Product teams exist to serve customers

Empowered Product Teams is another gem of a post from Marty Cagan. This part stood out to me:

In most companies, technology teams exist “to serve the business.” That is very often the literal phrase you will hear. But even if they aren’t explicit about it, the different parts of the business end up driving what is actually built by the technology teams.

However, in contrast, in strong product organizations, teams exist for a very different purpose. They exist “to serve the customers, in ways that meet the needs of the business.”

The distinction is subtle, but important. If you only serve “the business”, you’re going to make decisions without asking whether something is user-hostile or not (see, for example, scroll-jacking, or Twitter’s tendency to “forget” that you prefer a timeline that shows latest tweets). Bringing customer needs into any conversation about business needs is the way to build something that’s profitable and sustainable.