Improve the Performance of Product Teams

Even a team with intelligent, motivated players may have trouble when the project lacks clear focus and direction. This leads to decreased velocity, lower morale, wasted time, technical debt, and ultimately unsuccessful products.

This 7 part series shares what we’ve uncovered working with dozens of product teams across hundreds of digital products to create happier & healthier product teams.


Part 1: Create an Inspiring Mission & User-Focused Roadmap
Part 2: Making Great Requirements
Part 3: Establishing a Process & Rhythm
Part 4: Designer & Developer Collaboration
Part 5: Avoiding Overly Reactive Development
Part 6: Uninterrupted Development Time
Part 7: Reduce Decision Makers


Create an Inspiring Mission:

When teams don’t have a clear mission & roadmap, projects go off course, even when the team shows plenty of initiative and drive. We find many development teams cannot tell you why they are working on a particular set of features, or the benefits to the user (let alone the greater mission of the project).

Teams that understand the impact of feature requirements can make critical decisions on where to focus their efforts.

Everyone on your team should be able to answer:

  • Vision – What are we aiming to be in the future? What does the future of our company look like thanks to the success of this project?
  • Purpose – What are you hoping to accomplish for your users? How does it benefit their lives? What problem does it solve? Why do we exist?
  • Mission – What is driving us? What do we need to accomplish to achieve our purpose?

Strategic tools like Aha! can help you articulate product strategy, vision and mission to a greater team.

Clearly defining the product’s roadmap based on users’ needs, and regularly relating efforts back to the greater mission gives design and development teams focus. Teams that understand the impact of feature requirements can make critical decisions on where to spend their time.

Charting the requirements by the Impact to the User versus the Effort required to accomplish the feature gives the team a visual demonstration of strategic importance and priority.  For example:

  • Low-effort, high-impact tasks (“easy wins”)
  • High-effort, high-impact tasks that may need to be broken down (“big bets”)
  • Low-effort, low-impact tasks to be completed when time permits (“fill-ins”)
  • High-effort, low-impact tasks to be backlogged or avoided (“thankless tasks”)

The combination of clear purpose and a roadmap articulated by user needs aligns product teams and accelerates delivery by giving product teams the direction on what matters most to the greater mission of the project.