Power to the (Product) People


Product people (product managers, designers, UX experts) should be more involved not just in concepts, design, and mock-ups, but also actual implementation. To paraphrase Jim Barksdale, if they see a snake, they should be able to kill the snake without calling a product committee, involving programmers, or getting a staff meeting together. Unfortunately, programmers have been very bad at providing good tools to product people so that they could do more stuff by themselves. It's not that programmers are guarding their turf, it's just that programmers have usually low empathy for other people's problems. And product people, they are always so focused on the end product that they forgot to demand tools that would increase their own productivity. A few months we have migrated our web page from custom Python/Django implementation to WordPress. Ever since the product people were free to update our web page however they please to great pleasure of both product people and engineers. The product people appreciated freedom and speed, while engineers never liked moving UI elements by a few pixels anyway. While researching alternatives to our waning wiki, I've come across Google Sites as another potential tool to give more power to product people. I've played with Google Sites already a few years ago, but at that time it was too immature for any serious stuff. But after playing with it for a week now, I've come away quite impressed and I see great potential in it for streamlining our product development process.

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