Strategic Empowerment: How Building Shared Understanding Transforms Products

Empowering Teams, Transforming Products

In this episode of “The Product Perspective,” host Jon Tobin is joined by product management expert James Bell to explore the transformative power of building shared understanding in product development.

James emphasizes the significance of thinking big while starting small, as it helps gain confidence and improve approach. He highlights the importance of looping in disengaged engineers and seeking their feedback to empower and reward them. Moreover, James emphasizes the need for key fundamentals like team structure and in-house designers, which are crucial for scalability and shared understanding.

The discussion also delves into the critical role of product designers in understanding customer needs, envisioning the future of the product, and creating a design system. They discuss how implementing a design system can significantly enhance team efficiency and product quality, but it requires time and investment.

Tune in to “The Product Perspective” to gain a fresh perspective on strategic empowerment in product development.


Today’s Guest: James Bell

James Bell, a product manager at SafetyCulture, is passionate about customer-focused solutions and skilled at transforming products through strategic empowerment. With 5+ years of product management experience, James has navigated the field across all scales of companies, from multinationals to startups, and more.

James is also a passionate sports enthusiast, particularly fond of football. Just like his favorite sport, James believes product management is a team sport, which has contributed to his success in the field.

The best bits:

03:22 Shared understanding critical for cross-functional product teams.

08:47 Losing focus on users, product becomes ineffective.

10:38 Changing organizations is hard; start small. Speak with leaders to define success. Learn from successful companies like Shopify, Spotify, and Amazon. Start with a small team or business unit.

16:19 Involving team in problem-solving builds trust.

24:31 Themes help categorize feedback for product improvement.

28:59 Don’t invest time in offshoring customer understanding.

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