The Product Team has Direct Access to…
Customers and End Users
It’s critical that everyone on the product team has direct access to a few important things.
The first is access to actual customers and end users. There needs to be some transparency between the prodcut team and the end users. So if required a team member, can directly email, survey or communicate with users in some way.
This isn’t to say they need to constantly be chatting with customers. But for example, if there’s a particular bug which needs more user details, then the developer working on this bug can get direct access to the customer.
Or if the UX team want to run a survey on a segment of users, then they are empowered to go ahead and do this.
Everyone in the product team has ways to access stakeholders, for example, the client or, higher levels of management or investors/sponsors.
This also doesn’t mean its uncontrolled and can happen any time, but there should be processes where team members get access to stakeholders so they can directly ask questions and hear product feedback and ideas.
It’s important for everyone on the product team to hear the vision and explanation of certain product decisions directly from stakeholders, in the stakeholders own words.
It’s also important to manage stakeholders so they are aware building a successful product is a two-way process; where anyone on the product team can raise questions and the stakeholders should be prepared to talk about their views on the product.
Usage Metrics and Analytics
I find it’s empowering for everyone on the team when all of the data, metrics and analytical tools are open and accessible to everyone on the product team. Of course sensative customer data should have controlled access, but in general anonamised user data can be shared across the entire team.
The advantage to this is any developer, UXer, customer support, etc can dive into some data if they are investigating a bug or some kind of problem. There’s no need to request a data dump, or specifically ask for a query to be made, they can just go ahead and look for themselves. This not only speeds things up but also makes every team member feel empowered to help themselves.
On this topic, I believe the Growth Team should be the gatekeepers of all analytics and metrics; they are still responsible for configuring events and collecting the right data and then preparing it for everyone on the product team to access in an appropriate way.
Other Ways to Achieve Product Team Autonomy
There are a lot more requirements which need to be in place to achieve full autonomy and become a fully self-managed team, such as: