What is your product’s belief system?
BlogProduct Development
Product Development

What is your product’s belief system?

Andrew Childs
Chief Design Officer and Co-founder of Shortcut
January 29, 2019

Like many maturing startups, we’ve taken the time at Shortcut to articulate mission and vision statements, company values, yearly and quarterly strategies, and OKRs. For a rapidly growing company, all of the above has been critical in keeping us rowing in the same direction.

We’ve just hired several new employees (we’re still hiring, btw!), and I’m providing them with an overview of the Shortcut product vision as well as a deeper understanding of why we started building Shortcut. We didn’t have this written down, so I found it interesting that, while writing it down, it started to sound like a belief system. Here’s where it ended up:

The Shortcut Belief System™

  • We believe that software teams are more than just engineering and product. Software teams encompass design, QA, customer success/support, marketing, sales, design, all working together in concert.
  • We believe software teams that work together and collaborate in the same tool are healthier and more productive. When each functional team has its own source of truth, that can create silos, friction, and conflict.
  • We believe every software team is unique, and that there is no one-size-fits-all process. If a team has their own lightweight, ad hoc process that is letting them focus on execution, that’s great —  we shouldn’t make them feel like they’re “doing it wrong” just because they’re not following Scrum or Kanban by the book.
  • We believe that a little bit of process goes a long way and that too much process can create a rigid, overly-controlled environment.
  • We believe that when you default to trusting and respecting your team  — e.g., by sharing ownership over larger chunks of work, and involving them in the conversation, early and often — your team will be healthier and more productive, and you’ll end up making better products.
  • We believe diverse software teams make better products. Product design at its core is about empathy and understanding human behavior, and having a diverse team means you become exposed to a broader frame of references, experiences, and perspectives, all of which inform the way you reason about and design your product.

Incidentally, this to me is one of the reasons why our rebranding project with Ueno turned out so well — the resulting creative and visual direction managed to capture our belief system really well.

Mission and vision statements are essential ways to communicate “here’s where we are today, and here’s where we want to go.” But beyond that, being able to articulate a product belief system can help communicate “here’s what led us to start this company in the first place, and what led us to where we are today”, which to me feels like the bedrock on which things like your mission, vision, values, and strategies are built on.

What would a belief system for your product look like? Share it with us on Twitter or write your own article and let us know.

No items found.
Share this Shortcut story
Enjoy your work
Project management software should be helpful, not a hassle.