4 min read

Build. Learn. Iterate.

Applying the product development process to building thriving teams. Insights from Product Leader Chiedza Muguti.

Xena Tech Summit 2024

Chiedza Muguti, a seasoned product leader, has seamlessly blended her passion for people and creativity into a thriving career. Rooted in the wisdom passed down by her grandmothers, she has honed her leadership approach around principles of: empathy, consistency, dignity, fairness, and respect. She actively supports STEM initiatives and Berlin communities for minoritised people working in tech. In 2022 and 2023, she was the host of the Black Girls Tech Summit.

Chiedza is also Xena’s Leadership Award Winner 2023. Get to know her leadership style, tips on overcoming career challenges and more here.

It’s no surprise that Chiedza joined us on stage at the Product & Development Track to share insights on how can we create effective leadership and team dynamics.

In product management, the iterative process is a given. Get a Minimum Loveable Product out there; test it; take note of the lessons you learn and iterate always with a goal to reach targets and succeed. This same mindset can be applied to product teams. Leaders can repurpose this process for their teams and get them even more involved in building an amazing team environment in which everyone can all thrive.

Shall we delve into the principles that have propelled Chiedza’s career and influenced her leadership style?

Spoiler! Muguti’s approach lies in three pillars:Build, Learn, and Iterate. Keep reading to find out what does that mean.

Let’s Build.

Building a successful team starts with meticulous planning and execution. Muguti emphasises the importance of:

Workforce planning and forecasting:
Anticipating future needs and aligning resources accordingly.

Talent acquisition:
Recruiting individuals who not only possess the necessary skills but also align with the team’s values.

Providing a structured onboarding process to integrate new members seamlessly.

Regular check-ins and coaching:
Nurturing team members’ growth through continuous feedback and support.

Relationship development and maintenance:
Fostering a culture of collaboration and trust among team members.

Team processes and ways of working:
Establishing efficient workflows and methodologies.

Cross-functional collaboration:
Breaking down silos and promoting collaboration across departments.

Let’s Learn.

Continuous learning is essential for personal and professional growth. Muguti advocates for:

Creating channels for open communication through regular one-on-one meetings and skip-level discussions.

Forums for exchanging ideas:
Facilitating discussions where team members can share insights and perspectives.

Talent success:
Recognising and nurturing individual strengths within the team.

Continuous adjustments:
Embracing a mindset of adaptation and improvement.

Regular checking for comprehension:
Ensuring clarity and understanding among team members.


Let’s Iterate.

Adaptability is key in today’s rapidly evolving landscape. Muguti emphasises the importance of:

Developing a learning organisation:
Cultivating a culture where learning and growth are embedded into the fabric of the team.

Enabling the team to be part of making change happen:
Empowering team members to drive innovation and improvement.

Change management:
Effectively managing transitions and embracing change as an opportunity for growth.

Embracing critical feedback for improvement:
Viewing feedback as a catalyst for positive change.

Communicating changes with the outside world:
Ensuring transparency and clarity in communication with stakeholders.

Want to get a closer look at the slides Chiedza used during her talk? Check them out here.

Bonus Pro-tips

Challenges are inevitable but overcoming common obstacles, such as lack of clarity, cultural nuances, communication issues, and balancing competing priorities is possible.

Drawing from her experience, Chiedza shares valuable secrets to success:

Develop and communicate a team vision and strategy:
Aligning the team towards a common goal.

Share the responsibility of making it come to life:
Empowering every team member to contribute to the collective vision.

Stay open to adapting and pivoting:
Embracing flexibility in the face of change.

Community is gold:
Leveraging the support and insights of peers and industry networks.


A MUST read by Chiedza

Make sure to grab a copy Strong Product People by Petra Wille, a practical guide for product leaders at all levels. This book offers valuable tools and frameworks, including the PM Wheel and Future Self template, to navigate the complexities of product leadership.

Together, we are stronger.

Let’s work on your DEI journey of organisational transformation whilst building diverse and inclusive teams.

Hire Diverse Teams

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