and scrum, and gets teams productive and focused on delivery, quality and customers. Chaos to clarity.
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2 Responses to “What makes product teams great?”

  1. Hi Ron,

    Fascinating study! I went to the website to see the research and found that the study was advertised as “Available for FREE Download”, but actually they charge $19.95 for it.

    Anyhow, thanks for sharing the key findings of this report! – Kimberly

    High-Performing Product Teams’ Breakthrough Study Is Now Available for Free Download
    The Study of Product Team Performance, 2012 conducted by Actuation Consulting, LLC. and Enterprise Agility, Inc. sponsored by Accept Software is now available for download free. The study found five key factors, that if in place can have a product team performing at the highest level of achievement but when absent, a product team’s performance can drop to 2%.

  2. Thanks, Kimberly. It’s free from the link to Actuation’s site in my blog above. A couple of last year’s nonprofit sponsors (asapm one of them) had dispensation to re-coup their costs with a small charge, but those were supposed to be complete months ago. I’ll ask Greg to prompt the sponsors to get with the program. In the meantime, just fill out the form at the link in the blog, for your free copy, ok?

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