Product growth: 3 ways to enthuse your team

The more I exist in the product management world, the more I understand that product ecosystems can be both systematically similar and other-worldly different. Sure, we product managers tend to use familiar business practices, refined development strategies, and industry-known frameworks well known for their effectiveness. While every product manager may fit some established product manager category in the information tech industry, we all come from rather different backgrounds. Besides our products, what we all have in common is our teams. There would be no product had there been no team, to begin with. You cannot do everything by yourself, right?

People grow to heads of products from varying directions as technology, sales, marketing, design, analytics, and more. Since product managers tend to have different backgrounds, their leadership styles tend to vary noticeably too. And who would notice that better than those who are being led? Some product managers are approachable. Others are untouchable. Some are bosses. Others are leaders. And while some know the operations of every branch of product growth from the outset, others learn certain functions along the way. No matter what, they need to steer the ship and direct the crew. Otherwise, their product never makes it out of the startup storm it gets born in. And it sinks. 

When you’re a bad captain… (Photo by Irfan Rahat on

I have grown to the role of a product manager from a background in sales and business development. Luckily for me, I had a lot of experience in how to motivate people. To me, a hyper-motivated product team feels like one of those happy Hollywood families you only see in the movies. Failure after failure, the support and unity never falter. When one who belongs falls, the rest pick him up and set him right back on his feet. When one does not fit in, he leaves, unable to tie into genuine bonds. I hope I can help you enthuse your product team by sharing the three ways that I found to be effective. Here we go. 

1. Transparency

The very thought of coming to work every Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 6 PM to do some set tasks without understanding the big picture is rather demotivating. I accept that there is a small percentage of humans who are happy just to have a job. They clock in and enjoy belonging to a system that helps them survive without asking any extra questions. After all, the more you know about the world, the harder life can get. And I highly recommend not trying to change such people – of course, they do not like it. In my experience, however, the majority of people seek to be part of the bigger picture. They want their actions to have a significant effect on the world – to have a purpose. 

Therefore, helping various team members to see how their input contributes to the evolution of your product is a great idea. Developers should have a vision of how their code improves your product for end users. Designers will be joyous knowing that they have increased your customers’ retention through usability. Customer support is bound to feel proud knowing that they returned customers just because technical issues were fixed; thanks to them. Your entire team will be stoked when they connect their work to the product’s growth achievements. 

Transparent, but not flipped upside down (Photo by Tobias Aeppli on

It served me well to inform my team of the product’s business milestones and goals. Transparency involved sharing knowledge about the activities of each product team function, which additionally helped the team sync. A startup atmosphere is not always chaos that an employee recognizes as a necessary evil. For startups, things may change from day to day. Normally, people like an organized approach to work and think of the opposite as ineffective management. Me being transparent helped my team to view why we are prioritizing certain specifications over others. It explained the chaos. It also helped us all be on the same page about our roadmap and how it can be altered depending on the stability of our metrics. 

2. Problem-solving

Few things stay fixed in our minds like problems that we helped to solve. It gives a person fulfillment to have contributed to a solution, especially in our problem-riddled lives. It is also sadly a rare occasion – solving a problem. As a species whose attention is much more susceptible to the negativity around us, human beings tend to focus on counting the unresolved problems. Yet time is a limited resource and you know well that counting unresolved problems could last for long. It tends to distract us from finding solutions to burning issues purely out of defocus. 

Problem solved! (Photo by Monstera on

Therefore, if your team is involved in solving existing product problems through their expertise, they are engaged. The job responsibility factor plays a key role for them in following through with a resolution. And the dopamine release, which you hopefully facilitate every time a solution is achieved, plays a big motivator to succeed in problem-solving. That is why sometimes, inadvertently, individuals feel like they get more out of work than out of their personal lives. They may lack the discipline to work out solutions in their personal lives, yet at work, the pressure and enforced discipline that pushes them to solutions gives them the feeling of power they are after. 

My team uses the RICE scoring model to submit input on how we can solve existing product problems. For example, when our product has a certain metric we would like to focus on improving, any member of my team is welcome to submit their ideas on how to do it. Then, once we have contributed, we jump into the scoring sheet and collaboratively evaluate the proposed solutions to prioritize. Once the prioritization is complete, transparency plays its part again. Everyone is aware of why we chose that solution for implementation. And the people that contributed feel part of the solution, not merely employees who performed a bunch of unknown tasks. 

3. Creativity

Undoubtedly, building a product requires creativity. A chef without creativity cooks a bland stew. You probably do not want your product to be unappealing. Creativity is also directly connected to the blossoming of our soul’s excitement. You can be the most boring, unimaginative person in the world, but if you suddenly do something creative, you start feeling a sort of vigor and happiness (do not deny it!). Naturally, people are usually not blind to their creativity degree. They know – either they are or they are not creative. But a welcoming, open doorway to unleashing your creative beast is normally not taken in a hostile way. People happen to drop into it! 

My product has its own Slack channel dedicated to creativity. You join if you please, and the door is never closed. It tends to get very artsy in there too! If you feel like creatively affecting the future of the product and you can find the time, welcome! What do we discuss in that channel? Everything that pops into the head under the condition that resources have no limit. Luckily, my product already has existing features that require fresh creativity for content weekly. So we get busy because we must. Otherwise, we throw in development ideas for the future, such as feature propositions and other general enhancements for the product. 

When you release your employees into creativity (Photo by Karley Saagi on

The point is, if you can activate your team’s creative spirit, you can increase their involvement. In turn, this leads to a boost in their enthusiasm about their jobs and your product. Having a team that is excited about your product surely sounds more productive than having a dozen workers doing tasks for a monthly salary. Certain team members may even reveal their out-of-work passions and offer support. For example, are you looking for sound effects? Maybe someone in your team is passionate about sound engineering. 

We have done a lot of things wrong. We have learned a plethora of lessons. What we have always been proud of, however, was our team spirit. It saved us many times too. It kept our psychological well-being intact. And up until this day, some of my team members have been working with us for over a year already (our product exists only 1.5 years!). And whenever someone had to leave due to life’s circumstances, they would always regret leaving such a great team. That feedback speaks for itself. Respect and care for your people. 


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