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The biggest reasons why your team don’t buy into your product vision

Dennis Tang

·8 mins read

In this post, I explain my experiences as Principal Engineer at Voltron Studio and explore how product development within different organizations are evolving.

In this article, I’d like to shed light on a simple concept that based on my experience has worked exceptionally well. The outlined strategies aim to foster effective collaboration and motivate different parts of the business to drive positive outcomes and deliverables.

Move towards transparency

To achieve product buy in, your product and business development teams need to stop with the secrecy. This includes the workflow process, documentation, and deliverables The most detrimental habit Voltron has witnessed time and time again is product and business disconnecting themselves from the implementation teams.

It’s extermly common for product and business development teams to natrually enforce a need-to-know basis when it comes to communicating product-related information. Systemically this is where the pushing away of teams and departments begins to manifest.

There is a common misconception that those on the ground are not capable of thinking for themselves and do not have perspective in different parts of the business outside of their day to day responsibilities. This ideology is folly and limits the potential from all different parts of your business. Founders and leaders will end up pushing teams into silos which consequently forces them to disengage from your product.

Aim to pull teams closer by giving ample channels of communication, openly discuss strategies, and share roadmaps on deliverables. Giving teams visibility on product-related activities will provide confidence in what exactly the business is striving to achieve. A strong step towards product buy-in is to dismantle secrecy and begin practicing transparency.

People are part of the product

Dropping projects that are not directly related to the overarching business goals is a very important skill to have. If your goal is to be lean then keep everyone focused on a single big target. If the decision-maker keeps veering off course, pulling resources away from projects in motion this will create uncertainty and stress amongst team members.

It’s common for businesses spend enormous amounts of energy, man-hours, and money on pursuing projects that don’t make any real sense. A dubious habit is to keep these “experimental” projects on the down low to control any uncertainties.

This breaks the first rule of product buy-in which is to cut out the secrecy. This habit is a bi-product of fat within the decision-making team. If you have decision makers devising grand schemes and making wild assumptions just to please their direct reports but not impact the business, it will be made apparent to everyone in the organization.

Team members can identify those particular individuals who are pushing for their own agendas. Company politics and personal incentives belong in the trash, you won’t achieve product buy-in if the very people leading these teams are not delivering on the pitched product vision and goals.

Maintaining

Product buy-in isn't a one-off transaction, it's subscription-based. For your team to stay engaged you need to set in motion a nurturing product-centric culture that allows information to freely be available. 

Logical product strategies that encourage and excite your team is vital for product buy-in. Make sure that the road is clear, help people understand where on the journey we are, and support the team when a change in direction is required. 

Maintaining is all about consistently answering the “why” and reinforcing the “how” of a product. Sporadic updates on action items to teams isn’t good enough. Product needs to be engaged in day-to-day stand ups and bring just as much value to the table as other teams involved.

Live documentation is also a large part of maintaining product buy-in. Avoid documentation graveyards where team members need to gather as much context as possible. Keep them up to date with changes and make it part of the definition of done for product tasks.

Product buy-in is just as important internally as it is externally. Implementing, and sustaining this culture will drive strong positive outcomes. This requires you to schedule constant reinforcement of why this product matters and how it’s going to impact the business.

Supercharge teams

Emotion creates motion is a phrase often used in athletic training and the same very much applies to product delivery. When you attain buy-in from people, it creates a “ticket to play” mentality that begins to shift and change your team’s thinking paradigm. 

It begins a domino effect of emotionally charged actions that produce business value outcomes but it also boosts morale. Just as you sell to potential prospects you need to do the very same to your team that is working on turning your product vision into reality. 

Having supercharged teams is essential to getting the most out of your team. Especially for those who are on the ground laying down the foundations and driving the implementation forward. The responsibility falls on the very founders and appointed leaders to enforce this mentality across the board and drive this culture.

Conclusion

Buy-in matters because people in your organization are willing to pay more than you expect to turn the product into reality.

Their time, energy, and sacrifices are freely and willingly given because they believe in the product and its team.

Voltron encourages and implements the following action items:

  • Communicate to as many parts of the business as effectively and consistently as possible regarding the product
  • Present to the team as you would present to customers or investors
  • Be open and ask questions about how they feel about the strategy and gather feedback
  • Perform constructive weekly showcases on product development. Highlighting key decisions that were made and a glimpse into what the near future holds
  • Provide a product roadmap and high-level priority list
  • An open group chat where all things related to the product is discussed
  • Have the product leadership team hold workshops with other teams of the business that present strategy and various “why” factors

At Voltron we truly believe everything in technology teams is ever changing. As Voltron continues to grow, I relish the challenge of adapting what’s useful and letting go of what isn’t.

Related tags
Product DevelopmentStart-upSoftwareEngineering/Product TeamsCompany Culture
Written by

Dennis Tang

Co-Founder & Director at Voltron Studio

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