Cameron’s view of how to achieve the perfect state of product building is grounded in three principles:
- Experience is everything — a product should understand and be built upon human experience — it should at times be fun and emotive, not purely functional.
- Design and technology sit hand in hand — these fields are dependent upon and can complement one another. Bringing both together creates better products.
- Business isn’t optional — sustaining a viable business from startup onwards is essential to success
His two lessons for a successful startup stage are:
- Short circuit — Startups require a product generalist — someone to bridge the gap between ideas and the reality “without needing an entire team of people around them.”
- The MVP — Delivering an MVP, says Cameron, is a balancing act between engineering design and business. “The game is to see how well you can use your resources to figure out all the questions you have”. Building a startup with a diverse and skilled minimum viable personnel will allow you to leapfrog to the important answers.
He offers two tactics to take a startup the growth stage:
- Be an editor — Product managers must become editors of the product, distilling thousands of opinions into actionable decisions and understanding there is no singular author of a product, but always keeping the end goals in mind.
- Scale the team — “As your customer base grows, so too does everything else about your company, the number of employees, the number of teams, the number of JIRA tickets and the number of stand-ups.” A flexible structure is key and teams must be highly adaptable, however challenging.
As the product matures there are two important requirements:
- Fight inertia — Cameron recommends investing in vision, encouraging product teams to think about their work a century away.
- Set crazy big goals — Ambitious targets will lead to innovation. You need “a vision of some change you want to see in the world, something that you really believe in.” You don’t need all the answers, as iteration and learning are tools.
Watch the original talk here: The 3 stages of product development at a high growth tech company by Cameron Adams