Don’t Just Tell Me What to Build

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By Gabriel Damalis and Juan Vildosola

March 19, 2024

We want to hear more developers say “Don’t just tell me what to build”. When it comes to product development, while it’s true that product managers lead the charge, we believe fostering a space where all participating professionals have a say can enrich the product as well as the teams behind them. More and more, professionals involved in these development processes, like us, feel that our work is about more than just wanting autonomy; it’s about coming together to create something meaningful. We’re talking about a collaborative space where everyone’s ideas shape the products we make. As product managers, our job is way more than just listing features, and as software developers we can do more than just tick those boxes. It’s about giving context, making sure everyone gets the big picture, and most importantly, understanding where our users are coming from. This isn’t just about finding solutions; it’s about finding ones that really connect with people and hold their own in a competitive market.

This shift to a more empowered engineering culture shows just how crucial it is for product managers and developers to work hand in hand. We’re talking about a real partnership—one that pushes our product vision forward together. The value of getting developers involved in more than just coding is being acknowledged more widely, encouraging all parts in a project to contribute to it from more than a simple execution point of view. Let’s explore the main aspects of this transformation together:

Empowering Engineers with Ownership

When we give engineers the reins for small tasks or features, we’re not just handing off work; we’re fostering a sense of trust and ownership. It’s about encouraging them to make decisions on their own, all in line with what the team’s aiming for. When engineers feel this trust, and feel part of the creation process instead of just operators, their motivation soars and leads to better work, more satisfaction, and even more quality and innovation.

Fostering a Culture of Engaged Collaboration

We’re all about active participation —it’s at the heart of our culture at Arionkoder. We believe in being open and transparent, whether we’re diving into big strategic decisions or discussing smaller project details. That’s why we love using tools like Miro boards, Google Meet or Slack channels: they give everyone a chance to chime in, ask questions, share ideas, metrics, or even flag up bugs. It’s all about enriching the conversation with different perspectives and making sure everyone’s voice is heard.

Turning Debate into Action and Accountability

There’s something powerful about turning a healthy debate into actionable decisions: it’s a key part of how we work together, making sure everyone is accountable for what they bring to the table. Recently, we had a conversation about getting engineers more involved in shaping their tasks and writing clear acceptance criteria for their tickets. We suggested that engineers write their own tasks, since they understand the goals and context of the project. But not everyone was on board. A senior engineering leader was skeptical, saying, “Sure, engineers can write their own tasks, but in the end, it’s the PM who’s accountable and owns the project.” While we see their point, it’s not what we believe a PM’s role is: it should have a more collaborative approach. This back-and-forth really highlighted the importance of clear accountability and trust within teams. It’s about finding that balance where everyone feels empowered, while still recognizing that the PM ultimately holds the project’s success in their hands


By promoting ownership and nurturing a culture of openness and transparency, we’re not just executing strategies; we’re cultivating a true ethos. Embracing open dialogue, welcoming diverse perspectives, and recognizing the unique contributions of every team member goes beyond creating products—it builds teams that are deeply invested in their work and in each other. This shared sense of purpose fuels innovation and guarantees that our products leave a lasting mark, fulfilling our purpose of crafting better futures for humanity.

Would you like to work with a highly motivated team of problem solvers? Reach out to us at and let’s push boundaries together!