How Empowered Product Teams Work to Deliver Customer Value?

Product-led growth
February 2, 2023
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In today's fast-paced and constantly evolving technology landscape, it is more important than ever for organizations to foster a culture of innovation to stay competitive.

One way to do this is by empowering product teams to drive innovation within the organization.


"To be an empowered engineer means having the authority and resources to produce a high-quality product. According to Marty Cagan, a renowned product leader and founder of Silicon Valley Product Group, the foundation for successful engineering work is laid long before a new feature development or sprint planning."


On a granular level, empowering your product team means giving them the autonomy, resources, and authority to make decisions and take ownership of their work.


This requires a shift in mindset and approach from traditional, top-down management models, but it can lead to numerous benefits for your organization.


Empowered product teams are groups of cross-functional professionals who work together to deliver value to customers through the development and management of products.


This way, they can respond quickly to changing customer needs and market conditions and drive innovation and growth. However, before you confuse a positive company culture with empowered teams, let's dial back and look at the difference first.

Difference between empowering product teams and maintaining a positive company culture


Empowering product teams and maintaining a positive company culture are both important for the success and well-being of an organization.

But there are some key differences between the two:


Focus: Empowering product teams focuses on giving teams the autonomy and resources they need to be innovative and successful in their work. A positive company culture, on the other hand, refers to the overall environment and values of the organization and how they impact the well-being and satisfaction of employees.


Key drivers: The key drivers of empowering product teams are giving teams autonomy, providing resources, and fostering collaboration. A positive company culture's key drivers include trust, respect, transparency, and inclusion.


Impact: Empowering product teams can directly impact the organization's success and innovation, as it enables teams to come up with new ideas and solve problems more effectively. A positive company culture, on the other hand, can have a more indirect impact on the organization, as it can lead to increased employee satisfaction and retention, which can lead to better performance and productivity.


Time frame: Empowering product teams is often a more short-term focus, as it involves specific actions and decisions related to the work of a particular team. Positive company culture is a longer-term focus, as it affects the constant values and behaviors of the organization and how they are reinforced.


Now that we know what it means to empower teams, the next question is—Who exactly is responsible for empowering the product teams?

In a B2B SaaS product company, the product team is typically empowered by a combination of senior leadership and the team itself.


1. Senior leadership

In many organizations, the senior leadership team, such as the CEO or CPO, has the authority to empower the product team by giving them the resources and support they need to be innovative and successful in their work. This can include providing funding for new projects, giving teams autonomy in decision-making, and encouraging a culture of innovation.


2. The team itself

While senior leadership plays a key role in empowering the product team, the team has the intelligence to take ownership of its work and drive innovation within the organization. This can involve developing new ideas, advocating for resources, and taking risks to drive change.


3. External factors

In some cases, external factors, such as the needs of customers or market trends, can also play a role in empowering the product team. For example, if the market demands new features or functionality, the product team may be empowered to prioritize these requests and develop innovative solutions to meet these needs.


Overall, empowering the product-led team in a B2B SaaS product company requires a combination of support from senior leadership, ownership and initiative from the team itself, and alignment with external factors such as customer needs and market trends.


Role of product managers in empowering cross-functional teams


Empowered product teams put product managers front and center by giving them the authority and responsibility to guide their respective teams and initiatives. This means that product managers can make decisions, set goals and priorities, and take ownership of their work rather than simply carrying out orders from higher-ups.


Product managers play a critical role in empowering product teams as they ensure that the team is focused on the right goals and priorities by gathering and analyzing customer data, conducting market research, and working with the team to develop a roadmap that aligns with business objectives.


Product managers also help to facilitate communication and collaboration within the team, as well as with other stakeholders such as sales, marketing, and customer support. In addition, they serve as a bridge between the team and upper management and help to ensure that the team has the resources and support it needs to succeed.


Finally, product managers play a crucial role in cultivating a culture of innovation and continuous improvement within the team. They encourage team members to think creatively, take risks, and continuously learn and grow.


9 Key practices that help empower product teams to deliver customer value effectively


By adopting the below-mentioned strategies, organizations can create:-

> an environment that enables product teams to thrive,

> drive real value for customers

> more engaged and innovative product teams

> build products users truly want and care about


The key practices are followed:-


Customer-centricity

The team focuses on understanding and meeting the customer's needs. This involves regularly gathering and analyzing customer feedback and using it to inform product decisions.


Foster a culture of collaboration

Product team members work closely with one another and other stakeholders, such as sales, marketing, and customer support, to ensure that all product aspects align with customer needs and business goals.


Agile methodologies

Product teams often adopt agile methodologies, such as Scrum or Kanban, to facilitate rapid iteration and continuous delivery. This allows them to quickly prototype and test new ideas and make adjustments as needed based on customer feedback.


Autonomy and empowerment

Product team members are free to make decisions and take ownership of their work. This helps to foster a culture of innovation and creativity, as team members can take risks and think outside the box.


Clear goals and metrics

Product teams operate with a clear understanding of the business objectives they are trying to achieve and use metrics to track their progress and measure the impact of their work.


Give them ownership

Product team members must feel like they have a stake in the product's success. This means giving them the authority to make decisions and holding them accountable for their work.


Adequate resource allocation

Product teams need the right tools and resources to do their job effectively. This includes things like access to customer data, technology, and budget.


Encourage risk-taking

Innovation requires taking risks and trying new things. Encourage team members to think outside the box and be willing to experiment with new ideas.


Keep no gray areas

Product teams need to understand what is expected of them and how their work fits into the overall business strategy. Then, set clear goals and metrics to help them track their progress and measure their impact.

Downsides of not consciously empowering your teams

If you see your team sluggish, it's simply because they lack motivation, nothing excites them about the role, or they are merely feeling disconnected with the process.


Keeping your product teams empowered can have several negative consequences for an organization.

To point some of the most significant ones:-

Lack of innovation: Product teams that are not pumped, may need more autonomy, resources, and support to develop new ideas and drive innovation within the organization. This can lead to a need for new products and features and missed opportunities to stay ahead of the competition.


No motivation or engagement: Product teams that do not feel valued are more likely to be demotivated and disengaged in their work. This can lead to lower levels of productivity and quality, as well as higher rates of turnover.


Decreased agility: A lack of empowerment may be slower to respond to market or customer needs changes, which can make the organization less agile and adaptable.


Disappointed customers: If product teams are not excited about their work and fail to see the bigger picture of the company goals, it affects customer needs which causes a drastic decline in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Wrapping it up

Ever wondered how FAANG companies are so successful?

It's because they can be attributed to a combination of strong leadership, innovative products and services, a customer-centric approach, an empowering team, and a positive culture that binds everybody in the organization together.


Mahima Arora
Associate Product Marketer at Zeda.io.
A marketing enthusiast, trying to influence society by means of media and drive sustainable good.
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