The 'Systems' element of Product Team management focuses on the different systems and processes that Product Teams use to manage their work effectively and efficiently. The systems and processes that Product Teams use can have a significant impact on team performance, engagement, and culture.

Principles and Practices


Principles are constant, practices are temporaryWe need to understand the underlying principles so that we can adapt our practices to the current contextBy defining the product development principles we have a framework to guide our processes and practices.
There are infinite ways to build software productsWe need to define what good looks like for our processBy creating and evangelising a process vision based on our principles and our current context we can empower teams to make decisions on how to work and what improvements to adopt.
Every structure is a tradeoffWe need to prioritise autonomy at the expense of some alignment and control. But we also need a way to handle exceptions.By empowering teams we get the benefits of faster delivery and higher quality outcomes. But there are times when we need coordinated effort across teams. In these cases, we can run a project and temporarily merge one or more teams.
You need to support the people who build the productWe need to ensure that we have the right processes to help people grow and excel in their careersBy running performance reviews we can help people understand what they need to do to grow in their careers.


You can't manage what you can't measureWe need to understand how our process is performingBy identifying the process health metrics we have a way of determining how our process is performing and where we need to improve.


We want to align personal and product successWe need to ensure that people are rewarded for the success of the productBy linking compensation reviews and promotion processes to product performance we can ensure that people are aligned with the success of the product.
While we would love everyone to get on, it's not always possibleWe need to ensure that we have a way to resolve conflicts quicklyBy running employee surveys to surface any tensions early and putting in place a conflict resolution process we can attempt to resolve issues before they escalate into grievances.


Overemphasis on AutonomyExcessive focus on autonomy can lead to under-coordination and misalignment of team goals.Many companies adopt an accordion model where teams are alternatively made more and less autonomous to try to offset the negatives of both models.
Inflexible PracticesAdhering too rigidly to defined practices may prevent teams from adapting effectively to changing circumstances.Teach the principles and then let teams decide which practices make the most sense for their context.
Misalignment of RewardsLinking compensation too directly to product outcomes can lead to short-termism and neglect of long-term goals.The Ecosystem strategy needs to outline how the product fits into the wider company strategy and how the team's work contributes to that. This counters the short-termism that can come from linking compensation to product outcomes because it ensures that the product is growing sustainably relative to the company's goals.


  • Process Over People: Prioritising systems and practices at the expense of individual and team well-being.
  • Resistance to Change: Systems become so entrenched that there is significant resistance to necessary evolutions or changes.
  • Feedback Fatigue: Over-soliciting feedback to the point where employees feel overwhelmed and disengage from the feedback process.

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