Lighten up!

Identify what's weighing your teams down and shed the weight

Having worked with various product teams, high performing and not, I have noticed the differences in how they approach work and the organizational factors that lead to those behaviours.

High performing teams feel snappy, smart, and effective. Others feel slow, hesitant, and stalled. So how do you get to that nimble high performing team? Lighten up!

Your process

If you see your teams spending more time managing their process than driving towards better business outcomes, start encouraging change. While teams will have their own processes, check the ones that you’re adding to the mix. Are they meaningful? Do they drive to better shared understanding, or do they lean towards posturing and updates for the sake of it? Before adding steps to the process, evaluate what steps can be removed. If they are truly missed, it'll be evident. What processes are getting in the way?

Your legacy product baggage

This one is a hard one for organizations to shed because it's what has fuelled previous successes: Shed the legacy product baggage. If you are trying to do new things, you need to make room for them. Adding new to the pile of old doesn't give you much of a fighting chance. Make the tough calls and put the focus where it needs to go. How much baggage is your team carrying?

Your attitude

High performing teams don't take themselves too seriously. It signals a comfort of being proven wrong, and of making mistakes on their way to success. They even have fun. When you are comfortable with making mistakes, the pressure eases significantly, and that allows for more innovative thought. Of course, this requires the time and space to be allowed to address the failures appropriately, and to make continuous improvements. Are your teams having fun?


There's never enough time in a day to get everything done. We tend to focus more on what we need to add to the pile, rather than what we can cut. A healthy balance gives you and your teams the space to find successes and build momentum. And it doesn't hurt to have a good time at work, so lighten up!