PRODUCTHEAD: Trust and transparency

PRODUCTHEAD: Trust and transparency

PRODUCTHEAD is a regular newsletter of product management goodness,
curated by Jock Busuttil.

fake product trees #


Humility and authenticity go a long way in building trust

It is hard both to share data when expected, and to do so in a way that is trustworthy and acceptable to the public

“Nobody ever read a simple sentence and thought ‘well, that was too easy to understand.’”

With care it is possible to create valuable products with user data while maintaining trustworthiness

a favour: please share this with other product people

every PRODUCTHEAD edition is online for you to refer back to


Up there with coaching questions such as “how do I mind-control my stakeholders?” is “how do I get my team / stakeholders to trust me?”

Trust is tricky because it takes time and you have to work hard to earn it from people. In contrast it is very quick and easy to lose. And while you might consider yourself to be a trustworthy soul, you can’t compel people to trust you.

You lose people’s trust when they feel that you’re not telling them the whole story, or are misleading them in some way.

Another way to lose trust is when ‘what you say you’ll do’ and ‘what you actually do’ don’t stack up.

You can also lose trust if you fail to demonstrate you can do something adequately well.

You can think of these three trust factors as communication, contract and competence.

Ways you can engender trust would be to work and communicate transparently, showing the good and bad alike; to ensure that you do what you said you would do; and to show that you can do it competently.

Work like this over a period of time, and people will begin to trust you.

Speak to you soon,


what to think about this week

Building trust as a product manager

Through this post, I’ll walk through what it means for PMs to earn trust, how to build that trust through relationships, and how to approach each of those relationships to grow yourself, your team, and your product.

How to build strong relationships

[Zakir Tyebjee / Medium]

Presenting data: 5 tips for making your data understandable

In this role and in my day job as a statistician for DWP Digital, I tell stories with data.

Sometimes these stories help teams to make decisions about whether a change they made to a process has worked, or if they need to try something else. Or sometimes the stories make government data available to the public in an easy-to-understand way.

You are not your audience

[Catherine Hope / Department for Work and Pensions]

Trustworthy data sharing

It’s easy to argue for more data sharing in the public sector. This would enable more innovation, make it easier to deliver personalised services and make the government more efficient. Right?

But what about privacy?

How best to maintain public trust when working with personal data?

A matrix of key questions to ask when working with data

[Sam Cannicott / Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation]

Introducing the ODI Trustworthy Data Stewardship Guidebook

By operating in a trustworthy way, organisations should be able to create value while limiting harms; and are more likely to be trusted by the people, organisations and ecosystems they interact with and rely upon.

Trust and trustworthiness are therefore key – both to data having societal and economic value; and to companies and organisations realising the value of their services, products and ecosystems.

Build trust, demonstrate trustworthiness

[Charlotte Mitchell & others / ODI]

recent posts

As head of product, should I be a player-manager, or hire and delegate?

“There’s plenty that needs doing with the products. I could focus on the hiring process, but the only product manager on my team has their hands full, so I can’t delegate any more to them. I could get stuck in with the products myself as a player-manager, but this means I won’t have time to hire.”

Find the right balance

[I Manage Products]

Billion-dollar platforms — how they did it

I was asked recently whether platforms will conquer the world. My view? They already have. In this article I share how they’ve done it, and how you can successfully bring your own platform to market.

The ingredients for success

[I Manage Products]

An exercise in stakeholder alignment

When your stakeholders each have their own interpretations of the product strategy, this lack of stakeholder alignment will cause you no end of problems. Here’s what you can do about it.

A practical exercise you can run

[I Manage Products]

The 4 unintended side-effects of risk aversion and what to do about them

When we become more worried about risk, four unintended things also tend to happen: bottlenecking, erosion of trust, ossification of process, and a risk appetite that tends towards zero. Here’s what you can do about them.

It’s all about the safety net

[I Manage Products]

can we help you?

Product People is a product management services company. We can help you through consultancy, training and coaching. Just contact us if you need our help!

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Helping people build better products, more successfully, since 2012.

PRODUCTHEAD is a newsletter for product people of all varieties, and is lovingly crafted from a machine that could not, in fact, detect diseases from a drop of blood.

Read more from Jock

The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner's Guide To Product Management

by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock Busuttil is a product management and leadership coach, product leader and author. He has spent over two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy, coaching and training. Its clients include BBC, University of Cambridge, Ometria, Prolific and the UK’s Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). Jock holds a master’s degree in Classics from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the popular book The Practitioner’s Guide To Product Management, which was published in January 2015 by Grand Central Publishing in the US and Piatkus in the UK. He writes the blog I Manage Products and weekly product management newsletter PRODUCTHEAD. You can find him on Mastodon, X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn.

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