In this Age of Product series, Microsoft former Product Lead and Products That Count CPO James Gray sat down with Nita Maheswaren, IBM former Product Lead, current Pivotree Director of Product, and the Toronto Head of Chapter here at Products that Count. Nita also serves as a member of the Awards Advisory Board for the upcoming Product Awards occurring in March 2021.

This is the first in a series hosted by James Gray on the specific superpowers needed by product leaders at different stages of the product lifecycle. The full episode can be heard here at Products At Count and through iTunes and Spotify. Tune in next week, 10/21, for the next episode in the series.

On collaboration as a product superpower

During his conversation with James, Nita focused on the importance of collaboration between product teams. Primarily, he noted the importance of building trust when working between teams. Diving deeper, he presented the different traits every product leader needs when working with different teams and the benefits of a product acceleration platform. He noted that accountability is a major part of aiding the collaboration process and that it’s necessary for product leaders to be constantly learning the discipline of product leading. In fact, challenging your thinking through outside sources helps open new pathways to innovation.

“Collaboration is what drives growth and innovation.”

“Focusing on customer experience and collaborating with an end goal of improved customer experience is a critical part of that stage.

“In terms of collaboration, the key ones are customer-focused accountability, communicating according to the audience, being detail-oriented, and being responsible.”

On how building trust aids collaboration

More and more each day industries and companies are collaborating on products. In fact, the term “colab” has morphed into a marketing device all of its own. As expected, the challenge lies in finding the best ways for teams to manage that collaboration. Continuing the theme, Nita emphasized that building a culture of trust is vital for success when collaborating across teams.

“A critical part of getting the product out is building trust, and there’s no better way to build trust than to be accountable. Deliver on the things that you’ve communicated. It builds trust, which ensures that we are all working towards the right vision and mission together.”

On the qualities of a product acceleration platform

With the Age of Product upon us, it’s the perfect time for well-oiled product teams to truly shine. Of course, building a smoothly run team comes with a clear set of challenges. This is exactly where such a platform provides benefit. A product acceleration platform leaves teams with the tools, skills, and techniques they need in order to excel in today’s market.

“A product acceleration platform ensures that the same set of best practices and processes are shared across all teams in an organization, which is important for building a consistent culture.”

“It brings an angle of mentorship from folks that have been extremely successful in product management. A product acceleration platform provides expertise and challenges that you might not find in a book or even a podcast. This kind of platform provides that level of detail, to mentor and grow the next generation of product management.”

“I think it brings consistency to the best practices and processes that a product management team within an organization needs. Additionally, you benefit from the expertise and insight that a senior set of mentors can provide.”


About the speaker
Nita Maheswaren Pivotree, Director, Product Management Member

I'm passionate about taking new products to market, driving product strategy and winning in a competitive market. Complexity just adds to the fun! I've served in various technical and leadership roles in my past decade at IBM and Pivotree. My background and experience enable me to seamlessly switch between big picture thinking and handling fire-drills all in the same hour.

About the host
James Gray James Gray Innovations LLC, Founder

Seasoned executive with three decades of experience envisioning, building, and operating software products and mission-critical platforms at startups to large organizations such as Microsoft. Throughout his career, James has held a diverse set of roles and developed expertise across leadership, product management, data science, IT operations, consulting, software engineering, and sales. As Chief Product Officer at Products That Count, he leads an online platform to help organizations learn the craft of product management and win as a market leader. As a coach, he leads mastermind circles to facilitate peer-to-peer learning across product management executives. As a podcast host, he interviews CEOs of companies held within Mighty Capital’s portfolio. Creator of the Career Strategy Framework and an online platform that teaches and coaches professionals how to reach their full career potential. Learn more at

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