Can development partners take over product decisions?

Let’s explore why the answer is no and why a collaborative approach is essential.
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Companies often look to external development partners to work together on bringing their products to life. But can these partners take over product decisions?

It’s not our responsibility

Our role as a development partner is to provide technical expertise, talent and support. The success of a product lies with the product manager. Our job is to ensure we deliver the best technical solution — not steer the product's direction. 

No direct access to stakeholders

A product manager is in a rather unique position at any company. They can communicate and negotiate directly with founders, sales teams, marketing, or support departments. Admission to all permitted information enables them to acquire significant viewpoints for decision-making. External dev teams don’t have that level of access to the company and, as a result, can't replicate the same depth of understanding.

No deep understanding of the market

Product managers should be deeply involved in the market. They constantly align with stakeholders, representing the company in various opportunities such as research, performing interviews,  and user feedback. If development partners were responsible for these duties, there might be a tendency to optimize functionality that may not completely align with what the users actually want.

Collaboration is key

Software houses play a critical role in building successful products. But we get the best results by working together with the product managers of our clients. This collaboration ensures: 

- Alignment on the product vision.
- Clarity on what needs to be built.
- Rapid feedback and iteration on our work.
In short, while development partners are invaluable, they should complement, not replace, the product team's decision-making process. Working together ensures that every product we build meets the highest standards and truly satisfies user needs.

By maintaining this collaborative approach, we can ensure that each project succeeds, leveraging the strengths of internal product teams and external development partners.
Written by: Leopold van Oosten, on June 11, 2024
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