How to transform to Empowered Product Teams – FAQ #4

A few days ago I was asked an interesting question by a product team coach at a new client that I want to share with you.


– What can I do to help my team practice discovery? I understand it for customer experience facing teams, but my team is an enabling platform team. What can we do?


My simple answer to him is that every product team needs to create value, by solving customer problems in a business enhancing way. For an enabling team, that means solving valuable problems for the teams, services and activities your team enable.

For example, if you are a tools team your job is to create a great tools experience that informs or enhances the effectiveness of your customer experience facing teams. That is how you add value to the organization.

So for the work your team is doing, are we actually solving problems that customer facing teams have? Are we solving some of the most valuable problems facing these teams? What is their experience of using the tools you have developed? For the teams that have adopted your tools, what makes them value them?

I have personally seen platform teams that have never even talked to the teams they are supposed to enable. One such team I met at a client gaming company had spent multiple quarters to build an over designed tools solution that ended up having almost zero adoption by customer experience teams. They did not know why almost nobody was using their tools. The root cause, not talking to client teams and investing way too much based on way too many false assumptions.

This is the enabling team version of not managing product risk, by not validating problems or solutions.

Don’t be one of those teams.

Create a discovery backlog of things you need to learn to manage your product risk. Talk to your client teams, learn what their headaches are and what causes friction. Prototype solutions to their problems so they can become more effective and informed. Validate that your tools or enabling infrastructure actually add value. Care about your client teams and make it easier for them to solve their own problems, as seamless as possible. Make them happy and become a great enabling team.