Big News: FounderDating is joining OneVest to build the largest community for entrepreneurs. Details here
Latest Notifications
You have no recent recommendations.
Name
Title
 
MiniBio
FOLLOW
Title
 Followers
FOLLOW TOPIC

Question goes here

1,300 Followers

  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur

Productive vs. tension-inducing collaboration?

Creative work is undoubtedly going to produce tension among team members. It's a product manager's job to help make sure this tension remains healthy and productive (aka about the product) and doesn't get personal. Where is the line between productive and "too far" when it comes to creative tension? And what are some best practices to ensure this line isn't crossed?

5 Replies

Erik Molander
0
0
Erik Molander Advisor
Executive in Residence at ITEC at Boston University
Hi David,
Here are several things that have worked for us. Begin by having the entire team evaluated on the effectiveness of the product in the market. if the engineers are evaluated solely on cost and delivery date it can often undermine the effectiveness of the design. Follow it with rigorous data collection from customers instead of opinions (this includes your own opinion).
Sometimes, i've been the source of the team's problem. I hate to admit it, but if I haven't spent enough time crafting the creative brief, the team struggles. The more precision and insight I put into the creative brief, the less conflict the team has.
Chris Carruth
1
0
Chris Carruth Advisor
VP/Director. Strategy | Business Development | Operations | Product | Solutions
Another very interesting topic. The reality is that creative tension will only be a problem if the basis for decision making is not defined upfront. For example, is engineering driving the bus or is marketing or is product. Everyone will undoubtedly "be on board" in the beginning but the moment disagreements arrive the real game begins. Even if you do the "right things" in terms of using research, and I mean good, solid, clean, data (primary and secondary) you will undoubtedly have those that believe they know the market better.

So upfront define the basis for decision making, including who has final say, and for those really tense moments an escalation path and the circumstances it will be used. I have seen, more than once, where very, very good data is nullified by sr. mgmt based on nothing other than just sheer unwillingness to understand the data. In both cases the ventures collapsed because the products produced had zero market appeal. Shocker.

Do you define what is appealing and the likelihood to purchase or does the market? Lastly I would also throw in the matter of whose money is it? if you are funding the effort personally then by all means do what you want. If you have others money involved then you are obligated to reduce the risk and maximize the chance of success, no?



Mike Whitfield
0
0
Mike Whitfield Entrepreneur
Sr. Software Engineer, EPAM, Google
I hear a passive communication on an active situation. What's going on, buddy?

What are you building, etc? PM me.

Head butting is good my Cisco architect used to say. Good shit happens like that. Long-term, it's bad. As a manager you reassign people. If you're the grunt, you need to get your fix outside work. I used to moonlight and then slack off during work hours.

You're a ref in a UFC fight. Break it up before it gets nasty, but allow a great show to go on because that audience is your product. If you're a fighter, fight hard and get nasty if you have to since it's management's job to ref it.

It's friday, forget about work.
Sam McAfee
0
0
Sam McAfee Advisor
Building Popup Incubators for Corporate Innovation Programs
Great thoughts so far. I've found a few specific patterns that matter most for the teams that I have worked with:
  1. Outcomes over Outputs. It is important that the team have a shared understanding of what the overall business goals are, and how those will be measured. Do not silo evaluation criteria, as I think Erik pointed out above. Everyone needs to be focused on the business goals, and contributing their specialty to get it done. Inside areas of specialization, you can have strong leaders how define excellence for engineering, design, marketing, sales, etc. But overall they should all be aligned at the company level.
  2. Cross-functional, "T-shaped" people. This is the concept that people are broad in many areas and deep in one or two. They should be able to work on their main area, but also jump to an adjacent part of the workflow if help is needed. Cross-functional pairing is also really crucial, particularly between design and engineering. The fewer official "handoffs" between roles the better.
  3. Timing and cadence. There needs to be a process for regular check-ins and feedback. Daily stand-ups, weekly planning meetings, and monthly business reviews have worked for me in the past, but you can arrange it however you need to for your team.
  4. Finally, I would add the retrospectives are an extremely useful, and often overlooked practice, usually because the team lacks a good facilitator who can keep things focused and professional. If you're not doing them, I would start right away. People need a chance to give feedback on their own process of working together, learn to take constructive feedback, and collaboratively work to improve "relations" between specialists.


Robert Rebholz
0
0
Robert Rebholz Advisor
Product management and marketing leadership: innovation, strategy, acquisition, and growth.
Good points all around. "Data" is interesting in that if everyone doesn't have it in equal measure, it can become a club used by the haves to beat up the have nots.

Further, "data" is hard to separate from the stories we tell ourselves about it. Example: "conversion is higher when traffic comes from xxx source" -- fact. "People from xxx source are making more informed decisions, or are further down the funnel, or have dust bunnies for brains" -- fictions, faces in the clouds. Really smart and confident people get away with this all the time. Beginner's mind is better.

Also, you might consider a de Bono style "Six Hats" methodology. I've had some good experience using it to manage nay sayers, ax grinders, and true believers.
Join FounderDating to participate in the discussion
Nothing gets posted to LinkedIn and your information will not be shared.

Just a few more details please.

DO: Start a discussion, share a resource, or ask a question related to entrepreneurship.
DON'T: Post about prohibited topics such as recruiting, cofounder wanted, check out my product
or feedback on the FD site (you can send this to us directly info@founderdating.com).
See the Community Code of Conduct for more details.

Title

Give your question or discussion topic a great title, make it catchy and succinct.

Details

Make sure what you're about to say is specific and relevant - you'll get better responses.

Topics

Tag your discussion so you get more relevant responses.

Question goes here

1,300 Followers

  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
Know someone who should answer this question? Enter their email below
Stay current and follow these discussion topics?