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Product Leadership by Martin Eriksson, Nate Walkingshaw, Richard Banfield

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Chapter 3. Being a Great Product Leader

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Management is about doing things right; leadership is about doing the right things.

Peter Drucker

Setting Product Principles

In order to set your team up for success as it scales, it’s important to consider what the core product and design principles for your organization are—and articulate them clearly so everyone in the team understands them and can apply them in their work.

Says Paul Adams, VP of Product at Intercom, “We have three principles that are the foundation on which everything else that we do is built. The first principle is that we think big but start small. This means thinking about a big vision and then ruthlessly cutting the scope so we can ship. Because our next principle is ship to learn, which means shipping as fast as possible so we can learn as fast as possible. The third principle is to design from first principles—to start with a blank sheet of paper instead of copying a competitor or assuming the best solution exists in the world already.”

These principles set the groundwork for all future product work, and give the team a common set of guardrails that can guide all the minute decisions that make up each iteration of the product.

Setting a Product Vision

Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, said, “Be stubborn on vision, flexible on details.” The vision should continue over a very long period of time, potentially ...

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