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Trusting the Process is Product Management

Our products, solutions, and services are imperfect because any endeavor involving human beings is inherently flawed.

Embracing Imperfection

There is no perfect product; all products have defects. We employ extensive testing to uncover errors and flaws that need repair or improvement. Failure does not indicate our cross-functional teams' ineffectiveness, inadequacy, or ineptness. Instead, it provides an opportunity to gain insight from challenging situations and acquire knowledge through difficulties. This ultimately helps us deliver products, solutions, and services that provide value to our customers. To achieve this, we must trust the process.

The Inevitability of Failure

Failure is unavoidable and a natural part of product management and life in general. As product leaders, we recognize and understand this inevitability. Our cross-functional partners and leadership understand this, too. While our customers also comprehend this reality, they are not quick to forgive when failures impact their ability to perform or complete tasks.

Regardless of size, software defects can have substantial and far-reaching consequences beyond minor disruptions. Sometimes, our teams conduct successful test runs that fail after the production launch. This is an inconvenience for our customers, preventing them from completing tasks and negatively impacting their perception of our product and brand. Software errors are costly to our organization. We are aware of this and strive to prevent them, but mistakes happen.

Addressing and Learning From Failures

When failure occurs, we must work quickly and diligently with our multifunctional teams to resolve it, especially with P0, P1, and P2 errors. However, as product leaders, our work is not done once the issue is resolved. We must reach out to our scrum teams to ensure they are okay, as they are not to blame for these challenges. After all, we fail and win together as one. We will pick up the pieces together and implement safeguards to prevent future failures.

Trust and Transparency

As conscientious product leaders, we must embrace and trust the process and its outcomes, whatever they may be. We do not have to like the hardships and tumultuous times when failures occur, but we need to respect the process and rise to the occasion because our organization relies on us to guide, lead, and pave the way. We do this by encouraging our partner teams, direct reports, colleagues, and leaders to continue trusting the process and not become cynical. This means we must be transparent with all our cross-functional partner teams and leadership about the errors and the root cause analysis. Transparency equals trust. 

Part of trusting the process, especially when resolving P0, P1, and P2 issues, involves engaging with our technical support teams to send out email communications during and after the resolution, informing our customers that the issue has been corrected. In some cases, we may need to involve our client success team or relationship management colleagues to communicate the root cause failure analysis and the safeguards we have put in place to prevent such issues in the future.

Communicating and being transparent humanizes us in our customers' eyes. They can see that we are imperfect and have bad days like them. This makes them more likely to root for us and stick with us while we address any future issues they may encounter.


Final Thoughts

Our products, solutions, and services are not perfect, impeccable, or faultless. Any effort involving human beings is imperfect. Like in real life, our failures at work make us better people and leaders. We gain valuable insights from these challenges and tumultuous times. What truly matters is how quickly we, along with our multifunctional partner teams, react to fixing the failures and communicating with our customers in real time and in the days following the failure.




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