Mission teams and digital product development

How to develop a mission team and why it is crucial for Digital Product Management

As Product Managers, we continuously make new demands on the product development team. Our approach can immensely change how the team thinks about the product and how deeply committed they are to its purposes. We can develop an engaged team by bringing them full missions instead of tasks or requirements.

 How to develop a mission team

Setting missions for the team enables them to conceive any possibilities to achieve those misions. It gives them empowerment, so they feel responsible for the product’s success or failure. When it comes to accomplishing a mission, most of the time a mission-driven team will bring cheaper and faster alternatives to the table than those first ideas conceived by stakeholders and product owners.

Let’s imagine a case: you lead an e-commerce app development, and one of its desired requirements is Paypal integration during checkout. Integrations shouldn’t be merely about API documentation, Soap or Rest services, parameters, authentication tokens, etc. These pieces of information are definitely valuable, but your team must know the reason behind using them. In this case, one hypothesis is that Paypal integration could increase checkout conversion by 20%. That larger, overarching goal should be the team’s mission.

Otherwise, they will complete a task by finishing this integration, and then they will naturally move on to the next backlog item.

However, after finishing development, the next step is to measure the conversion rate improvement. Have we achieved our mission? If not, the team will seek out other alternatives, create other hypotheses, and manage efforts to validate those.

How to develop a mission team

With this approach, team members are more self-sufficient when it comes to missions. They become passionate about the product and strive to make it work. They view a successful outcome as a business achievement, even if the delivered scope ends up completely different from what was initially conceived. They stand for it, disseminating this concept to the product’s stakeholders and other interested parties.

Attaining business goals shouldn’t be only up to the product’s manager, but also the intent of the entire development team. And the best path to cultivate this level of engagement is by sharing business missions with them.

By Evellyn Zagui de Almeida, Product Manager 


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