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 involving disengaged engineers and seeking their feedback to empower and reward them. Moreover, James stresses 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” for fresh insights on strategic empowerment in product development.


Today’s Guest: James Bell

James Bell, a driven and dynamic product manager at SafetyCulture, is deeply passionate about crafting customer-focused solutions. With his strategic empowerment approach, he has consistently transformed products and driven remarkable results. With over 5 years of invaluable experience in product management, James has thrived in a diverse range of company scales, from multinational corporations to innovative startups, further broadening his expertise.

Beyond his professional pursuits, James is an avid sports enthusiast, with a particular fondness for football. Drawing parallels to his favorite sport, he firmly believes that product management is a collaborative team sport, and this mindset has played a pivotal role in his achievements and growth within the field. James’s holistic approach and commitment to excellence make him a valuable asset in any organization.

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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