Project Management

How to Get Your Act Together as a Product Leader?

The role of a product leader demands a perfectly balanced approach to lead the development team and stakeholders. To bring this balance, the product leaders need to first discard the unwanted leadership styles of ‘feature broker’ and ‘product dictator’.

In this article at, blogger Roman Pichler explains how a feature broker and product dictator may create hindrance in the product leader’s act of balancing assigned tasks.

The Deal Breakers

The feature brokers are those who rely on stakeholders, managers, development team and even the end users to formulate product ideas and make decisions. Like a typical broker, they aim for pleasing multiple clients and slipping on the core objective of developing a user-friendly product. This may lead to ‘feature soup’ that is a failure to meet anyone’s requirement.

Whereas the product dictators assume that they master everyone’s requirements and make their own product decision without seeking advice, but constant support for their ideas from others. This attitude of product leaders may counteract and lead to product failure, making them solely responsible for it. The worst possible scenario will demand overwork from the product leaders while making multiple decisions at the same time.

Spot Your Biases

Both feature brokers or product dictators are risky and mostly product leaders know that they must avoid such situations to occur. Sometimes, work situations force them to adapt either of the two leadership styles. The best way to avoid such situations is to analyze your actions and its consequences in advance.

The new product leaders are bound to seek advice from development team and stakeholders regarding the user’s need, business objective, and existing competitors in the market. The product leaders working for a customized product are most likely to get dragged towards the feature broker style.

On the other hand, if the product leaders are much experienced than the development team and stakeholders, or hold a higher designation in the organization, then they start making every essential product-related decision without seeking an opinion from others. This kind of leaders fall into the second category of product dictators. They do not encourage their teams to give exceptional ideas. Considering themselves as a perfectionist, the product dictators become control freak and lack experimentation.

How to Bring Balance?

As the product leaders are aware of their biases, their next move should be to take steps to address the main cause of it. Here’s how the product leaders can balance their act:

  1. They must acquire relevant knowledge and virtuous skills while overcoming the habit of pleasing people.
  2. They must welcome people’s opinion. Be open to the team and let them share their ideas or abilities to experiment, while the leaders need to extend their networks.
  3. They must learn to say no, whenever required. Do not get influenced by the wrong practice of saying ‘yes’ to unrealistic client demands.
  4. They need to seek senior management’s support, wherever required, to tone down the client’s dominating decisions in customized product development.
  5. Involve scrum master or a coach if the management lacks in extending support and look for more authority.
  6. This idea won’t work always, so be flexible to accept the situation and guard your act for the next product.

Pichler suggests that empowering the development team and stakeholders would easily bring balance to the product leader’s role. He also states that constant efforts, disciplined act, and self-control may upgrade the skills of any product leader. Read the full article by clicking on the following link:

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