CTO Operations

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7 Principles to highly successful products

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In a recent blogpost by Ben Horowitz on Techcrunch he presented 7 Principles that make CEOs effective and therefor successful

1. Keep and drive the product vision. 

The CEO does not have to create the entire product vision, but the product-oriented CEO must drive the vision that she chooses. She is the one person who is both in position to see what must be done and to resource it correctly.

2. Maintain the quality standard.

How good must a product be to be good enough? This is an incredibly tough question to answer and it must be consistent and part of the culture. It was easy to see the power of doing this right when Steve Jobs ran Apple, as he drove a standard that created incredible customer loyalty.

3. Be the integrator

When Larry Page took over as CEO of Google, he spent a huge amount of his time forcing every product group to get to a common user profile and sharing paradigm. Why? Because he had to. It would never have happened without the CEO making it happen. It was nobody else’s top priority.

4. Make people consider the data they don’t have

In today’s world, product teams have access to an unprecedented set of data on the products that they’ve built. Left to themselves, they will optimize the product around the data they have. But what of the data they don’t have? What about the products and features that need to be built that the customers can’t imagine? Who will make that a priority? The CEO.

5.Write it; don’t say it

If there is something that you want in the products, then write it out completely. Not as a quick email, but as a formal document. This will maximize clarity while serving to limit your involvement to those things that you have thought all the way through.

6. Formalize and attend product reviews

If teams know that they should expect a regular review where you will check the consistency with the vision, the quality of the design, the progress against their integration goals, etc., it will feel much less disempowering than if you change their direction in the hallway.

7. Don’t communicate direction outside of your formal mechanisms

It’s fine and necessary to continue to talk to individual engineers and product managers in an ad hoc fashion, because you need to continually update your understanding of what’s going on. But resist the attempt to jump in and give direction in these scenarios. Only give direction via a formal communication channel like the ones described above.

 

Author: Guntram Bechtold

Guntram Bechtold lebt mit seiner Familie in Dornbirn. Gemeinsam mit Freunden und Geschäftspartnern entstehen Angebote wie die BusinessLabs, die AgentConf, die WorkerConf oder die Plattform für Digitale Initiativen. Der passionierte Läufer ist für seine Livestreams auf dem Fahrrad bekannt und gefürchtet. Guntram arbeitet bei der Vorarlberger Digitalagentur StarsMedia und hilft mit den Smart City Dornbirn Wettbewerb zu organisieren.

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