“Products today – it’s not some product manager that has an epiphany. That’s not how it works. Product, design, engineering, [work] side by side. In fact, I’m not afraid to say the little-known secret in product is that the single biggest source of innovation, consistently, is not the product manager, is not even the designer. The biggest source of innovation is typically the engineers, especially when the lead engineer is participating in product discovery. And the reason for that is because they best understand the technology and what’s possible. I argue that if you’re just using your developers to code, you’re only getting half their value.”
I totally agree. I can't tell you the number of times an engineer has come to me with a brilliant idea.
In the article, Cagan also describes the value of co-located, cross-functional teams. As I've said for years, friends build products. You just can't be successful if you don't like or respect the members on your team.