Welcome to BottomUp Skills as we continue our journey into product management. Today we are at the stage where we think about product teams. The key question to start with is how do I recruit a product team? That it’s not the easiest thing in the world, I can tell you that. Even if you’re quite well-known for your product work.
Here are some tips for the best way you might build a team.
If you’re going to recruit a successful, motivated team, you need to have a vision of the product that you want to build and why it matters. Start with your vision, learn how to talk about it and demonstrate it.
So as you’re planning to recruit a team, don’t start with “we are using Angular and Java to build a great new application, to process more data for users.” That’s not going to get people excited.
You really need to have a vision of how you’re going to do it and why it matters. Why will this product matter in the world? You need to answer questions like where is the value? Why would I give up a weekend to work on this product? What is the impact that this product is going to have?
The special sauce in the team mix that creates the magic in the team is the culture. It’s the way we talk and interact with each other.
The real truth here is that it’s all fine in good times. But when you hit those challenges, those barriers, the speed humps said differently. When you reach the valley of darkness, when things are not going right. And if your product team isn’t aligned with a strong culture and unified purpose, they need to want to go above and beyond.
People have to be able to communicate. It’s really the very first skill needed in teamwork. And the second skill is collaboration and working together.
To recruit the right people and ask the right questions when you’re in the interview recruiting your team, ask about how they communicate and collaborate.
Key things that you’re looking for them to do: Number one, do they listen? You really want to hire people that love to listen, so they can get a sense of what the person on the other side of the table is actually talking about.
Products are very complex and often very abstract in the beginning. So good communicators and good collaborators are prepared to share. They don’t always have to be right, but they’re really open to good feedback.
With these key behaviors – vision, culture, communication and collaboration, you’re on your way to building a great team.
Now talking about making great things. If you’re interested in learning more about product management and how to build your team, join us at the BottomUp Skills Podcast for more bite- sized product skills and at BottomUp Skills for free courses on Design Thinking, Agile, Lean and much more. Free skill courses for product people and innovators.
Hello, and welcome to the bottom-up skills podcast. I might pass since I’m the CEO of quality tents and we continue our journey in getting unstuck. That’s right. We are getting into product management and asking ourselves what are the toughest questions and what may be the answers of. Building creating and managing a product.
Today we are at the stage where we think about team. And the question for us today is how do I recruit a product team? And I can tell you that it’s not the easiest thing in the world. Even if you’re quite well-known for your product work. It actually still remains really hard. And I want to tell you.
Product Team Recruitment
The story of trying to recruit a team and my advice that after all these years, it’s still a challenge for me. And I’ve got, I think three steps, uh, is perhaps the best way to describe this on how you might build a team. Now, before we get into those steps, the, the rule case I want to make too is, you know what?
I will talk a lot about the different skills that you need. Design thinking, lean, agile, rapid prototyping, and all of that good stuff. You need to be able to do analysis strategy, write code design, use Adobe XD use envision. Dev ops Java, you name it. All of those are great skills to have. But really the thing that creates the magic in the team is the culture.
The Culture Fit
It’s the way we talk and behave with each other. Um, it’s the vibe, you know, it’s how it feels to be together. And, um, So because of that, I think it’s really important to remind ourselves of starting with step number one, which is the vision. So if you’re going to recruit a team, you need to have a vision of the product that you want to build and why it matters.
And if you need any help in framing, your why statement definitely go. And read a guy called Simon Sinek and it starts with why, because people do not buy what you do, they buy how and why you do it. And so the big thing to start with, if you want to recruit a team, do not start with, we are using angular and Java to build a great new application, to process more data for users.
That is not going to get people excited. You need to have a vision of how you’re going to do it and why it matters. Why will this product matter in the world? You need to answer questions, like where is the value? Why would I give up a weekend to work on this product? What is the impact that this product is going to have?
Have a Clear Vision
This might sound a little lofty, but the real truth here is that it’s all fine and good times, and everyone can have the right skills. But when you hit those challenges, those barriers, the speed humps said differently. When you reach the Valley of darkness, when things are not going right, if your product team.
Buys the vision of what they’re finding for the positive impact that they’re trying to have with this product, then they’ll stick around. They’ll go the extra mile. They will go above and beyond when they build the product. And then I certainly just won’t abandon you and quit that’s for sure. Vision first, this is step one.
Why does this product matter?
You have to have a vision, the big picture of answering the question. Why does this product matter? Because if you don’t have that, then you’re going to recruit people that at the first sign of hardship, that’ll be gone because they’re not finding for anything. It’s too hard.
There’s lots of jobs for product people out there.So. Yeah, you’re toast. So you need to have a great articulation of your vision. And I think the way you get to vision said differently, it’s having a purpose or said differently.
Again, us being able to answer the question, why does the product matter? So this is step number one. If you want to recruit a team, start with vision and be able to talk about it and demonstrate this vision.
Bring it to life. So this is number one, the second step. And again, this isn’t going to be the skills thing. This isn’t going to be like, you need to know Java or you need to know Figma.
Step number two is to outline the behaviours that you want your team to have, because I will tell you that let’s take Java. For example, let’s say your project needs Java developers, which a lot of projects do. The thing is if your Java developers or even your designers, if they cannot do two things above all others, then it doesn’t matter how good they are at their professional skill because their behaviours are out of whack.
Communication is key for any product team
The first skill is communication. People have to be able to communicate. And the second skill is collaboration working together. Now these two words are often bandied about, but really they are essential. So let’s break them down and ask what they look like. So you know how to actually grab and recruit the right people and ask the right questions when you’re in the interview about how they communicate and collaborate.
For me, the essence of communication is a couple of key things that you’re looking for them to do. Number one, do they listen? Now, a lot of people just want to do the talking. They just want to be right. And actually what you really want to hire for is people that love to listen so they can get a sense of what the person on the other side of the table is actually talking about.
Listening as a critical skill
So listening is a critical communication skill. Secondly, you need to see them choosing the right model of communication. Is it verbal? Is it written, is it a call? Is it a face-to-face that they’re choosing those channels. Right. And lastly, in terms of communication, and this one is the big dark secret of communication that they confirm.
That they have been understood. So products are very complex and often very abstract in the beginning. So there’s a lot of, you know, packet loss when people are communicating poorly or not really getting it people are explaining the product in the way they perceive it, but they’re not thinking about how the person on the other side needs to hear on sand, see a witness, the pro the product now.
Checks and balances for product teams
When they’re communicating, you can have a little checks and balances here by making sure the person understands what you’ve said and the way you do that is ask them to tell it back to you. Ask, tell me, okay. What, tell me back what you just heard. And that’s a really good way of making sure you’ve got the right people in your team.So those are the kinds of things you want to see in good communicators and good collaborators.
I think that you want to see people who are unselfish, people who are quite empathetic to the people around them, and that love to build on ideas to shoot them down. You don’t want people holding on to things, polishing them up, not sharing and kind of working in silos by default.
You want collaborators, people who are prepared to share, they don’t always have to be right, but they’re really open to good feedback. From their peers and from their colleagues. So big vision, full of purpose and why. And then these two key behaviours, communication and collaboration, you really start to get a good team.
And then step three is make sure they have the skills. Now, whether it is a designer developer, new business customer, customer support, doesn’t matter.
But they have to be engaged and compelled by the purpose behind the product or the company.And then they have to display some of these key behaviors and of course have the right skills.
Have a purpose
Now, if you make sure that when you’re recruiting, you have the vision, the behaviors and the skills, I’m absolutely sure that you’re going to have a team that’s full of potential. It can go out in the world and make great things.
Now talking about making great things. If you want to know more about that, making great products in the world, go to BottomUp Skills Podcast, where you can get masterclasses. On teamwork, managing people, you name it, everything you need to build a great product team. All right that’s it for the BottomUp Skills podcast. That’s a wrap.