Have you ever noticed the number of times that perceptions are so different from reality? Have you ever sat in a meeting and seen two people debating, only to realize they’re saying the same thing, but in different words?
In product teams, this can be exasperated to a whole new level, especially when we try to compare internal product development approaches
to the often theoretical ideals of how we should work set out by such gurus as Marty Cagan, Melissa Perri, Gibson Biddle, Teresa Torres, and Bruce Mccarthy.
It’s almost natural to assume that those ideals seem so far away. As if every other product organisation must be doing it better than we are. In the team I worked in previously, we aptly dubbed this the “Grass is Greener” complex in our chats.
Even if we see an organisation transforming its approach for the product team to be more product-led and outcome-driven, the perception on the ground may be that we’re moving further away from those ideals. And that is in fact their reality, even if it’s not a true reality.
We assume that all of this happens because the teams are in the messy middle. They’re in the thick of things and have to wade through the “thick mud”. Again, they also have no visibility of the real mess going on inside other product organisations and may automatically assume that the grass is greener on the other side.
Sadly, there aren’t enough talks or articles that discuss the challenge of obtaining those ideals. It’s not something that can be done in a few months, especially in large organisations. It’s a strategy to work towards and can’t always be a replica, because each organisation does have its differences.
Some of the questions for me with all these thoughts running through my mind:
- How may we help the team to have a clearer understanding of the final vision for the change?
- How can we be sure the team received the final vision of that change and understood it?
- How do we better support them through the change to avoid confusion and increase confidence?
- How do we build up the team’s resilience to change?
- How do we make it clearer that in truth we all want the same thing?
- How do we help teams realize and get comfortable with the fact that these things take a long time to get right and may never be perfect?
Aligning everyone’s perception to reality is complex and we’re constantly challenging ourselves to find better ways to do that.