Delegating is the act of entrusting someone with a task and/or responsibility, usually with less seniority than the person who is delegating. Leadership is an ongoing act of delegating tasks and responsibilities. It seems like a straightforward activity, but it has several important aspects to consider to increase the chances of success.

Jurgen Appelo, author of the aforementioned book Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders, comments that delegating is not a binary decision to which you delegate or do not delegate. …


Mentoring is one of the most important responsibilities of a head of product: helping your team to evolve. As I said earlier, between 10% to 40% of the head of product’s time should be focused on helping people on your team on their development.

People who know me know that I like clearly defined terms, so here’s Wikipedia’s definition of mentoring:

“Mentoring is a process of informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career or professional development; mentoring involves informal communication, usually face to face and over a period, between a person who is perceived as having more knowledge, wisdom or relevant experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived as having less (the mentee) ”. …


There is no work environment without pressure. I don’t know of any workplace where people say that goals are easy, that there is no risk in achieving the goals, or that the project will be delivered on time with 100% confidence. If the company is growing rapidly, people need to sustain or improve that growth rate. If the company is in crisis, people need to get the company out of the crisis.

And that’s good! In fact, this is the only way to do things! People need pressure to get things done.

What do leaders need to know about pressure? People, including leaders and the people they lead, receive pressure from outside (the objective, the expected delivery date, the lack of resources), as well as from within (motivation, drive, inner strength). …


In February 2011 I underwent cervical spine disc replacement surgery. The doctor performed the surgery on February 25th. However, the healing process took months. According to the doctor, it could take a year for all the symptoms that motivated the surgery to disappear.

What caught my attention is that the surgeon only makes an intervention, but the entire healing process is done by the body. The same happens when a doctor prescribes a medicine, which is also an intervention, but, again, the body is in charge of the entire healing process.

Leading a team is very similar. The leader must make some interventions when necessary, but it is up to the team to do the work to achieve the goals. …


Every company has its own culture and, within each company, every department also has its own culture. In addition, each person also has their principles and values ​​that guide their steps through life. In this part of the book, part 2 of 3, I will talk about the culture, values ​​, and principles that I believe are mandatory to create successful digital products. Also, what are the 4 main values ​​that every product development team and, consequently, every company that has digital product development teams should have.

I’m going to start this part of the book by sharing my personal leadership principles. …


An anti-pattern is a common but ineffective and counterproductive response to a problem. This term was coined by Andrew Koenig in 1995, inspired by the 1994 book Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by Gamma Erich, Helm Richard, Johnson Ralph, and Vlissides John, who lists a series of software development design patterns that their authors found simple, succinct and effective for the most common problems.

The term was popularized by the book AntiPatterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and Projects in Crisis by Raphael Malveau, William Brown, Hays McCormick, and Thomas Mowbray, which extended its use beyond the software design field to refer informally to any bad solution to a problem. …


As I commented in the chapter Roles, responsibilities, and seniority, in addition to defining and implementing the product vision and strategy, it is the responsibility of the head of product to develop his team and manage expectations. In the third part of this book on Tools, I will talk about several useful tools to help the head of product to fulfill these two responsibilities. However, before talking about these tools, I wanted to talk about three very important concepts for a head of product.

As I described in the book “Product management: How to increase the chances of success of your software“, the 7 main characteristics of a product manager are empathy, communication, time management, new technologies, business skills, keen curiosity, and product theme. As you can imagine, these characteristics are also fundamental for a head of product. However, I would like to highlight and remember 3 of them, since I consider them essential for the day-to-day of a head of…


The product development team is the one who will execute the strategy and achieve the objectives to achieve the product vision. Therefore, an essential part of your strategy definition is to design and implement your team structure. In order to design the team structure, it is important to understand the different ways of organizing a product development team and to define which one is most appropriate for your strategy.

Product Teams

The minimum product development team that we saw in the chapter on Product management career is composed of a product manager, a product designer, and two or more engineers. This minimum team can also be called squad. This team should have a maximum of about 7 people. The larger the team, the greater the difficulty of coordination. At Amazon there is the famous rule of two-pizza teams, i.e., the maximum size of the team is one that can be fed by two large pizzas. The rationale behind the advantage of small teams is based on the same concept that I presented when I talked about platforms in the chapter “What is digital product and product management?“. The amount of interactions between team members increases rapidly with the size of the team, following the formula n * (n-1) / 2. …


What needs to be done to get your product closer to the product vision? This is your strategy and product objectives. We are then talking about defining what to do, how to do it, in what order to do it, and what metrics tell us that we are going in the right direction once the why to do it has already been defined in the product vision.

The strategy and objectives provide a path to be followed and metrics that show whether or not we are in the right direction. …


Despite being only 10% of a product leader’s time, defining the product vision is the most important responsibility. Without a clear product vision, it is very difficult to work on any other product topic. What are the priorities? What product team structure is needed? Is this request from the sales team important? And this one from the customer support team? And that request from the CEO / Founder? Should we focus on having more customers or retaining the ones we already have? These questions are very difficult to answer if there is no clarity about the product vision.

When I join a new company, whether in a full-time role or as an advisor, my first concern is to understand if there is a product vision and if it is clear to everyone in the company. This is always my first focus, because from the product vision derives all product development work. …

About

Joca Torres

Digital product development advisor, mentor, board member. And open water swimmer!

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