8 ways to build trust as a Product Manager

Trust is one of the key attributes of a lean delivery team. The engineers need to trust the testers, the UX designer needs to trust the engineers and everyone needs to trust the product manager. But how should a rock-star product manager go about building trust with their team?

1. Cultivate relationships.

Spend time in and out of work with your team members. Understand what makes them tick, what they do outside of work, are they married, do they have kids, what do they like to eat?

Building solid work relationships is key to the smooth running of a team and forms the foundations of a trusting partnership.

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2. Always be approachable

Make sure the team know where you are and where they can contact you in case they have questions.

The very best Product Managers need to have an “I’ve always got time for you” manner about them, so always be receptive.

3. Ask your team what they think

Problems are solved as a team. Get everyone involved in the details but be firm about the overall goal. This will pay dividends in the long run. Bare in mind your team need to know what the boundaries are. You don’t want developers dictating the user experience. That’s the UX designer’s job ☺

Let your team be creative with the solutions and give them space to express their skills.

4. Stick to your word

“I’ll make the changes by the end of the day”. If you say you’ll do it, make sure you do. You’ll earn a massive amount of trust by doing what you say you will.

Many times I come across people in all sectors of a business that say they’ll do something and not come through. Your word must be watertight.

5. Be the expert

Do you know your customer? The data? The market? The business? The product?

Make yourself one of the experts in in the company. A figure head. Someone people trust will have the knowledge of where the business is heading and what the competition are doing to eat up your success.

6. Help reduce bottlenecks

Are your testers struggling to cope with the number of things they need to test? Does the scrum master have lots of tasks to do but not enough time to do them in? Offer to help where possible.

It’s probably not feasible to write code, but helping your QA team is worthwhile to keep your team flowing. But remember point 4 though — if you say you will — do!

7. Be transparent

Are your stakeholders expecting a feature to launch at a specific point in time? let the team know when and why.

It’s up to the team to push back and negotiate scope if hitting that date is unlikely. But the fact you told the team gives you a bonus point as no one is left second guessing each other.

8. Praise the team, publicly

Praise and recognition are one of the key reasons people enjoy where they work and software delivery teams love to lap up the limelight!

If your team has launched a new feature successfully, let the company know whose hard work went into it during your sprint review / demo. Don’t do it too often though as you might come across a bit insincere.

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