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Amy Johnson | Chief Product Officer PropelJan 11, 2024 10:57:32 AM2 min read

Product-Led Engineering, the way to go. Need Proof?

There's something exciting about seeing numbers that confirm what you've been seeing in the field. At Propel, we've noticed a trend that's now backed by hard data from a McKinsey Report.

Simply put, companies that really have their act together when it comes to product-led engineering are not just a little ahead—they're leaps and bounds beyond their competition. We're talking about a whopping 60% higher returns to shareholders and a 16% bigger slice of operating margins compared to those trailing behind.

The report zeroes in on a product-led mindset as the secret for achieving exceptional business outcomes and the most engaged customers.

And while it seems obvious that culture and talent management is strongly correlated to innovation, I was surprised to see that tooling was even more so. This isn't just about the platforms that help capture ideas or manage the flow of work; it extends to embracing Generative AI, to accelerate generating code, translating it, creating documentation, and testing it with an efficiency that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.

Where to Begin?

The research points to a handful of starting blocks:

  • Define how your product team works together with clear roles and responsibilities.
  • Make sure what they're working on aligns with the big-picture business goals.
  • Fund projects based on progress toward outcomes.
  • Manage technical debt — make decisions today that you will be thankful for tomorrow.
  • Choose tools that nurture a product culture — customer centred, link to vision and strategy, encourage experimentation and learning.

While these are all important, I think there's a bit too much focus on the process and not enough on the destination. At Propel, we see these 5 foundational pillars in place at the most successful product organisations:

  • A vision that paints a picture of the change you want to bring into the world.
  • A strategy that maps out the journey to that vision.
  • A team organization that's all about delivering value.
  • Roadmaps tied to outcomes you're aiming for.
  • Success metrics that everyone can rally behind.

Begin with a vision that reflects the change your product aims to make in the world over the next 3-5 years and chart a course to realise it. Structure teams around delivering value and construct roadmaps that are outcome-oriented.

It's not just about having a process; that's the easy bit. It's about where you are heading. And remember, if you want people to follow a process, you need to engage them in defining and implementing it.


Amy Johnson | Chief Product Officer Propel

A product leader, passionate about empowering teams and fostering inclusion. Multi industry experience, now leading the product team at Propel, where we partner with you to accelerate your product development and achieve product market fit faster.