Empowered Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2020-12-03
  • Publisher: Wiley
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


What is it about the top tech product companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Netflix and Tesla that enables their record of consistent innovation?  

Most people think it’s because these companies are somehow able to find and attract a level of talent that makes this innovation possible. But the real advantage these companies have is not so much who they hire, but rather how they enable their people to work together to solve hard problems and create extraordinary products. 

As legendary Silicon Valley coach--and coach to the founders of several of today’s leading tech companies--Bill Campbell said, “Leadership is about recognizing that there's a greatness in everyone, and your job is to create an environment where that greatness can emerge.” 

The goal of EMPOWERED is to provide you, as a leader of product management, product design, or engineering, with everything you’ll need to create just such an environment. 

As partners at The Silicon Valley Product Group, Marty Cagan and Chris Jones have long worked to reveal the best practices of the most consistently innovative companies in the world. A natural companion to the bestseller INSPIRED, EMPOWERED tackles head-on the reason why most companies fail to truly leverage the potential of their people to innovate: product leadership. 

The book covers:

  • what it means to be an empowered product team, and how this is different from the “feature teams” used by most companies to build technology products
  • recruiting and coaching the members of product teams, first to competence, and then to reach their potential
  • creating an inspiring product vision along with an insights-driven product strategy
  • translating that strategy into action by empowering teams with specific objectives—problems to solve—rather than features to build
  • redefining the relationship of the product teams to the rest of the company
  • detailing the changes necessary to effectively and successfully transform your organization to truly empowered product teams

EMPOWERED puts decades of lessons learned from the best leaders of the top technology companies in your hand as a guide. It shows you how to become the leader your team and company needs to not only survive but thrive.

Author Biography

MARTY CAGAN is the founder of the Silicon Valley Product Group, sharing senior-level experience and best practices with leading technology companies. He is an in-demand global speaker, advisor, author and executive coach. Before starting SVPG, Marty served as a product executive for some of the most successful companies in the world, including Hewlett- Packard, Netscape Communications, and eBay. He is the author of the bestselling INSPIRED: How To Create Tech Products Customers Love.

CHRIS JONES has spent more than 25 years building and leading product teams that defined new product categories at companies including Lookout, Symantec, and Vontu. A holder of multiple patents, he has discovered and developed new products in consumer and enterprise mobile, web, data, and platform services. Since joining SVPG, Chris has worked directly with over 100 companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies across a wide variety of technologies, business models, and industries.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Behind Every Great Company               6

Callout: Product Discovery           13

Chapter 2: The Role Of Technology          15

Callout: The Technology Leader 19

Chapter 3: Strong Product Leadership     21

Chapter 4: Empowered Product Teams  28

Chapter 5: Leadership In Action 30

Chapter 6: A Guide To EMPOWERED        31

Part II: COACHING           34

Chapter 7: The Coaching Mindset             36

Callout: Alternatives to Manager as Coach            42

Chapter 8: The Assessment         44

Chapter 9: The Coaching Plan      52

Callout: Coaching Tech Leads      66

Callout: Coaching Product Designers       68

Callout: LOVED  70

Chapter 10: The One on One       74

Chapter 11: The Written Narrative           83

Chapter 12: Strategic Context     87

Chapter 13: Sense of Ownership 92

Callout: The Power of Equity       97

Chapter 14: Managing Time         99

Chapter 15: Thinking       103

Chapter 16: Team Collaboration 106

Chapter 17: Stakeholder Collaboration   112

Callout: Building the Foundation for Trust             114

Chapter 18: Imposter Syndrome 116

Chapter 19: Customer-Centricity               119

Chapter 20: Integrity      123

Chapter 21: Decisions     129

Chapter 22: Effective Meetings  136

Chapter 23: Ethics            140

Chapter 24: Happiness   145

Callout: The Greatest Coach        150

Chapter 25: Leader Profile—Lisa Kavanaugh         152

Part III: STAFFING            156

Chapter 26: Competence and Character 159

Chapter 27: Recruiting   164

Callout: Making Recruiting a Priority        167

Callout: Outsourcing       169

Chapter 28: Interviewing              171

Callout: My Favorite Interview Question 174

Chapter 29: Hiring            176

Callout: Span of Control 178

Chapter 30: Remote Employees 181

Chapter 31: Onboarding                186

Callout: APM Programs  189

Chapter 32: New Employee Bootcamp    193

Chapter 33: Performance Reviews           197

Chapter 34: Terminating               199

Chapter 35: Promoting  202

Callout: Retention           204

Chapter 36: Leader Profile—April Underwood    205

Part IV: Product Vision and Principles      209

Chapter 37: Creating A Compelling Vision              211

Callout: Who Owns the Product Vision? 215

Chapter 38: Sharing The Product Vision  216

Callout: Sharing Product Vision vs. Roadmaps      220

Callout: Product Vision and Architecture 222

Chapter 39: Product Principles and Ethics              223

Chapter 40: Leader Profile—Audrey Crane           225

Part V: TEAM TOPOLOGY              230

Chapter 41: Optimizing for Empowerment           233

Chapter 42: Team Types               238

Chapter 43: Empowering Platform Teams              242

Chapter 44: Empowering Experience Teams         246

Callout: Topology and Design      250

Callout: Topology and Reporting Structure            252

Chapter 45: Topology and Proximity        253

Chapter 46: Topology Evolution 257

Chapter 47: Leader Profile—Debby Meredith      260


Chapter 48: Focus            270

Chapter 49: Insights        277

Callout: Vision Pivots      285

Chapter 50: Actions         286

Chapter 51: Management            289

Chapter 52: Leader Profile—Shan-Lyn Ma             292

Part VII: TEAM OBJECTIVES          295

Chapter 53: Empowerment         300

Chapter 54: Assignment 307

Callout: Longer-Term Objectives               311

Chapter 55: Ambition     313

Chapter 56: Commitments           316

Chapter 57: Collaboration             320

Chapter 58: Management            323

Chapter 59: Accountability           326

Callout: Attribution of Key Results            328

Chapter 60: Objectives In Perspective     330

Chapter 61: Leader Profile—Christina Wodtke    333

Part VIII: CASE STUDY     337

Chapter 62: Company Backgrounder       340

Chapter 63: Company Objectives              342

Chapter 64: Product Vision and Principles              344

Chapter 65: Team Topology         345

Chapter 66: Product Strategy      351

Chapter 67: Product Team Objectives     361

Callout: Level of Ambition            370

Chapter 68: Business Results       371

Chapter 69: Key Takeaways         373

Chapter 70: Leader Profile—Judy Gibbons            376


Chapter 71: The Role Of Product Leaders               382

Chapter 72: Stakeholder Management vs. Collaboration 386

Callout: The Agency Model          388

Chapter 73: Shared Insights And Learning              390

Chapter 74: Keeping The Lights On           392

Chapter 75: Evangelism 394

Chapter 76: Leader Profile—Avid Larizadeh Duggan          397

Part X: INSPIRED, EMPOWERED And Transformed             402

Chapter 77: Meaningful Transformation 403

Callout: The Cost of Transformation         405

Chapter 78: Transformation In Action      407

Chapter 79: TRANSFORMED        415

Chapter 80: The Most Important Thing   418

Chapter 81: The Destination        422

Acknowledgments          426

About the Authors           429

Learning More  431

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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