Firms can avoid build traps by ensuring product managers hold a strategy-level (rather than feature-level) approach to delivering value to customers. A build trap would be measuring firm success by sales or outputs rather than maximizing customer value.
How to avoid build traps:
- Allow product managers to discover and investigate "known unknowns" and scrutinize the "why" of what they are doing
- Create an ongoing line of communication with customers to understand the problems they face
- Organize product teams around strategic goals rather than features (so each may prioritize the most important initiatives)
- Determine strategic goals by asking "How do we streamline the way customers receive value?" and optimizing those flow points
- Ensuring strategy is a vision, not a string of products
- Measure success of product manager by progress toward strategic goal and problems solved, not revenue generated
The tricky balance is giving both strategic and feature-level autonomy to product managers while minimizing levels of management.