Who Has the Final Say?

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jtpedersen_product management_leadership_decision (2)In one of the product management forums I monitor, there has been an ongoing discussion about decision ownership.  For instance, does the product manager make all the final decisions regarding his or her product?

As the discussion evolved, it reminded me a guiding principal a mentor gave me early in my career.  "Never lose alone."

The best successes come from collaborative efforts, working alongside others.  You may get lucky as a sole individual.  But repeated successes rarely come from the lone cowboy who rode off into the sunset.

While it might be Ok to win alone, losing alone is often disastrous.  People remember who might have been cocky, arrogant, or overly self-assured. However, if you engage others, get them to work with you, it may save you from a loss in the first place or, at the very least, blunt the impact of a loss, turning it into a lesson learned.  The loss is less likely to prove career limiting if nothing else.

While the product manager, or product ‘owner’ needs to lead decisions regarding their product(s), it rarely is—or needs to be—dictatorial in nature.


ps: Note I am not talking an abdication of leadership in favor of management by committee.

image credit: Kostya Kisleyko