More on diversity

I’ve already written about diversity and why it is so important for product development. As a quick summary of that article, there are two main reasons that motivates building diverse product development teams:

  • Diversity brings new points of view. 
  • Just as the customer group that uses your software is diverse, so should your team. 

The second reason was discussed at length in my previous article and in many other articles about diversity on the internet, specially on gender diversity. For this reason, I’d like to go a bit deeper on the first reason.

Perspectives diversity

In my previous article I explained that “having a more diverse product development team brings new insights and new ways of thinking, which will help you develop a better product. It is no wonder that the product development team is made up of software engineers, user experience designers and product managers. Each one has a different perspective of what a good product is and these differences are what help create a better product, when the differences are well worked out by the team.”

Sometime ago I heard the following phrase:

The fact that two people disagree doesn’t necessarily mean that one of them is wrong.

It really made me thing on diversity of perspectives. This has to do with empathy, one of the 7 essential characteristics of a product manager. Empathy is the ability someone has to walk on someone else’s shoes in order to understand her aspirations, motivations, needs and problems. What is her context? How does she see and hear things? What makes her understand things in that perspective?

There’s a nice tool called empathy map that has the purpose to help teams gain a deeper insight into their customers. 

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People have different backgrounds, different histories, different knowledge. We must recognize and respect these differences and understand that sometimes we won’t get to an agreement, but that is ok, as long as we respect each others perspective. Maybe we can create a third perspective from the two different ones. Maybe we can decide to try one of them, or both and see and compare the results.

As long as there are respect and empathy, diversity brings lots of good results for everyone.

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Do you work with digital products? Do you want to know more about how to manage a digital product to increase its chances of success? Check out my book Product Management: How to increase the chances of success of your digital product, based on my almost 30 years of experience in creating and managing digital products.

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