The Strategist

Seven features of successful teams

07/26/2019 - 11:36

According to David Cancel, CEO and Founder of In Drift, “it’s not the skills of the product leader, but his experience that is secondary.” Cancel believes that personal skills dominate among the important characteristics of the product leader: "We the quality, and people do not like it, because everything is very blurry." Let's talk these "blurry" characteristics.

Desire to learn throughout the entire life

Active search for new information, techniques and knowledge lays the foundation for successful product management. The world is constantly changing, and standing still means going backwards. This characteristic also implies broad views and a pronounced ability to learn. Product leaders know that they cannot have all the answers, and they constantly reorganize their thinking to absorb new information and feedback data.

Communication skills

This is a broad concept that includes many personality traits, such as the ability to listen and to clearly communicate. But in general, this definition speaks for itself. Extension Engine CEO Bob Allard said that “in project management, all problems are reduced to communication.” This applies equally to product management. Any effective leadership is based on advanced communication skills.


It is closely related to communication and involves the ability to empathize not only with the team, but also with the customers. “I think product leadership is mostly customer-oriented, and a quality product is impossible without it,” says Joshua Porter, founder of Rocket Insights, a Boston-based product design and development agency. There would be nothing without the end users, which is why their needs should come first. Another important sign of empathy is sensitivity to the product creation medium. Understanding it will allow the product leader to compose the appropriate team and coordinate its actions with the goals of the organization.


A good product leader knows that a variety of education, work experience and background gives a variety of points of view. A one-sided team will be produce the same product over and over again, while the modern era is a complex combination of tastes, needs, and expectations. The best product leaders are looking for team members who will bring new perspectives and experiences to it.

Business acumen

This characteristic describes how the product leader understands his role in the value creation process and how he orients himself in business. Solving the problems of your market is your main task, and you need to know exactly what to focus your efforts on and what resources to use to produce the product. It is not necessary to have all the financial and operational skills and abilities, but a good product leader should always be ready for leadership.

Cross functionality

The team’s views will be biased without this. The more functions the product leader unites in one team, the more coherently it acts.


The best teams solve problems on their own, without running around. Decision-making skills and powers to implement them significantly increase the speed and efficiency of the team.

There are also other characteristics that the leader of the product wants to see in members of his team, but the above are always in the top lines of the list. The more specific the roles in the product team are, the clearer the skill set will be. For example, if a manager is working on a product in which design aesthetics is important, then he should have good taste. Leaders select the team for the context and stage of the product.

Based on "Product Leadership. How Top Product Managers Launch Awesome Products and Build Successful Teams" by Richard Banfield, Martin Eriksson and Nate Walkingshaw

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