Here at Paladin, we’re big fans of the Lean product philosophy. While each new feature that we build goes through a thorough design process, the goal is always to release something as quickly as possible. This focus on iterative development keeps us responsive to our users and allows us to test new ideas before we double down on them. This is especially important on our small team: we’re full of ideas that we want to see come to life — there’s just not enough time in the day to build them all! By treating new features as “experiments,” we’re able to test as many as possible, and the result is a collaborative environment where everyone on the team feels empowered to see their ideas come to life.

We see this as our superpower. On our team, our different experiences and roles give us all a unique perspective on our product and the challenges that our users face. When we foster product thinking across our organization, the result is unique solutions that we would have never come up with individually. Everyone has the power to shape the direction of our product: all it takes is a good idea, the determination to see it through, and a willingness to dive into the details. Or in other words, the desire to take ownership over a project.


What does it mean to mean to practice ownership? This isn’t a new concept in the technology world, but here at Paladin we have a specific take on it.

Let’s start with what it doesn’t mean: it doesn’t mean doing everything yourself.

At Paladin, an owner is a leader that isn’t afraid of diving into the details, but also knows that the unique perspectives and skills of others will be key to a job well done. They’ll have expertise in a certain area, but they never have all the answers themselves.

A specific project provides opportunities for multiple people to practice ownership. We like to have a single person responsible for driving a project to completion, we refer to this owner as the project’s Champion, but there’s room for others to own the project details for a specific domain. We refer to these domain-owners as Leads, and a typical project has three: a Product Lead, Business Lead, and Engineering Lead.

Business Lead
Owns the experiment planning process. Responsible for detailing the business problem that needs to be solved, the hypothesis that this experiment aims to test, and success metrics that will be used to evaluate the result.

Product Lead
Owns the product planning process. Responsible for taking a project from experiment idea to detailed product spec.

Engineering Lead
Owns the technical planning and the build process. Responsible for taking a project from product spec to launched feature.

The Champion facilitates collaboration between these various Leads, synthesizing their unique perspectives into a cohesive whole.

Sound like fun?

This focus on ownership allows everyone on our small (but growing!) team to make a big impact on our product. Considering that our product’s goal is to empower pro bono champions and increase access to justice, the result is a chance to make a positive impact on one of society’s most pressing issues.

If this chance for impact is exciting to you, we’re always looking for likeminded leaders to join our team, so check out our jobs page or send me an email at!

“Ownership” and the Lean Startup was originally published in Paladin on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.