I've been working in product and business strategy for the last 8+ years. As a founder and product leader, I've had to peer through many lenses to decide direction - competitive research, customer development, enterprise value creation, team dynamics and more. Yes, building and managing roadmaps is part of that - but mapping product development to business objectives by quantifying and testing assumptions is the name of the game. Sometimes that means you have to ship fast and listen to the market, other times you need to read between the lines of what customers are saying. I have a background in finance and lean on that muscle to conduct research and build a business case behind a given direction.
I've been managing digital product development since 2013. I've worked in-person on the ground with engineering and design as well as fully remote, asynchronously (in English and Spanglish). I find that providing clarity on the why behind a roadmap is one of the fastest ways to create team alignment. When it's hard to pin down the why, that often means it's time to do some digging or run an experiment to de-risk assumptions. I've learned over time that some variability is to be expected (and actually a good thing) so it's best to lean in. Product teams take time to build a working rhythm and that ramp up time generally increases the more contributors there are from varied roles (unless you build in collaboration early and often to the workflow).
I've learned to lead product teams by having to fill individual contributor roles as part of a small team. Over time, I hired folks to fill those rolls and began thinking about systems and ways I to support them to fulfill our product and company vision. I've developed a series of tools and practices that allow me to work effectively with different people, teams, environments, and staged-products. I have empathy for people on the front lines - I've been there.
Newt is a brilliant minded product leader with whom I had the pleasure of working for 3 years. His human values, unmatched empathy and remarkable sense of responsibility towards team members (and especially towards our users), were critical in establishing our culture. His leadership created space for a product development approach that engaged the entire team to collaborate in creating something valuable.
I began building software as a product designer and product owner. Over time as I hired and trained people to fulfill individual contributor roles, I stepped back into a more traditional product leadership role.
I advise companies and mentor founders helping them avoid the challenges I faced early on in my product career. I occasionally write about product strategy and trends.