The Rope Team of a Product Manager

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While listening to a motivational speech by Erik Weihenmayer …..A key question he asked the audience resonated with me. “Who is your rope team?” Who is your team with whom you can walk into a storm, have complete trust, and together, have the courage to face adversity?

With a rope team, everyone has a different role, a different way to see the situation, and is tied together with a common vision. It’s these key elements along with trust the enables a rope team to walk into the storm. They are only successful when they work together, leveraging each other’s strengths in the group.


In the world of Product Management, who is the rope team? The most successful rope teams in my Product Management journey have been a wide range of stakeholders. They have included strategic customers, engineers, architects, services, sales, and support. Each member of the rope group gives a different perspective to the vision. In fact, it’s the rope group that can help you, as a product manager, both adjust the vision and make the vision real. It’s my various rope teams during my career that have helped shape an idea or a thought into a product. It’s the rope teams that have enabled me to look at a customer business challenge from a completely different angle, enabling the team to build a better product.

Many product managers are Type A personalities and love to be in control and lead the group. I initially struggled with working in collaborative groups (aka rope teams). However, after working with some amazing leaders over the years, I have learned the value of being a MEMBER of the rope team. I have learned that if one element of the rope is broken or falls, the entire group is impacted. Each element of your rope group is tied together and dependent on each other. There is no one formal leader in a rope group. Each member is interdependent with each other to solve the problem. As product managers, we need to embrace rope teams as the key to building successful products.

Who is your rope team?