A while ago I linklogged the google / hire only good matches meme, from about a month ago. It seemed like such an obvious idea that I was sure I'd heard it before. On reading folklore.org on the early history of the mac, I found a reference to Steve Jobs and how to hire "insanely great staff". So, it has a long history.
Though further reading of the folklore site draws many parallels with now in a different light. The early mac team wished to remain small and build interesting things, resenting the influence of managers and not wanting to loose the intensity of the first phase of development.
I can see this happening around me at the moment, in work, with friends and beyond - the small and light approach of
Steve Jobs seems to have solved the problem for himself, Just say no in Product design (third business week link, hmm). He gets his VPs to do the product management and run the company, whilst he concentrates on making the best new products. Luckily, for him, there seem to be enough good people who like the other roles.
Which leads me to my real point, scaling a product from the launch team to the product management team is difficult, kind of second album territory, so you need to be brave enough to change teams. This process will also show you the weakness of your management process and documentation. The handover will make obvious what is in the heads of your staff.
For the individual, you need to understand what your contribution is and then go and find the right place to make it, rather than sitting in the same team for the life of the product. I suppose it also a realisation that one cannot excel at everything, so go and find a role where you are an A.
These thoughts sprung from a thoughtful summer plus becoming both a mentor and a mentee, as well as watching the last few years worth of projects in multimedia, advertising and online work.