A product team may be the most crucial working part of any organisation. Without it, product success would be an unattainable goal. It is also a complex unit encompassing many different roles. These include product owners, managers, designers and engineers. Every product team has its own distinctive constitution and dynamic, whether it comprises two people in one office or thousands around the globe, and it is the job of team leaders, hiring managers and C-suite professionals to assemble the best team they can.
That’s not an easy task. In fact, it can be as challenging as creating the product itself. We’ve drawn on our extensive experience in sourcing top talent for product management, design and development projects to identify considerations which are the most important in hiring the best product teams.
You need a broad mixture of skills to meet the various demands of product development. You need to avoid having too many designers with too few developers and vice versa. You also want people with a diversity of experience and backgrounds. A homogenous group of people, however talented, will tend to think in similar ways with a narrow focus. You want people to widen the possibilities, not limit them.
Seek Out Creativity
Science, skill and technique are obviously important properties, but as Albert Einstein said: ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world’. A lack of creativity in your product team will lead to a dearth of exciting ideas.
Remove Unnecessary Demands from Job Descriptions
It is essential to encourage applications from exceptional people but they won’t always fit into the narrow lines of a conventional job description. Make sure yours is open-minded and inclusive. So what if they don’t have 5 years’ experience? It’s an arbitrary number. Who cares if they haven’t worked on a similar project? You’re not looking for people to repeat past successes but create new ones. Almost by definition you’re not looking for candidates who tick boxes, but ones who provide their own.
Prioritise the Delivery of Results
Given what we’ve already learned, it’s clear that the best members of a product team will be much more interested in results than in the nature of the process that achieves them. The destination is more important than the journey, so a focus on the outcome, whatever it takes to reach it, is essential.
You should have an overall vision of the shape of your team. It’s essential to identify the different specialisms you’ll need so you can hire individuals with specific expertise. You want a team in which every player has their own dedicated area of responsibility.
Given the requirements we’ve discussed so far it may not surprise you that we rate passion in a team member very highly. Of course you want to see passion for the work itself, but someone who is passionate about other things in their lives and the world is more likely to sustain their professional passion through even the toughest challenges.
Too large a team can be just as dysfunctional as too small a team. Avoid duplicating roles as this will be counter-productive, inefficient and a potential cause of friction. It should be small enough to operate self-sufficiently and large enough to carry the expectations of the project and produce results.
If this all sounds like a daunting prospect, that’s because it is. Hiring just one person who is perfect for a specific role is hard enough. Finding enough to fill a team sheet can feel impossible. But if you start from these first principles, you’ll be more alert to the qualities that come your way during the hiring process.
You don’t have to tackle this alone. Rmg Digital has many years of experience helping clients build highly successful product teams. We’ve worked with start-ups, SMEs and global businesses to find the essential skills, not always in the obvious places. Our track record speaks for itself.
Please contact the Rmg Digital team today and book a consultation. Your perfect product team is closer than you think.
Call 020 3800 1118