Defining Operating Principles

Defining operating principles involves establishing clear guidelines and standards that dictate how various activities within the product development lifecycle, such as research, design, development, and marketing, are conducted. These principles serve as the foundation for decision-making and operational behaviours across the organisation.


The purpose of defining operating principles is to ensure that all teams across the organisation are aligned in how they approach their work, from the initial research phase to the final go-to-market efforts. This alignment helps in maintaining consistency, quality, and efficiency in all operations.

  • Consistency: Ensures uniformity in processes and decision-making across different teams and products.
  • Efficiency: Streamlines workflows by providing clear guidelines on how to approach work, reducing decision-making time.
  • Quality: Maintains a high standard of work across all phases of product development by adhering to established principles.
  • Alignment: Aligns the efforts of different departments towards common goals and strategies.


Industry Context

There are many ways to approach product development,each of which may be relevant depending on the industry and the specific needs of the organisation. Operating principles ensure that all teams are working in alignment with the company's intended approach.

ZeroBlockers Context

With autonomous, decentralised teams it is important to share the context of how you want teams to operate. This ensures quicker and higher quality decision-making and helps to guide teams in their day-to-day work.


Principle Definition WorkshopsWorkshops that bring together team members from research, design, development, and marketing to co-create operating principles.Promotes a holistic approach, ensures principles are comprehensive and applicable across disciplines.


  • Limited Stakeholder Involvement: Failing to involve all relevant stakeholders in the creation of operating principles, leading to a lack of buy-in or relevance.
  • Rigidity: Overly rigid application of principles, stifling innovation and adaptability. Principles should be directional but not restrictive.
  • Communication and Training: Insufficient communication and training on the principles, leading to inconsistencies in application across teams.

Case Studies

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