Last month, during one of my product review meetings with an existing client, I was asked a very straightforward question.
“What are you accountable for as a Product Team?”
I was stumped initially with the question but I quickly recovered and explained her our accountability as a product development partner.
Later on, I realised that this is one of the most important questions my clients may have. So here is my answer.
I would like to start by quoting couple of lines from our proposal.
How we work?
“Our product teams (combination of designer, developer and product manager) will work closely with you every week and ensure that we are building the right product for you.“
How we charge?
“The rate is for the team and for one week. Based on priority, we may change the combination of team for the most effective outcome. Weekly rate may get affected because of this.“
So in our model, product development team and client, both are accountable for getting the right product out of the door. Client pays Digicorp for the hours product team has worked on her product.
Still the question remains “What are you exactly accountable for?”
At a company level, Digicorp is accountable for consulting and building the usable product for founders / startups. Usable means following things.
- It is solving a real problem for some users.
- A good business can be built around solving this problem.
Engineering Manager and Principal Designer of Digicorp are accountable for
- Constantly improving processes to achieve higher efficiency and quality.
- Making sure that the central claim of building usable products remains on top priority.
- Enabling Product teams by passing the vision in right context, caring effectively, trusting them and facilitating them with best resources.
Product Managers are accountable for
- Collaborating with Product Owner (Client / Startup Founder).
- Improvising the vision of the product.
- Defining and iterating MVP (Minimum Viable Product).
- Passing the vision effectively to the product team – Developers and Designers.
- Making sure the team delivers usable product to the right users with consistent and quality output. (Little bit more about consistent and quality output later.)
As we practice SCRUM methodology, we define our work in User Stories.
Our Developers and Designers are accountable for
- Developer is accountable for developing user stories and delivering them in reasonable time. Developer is accountable for the quality of her own work.
- Designer is accountable for collaborating with Product Manager and client to design a usable product in a reasonable time. Designer is accountable for the quality of her own work.
Now coming to consistent and quality output, this is the central claim of Digicorp.
- Each Product team member works 5 days a week and 8 hours a day. If it is less, we will charge you less.
- Product Team delivers something every two weeks so that the validation cycles can be shortened.
- Our team is experienced. We’ve interviewed more than a thousand candidates in order to find the talented group of people we work with today.
- We can quickly rotate in a new team member if someone gets sick, leaves the company, or is ready to rotate to a new project.
- Each Developer and Designer should deliver usable outcome in reasonable time. (bug free and purposeful).
- Every deliverable from developer and designer should not break the working features of the product.
- We try building good software by adapting standard practices to fit the needs of the client, codebase, team, tools, and organization.
- As a team, we’ve worked together on projects before. We have “a way” of doing things.
So as Digicorp, this is what we are accountable for.
Now what are YOU accountable for as a Product Owner?
Product owner is the most important stakeholder in the whole process and according to us, she is accountable for:
- Working closely with Product Team and making sure it is building the right product for your users.
- Prioritizing the product backlog (collection of user stories).
- Reviewing and signing off completed user stories.
- Validating deliveries with end users.
If you are still reading, do ask yourself, what are you accountable for in your job?
I would really appreciate your comments and if we can improve anywhere in our thinking and processes.