Lately, there has been a rise in the discussion on the ethics of product management and its needs. Harvard Business Review has warned that the failure to consider the ethical implications of new technologies could lead to serious consequences such as xenophobia, the undermining of democracy, and the worsening of general equality. News about data breaches, and the invasion of privacy has become increasingly common. Before the rapid growth of technology, our acts were limited by our scientific and technological weaknesses. But now, when we have boundless technological power, there is a need to reign it in control and limit our actions as per our own judgement, which is nothing but our ethics. When creating a product, product managers try to fulfil a single goal, which is to solve the user’s problem. But once it comes into use, there are often ways in which it can come to harm the user. A good example of the importance of tech ethics is Facebook’s efforts to clarify that their products and technologies do not steal data from the user or sell it to other companies. Data breaches and invasion have blurred the lines between reality and virtual reality and uncovered the unintended consequences of the government’s security measures. Product managers need to think about the misapplications of a product while designing it which will reduce the advent of such user issues and make the product safe to use. This is why product management and tech ethics go hand in hand. Read on to know why you need tech ethics and how it can be beneficial to any product manager.
Why Tech Ethics Are Important
Ethically speaking, there is always a single thought behind designing a new product- to increase the convenience of the user in the best possible way. This means making sure that the product does not come to harm the end-user in any way, especially with your knowledge of it. All ethics is, is listening to that inner voice that says, this is right and that is wrong. The importance of tech ethics is to leave the world a better place than you found it! This is why there is an essential role of ethics in product management.
Why Tech Ethics Need To Be Adopted By Product Managers
Apart from creating better products for the user, there are several reasons why product managers can benefit from following product management best practices by incorporating ethics. Here are some reasons why better ethics for product managers is the best bet for everybody and will lead to success as a PM.
Gives A Competitive Advantage
When a company claims that it follows ethical practices and principles, it gives them the edge they need to compete against other companies. It becomes a reason for people to trust your product and bring in sales. For example, Apple claims it safeguards the information of its customers and doesn’t collect or sell any of it. This becomes an advertising point that ultimately proves an advantage to their company.
Creates Hiring Advantage
People are more likely to work at companies that align with their values and have a healthy company culture. Product managers that take tech ethics seriously are likely to get a hiring advantage, especially from younger generations. When the company core values align with that of the workers, productivity rises and chances of walkouts or disagreements decrease.
What Are Product Management Best Practices?
There are several things that a product manager and his team should think about before designing or launching a product. Are you compromising on the quality of your product to get it into the market quicker, who can get positively or negatively affected by your innovations, can you improve your user experience by changing the way you do things? These are the many questions that we need to pause and think about as they have potentially large consequences. If you want to know how to be an ethical product manager, here are some things you can do:
Listen To Your Team
All those who are a part of your process, such as analysts, designers, developers, even partners across the business, have some amount of valuable experience that needs to be heard. They can provide insights as to how a product can affect a particular type of user when it’s not visible to you. Keep a safe and welcoming environment for your employees, choose to hire from diverse groups of populations and genders which eliminates bias and makes you open to a vast number of ideas.
Read Customer Feedback and Reviews
A product manager is always getting feedback regarding their product from a lot of people. The experiences of your customers are the most important piece of the puzzle to creating the best product in the market. This is why it is important to pay attention to their reviews and contemplate whether their problems can be solved reasonably.
Follow A Process and Establish Better Ethics For Product Managers
A company does not always incorporate ethical considerations into the protocol for product management and it is up to the product managers to come up with the moral and ethical implications of your product. Here are some basic steps you can follow to bring about an ethical technology strategy and product management:
1. Determine whether your initiative may cause any ethical issues or problems.
2. Determine who might be impacted by your idea and how.
3. Determine what each person or party affected by the problem would like you to do about it.
4. Determine which steps are reasonable for you to take action on.
5. Determine the possible ramifications of your choices.
6. Make a decision about what to do next.