The speed and effectiveness of small product teams,
even as you scale.

You don't have to copy the slow, bureaucratic, waterfall ways-of-working to scale your software development.

Our process is the problem

Our current processes optimise the wrong areas

90% of features fail to deliver expected value

We lock in a scope before we validate whether customers really want it.

Work spends 5x more time in queues

We invest in improving efficiency, but the biggest problem is handovers between areas.

Bureacracy growing faster than the team

Management layers and other administrators are growing twice as fast as operators.

There is a better way

ZeroBlockers prioritises effectiveness

It doesn't matter how efficiently you build something if it doesn't solve the right problem.

Toyota revolutionised manufacturing by improving hwo they worked. But it all started with the simple vision of "single-piece flow" and a culture of continuous improvement.

ZeroBlockers shares a similar vision for software development.

Zero blocking dependencies from idea to satisfied customers

The ZeroBlockers Approach


Improve effectiveness by empowering teams.

90% of features fail because we are trying to predict how people's behaviour will change. The truth is we can't know what works until we get it in front of customers.

Product development is a design challenge, not a build challenge.

The same team needs to talk to customers, understand their issues, design solutions, validate them and iterate towards products that customers love.

This means that teams need the authority to decide on the solutions they build to deliver the business outcomes they are responsible for.

Traditional Approach

Idea GenerationSign OffDelivery


Idea GenerationSign OffDelivery
Empowered Stream Teams

Improve efficiency by removing blocking dependencies

As companies scale so too do the dependencies between teams. We try to manage these dependencies with project managers, detailed plans, separation of responsibility, and more.And yet it keeps getting worse.

Dependencies can't be managed - they need to be removed.

On top of not working, our current approach has the side-effect of removing accountability. Since nobody owns the end-to-end process everyone focuses on their part and nobody takes accountability for outcomes.

Traditional Approach

TeamsCodePath to Production
Stream A
Shared Code
Shared Path to Production
Stream B
Stream C


TeamsCodePath to Production
Stream A
Stream B
Stream C

Bridging the gap between theory and practice

The complexity is in the implementation

It is easy to say we should prioritise outcomes over outputs or that we need autonomous, empowered teams.

But it is really hard to do in practice.

How does it work?

We define the team structures, processes, alignment, funding and governance processes.

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How do we know it will be better?

The framework is based on hundereds of case studies so you can be confident that it will work.

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How will we roll it out?

We help teams to do iterative rollouts, learning and adapting as they go.

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How ZeroBlockers Works


Structure with scalable cross-functional teams

Scale without slowing down by creating different cross-functional team types at different product levels.

  1. Stream Teams: Stream Teams build their assigned part of the product from idea to satisfied customers.
  2. Product Teams: Product Teams set the direction for the product and provide funding for Stream Teams.
  3. Ecosystem Teams: Ecosystem teams set the direction for the business unit / company and provide funding for Product Teams.

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Ecosystem Team

Product A
Product B
Stream A
Stream B
Stream C
Stream 1
Stream 2

Fund based on strategy

A stream team is limited by it's size. But the scope is variable.

By allocating a single high prority stream to a team, and multiple lower priority streams to other teams, we can effectively fund the teams according to the strategy.

Strategies change and teams may not perform as expected. By holding weekly business reviews Product Teams can identify issues with the performance of the Stream Teams early and take corrective action, which, in extreme cases, can include stopping funding.

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Stream Team A

Value Stream A

Stream Team B

Value Stream B
Value Stream C
Value Stream D

Stream Team C

Value Stream X
Value Stream Y

Align with purpose and context

If teams are empowered to make decisions they need to understand the context in which they are working because there are many ways to solve a problem.

Stream Teams need to understand the product vision, strategy and current objectives so that they can make decisions that are aligned with the business goals.

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Cascading the vision down to the teams

Govern on outcomes, not outputs

It doesn't matter how much we build. It only matters whether we hit our business goals.

But it's not fair to hold people accountable for outcomes if they don't control the inputs.

Once we have autonomous, empowered teams in place we can shift from tracking outputs to outcomes. Product teams agree the objectives with the Stream Teams and then track performance against those objectives.

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Input Metrics


No correlation to outcomes

Output Metrics


Most features fail to deliver value

Outcome Metrics

Customer Behaviour

The sweet spot

Impact Metrics


Too lagging to provide feedback


Enable high performance by offloading low value work

Cross-functional teams can be inefficient because they need to repeat a lot of the same work. We can improve efficiency by offloading the repetitive, low value tasks.

Internal product teams such as Platform teams, Design System teams and even legal or HR, centralise some of the most common repeated tasks and free up Stream Teams to focus on higher value work.

In addition, we can create Enabling teams, such as ProductOps, DesignOps and DevEx, to identify areas where the Stream Teams can upskill and provide the tools and training to do so.

Product Team

Stream A
Stream B
Stream C
Design System

Case studies

Companies implementing the principles of ZeroBlockers

ZeroBlockers is the result of a decade of research into how real companies are building better products in the real world.


Defining Good


Implementing Dual-Track Agile for Enhanced Collaboration at Autodesk

How adopting dual-track agile improved design and development collaboration at Autodesk, leading to better product outcomes.

Blackboard Insurance

Breaking Down Solutions

Blackboard Insurance

Achieving Organizational Alignment through User Story Mapping

How Blackboard Insurance used user story mapping to enhance organizational alignment and streamline project development processes.


Conducting Primary Generative Research


Continuous Research: The Qualitative Approach of Preply

How Preply implemented continuous research to maintain a deep understanding of user needs, enabling iterative improvements and fostering innovation.

We've always worked this way!

Why change now?
AI has changed the game

Customers demands are increasing faster and AI is making software easier to build. If we don't start removing dependencies and blockers our increase in changes will grind the system to a halt.

Customer demands increasing faster.
We need to be able to keep up with the faster pace of change in the market.
AI is letting us build quicker.
While building might be quicker, it will hurt our time to market by increasing dependencies and blockers.
33% of features hurt our products.
Unless we focus more on customer needs we risk bloating our products with the new features that AI makes easy to build.