Toward a Product Culture Manifesto

Bruce McCarthy

Consistently successful organizations in the 21st century think and act differently than others. Big companies like Amazon and Google and upstarts like Zappos and Dollar Shave Club have adopted a modern set of operating principles that drive the way teams think and interact every day. These principles focus on continuously developing and delivering products of value to customers, and they have become known as product culture.

Product culture is not a process itself (though it informs process) and it is more than a set of principles. It is a shared mindset about why we are in business and how we go about things. It leans heavily on ideas and insights from Agile, Design Thinking, Lean, Jobs-to-Be-Done, Customer Centricity, and Innovation practices but is not limited to any one of them.

Product culture is not limited to the function of product management, nor to the tech industry. It emerges when many functions come together with a shared mission to make any company successful by repeatably making customers successful.

The Five Principles of Product Culture

  1. Customer-driven mission

  2. Outcome over output or process

  3. Leadership over management

  4. Team over function

  5. Technology is a core asset

The idea of "this over that" above indicates that product people share certain values, holding that they are more important than other (also legitimate) values. Subscribe below to ONE THING on Product Culture, and be part of the conversation as we refine and expand upon the principles laid out here together.