In traditional environments products evolve out of a multitude of projects. Projects have teams organized with clear hierarchies that create distance between members responsibilities:
- The product manager gathers requirements from stakeholders.
- The product manager create requirements documents and hang them over to the team.
- The tech lead focus on how to implement the requirements.
- The design lead focus on the user interaction points.
- The project manager focuses on effort, duration, and organization.
In more modern organization, a product owner could had been introduced with the intention of giving the customer a voice and embracing agile practices. Requirements documents are replaced buy user stories and the project manager’s place is take by a scrum master that organizes the sprints. Still there are plenty of “hands-off” of relevant information: From the product manager to the leaders and from the leaders to the engineers.
Two elements in this model still have room for improvements.
- The tech and design leads are not working closely with customer and stakeholders.
- The engineers are not empowered.
When the tech lead and design lead are setup to be part of the discovery process alongside the product owner or manager, a co-creation environment surface. This group of creators can engage in discussions, run experiments, and iterate through prototypes to validate concept and discover the customer experience to deliver.
An extraordinarily successful organization will set up engineers to enable and work closely within this co-creation environment. In this situation, engineers not only decide how to code or how to implement the system architecture. Engineers are provided with problems to solve and the strategic context where those problems exist.
We reduce the distance between the roles and enable communication user stories, prototypes, customer journey maps and discovery insights to let all the team, but specially engineers, know why we are building what we are building. We provide the context engineers need to answer their own questions and make better decisions.