One of my goals for 2021 is to create short explainer videos for key concepts related to continuous discovery. This is my first one. I’d love to hear what you think. Is this helpful? Are there other core concepts you’d like to see me explore? You can share your comments on Twitter or YouTube.
Watch the video above or read a lightly edited transcript of it below.
Do you work on a cross-functional product team? How often do you work together to make team decisions about what to build? Or does your product manager write requirements, your designer designs, and your engineers code?
What’s a product trio? Why are they becoming so popular? And how can you get started with this way of working? Let’s get started.
A product trio is typically comprised of a product manager, a designer, and a software engineer. These are the three roles that—at a minimum—are required to create good digital products.
A product trio is typically comprised of a product manager, a designer, and a software engineer. These are the three roles that—at a minimum—are required to create good digital products. – Tweet This
Historically, these roles have worked together by handing off work from one stage to the next. The product manager writes requirements, the designer designs mockups, and the engineers produce the working software.
However, this model is rife with challenges. Oftentimes, the product manager doesn’t know what’s possible and the engineers can’t implement the requirements as written. This leads to rewriting requirements, redesigning mockups, and rewriting code. This is why so many projects end up over budget, under scope, and late.
“Mercenaries” are people who are paid to do the work that is asked of them and nothing more. “Missionaries,” on the other hand, are driven by a mission. They work tirelessly to achieve that mission.
Great products tend to be built by missionary teams. A missionary team needs to have a say in what they are building. They need to develop a shared understanding of who their customer is; what needs, pain points, and desires (collectively called “opportunities”) they have; and the context in which those opportunities occur.
When a product trio works together to develop a shared understanding of their customer, they are in a much better position to create products that customers love.
When a product trio works together to develop a shared understanding of their customer, they are in a much better position to create products that customers love. – Tweet This
What does this look like in practice?
A product trio is jointly responsible for a shared outcome. They interview customers together. They map out the opportunity space together. They choose a target opportunity together. They generate solutions together. And they iteratively test and develop those solutions together.
They work collaboratively from beginning to end, iterating their way to their desired outcome.
When product managers, designers, and engineers work together as product trios, they have more impact.
Now if you’ve never seen this model in practice, it might seem theoretical or even impossible. However, hundreds—if not thousands—of teams are already working this way.
The product trio concept is taking hold across our industry because it works.
The product trio concept is taking hold across our industry because it works. – Tweet This
If you aren’t working in a product trio today, ask yourself, “How can I work closer with my product, design, or engineering peers to move toward a more collaborative decision-making model?”
Don’t get caught up with trying to be perfect. Remember, we are all on a continuous improvement journey. How can you make next week better than last week? Keep asking that question and you’ll be well on your way.