EMPOWERED: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products

EMPOWERED: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products

by Marty Cagan, Chris Jones


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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on December 3, 2020


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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119691297
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 12/03/2020
Series: Silicon Valley Product Group Series
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 45,229
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

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


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


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


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


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


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

Customer Reviews