October 19, 2020

Having a Conscious Product

As the Product Owner, you are well aware that part of the success of your product depends on your decision. Every day, you must be facing:

  • How to trade-off with short-term and long-term benefits? How to look for the right decision?
  • Who is the stakeholder of your product? What do they need?
  • Who is your customer? Did they realize your product value, any gap (Unrealized Value)?
  • Did you treat your investors and your partners fair?
  • How is your team? Are they motivated and clear about the purpose of the product? What is the level of trust in your team? Are they happy to contribute their effort to the product?
  • How do you show yourself as a servant leader to help your team grow and succeed? And why?
“Conscious Capitalism” by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia - Artwork by Scrumviet


​As a Product Owner, I need to fulfill those questions. Every time I make clear the questions with the answers, I am more conscious about my product. And I found the inspiration from the book: “Conscious Capitalism” by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia. In this book, they mention about 4 categories of “Consciousness in the business”:

1. Knowing the higher purpose of product/ business: by knowing the reason for the product to exist (How does my product serve? Who does it serve for?). Understanding it thoroughly, you can answer how you should make decisions to lead the product to the long-term vision, and also make sure to have enough fuel (profit) for the car in that journey to continue the search for a higher purpose. In that journey, the higher purpose like a north star (It’s like the core, the undeniable principles), will lead/ guide you to reach to the true value of your business. Call it “more than a profit”.

2. Having a consciousness about stakeholders: The clear purpose will help you to connect the dots and look for strong connections with customers, investors, business partners, the responsibility to the community (some organizations contribute a percentage of their revenue to the nonprofit, they found the responsibility of them is to support the community. By that, the nonprofit also gives the benefit back to the business, when some people in nonprofit start to know about them and use service of that organization), and your team. You will see that the more stakeholders are happy, the more your product/ business success. Building up the consciousness of your stakeholders will help to find a way to have a win-win (or win, win, win, and win) rather than the zero-sum game.

3. Put your consciousness to the leadership: you will find out the true purpose of your role, and how to help the product succeed by helping and building-up people. Because teamwork is key. To succeed, you need teamwork, you will need to focus on creating collaboration rather than politics, fighting. The less effort of team spends on the internal fight, the more effort of the team can use to build a better product or business. The more employees are happy, the more happy customers.

The leader's role will be changed. It's not like before where you forecast and control or focus on maximizing the execution, then making all the important decisions. No heroic, and you will be more a servant leader, serve your team, and help their success.

4. The consciousness of building the culture and management helps to build "the DNA of trust" in the organization. People talk about “care” and “love” rather than “fear”. By building a trusted environment, everybody is happy to contribute the effort to work. The environment is like an ecosystem and has all the values needed for every person to grow and fulfill. The transparent will raise the trust, and the trust contributes back to create more transparency. And having a consciousness that every culture needs time to build. It does not happen in a day, and you will not achieve it like running the campaign. It needs to be highly focused by the right leaders (as above), with the right mindset, discipline in what they say and what they do, and patience.


Conclusion

Understanding, enabling, and mastering a consciousness (and subconsciousness) will help you become a great Product Owner and have a great life. The most successful Product Owner role is as an entrepreneur, by having consciousness (and subconsciousness), looking for how to fulfill, reach a higher purpose of the product. That's what the hero's journey as a Product Owner looks like.

In my next blog: I will share more deeply about conscious, subconscious, and unconscious.