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Product Momentum Podcast
35 minutes | 3 days ago
47 / Imagine A World Where Social Justice Reigns
Andrew Branch Measures for Justice 47 / Imagine A World Where Social Justice Reigns Description In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Andrew Branch, Director of Product Engineering at Measures for Justice (MFJ). MFJ, an ITX client and Rochester, NY neighbor, is a criminal justice research organization whose mission is to make accurate criminal justice data available and accessible to all – and to leverage this same data to spur societal reform. These data are jarring. As Andrew reports – As many Americans have a college diploma as have a criminal record – a statistic that mostly impacts people of color. One in three black men born in 2001 will likely be imprisoned at some point in their lifetime. For Latinos, the number is 1 in 6. For white males, it’s 1 in 17. The more than 3,000 counties in the U.S. adhere to their own variation of a criminal justice system – a vast, complex system that includes law enforcement, prosecutors and defense counsel, courts and jails, and so on. On top of that, these same jurisdictions craft their own policies and use their own data systems to track it all. These data demand answers to many questions, not least of which is how are we to make informed decisions about things we can’t isolate, measure, and compare? Thankfully, our friends at Measures for Justice are committed to building solutions that leverage technology to deliver vital societal change. “At MFJ, we collect countywide criminal case data, from arrest to post-conviction,” Andrew says. “We then clean it up, normalize it, and package it into performance measures that provide a comprehensive picture of how cases are being handled across the entire criminal justice system. We then make it available to the public on our free data portal.” Interviewing clients is a treat for us. So be sure to tune in. The lessons here are as vital to product people as they are to those of us imagining a world in which social justice reigns. Andrew’s Recommended Reading: Ordinary Justice: How America Holds Court, by Amy Bach. Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins. About Andrew Andrew Branch joined Measures for Justice in 2015. As Director of Product Engineering, Andrew oversees MFJ’s engineering effort to collect and manage criminal justice data and the product line to bring it to the public. Andrew brings his 30 years’ experience and passion for software development and team building to the position. He has designed and delivered numerous business and consumer-oriented products over that time. Andrew has a BS in Computer Science from Siena College and an MS in Computer Science from Rochester Institute of Technology. l t The post 47 / Imagine A World Where Social Justice Reigns appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
30 minutes | 18 days ago
46 / Whether Building Software or Snowboards
Lesley Betts Burton Snowboards 46 / Whether Building Software or Snowboards Description One concern we product builders often cite with our C-suite sponsors is their disdain for discovery. “We know what users want,” is a frequent refrain when we recommend investment in user research. Sometimes, even we fall victim to that flawed “we got this” mentality. When we do, we limit our own market exploration by rejecting the notion that there’s always more to be learned. With that kind of thinking, we tend to get in our own way, says Lesley Betts, who joins Sean and Paul on this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast. As Senior Product Line Merchandiser for Burton Snowboards, Lesley shows us how going beyond “our little maple curtain” – a Vermonter’s term for thinking outside the box – helps us align our role as product managers to what’s actually happening outside the industry. “We know the product so well and as snowboarders we’re users of the product,” she adds. “But that’s where we have to challenge ourselves to do things that are outside the norm. We have to listen and be mindful of what our users are telling us.” The lesson here actually goes much deeper. When we invited Lesley to join the pod, we thought it would be fun to get an expert’s insights into the physical product development space. We knew there would be similarities between our physical and digital worlds – but even we were amazed how exacting they are. In fact, aside from the product life cycles, the number and nature of parallels between software and snowboards are freakishly close. As are the responsibilities product managers share across industries. Listen in as Lesley describes her role as “the hub of the wheel” when it comes to product leadership, “… as far as identifying problems, working with the creative team, collaborating with ‘team riders’ (i.e., in-house product experts), marketing, sales, and our customers…yeah, every single one of those touchpoints always comes back to the hub.” Sound familiar? We thought so too. Enjoy! [02:13] Creating the correct product requires a ‘rider-driven mentality’. We had to listen to our customers. We had to be advocates for them. We had to listen to ourselves as well. At the end of the day, we’re all snowboarders. [04:23] The PM role by any other name. Whether product manager or merchandiser doesn’t matter. I’m the hub of the wheel. Identifying problems, working with the creative team, working with our team riders, marketing, sales, our customers. Every touchpoint always comes back to the hub. [06:25] Physical product vs. software product. The life cycles may be different, but the development process is very much the same. [07:55] Self-awareness and trusting your team. If I were better at snowboarding, I could be the person leading that. But really, I just need to trust and lean into those guys. [10:26] Culture, mantra, rallying cry. At Burton, we call it “The Stance.” It’s what we believe and what we do. It bleeds throughout the building, and it’s the reason people come here: because it feels like you’re part of something bigger. [12:11] The 7-minute focus group. Every time you ride the lift, sit with someone new. Just have a conversation: “Why are you riding that product? Why are you riding here? What brought you here? Where did you get your board? You can learn so much just from a few moments with a person, in the moment. [12:53] People don’t trust brands. People trust people. [14:22] Get out of your own way. Developing product, we can actually get in our own way; we know the product so well. That’s where we have to challenge ourselves to do things that are outside of the norm. [16:16] The ‘white room’. Like an innovation workshop or design sprint, we need to pause. To remove all other responsibilities so that we can truly focus on one problem statement. [18:53] Innovate for the little things too. We can’t always be solving the big things. It takes a special kind of mindset to maintain this concept of innovation within the day-to-day culture. [23:05] The power of why. We learned more about ourselves in the white room process about how we need to work together as a team. By sharing your why with the team, you’re just going to get the best results. [24:48] Innovation. If I can change something for someone. I know that seems very simple, but innovation is making something better for someone. Who that is, I don’t know. But if you take something and create an enhancement or a better experience – a better day on the snow – then I feel like we’ve done our job. Lesley’s Recommended Reading I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, by Austin Channing Brown. About Lesley Lesley Betts is the Senior Product Line Merchandiser for the Snowboards Category at Burton Snowboards, where she brings to life the best snowboards in the world. Lesley’s focus has always been to bring to her job the same amount of energy, excitement, and passion that she shares for snowboarding. When she’s not snowboarding, Lesley’s goal is to pet every dog she sees. i t l f The post 46 / Whether Building Software or Snowboards appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
39 minutes | 20 days ago
45 / Motivation and Self-Determination Theory
Scott Rigby, Ph.D. Immersyve Inc. 45 / Motivation and Self-Determination Theory Description With so many touchpoints between Self-Determination Theory and software product development, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Perhaps with this: self-determination theory is fundamentally focused on answering two questions. First, what is it that brings us fulfillment in life?”; and second, what things will accrue to high-quality motivation – that is, doing things that I value, that have meaning, that I love?” In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Scott Rigby, Ph.D. to discuss the interplay between Self-Determination Theory and software product development. The fit is ideal. As product leaders strive to improve users’ lives, what better way to fulfill this mission than to embrace the needs that drive them. Scott guides us well beyond the theoretical, venturing deep into its application founded on two critical shifts since his work in this area began. The first deals with motivation. Specifically, that motivation is ‘something I do to you’ and that ‘whatever I do to motivate you’ is good because the more I do, the more I’ll get. As it turns out, Scott says, that way of thinking is not only not correct, we just can’t get by with it anymore. The second shift, closely related to the first, deals with empowerment. We once lived in a world in which companies and institutions held all the power and made all the rules. Consumers existed only in orbit around them, controlled and manipulated by the way they structured our existence. Not so these days, Scott offers. “We call it the Copernican turn; we realized that who’s in orbit around what has completely changed.” Over the past 15 years or so, the gravitational pull that companies and institutions once relied on has waned. Now they say, ‘I’ve got to do the right things to have [consumers] select me…I have to understand the thing that drives them to be motivated to make that choice.’ Understanding these shifts introduces only a kernel of knowledge of Scott’s work over the past 30 years. But it’s fundamental to the real-world application of the vast theoretical issues that play out every day across on product development teams in our space. Listen in to catch even more of Scott’s insights. Discover what he refers to as the continuum of motivation; see the distinction between motivation and manipulation; and grasp ways to put the theory into practice – not only by creating “a consensual language that everyone can understand, but also by providing a roadmap that invites customers and team members to follow the continuum of basic psychological needs.” [04:35] The Copernican turn. We realized that who’s in orbit around what is completely changed. [08:02] We humans have 3 basic psychological needs. Autonomy, Mastery, and Relatedness. [08:12] Autonomy. I want to be the author of my life. It’s more than freedom. It’s about volition. It’s about engagement. [09:23] Mastery. I need to feel a sense of growth in what I am doing. [09:42] Relatedness. I don’t want to do this in isolation. I want what I do to matter to others. [10:02] Self-determination theory – and people. We can quantifiably measure how autonomy, mastery, and relatedness are being experienced by employees in a company as they interact with managers and coworkers. [10:12] Self-determination theory – and product. We can see how those things are being satisfied by how products are designed…the informational feedback from user interfaces…user progression paths…and by how they are implemented in our program. [10:29] Self-determination theory – and marketing. How are communications telling a narrative that make me feel like those needs are being satisfied? [11:38] Manipulation and control. If we’re manipulating and controlling, ultimately, we’re undermining the delivery of those needs. [13:25] The continuum of motivation. High-quality and low-quality; intrinsic and extrinsic. [17:29] The problem with gamification. [21:59] When we satisfy those needs. The consumer value for products, value for services, the loyalty that comes from that is astounding. [29:20] The product of creativity + motivation. Yields an environment where facilitating basic human needs gives us the energy to create one’s own narrative and the confidence to know that I can do it in a way that is competent and masterful. [35:28] Innovation. Innovation is the emergence of a new idea that has the ability to fundamentally improve well-being. Innovation is very much tied to that sense of well-being. Scott’s Recommended Reading The Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene. A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn. Scott is also reading a lot of Thich Nhat Hanh, who is a Vietnamese monk. He is very much into Buddhism and The Art of Living. About Scott Scott Rigby, Ph.D. is an author, behavioral scientist, and founder/CEO of Immersyve Inc., a company focusing on the application of behavioral science to organizations, products, and services. Scott and Immersyve work with both small and large companies on culture and the development of motivational best practices. He is a leading authority on predictive measurement of motivation and engagement, as well as on interventions to improve organizational culture. Clients include Prudential, Amazon, Warner Brothers, Johnson & Johnson, and Disney. Scott has authored numerous publications, including the highly rated book Glued to Games: How Video Games Draw Us In and Hold Us Spellbound. He is the creator of the “Personal Experience of Need Satisfaction” (PENS) model, a widely used engagement model in interactive design. His work on understanding engagement and motivation has been featured by Wired, ABC News, BBC, National Public Radio, National Geographic, and Scientiﬁc American, among others. He is also the co-creator of motivationWorks, a platform that empowers organizations to build greater employee engagement and stronger cultures using motivational science. In addition to his commercial work, he has also served as the principal investigator on multiple grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health exploring the role of behavioral science to improve engagement and wellness. l t The post 45 / Motivation and Self-Determination Theory appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
30 minutes | a month ago
44 / Is What I Am Building Ethical?
Kasia Chmielinski The Data Nutrition Project 44 / Is What I Am Building Ethical? Description What is an ethical product? In an industry whose mission is to build technology that does good in the world, you’d think that by now we’d have figured this one out. You know, develop a checklist of criteria that helps chip away at our assumptions and biases and answer questions like, “is what I am doing meaningful?” and “is what I am doing ethical?” In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Kasia Chmielinski, co-founder of the Data Nutrition Project and technologist at McKinsey & Company in Healthcare Analytics. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, Kasia says, ethics are not black and white. They cannot be captured in a series of boxes that will be applicable in every situation. There are, however, processes and strategies to intentionally build a product, they say. “We already have these processes,” they add, “but the intent behind them is usually monetary or financial – something about growth or ROI. If we modify our processes and strategies to instead think about the end-user, think about the potential harms, think about how people are going to use it, we’d probably have better products for people.” It’s all about trade-offs and balance, they add. It’s a significant challenge (pardon the understatement). We’re solving big, hairy, complex problems for an audience of users whose experiences and ethics are as varied as snowflakes. With so many combinations and permutations – and so many dependencies – it’s no wonder the question about meaning and ethics remains unanswered. Or has it? Have a listen to the pod as Kasia methodically tackles the question – precisely as you would expect a trained scientist would – but with an added sprinkling of optimistic philosophy that suggests their answer will help us all create better products and do more good in the world. [02:00] Use your powers for good. There are a lot of tools you can create that can be used for good or evil. [03:02] The stories we tell should be true. But they can’t just be true. They have to be engaging, and appropriate for our audience. [04:06] The user story is less about storytelling. It’s more about having the right components of the story…and phrasing it in a way that’s going to get you budget and people and resources. [05:38] You can’t use a story to fix a bad product. [07:44] In the realm of machine learning and AI, we’re so focused on the outcome of these models that we’re not really thinking about all the inputs that shape the outcome. [11:05] Ethics are not black & white. And they can’t be captured in a series of checkboxes that answer the question: “Is what I am building ethical?” [11:56] Tools are agnostic. It’s the use case that makes the difference. So we need to have the conversations and make the observations that help understand the necessary tradeoffs and balance. [13:59] How are people using my product? And how did their use align with the moral compass we established to begin with? [15:56] Iterate toward better products over time. That should be a big part of what we do as product managers. [16:43] Keep your tech people really close. There are so many points at which you have to make decisions technically that also could seriously impact the product. [18:45] It’s important to think about where we get our energy. [20:31] When considering your next position…. Is it challenging technically? Is it interesting from a product management perspective? What are we trying to accomplish? How will it affect people? [22:24] The Data Nutrition Project. Just this little team of people who are mostly volunteering our time on nights and weekends because we want to make the world a better place. [23:10] The hardest thing about product management. You don’t have direct power over anything. [23:56] ‘CEO of the Product’. I think they tell us that as a joke. It’s like, “don’t you wish?” [24:23] Innovation. There are categories of innovation. And they’re all related by movement. Movement of an idea or a concept or a product in a direction that hasn’t been explored. Or movement further in a direction that has. [25:44] Source of inspiration. The most inspiring things come from hanging out with like a 13-year-old. Nothing will change your mind like hanging out with a kid. Kasia’s Recommended Reading Underland: A Deep Time Journey, by Robert Macfarlane. About Kasia Kasia Chmielinski is the Co-Founder of The Data Nutrition Project, an initiative that builds tools to improve the health of artificial intelligence through better data. They are also a technologist at McKinsey & Company in Healthcare Analytics and previously worked at The U.S. Digital Service (Executive Office of the President) and Scratch, a project of the MIT Media Lab. They studied physics at Harvard University. When not in front of a whiteboard or a keyboard, Kasia can be found birdwatching or cycling uncomfortably long distances on a bicycle. l i t The post 44 / Is What I Am Building Ethical? appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
35 minutes | a month ago
43 / ProdMgmt101: The Influential Product Manager
Ken Sandy Lecturer, Consultant, Author 43 / PM101: The Influential Product Manager Description What does it mean to be an influential product manager? In short, it means doing the job well. Easier said than done, right? The product manager is the one role in the organization who seems to own all the responsibility for getting things done, but none of the authority to actually do it. And that’s why influence is the key to success. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Ken Sandy. Quite literally, Ken wrote the book on influence in the PM role. His The Influential Product Manager: How to Lead and Launch Successful Technology Products is a comprehensive primer for both seasoned PMs and newcomers. And as a lecturer at UC Berkeley, he pioneered and now teaches the first product management course offered in the Engineering school – choosing to ‘light a candle rather than curse the darkness.’ There’s no aspect of our conversation with Ken that you’ll want to miss. He covers a lot of ground: behaving like a product manager; conquering self-doubt; understanding the power of trust; and finding your place within the 2×2 matrix of product manager ‘mindsets.’ You’re won’t be great in each of these quadrants, Ken says, or even comfortable. “But you shouldn’t avoid them either. You want to get in there to make sure you’re practicing those techniques, getting better at them over time. Because if you don’t, no one else is going to do it for you or your product.” Remember, the product manager is the one individual in the organization that nobody else seems to work for. And who, it seems, works for everybody else. Listen in: [02:18] Influence as a key skill. How do I teach that? [03:32] Different flavors of product managers. What connects them is how they operate within their organization – through influence, not authority. [05:35] The four mindsets. Explorer, Analyst, Challenger, and Evangelist. [12:26] Context matters. Especially in the product space. [15:10] The art of saying ‘no.’ Nothing challenges PMs more than trying to prioritize competing initiatives. Saying ‘no’ to stuff. [17:04] The prioritization methodology. You are empowered as a product manager to make the prioritization decisions about the product and the business. Don’t do that in isolation. [18:52] Goals and evaluation criteria. If you can’t agree on the goals, you’ve got no chance on anything else. [20:13] Build trust before you need it. Don’t wait until that first moment of having to deal with an issue or asking a stakeholder to do something on your behalf. [22:34] Stakeholders are not always ‘senior leaders.’ Don’t overlook the broad spectrum of where you need to build those relationships. [23:55] Communication is a two-way street. If you’re asking for something every time you talk to a stakeholder, you’re in the ‘self-interested land.’ But if you’re asking them about their goals and how you can help, you’re in a much better territory. [25:18] Constructive conflict and psychological safety allows for everyone to put their cards on the table and kind of get down to it. [29:10] Understanding bias. A very important skill for product leaders. The tools are getting much better. [30:22] Innovation. Bringing together people with different points of view and looking at problems in new ways. From there, being able to create solutions to those problems that may not have existed before. Ken’s Recommended Reading The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic, by Steven Johnson. About Ken Ken Sandy is a 20+ years veteran in technology Product Management. Ken pioneered and teaches the first Product Management course offered in the Engineering school at UC Berkeley, which has over 400 PM alumni practicing in industry. Throughout his career, Ken consistently defined, launched and managed award-winning, innovative Web and mobile products loved by customers and used by millions of users across 60+ countries. Previously, Ken served as VP of Product Management at leading online education companies, MasterClass and lynda.com (Linkedin Learning), and is currently an executive consultant and advisor for startup and scale-up companies in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia. He’s recently released “The Influential Product Manager: How to Lead and Launch Successful Technology Products” a highly practical and approachable guide to becoming more effective and navigating the challenging collaborative aspects of the product manager’s role. http://www.linkedin.com/in/kensandy The post 43 / ProdMgmt101: The Influential Product Manager appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
44 minutes | a month ago
42 / Shaping: A Different Kind of Product Work
Ryan Singer Basecamp 42 / Shaping: A Different Kind of Product Work Description Product work is rarely (ever?) as straightforward and ordered as we’d like. It’s important for us as product leaders to embrace this fact and to plan for the interdependencies among all the moving parts. Shaping puts a name to this important work. We get clarity of direction from the guardrails Shaping provides. At the same time, we draw greater autonomy and room for learning and growth. Shaping offers product manager a different kind of work; we should do more than write tickets. In this episode, Sean and Paul talk with Ryan Singer, Head of Product Strategy at Basecamp and author of Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters. Ryan has experience in all things software, giving him invaluable insights into what really works when designing products from start to finish. By doing the shaping work, he says, product managers enjoy a clearly defined vision for the product and create realistic constraints for the team to work within. Is Shaping the game-changer product managers have been looking for? Maybe. It isn’t waterfall. And it’s not pure Agile. But it might have a profound impact on the clarity to your direction and the anxiety level of your team. Be sure to listen in to catch Ryan’s unique takes on the nature of work and creating meaningful products. [2:20] Business challenges have changed. Now, we focus on defining progress rather than reacting to clients’ changing requests. [4:04] Product strategy. Defining the big things that differentiate your offering from others based on those who use it. [5:46] Don’t delegate strategy. Too many leaders delegate important design and product decisions. [8:52] Shaping provides vision without micromanagement or a lack of leadership. [11:41] Redefine your work. Shaping gives a name to important work that isn’t coding, design, or writing tickets. [12:59] Embrace constraints. Scarce resources create an environment that motivates us to make tradeoffs and collaborate differently. [17:29] Reduce risk. Do prototyping and figure out interdependencies before committing to a project that might take more time than anticipated. [21:19] Don’t be afraid to kill projects. If it were worth doing, you’d have done it. Set deadlines and constraints and stick to them. [24:05] Output vs. outcome. Be intentional about the product rather than focusing on deploying new features that may not be important to users. [24:20] What’s wrong? Diagnose problems from performance, shaping, betting, and building by clearly defining these processes. [27:55] The value of learning. Create an environment where the team is able to understand the big picture and how moving parts interact. [29:50] Take ‘management’ from the product manager, and move it to the team by creating realistic constraints. [37:02] Swimming in unknowns. The main work of the R&D phase. [38:02] Cleanup mode. Designate time for tying up loose ends. [42:39] Innovation. Doing something new that’s useful. Ryan’s Recommended Reading Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice, by Clayton Christensen, Karen Dillon, Taddy Hall, and David S. Duncan. Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. About Ryan Ryan Singer has worked on all levels of the software stack, from UI design to backend programming to strategy. Through more than 17 years at Basecamp, he’s designed features used by millions and invented processes the teams use to design, develop, and ship the right things. These days he’s focused on product strategy: understanding what Basecamp’s customers are trying to do and how to make the product fit them better. Ryan is also the author of Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters. t The post 42 / Shaping: A Different Kind of Product Work appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
27 minutes | 2 months ago
41 / No Such Thing As The ‘Perfect’ Product Manager
Alicia Dixon Apartment List 41/ No Such Thing As The ‘Perfect’ Product Manager Description Not every product management role is the same. Each requires a different skill set balance, a different temperament, and a different approach to problem solving. Why is that? Because users are individuals. Unique individuals. And while we share basic needs, ranging from physiological to self-actualization, each of us draws satisfaction and delight in different ways and from different sources. Given all that, can there be such a thing as the perfect product leader – the superwoman or superman who knows everything there is to know about a product, technology, market, set of users, and the team who builds it? It seems the space too complicated for that to be possible, right? That’s precisely why, in this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul were so eager to speak with Alicia Dixon, senior product manager at Apartment List. Alicia brings a hands-on, no-nonsense approach to doing product. And she speaks from a rich, wide-ranging experience. Alicia started in product as a technical designer in the fashion industry before bringing her perspective to software. Alicia comes from the “builder sense,” she says, “the wanting to make things, and getting a sense of joy out of seeing someone use or wear what I worked on.” No matter your industry, she adds, “You really have to put yourself in the shoes of [each unique user]. I took the same approach then as I’m doing in product now. You know, understanding the user, knowing what their problems are, and solving for those problems. There’s actually a continuity there.” Lean in for more of today’s pod to hear Alicia discuss how equity and inclusivity must be part of every product conversation. Catch her thoughts about whether product managers can remain relevant as the lines between specialties begin to blur. Her takes on these and other topics are seriously on point! [02:09] Product managers are high achievers and go-getters. It’s a common thread that connects us. [02:09] Job descriptions for products managers stink. Not every product management role is the same, and some roles need skills that others don’t. [03:58] Three steps to building better product teams. Be intentional about team needs. Take time to develop people. Target specific learning. [05:28] Driving equity and inclusivity in the product space. If product people are to serve a diverse set of users, we must do more to reflect the composition of our markets. [06:56] Tangible benefits of addressing inequity. There’s definitely an economic side to addressing problems. There’s a very real return on investment. [07:42] Portability of product skills. Making things, experiencing someone’s joy, connecting with users. [08:08] Empathy. My work is to understand the user, know their problems, and solving for those problems. [09:16] Diversity is empowering. Geography, socio-economic, experiences…all contribute to the perspectives we have and can bring to the table. [11:32] Are product managers still relevant? If we get to a place where all those specialties can talk to each other and everyone’s working toward a shared goal and not their individual KPI, product management could go away. [13:13] Flow. We’re living at the intersection of everything, and it’s very hard to stay in flow. [14:28] Leading big products vs. leading small products. The elements of your day-to-day are similar, but what changes is how much you roll up your sleeves to help out. [15:51] Ambition. The trait that (almost) all product managers share. [16:32] Product manager’s dilemma. Where do I want to go? When am I most happy? Why do I get up for work every day? Answer these and then define success for yourself. [19:09] Toxic intellectualization. The act of over-thinking and delaying action. [19:58] Using a framework to solve a challenge. I would bet that most successful teams didn’t start with the framework. They started with a, “let’s get something done,” mindset, and that’s what they worked toward. [20:53] PM’s future. As long as we continue to add value – making someone’s life easier, releasing a product that helps us save money or time, or creating a thing of beauty that can be appreciated – there’s a long horizon for product to continue. [22:06] Find your own intrinsic satisfaction. [23:07] Why there’s still no Product Management Book of Knowledge. Even though they spent years writing it, what they came up with didn’t resonate. It’s too big a question. [25:14] Innovation. The process of coming up with a new way to do an old thing. Alicia’s Recommended Reading It’s About Damn Time: How to Turn Being Underestimated into Your Greatest Advantage, by Arlan Hamilton and Rachel L. Nelson. More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say), by Elaine Welteroth. About Alicia Alicia Dixon is a Senior Product Manager at Apartment List, a platform that connects renters with apartment listings through an online marketplace. She brings more than 2 decades of experience building products and creating technology solutions for consumers and enterprises. Her specialty is software product management, where she enjoys focusing on new product development, product strategy, and market research. Alicia has held management positions at leading companies including Hilton, UPS, Dell, and Fruit of the Loom. She is a proud alumnus of Howard University, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree, and holds an MBA from Baruch College, CUNY, and an MS in Marketing from the University of Alabama. t l The post 41 / No Such Thing As The ‘Perfect’ Product Manager appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
20 minutes | 2 months ago
Special Edition / Delivery + UX = Client Value
Nancy Neumann and Lisa Young ITX Corp. Special Edition / Delivery + UX = Client Value Description Strong leadership and eager collaboration serve as the hallmarks in the long list of contributions made by ITX veterans and Vice Presidents Nancy Neumann and Lisa Young, the company’s most recent additions to its Board of Directors. In this special edition of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome fellow ITX leaders Lisa and Nancy to better understand the secret to their decades of success. Individually, they are responsible for establishing, growing, and retaining ITX’s global Delivery and User Experience organizations, respectively. Together, they share in each other’s challenges and successes, building a collective product team that delivers client value and improves users’ lives. “We look for people who have the right core technical competencies,” Nancy says, “but we also want people who are a fit for the work we do and how we do it.” Nancy and Lisa believe in ‘hiring hard, managing easy.’ “What’s really important,” Lisa adds, “is that we encourage the growth of our people, helping them to feel related to each other. So that’s the collaboration we have…and it stems from the leadership team’s capacity for caring. It’s what makes people very sticky to ITX.” Listen in to catch more leadership insights about hiring, mentoring for growth, and empowering teams toward autonomy. [02:36] Access to experts in every department is key to our ‘special sauce.’ We work with our teams to break down the silos that divide us, which makes us much more collaborative. [03:51] We’re a collective product team. When we need expertise outside the team, it’s easy to reach out because we’re not just one team of one particular specialty. [04:48] It’s all about the people. Teams of people working with people to build software products that improve people’s lives. [05:10] Hiring hard, managing easy. Candidates need to have the core technical competencies that every manager is looking for. But we look for the person that is a fit for the work we do – and how we do it. [05:40] Passion and curiosity. We need people who have a passion for technology and are curious around where it has been, where it is today, and where it is going. That’s what’s going to drive innovation in digital product design. [06:16] Context. Putting together all the threads that make up a user in a way that we’re able to walk in their shoes and build empathy so that we understand the experience we’re delivering to them. [07:49] Finding the right fit. Our culture is so important. New hires need to be a good fit for our culture and our values. [09:51] There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Team.’ If we find great individual contributors that love shining on their own, that’s really not what we’re about. [11:53] Capacity for caring and management continuity. It makes people very ‘sticky’ to ITX. [12:48] ITX designers don’t ‘push pixels.’ We give our designers ownership of their work and turn them loose, empowering them to participate in our client’s work and in internal initiatives as well. [14:13] Relatedness, Competence, Autonomy. Self-Determination Theory personified. [16:37] Our job is to make people’s jobs easier. We have to get what we’re doing out into people’s hands to find out what’s working, what’s not working. And be prepared to respond to change really fast. [17:39] Heartfelt congratulations. We can’t think of two more qualified individuals to serve on ITX’s board of directors; and we’re excited to see how your fresh perspective helps ITX craft and realize its long-term vision. About Lisa Lisa Young’s career in IT spans 35 years. Over the last 15 years at ITX, and in her current role as Vice President of Delivery, Lisa has built a world-class, global organization of passionate technologists. Under Lisa’s guidance, her Delivery team’s passion and expertise transform our clients’ vision into reality by creating software products that solve their complex business challenges. l About Nancy Nancy Neumann has been actively engaged in the high-tech industry for more than 20 years. As the VP of User Experience at ITX, Nancy leads our Interaction Design practice, which has become a key source of differentiation, thought leadership, and customer value creation. Under Nancy’s leadership, her group brings a passion for technology, an appreciation for UX as a problem-solving discipline, and a belief that experience is the product. l The post Special Edition / Delivery + UX = Client Value appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
41 minutes | 2 months ago
40 / How A Well-Told Story ‘Weaves In Your Why’
Mark Cruth Atlassian 40 / How A Well-Told Story ‘Weaves In Your Why’ Description The simple act of telling a story well helps the audience believe that the story is actually happening to them. Whether you’re pitching a product idea to a group of users or to your team, the well-told story resonates. It identifies the key players. It describes the conflict. And as the plot unfolds, it delivers the narrative and dialogue that best describes their journeys. And at the story’s climax, it reveals how the conflict is resolved. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul catch up with Mark Cruth, part-time storyteller and full-time Enterprise Solutions Architect at Atlassian. When product managers weave just the right narrative, Mark says, we help our teams connect the dots between themselves and the experience they’re creating for users. We help them understand who they are, who their users are, what their mission is, and how they add value to the organization’s larger ambitions. In other words, we Weave in their Why. Tune in to the pod as Mark weaves his own engaging narrative about the power of storytelling. [02:17] The difference between user stories and storytelling. [03:29] Knowing your persona(s). [03:55] Anti-patterns – e.g., does our product serve only one persona? [06:57] Storytelling is how we talk to people, how we sell them on our ideas. [07:53] Oxytocin, dopamine, and cortisol. [10:25] Use the backlog to tell the story of your product’s evolution. [11:26] Value stream mapping the product backlog to describe your user’s journey as a narrative. [12:29] How the story plays out in product, we can build a better experience. [14:59] Integrate a team of teams to weave the story together. [17:06] Rapid prototyping to potential users. [18:21] Build advocacy by sharing the product story with users and the product team; both benefit by knowing what the next stage will be. [20:54] Communicating value. “Hey, we contribute to this part of the journey.” [21:45] Product Manager tip #1: Ask your teams to create their own canvas; talk about who they are, who their customers are, what their mission is, how they add value. [24:47] Product Manager tip #2. Ask yourself: When we implement this, what do we expect to happen? Make it a quantitative metric…and then measure it over time. [30:20] Connect the dots from the organization’s strategic level down to each individual user story. [31:36] What’s the why? Stories have a way of helping organizations discover their why and communicating it to their teams. [33:11] Innovation. Innovation is something that we do all the time. It’s allowing ourselves to let go of our preconceived notions and think differently. Thinking differently, that’s innovation. Mark’s Recommended Reading Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, by Chris Voss. Long Story Short, The Only Storytelling Guide You’ll Ever Need, by Margot Leitman. About Mark Mark Cruth is an Enterprise Solutions Architect with Atlassian, working with organizations around the world to improve the connection between the work being done and the goals being pursued with the help of Jira Align. An Agile advocate since 2009, Mark has made it his mission to inject the values and principles of Agile into everything he does. His deep knowledge in Agile product development and team dynamics stem from his diverse experience supporting transformation and value delivery as an Agile Coach, Scrum Master, and Product Owner across several different industries, including Manufacturing, eCommerce, Big Data, and FinTech. When not heads-down in the latest book on self-management or deep in conversation with a leadership team, Mark can be found reading one of his favorite sci-fi novels (specifically anything by Brandon Sanderson) or playing with Legos with his kids. l t The post 40 / How A Well-Told Story ‘Weaves In Your Why’ appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
31 minutes | 3 months ago
39 / Behavioral Science and Product Design
Nate Andorsky Creative Science 39 / Behavioral Science and Product Design Description As product builders, we use data science and behavioral science to help us design software solutions that line up with our users’ initial intent. Data science helps us understand who’s likely to take some action. Behavioral science looks at the factors that drive us to take action in the first place. With so many inputs influencing our decision-making process, it’s hard to know where to start. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Nate Andorsky, CEO of Creative Science and author of Decoding The Why. His many contributions to our space appear at the intersection of human behavior and the ways in which it can improve human outcomes. Nate recommends taking a behavior-first approach to solving product design challenges. “Zero in on the behavior you’re trying to change and work backward from there,” he says. “Oftentimes when we build products, we get into this habit of thinking solution first.” We collect all sorts of information about users from focus groups, surveys, and in-person interviews. Much of it lands in two big buckets: what people say and what people do. All that is great. But too often the say and the do don’t line up. So as product leaders we need to continue our discovery process to better understand the “Why?” Tune in to the pod as Nate shares insights around his concept of “say data, do data, and why data.” The why data explains the subconscious factors that are actually driving user behavior, the types of things your users aren’t even aware of themselves. Once you understand that, Nate adds, you have a foundation and a decision-making framework to create amazing products that make a positive impact in the lives of others. [02:28] Behavioral science vs. Data science. Behavioral science looks at what factors drive us to take action? Data science looks at who’s likely to do what. [03:06] The $64,000 Question. How do product builders get people to do that thing. That’s where behavioral science layers back in. [03:47] How to institute change in a product ecosystem. Zero in on the behavior that you’re trying to change and then work backward from there. [05:09] Say data. Do data. Why data. Decode the WHY to understand the subconscious behaviors that drive user behavior. [06:36] The 15-year delay. Academic research precedes implementation by about 15 years. [07:17] The need for sophisticated individuals. It takes a sophisticated individual to understand how to convert academic theory into product solutions. [09:16] Hyperbolic discounting and present bias. How we think about our products doesn’t always align with how our users feel in the moment. [13:39] The ethics of product design. Use your powers for good; that is, design product solutions in ways that line up with users’ initial intent. [16:06] How do product managers discover the delta between say-do data and extrapolate the why? [18:25] Top 2 behavioral economics heuristics. The identifiable victim/beneficiary effect and the power of storytelling. [20:24] Personalities and behaviors. Behavior might not be driven by one’s personality, but even more so by one’s environment. [21:34] Digital experiences as motivators and organizers of behavior. Hopefully, behaviors we want to see in the world. [22:35] The value of personas. They’re definitely informative. But they’re neither industry specific nor individual specific. They’re human specific. [25:22] Advice to generate new ideas. It comes with experience and getting your hands dirty. [25:56] The biggest breakthroughs come with a new intervention or a new design that is pieced together from four or five different things that we’ve seen work. [26:51] Add fuel, remove friction. Avoid swimming against the current. Share a path with your users that matches the narrative they want for themselves. [27:59] Innovation. It’s the cross-discipline of different studies and ideas. Innovation is when you start to break down the silos that separate these disciplines and understand how they all fit together. Nate’s Recommended Reading Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life, by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson. Decoding the Why: How Behavioral Science is Driving the Next Generation of Product Design, by Nate Andorsky. About Nate Nate Andorsky is an entrepreneur who uses behavioral science to build digital strategies and technology for today’s most innovative companies and nonprofits. He believes the key to unlocking the potential of technology lies within our understanding of the psychological factors that drive human decision-making. By combining scientific findings with outside-of-the-box thinking, he helps turn human understanding into business advantages. As the CEO of Creative Science, he leads a team focused on this mission. He is a frequent international speaker, has been featured in Forbes, INC Magazine, and Huffington Post and his team’s work has earned accolades from Fast Company and TopNonProfits.com. Prior to Creative Science, he was a team member at the Startup America Partnership, a nonprofit led by Steve Case to help build entrepreneurial communities throughout the US. He geeks out about the intersection of human behavior and the ways in which it can improve human outcomes. tfl The post 39 / Behavioral Science and Product Design appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
41 minutes | 3 months ago
38 / How To Recapture Lost Innovation ROI
Mark Zawacki 650 Labs 38 / How To Recapture Lost Innovation ROI Description Investment in innovation will bring business energy, they say, and will enable new revenue growth. Investment in innovation will lead to more efficient business operation and will deepen your brand’s hold on existing clients while attracting more prospects. Investment in innovation will help level up your team’s skill set. Innovation is powerful. Investment in it is a necessary condition for any growing, visionary organization. But investment in ITD (innovation, transformation, and digital) is a means to an end. Growth remains the objective. According to Mark Zawacki, it’s a difficult lesson many have learned the hard way. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Mark joins Sean and Paul to closely examine true impact of investment in innovation on organizations large and small. As Founder and CEO of 650 Labs, Mark is intimately aware of the challenges confronting today’s businesses. And the news is troubling. “We’re experiencing a real crisis in corporate innovation,” Mark says. “Tens of billions of dollars invested every year, and it doesn’t appear things are coming out the other side. We’re finding it difficult to see the relationship between investment in innovation and ROI.” Much of Mark’s analysis stems from his work with large multinational organizations, but he makes clear that the same issues scale to the business unit and team levels too. “When you unpack it, we see the same issues appearing in five key areas: Structural, Organizational, Methodology, Cultural/Political, and Advisorial.” Here’s a quick look at the root causes of what Mark refers to as poor ITD performance: Structural. Large organizations are built for stability, reliability, and predictability with executive compensation aligned with near-term results. This is hardly the environment for nurturing innovation and a new way of doing things. Organizational. Digital leaders in larger organizations are rarely on the fast track to the C-suite. This suggests that they are more interested in securing the incremental innovations that come along and not the big, strategic shifts that innovative organizations pursue. Methodology. The traditional companies, the incumbents, follow a pretty standard playbook. But they’re aren’t showing results for a variety of reasons – mostly because their playbook has become obsolete. Behavioral/Cultural/Political. So many organizations are filled with smart but risk-averse people who tend to hire in their own image. Organizational politics is the result of individuals acting in their own self-interests. Progress grinds slowly in that environment, and radical ideas are ridiculed. Advisorial. These issues arise when your incentive/compensation system is misaligned with actual problem solving. So, how do we break through these big, hairy challenges to build an environment where innovation and risk-taking are not only welcome, but encouraged? The answer lies in creating a new “edge” business that operates separately, but in parallel, from the company’s “core” business. Where the core is focused on delivering short-term results with incremental innovations, the edge business is built for flexibility, uncertainty, and long-term growth opportunities. The key, Mark says, is to make sure you keep separate the core and edge pieces of your organization. Historically, we’ve tried to create the edge business within the core – and that’s where it’s not working. The edge business is designed and operated to ultimately replace the core business’ declining revenue. Why bring a high-growth asset into a low-growth environment? Tune in to the Product Momentum Podcast to hear more of Mark Zawacki’s insights into the core/edge organizational model and how to bring transformative innovation and ROI to your organization. [02:06] A crisis in corporate innovation. Tens of billions of dollars invested every year, and it appears there’s nothing coming out the other side. [05:35] The relationship between investment in innovation and ROI. At a macro level, we’re finding it difficult to find one. [06:36] At the micro-level, are companies working on the big things to replace declining revenue? If so, where? That’s when the conversation gets a little difficult. [07:10] What’s going wrong on the inside of these companies? There are five buckets, or problem areas, where large organizations are having difficulty. [07:32] Structural issues. Large organizations focus on the short term. They’re built for stability, reliability, and predictability. That’s the reverse of innovation and the reverse of doing new things. [09:15] Organizational issues. The company’s digital leaders are rarely on the fast track to the C-suite. This tells me the business isn’t really thinking about big strategic change. [10:15] Methodology issues. Start-ups don’t always play nice with corporates. They don’t make an appointment and say, “Hey, how do we partner together?” They break into your house at 3:00 in the morning and steal your stuff. [12:05] Behavioral, political, cultural issues. These are the issues that slow innovation. Failure is a bad word that translates to “no real risk-taking.” [12:50] Don’t confuse new ideas and great ideas. A great team with an average idea always beats an average team with a great idea. [13:28] Advisorial issues. The vast majority of advisors are fee-based; when you have a fee-based model, your incentives are misaligned with solving problems. [15:22] The hard stuff is easy. Hard stuff doesn’t mean difficult, but “hard” as in more scientific. [16:18] The soft stuff is hard. The people skills, knowing talent, applying leadership and management models. How do you go about upskilling? How do we build great teams? That’s hard. [18:43] Recipe for success. Small team, big goal. Get out of the way and they’ll figure it out. [20:27] Dunbar’s number. Overwhelming evidence that teams of 150 – ideally under 100 – are more high performing than monolithic teams of thousands working on a goal. [22:15] Merge the core business and the edge organization? No, never. Why bring a high-growth asset into a low-growth environment? [29:16] “Burn the ships.” Here’s how to test a person’s intrapreneurial spirit. Few people have the risk profile to forego pay for equity, to forego comfort today for opportunity tomorrow. It’s an example the reality that we’re in. [31:14] Pooh-poohing incremental innovation? Not at all. It’s necessary but insufficient. We are hurtling toward the technological singularity. We know in 10 years AI eats the world. [34:13] Three horizons of innovation. Incremental, the horizon three, and transformative. [37:11] Innovation theatre. You get all the buzz words, all the excitement. But when you push on it, when you look down the pipe to see what’s coming out the other side…that’s when results are disappointing. Mark’s Recommended Reading Fightback: How to win in the digital economy with platforms, ventures and entrepreneurs, by Felix Staeritz. Dual Transformation: How To Reposition Today’s Business While Creating the Future, by Scott D. Anthony, Clark Gilbert, and Mark W. Johnson. About Mark Mark Zawacki is a business strategist and Board advisor, management researcher, author, keynote speaker, and investor. Since 2001, he has led or supervised engagement teams on more than 400 clients globally, working through myriad revenue-related initiatives including growth, corporate strategy, disruptive innovation, business and corporate development, organisational change/transformation, and variety of people issues (leadership development, organisational design, talent strategy, corporate culture, etc.) To date, he has worked in more than 80 countries. His clients span a wide variety of sectors, most notably financial services, mobile/telco, retail, media, automotive, healthcare, technology, and energy. He has also provided strategic counsel on growth and innovation to the European Union and the governments of The Netherlands, France, Turkey, Singapore, Mexico, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, and others. l t The post 38 / How To Recapture Lost Innovation ROI appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
35 minutes | 4 months ago
37 / Validate and Verify the Customer Voice
Ash Maurya LEANSTACK 37 / Validate and Verify the Customer Voice Description Whatever we think we know about our users doesn’t always hold true when we release our products into the wild. Faced with compressed cycle times and pressure to release something, product managers sometimes fall in love with a product only later to discover we were among the few who did. Our mistake isn’t being passionate about the feature or solution; our mistake is failing to first measure our users’ response to it. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Ash Maurya, founder and CEO of LEANSTACK and creator of Lean Canvas, a popular business modeling tool. “It’s about bringing in the customer voice,” Ash says, “and gathering the right qualitative and quantitative metrics – starting with qualitative.” It’s the easier place to start, Ash continues. “With qualitative, we get to see patterns and learn the big themes – what I call ‘the signals and the noise.’ Validate qualitatively, but then verify quantitatively because otherwise you can get a lot of false positives.” Throughout the pod, Ash shares insights about how product teams can close the gap between pre-launch conjecture and post-launch reality. By bringing the customer into a Discovery phase conversation where probing and listening are front and center, we’re able to sharpen our focus, test theories through experimentation, and create new experiences based on what we’ve learned. Product leaders come to understand their customers in a deeper context. When we engage them beyond the functional nature of their challenge, we’re more likely to understand the problem they’re trying to solve at a truly emotional level. With that depth of appreciation, we can create impactful product design. Be sure to catch the entire podcast conversation to hear Ash share the following: [01:44] A big movement putting product at the center. In some ways, it’s always been there, there’s just a new awareness of it. [03:40] The first order of business. Are we building something that gets used? Are customers engaging with this? That’s where I like to start; everything else layers on top. [04:04] Qualitative metrics. Qualitative can give you a very strong signal one way or the other that you may be onto something. It’s very effective in finding problems. [05:39] Validation and verification. An interesting distinction in light of the role qualitative and quantitative research plays. [07:44] Jobs to be Done (and other frameworks). At first, I’m fascinated. But the thing that always troubles me is that it feels a bit like a magic trick. I see the result, but I don’t know how they got to it. [08:19] Hiring and firing products. Even as I look across disruptive products, for every product that you build, there’s already a product, an existing alternative, that you are replacing. [09:00] The bigger context. With every product, there’s the functional job, and there’s the emotional job. [09:00] The drill bit example. Why are you drilling the hole in the first place? [11:39] Understanding irrationality. How behavioral economics helps the marketer, innovator, and entrepreneur. [12:59] Quantitative metrics. The quantitative is where the data proves the thing working at scale. [12:59] Insight generation. That’s where all the interviewing and the qualitative learning comes into play. [14:15] New products are fundamentally about some kind of behavior change. [16:32] Habit loops and reward loops. As product folks, we sometimes have to add some kind of feedback loop that this product is working. [17:35] “Using a lean canvas does not a lean startup make.” The difference between a team following process because they were forced to – not using the tool for its intended purpose. [23:27] MVP and MVA. Build something smaller and then iterate and refine. The challenge is that today customers have no patience. Rightly so, because they have so many choices. [25:50] The strategy of preeminence. If you can articulate user problems better than they can, they transfer expertise to you and that starts a conversation. [27:40] The innovator’s bias. I want to build something cool and different and I don’t want to solve the obvious problems. [27:40] The secret about new problems. They come from old solutions. [29:38] The speed of learning. The only true, unfair advantage that you have. [32:42] Innovation. I contrast innovation and invention. I look at invention as a new way of doing things, and I look at innovation as taking that new way, technology, method to market. Ash’s Recommended Reading The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg. The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer, 2nd ed., by Jeffrey K. Liker. To learn more about the tools and content discussed on the podcast, check out LEANSTACK. About Ash Ash Maurya is the author of two best-selling books – Running Lean and Scaling Lean. He is also the creator of the highly popular one-page business modeling tool, Lean Canvas. Ash is praised for offering some of the best and most practical advice for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs all over the world. Driven by the search for better and faster ways of building successful products, Ash has developed a systematic methodology for raising the odds of success built upon Lean Startup, Customer Development, and Bootstrapping techniques. Ash is also a leading business blogger; his posts and advice have been featured in Inc. magazine, Forbes, and Fortune. He regularly hosts sold-out workshops around the world and serves as a mentor to several accelerators, including TechStars, MaRS, and Capital Factory. He guest lectures at several universities, including MIT, Harvard, and the University of Texas at Austin. l The post 37 / Validate and Verify the Customer Voice appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
34 minutes | 4 months ago
36 / Shaping the Product Manager’s Prime Directive
Michael Sacca Dribbble 36 / Shaping the Product Manager’s Prime Directive Description What is the product manager’s prime directive? Most would argue we’re here to make the world a better place through the software products we create. But what do we do when we see product decisions being made that conflict with that directive, that cause us to manipulate users to our benefit instead of inspire them for the benefit of others? It’s the sort of question that makes you take a “look in the mirror.” And one that Product Momentum Podcast guest Michael Sacca posed in response to a deceptively simple one that Sean and Paul ask every guest: What’s a book that you recommend to others, one that has shaped your career or current thinking? We could not have anticipated Michael’s response: The Social History of the Machine Gun. The John Ellis book describes how as a society we arrived at the machine gun as a form of deadly warfare. At every step in its evolution, Michael explained, product decisions were made to devise something that was more lethal than before. As VP of Product at Dribbble, Michael describes the work of product managers as having to make thousands of similar decisions every day of our professional lives. Though the context of our work is vastly different from weapons of warfare, we too define scope, select new features, and satisfy requirements as part of our daily routine. But do we ever consider whether any of it is really necessary. Is our work helping to serve the prime directive – to make the world a better place? Michael’s assessment of Ellis’ machine gun example serves as a jarring reminder that the choices we make can have significant impact on the world around us. It’s also a reminder of how a product manager’s leadership and influence can shape the experience for our customers and their users. Michael put his own spin on the Shaping methodology (inspired by Ryan Singer’s book Shape Up) as a way to deliver impactful results for Dribbble. Listen in to hear more about how Shaping can help your team and organization to fulfill their prime directive. [03:21] Ship more meaningful work, faster. Start to time box the other way. Rather than requiring the team to tell me how long something’s going to take, we just gave them six weeks to figure out how to ship something meaningful. [04:26] Moving away from Agile, sort of. We’re not doing the usual Agile. We’re not going to stop and do a retro after 2 weeks. We’re not going to do grooming meetings. We’re not going to do any of that usual Agile stuff, because it didn’t give the team context. [04:48] Shaping the work to build a happier, more productive team. [06:18] The importance of building context. Our teams had a ticket, but they didn’t really know why we were doing what we were doing. Now all we do is give them a shaping document and they finalize the scope. [07:16] Before, everyone was scared to cut scope. Now we’ve been able to refine the process to where we’re always building the most important thing and not wasting time on features that probably wouldn’t matter anyway. [08:46] How to lose 70% of your team’s capability. [09:41] What goes into the shaping artifact. [11:43] “Inspiration is for amateurs.” – Chuck Close. [13:03] The Dribbblization of Design. I think it is a very human and natural concept to collaborate together, and I think what we do is collect that trending information and give it back to the design community. [14:58] Transforming product management from a cottage industry into a career that people now aspire to. [15:21] Product manager as the “CEO of the product”? I don’t think we ever really fulfilled that. [18:17] The constant evolution of product design. As humans, I think we’re always looking for something new. And that’s never going to change. [20:35] The art and science of working together, separately. [22:25] Shaping the space with 400 episodes of Rocketship.fm. What we’re trying to do is better understand the world around us as product managers. [25:49] The most common cause of product failure. Interestingly, when done well, it’s also the most common cause of product success. [27:41] Be aware of the influence we have as product managers. [28:42] What is Innovation. Put simply, it’s a milestone in evolutionary progress. [30:33] The book I always recommend to product people. The Social History of the Machine Gun, by John Ellis. It exemplifies what we have control of as product managers. Michael’s Recommended Reading The Social History of the Machine Gun, by John Ellis. About Michael Michael Sacca is the VP of Product at Dribbble. He started his career 15 years ago as a Product Designer, eventually founding a cutting-edge product agency that built applications for Scholastic, GE, Nike, Siemens, and more. He founded the design asset management software, Brandisty, which was acquired in 2014 and is now owned by InVision. Michael was the President at Crew, the freelance design and development marketplace, and former parent company of Unsplash, the popular stock photo website. At Crew, he secured key partnerships with Squarespace and the BDC before leading the company through its acquisition by Dribbble in 2017. His writing has been featured in the Harvard Business Review, and his popular product management podcast (rocketship.fm) has been written about in Inc, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and Entrepreneur, respectively. Michael served on the board of AIGA in Las Vegas and taught web design as a Professor at the Art Institute. t d The post 36 / Shaping the Product Manager’s Prime Directive appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
42 minutes | 5 months ago
35 / Building the Solutions the World Needs
Christopher O’Donnell HubSpot 35 / Building the Solutions the World Needs Description In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Christopher O’Donnell, Chief Product Officer at HubSpot. Their conversation kicks off with a discussion of Trust, closes with Christopher’s definition of Innovation, and checks nearly every box in the product manager playbook along the way. In a lively give-and-take that combines big ideas and “boots on the ground” pragmatism, Christopher explains how a product mindset, with clearly articulated goals and guardrails, brings a level of team autonomy that delivers product solutions and “delightful surprises.” Autonomous teams, he says, find better ways to solve problems than if leadership had simply given them their marching orders. “Creativity comes from the constraints,” Christopher adds. When we give people products to build and problems to solve – along with those goals and guardrails – we not only get better solutions; we get empowered, autonomous teams. “Let’s be clear. Autonomy is not chaos,” Christopher adds. “Autonomy is not doing whatever you want and optimizing for yourself or your team above the customer. Autonomy is the ability to make high-quality decisions without consulting a lot of people. But you don’t get that without the guardrails.” Above it all, Christopher reminds us of the human story attached to our work. “I don’t care what you build; every day and every interaction involve users of our software. They’re real people, with real people problems.” The ultimate goal of every product manager, he says, is to build the solution the world needs. Listen in to hear Christopher’s thoughts on these topics: [02:34] The Impact of Trust. When you have organizational trust, you can attract really great people. You can retain really great people, and they will accomplish bigger, better things than what you could have told them to do. [03:40] Product ≠ Project. We don’t give people projects. We give people products, with clearly defined goals and guardrails. And they own the successes and failures along the way. [04:30] The Shift into Problems. Even better than giving people products is giving them problems. [05:29] Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation. Hire their hearts and their minds. [07:23] Titles do not matter. If it were totally up to me and I could start from scratch, everybody on our team would just have the title “Product.” [07:38] As a resource, there’s no limit to intrinsic motivation. [11:07] Creativity comes from the constraints. In the same way that necessity is the mother of invention, creativity is borne from constraints. [12:52] Mainsail. Invoking Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. [15:26] A playbook, but not a process. It’s the mindset that things are not fixed in time, that we’re always here to adapt and learn. [16:16] Autonomy. What it is; what it is not. The autonomy is real. Teams are actually making decisions for themselves. [18:55] Size (of your release) matters. From a quality perspective, the larger your releases are, the harder they are to do in a really quality way. Smaller releases bring higher quality. [21:02] Demo in production, or it didn’t happen. [22:49] The problems Scrum solves. One is not being able to get to production and getting in front of customers. The second is getting hassled by everybody else at your company. Scrum is going to help you there. [29:09] Scrum is a valuable set of guardrails. [30:04] Building real empathy for your customers. Just how important is it? [31:40] Relax; all the front-line product managers are faking it. Product management is a game of incomplete information. [32:53] There’s always a human story. Users of software are people. And they have people problems. I don’t care what you build, there is a human story. [34:37] What skill set(s) product managers need to be successful. Curiosity and truth-seeking, absolutely. [37:29] If the engineers lose faith, there is nothing I can do for you. If none of the teams is excited to work with you, you’re done. [38:36] It all boils down to interpersonal effectiveness. The growth mindset. Intrinsic motivation. Double down on that, and you can’t go wrong, whatever you work on. [38:51] Innovation. I think it’s one of two things. It’s either solving a problem that hasn’t been solved. Or solving a problem in a very different way. Christopher’s Recommended Reading The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business, by Clayton M. Christensen Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant, by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. About Christopher Christopher O’Donnell is the Chief Product Officer at HubSpot, where he drives product management, design, and user experience for HubSpot’s suite of products. Prior to this role, Christopher led the product team building the HubSpot CRM and HubSpot Sales Pro. Upon joining HubSpot, Christopher led the re-write of the HubSpot Marketing product, culminating in HubSpot Contacts and the release of HubSpot3 in 2012. Previously, Christopher was Director of Product at Performable before it was acquired by HubSpot in 2011. He has also been a startup founder, advisor, and product/UX leader. In his free time, Christopher pursues his decades-long passions for building technology products, producing music, and playing guitar. Christopher graduated from Brown University with a BA in Computers and Music. lt The post 35 / Building the Solutions the World Needs appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
29 minutes | 5 months ago
34 / Product Managers ‘Change the World’
Adrienne Tan Brainmates 34 / Product Managers ‘Change the World’ Description Change the world. It’s a pretty tall order, even for today’s modern product leaders. But that’s precisely what product managers do, according to Adrienne Tan, who joins Sean and Paul in this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast. Co-founder and CEO of Brainmates, Adrienne is a pioneer in the world of modern product management. Her impact on the product management community has been felt and appreciated both at home in Australia and around the world. “Product Managers are the key part of the business – the engine that drives the business forward,” Adrienne says. “They are the people who make the products and the people who change the world. That’s what product managers do.” Changing the world is a lot like eating an elephant. Trying either in one colossal bite will lead to certain failure – and a fair bit of indigestion. But do it “one bite at a time,” like product managers do, and you may just have a chance. For Adrienne, bringing products to market that people love requires an approach that goes way beyond a series of sprints, ceremonies, and releases. Over the years, so many different kinds of tools and templates have emerged in response to trying to do better product management. Adrienne prefers to operate on first principles – foremost among them, putting the customer front and center. “I think when you start with the customer, that makes for a better product,” she adds. “The things that we put in the market are to serve our customers, so we need to be empathetic to who they are and empathetic to the people who build our products for us. Because if we aren’t and we don’t, it shows up in the product.” Adrienne’s insightful nuggets cover a broad range of topics, each focused on giving voice to product managers and leaders and guiding us on how to level up our technical and adaptive skills, build great product culture, and hire thinkers not doers. She brings to the pod the same high level of energy that she and her Brainmates team bring to their product management conference. Going all digital in its 6th year, Leading the Product 2020 is designed for the product people and by the product people, bringing together some of the best minds in the product space. [02:01] I wish there were a secret sauce. I think we all do. But that’s part of our problem. We’re all searching for some secret sauce. [02:57] Making sure we’re not ‘the tall poppy.’ Maybe it’s a cultural thing; Australians don’t want to be sliced down by others and that could be part of the way that we operate. [05:05] Avoiding tools, templates, and flash-in-the-pan gimmicks. I prefer to operate on first principles. But my favorite tool is definitely the customer journey map. It puts the customer front and center. [07:03] Agile: friend or foe? Agile and lean practices are enormously beneficial tools and methods, but we sometimes get so far down in the weeds that we forget what we’re trying to achieve. [07:54] The 7 Ps of Product. Problem, Purpose, Position, Performance, Price, Promotion, and Practice. [09:10] What’s old is new again. I’m looking back at the tools that were designed in the 60s and 70s to really reframe and rethink a modern way of doing product. [09:43] Technical Skills + Adaptive Skills. The connective tissue that brings together what we do on a day-to-day basis with our vision and strategy – where we want to take our products. [10:52] The Palm Model. The Brainmates product management framework addresses an over-emphasis on the technical aspects of the product manager role. [12:32] Hiring for product managers. We want and need their technical skills. But do they know how to show up? Do they bring empathy to their work? [13:59] Develop thinkers, not doers. [14:40] Empathy. If we are not empathetic to our customers, or to our people, it shows up in the product. [16:48] Be yourself; you cannot succeed as somebody else. You cannot be another company. If you try, well then, you’ve already lost your secret sauce. [17:33] What’s your competitive advantage. People is our competitive advantage. Culture is our competitive advantage. If you want to adopt somebody else’s culture, what is your competitive advantage? [18:58] A step-by-step guide to building great product culture. [21:25] Leading the Product 2020. Going all digital in its 6th year, Australia’s favorite product conference is designed for the product people, by the product people, bringing together some of the best minds in the product space. [23:40] Helping product managers find their voice. I’ve always believed product managers to be the key part, the engine that drives the business. [24:10] A purpose in life. It may look like we sell training and consulting and a conference, but if you strip it all back what we sell is belonging. We all want to belong at some level. [26:03] Innovation. It’s great product management. I don’t see innovation as separate to what we do… About Adrienne Adrienne Tan is the co-founder and CEO of Brainmates, based in Sydney, Australia. She is a highly experienced senior product and business leader with more than 20 years’ experience across multiple industries. Adrienne brings broad expertise across various aspects of business, including product strategy and product planning, business stakeholder management, and product design and development. She is experienced in managing, coaching, and nurturing teams of product managers, senior product managers, and tech leads. Adrienne has a comprehensive track record developing a growing and profitable consulting, training, and conference business that boasts a global reach. Over the past 16 years, she has raised the product management profession in Australia through community events and coaching sessions. When she is not speaking at conferences and numerous product events in Australia and Europe, she is an avid gym lover who also enjoys drinking wine. Adrienne holds a Bachelor or Arts degree in Industrial Relations and a Master of Economics degree (Social Science) from the University of Sydney. tl The post 34 / Product Managers ‘Change the World’ appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
37 minutes | 5 months ago
33 / Learn Fast, Learn Well With Experimentation
Holly Hester-Reilly H2R Product Science 33 / Learn Fast, Learn Well With Experimentation Description Experimentation is not about right or wrong. It’s about learning things that you genuinely didn’t know. The secret is to become comfortable with the uncomfortable and to make room for your own sense of vulnerability. When you’re able to embrace not knowing something, or have experiments come back that disprove your hypotheses, you’re going to discover amazing insights that benefit you, your team, and your organization. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Holly Hester-Reilly, Founder and CEO of H2R Product Science. In this dynamic and fast-paced conversation, Holly discusses her approach to the product science method, one that focuses on using science and empathy to manage risk while building high-growth products and teams. “Our job as product people is to manage the risk of product failure,” Holly says. “Part of that risk is to avoid looking bad in front of our teams, peers, and managers. We have to shift the mindset and the conversation away from right or wrong so that we can begin to pride ourselves on learning new things.” Product leaders have an enormous role to play here, Holly adds. “The only way for us to make that mindset shift is for us to be the example by calling out when the people around us learn something new and saying, ‘that’s what we want to see more of!’” Listen in to catch more from Holly: [02:16] The product science method. It’s really about the difference between what people say they will do and what they actually do. [02:58] Design experiments around past behaviors, not abstracts and hypotheticals. [04:51] The role of data and metrics. The cool thing about software is we can actually measure how users behave. The right metrics …that’s the best possible predictor of future behavior. [07:42] Why smart companies with reams of data still make flawed product launches. They’re too comfortable. [08:25] The Emperor’s New Clothes. Do we have the willingness to be uncomfortable, to be the person who will stand up and say to the boss, “here are the reasons why your pet project is going to fail.”? [10:12] Confirmation bias. Channeling Richard Feynman, “you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” [10:45] Rapid research. You have to be super-focused on the most important thing to learn and let go of the idea that you might not learn the other things. [12:38] Exposure therapy. The more times that you’re exposed to something, the more comfortable you become with it. [15:05] Optimism bias. Gets in the way of making good business decisions like so, so much. [16:14] How long does it take to change somebody’s mind about their pet project? [17:49] The role of experimentation. It’s not about being right. It’s about learning things we don’t already know. [21:19] Premortem risk assessment. Put yourself in a place where risk is already assumed to be real. [22:34] Our job as product people is to manage the risk of product failure. [24:02] The difference between good and fantastic product research. [25:46] Take a snapshot. Make sure that your team is situating who your customer is within the strategy of the product. [27:22] Practicing discovery. As a product leader, you should have a strategy that is a series of product-market fits. [28:27] Measuring the value of research. Two parts: quantify the value of research and know when you’ve done enough of it. [32:10] “Faster horses.” At least you know what outcome your users want. [33:48] Innovation. Innovation drives a significant change. It doesn’t just increase the amount of something you’re selling: the revenue, the number of users. It changes the rate of that. Holly’s Recommended Reading Indistractable, by Nir Eyal. Check out more of Holly’s insights by catching her H2R Product Science articles and podcast. About Holly Holly Hester-Reilly is the Founder and CEO of H2R Product Science, a product management coaching and consulting firm that teaches the science of high-growth product development. Holly is a former Columbia University research scientist and has led over a dozen successful digital product initiatives at startups, high-growth companies, and enterprises like MediaMath, Shutterstock, Lean Startup Co., and WeightWatchers. With those experiences, she has developed the Product Science Method, a framework to discover the strongest product opportunities and lay the foundations for high-growth products, teams, and businesses. Her team at H2R Product Science partners with startup founders and product leaders to share this framework, helping them to figure out which product growth opportunities they should pursue and build the product management skill to deliver on their goals. Holly also teaches public and private workshops and has spoken about building high-growth products for events such as Lean Startup Summit Europe, growth equity firm General Atlantic’s CIO summit, top boutique design and development agency Thoughtbot’s employee summit, ProductTankNYC, Parsons School of Design, and the Product School. Be sure to tune in as Holly hosts The Product Science Podcast. t l The post 33 / Learn Fast, Learn Well With Experimentation appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
39 minutes | 5 months ago
32 / Take An Objective Approach to Prioritization
Jeff Lash Forrester 32 / Take An Objective Approach to Prioritization Description A lot of times product managers take a overly narrow view of prioritization without giving full consideration to the impact of decisions we make. Whether to add another new feature to our backlog – and which one? Is there a new market segment we should explore? Do we need a new vision for our product? For the organization? In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul catch up with Jeff Lash – Vice President of Product Management Research at Forrester. Too often, Jeff says, stakeholders see the viability of an opportunity but not its feasibility (and vice versa). We take an overly subjective approach to prioritization and lose sight of the vision we set for the product and organization. Listen in as Jeff describes his approach to prioritization. By applying a more objective standard – in fact, Jeff recommends establishing a prioritization framework – product teams act with confidence guided by a vision and strategy that are both clearly articulated and widely communicated across the organization. Product managers, he believes, need to be general managers of their “commercially minded enterprise, so we need to act like the business owner, running our products like a business.” Here’s more: [02:51] Why the product manager role is so misunderstood. Has anyone ever taken the time to explain, “this is what we expect of you.”? [03:39] Vision and strategy. Do product managers understand that this is part of their role? [05:11] Balancing the tactical and strategic. It’s about mindset, understanding all the responsibilities. [07:03] Product management in a remote environment. The more distant you are from your team, the more you need to document and communicate. [08:40] What’s your horizon? If your vision and strategy hold true for the long term, avoid dramatic shifts. [10:21] 3 levels of prioritization. Sprint, Release, Organization. [11:36] Is there such a thing as the perfect formula? [13:12] Decision making in the absence of strategy and vision. Good luck. [15:07] Frameworks. Help the process along by making it as objective as possible. [18:53] The definition of product management. [20:32] Which personas need your attention most? Understand (and balance) the broad range of user personas as well as buyer personas. [21:41] Incremental revenue vs. Retention effect. One addresses why people buy, the other why people stay. [26:30] Guiding principles. Does this feature help one of our guiding principles? If yes, add it to the backlog. If not,.… [28:44] Fly your banner. Discipline in the face of initial challenges. [29:29] Decision making is not about yes and no. It’s about understanding the impact of both. [31:32] Hidden treasures. If you want to find those hidden treasures, the unmet needs, you have to apply different techniques. [33:10] Citing Margaret Mead. “What people say, what people do, and what people say they will do are entirely different things.” [35:15] Innovation. How do you take an idea and make it a reality? How do you take an idea and turn it into something that is actually in the market? Jeff’s Recommended Reading Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make Competition Irrelevant, by W. Chan Kim and Rene Mauborgne. Want more Jeff? Check out his blog, How To Be A Good Product Manager. About Jeff Jeff Lash is a recognized thought leader in product management, with 15+ years experience in the development of Web-based products and SaaS. His product management career includes both new product introductions and major turnarounds of existing product lines, as well as introduction of the product management role into organizations. In his current role as VP, Group Director, Product Management Research at Forrester, Jeff and his team help product management leaders create world-class organizations and elevate the abilities and expertise of their teams to drive measurable and repeatable product success and business growth. t l The post 32 / Take An Objective Approach to Prioritization appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
45 minutes | 6 months ago
31 / How To Get The Positioning Right
April Dunford Consultant, Author, Speaker 31 / How To Get The Positioning Right Description In tech, as in life, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. That might be one of the coolest aspects about building super-exciting software products. There’s any number of ways to get the job done. As product people, we lend our education, our experience, and our intuition to improving people’s lives. Our varied life circumstances inform both our efforts and the many potential means by which we pursue success. For April Dunford, who joins Sean and Paul in this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, getting your Positioning right is the straw that stirs the drink. “Positioning is foundational to everything that follows,” April confidently points out. “It essentially defines how your product is uniquely qualified to be a leader at something that a well-defined set of customers cares a lot about.” April isn’t shy in proclaiming the mission-critical role that Positioning plays in product success. Nor is she bashful in calling out product-market fit as “a myth” (and making an interesting case in the process). Listen in to catch April’s thoughts on those topics, as well as the following: [02:20] Product managers & product marketers. We’re sort of becoming hip. We’re cool now. [04:27] Positioning is foundational. In fact, it’s so foundational that we either think it’s already been done…or that we can’t do anything about it anyway. [06:32] Positioning. What it is; what it isn’t. [09:16] Good-fit customers. You want a pipeline of those. [09:38] Bad-fit customers. Cull the herd. [13:13] Good fit means “good for the customer and good for the business.” [13:50] Segmentation. So much more than demographics and firmographics. [15:51] Actionable Customer Segmentation. Catch how April’s discovery process leads to actionable customer segmentation. [19:45] Product-market fit. “I do have a bit of hate on for product-market fit.” [26:10] Product-market fit part deux. “It’s baloney. It’s not a thing.” [27:32] Magic marketing moment. When everything feels easy. Like you’re running down hill. [30:01] (product + category) x Trend. Trends are accelerants to positioning. They make your stuff seem sexier. [31:04] Trends part deux. The trend answers the question, “Why now?”. [32:49] In competition with the status quo. Doing nothing is always an option for customers. [34:00] Positioning: investors vs. customers. Why the pitch is so different. (hint: it’s about value) [36:39] Innovation. There’s lots of ways to be innovative outside of the technology. [38:23] Acquisition features and retention features. One to set the hook, the other to make sure it stays there. [43:23] Positioning as a superpower. It can change the way both your team and the world think about the problems you solve, your technology, or even your entire market. April’s Recommended Reading Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended on It, by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz. Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning So That Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It, by April Dunford. About April April Dunford is a consultant, author, speaker, and globally recognized expert in Positioning. She helps technology companies make complicated products easy for customers to understand and love. Previously, April has run marketing, product, and sales teams at a series of successful technology startups and has launched 16 products into market. She is also a board member, investor, and advisor to dozens of high-growth businesses and is the author of the best-selling book Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get it, Buy it, Love it. The post 31 / How To Get The Positioning Right appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
44 minutes | 7 months ago
30 / Essential Components of Product Culture
Bruce McCarthy Product Culture 30 / Essential Components of Product Culture Description Before we jump headlong into implementing Lean or Agile. Before we decide that OKRs offer the best chance to set goals and measure results. And before we determine that a particular design methodology will lead us to successful product development, product leaders need to understand the “underlying cultural things about teams and about companies that need to be addressed first. “You’ve got to get straight the ‘why are we here?’ questions,” says Bruce McCarthy, who joined Sean and Paul in this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast. According to Bruce, the founder of Product Culture and author of the book, Product Roadmaps Relaunched, we cannot meet our lofty goals – let alone the aspirational ones – without first embracing the cultural aspects that explain our place in the world. What problems are we solving? Why, and for whom? How will we work together to achieve our objectives? What is our mission – our purpose in the world? When we focus on these questions, we begin to understand the intersection of product culture and product management. In many ways the two overlap, Bruce explains. Product management is “a role, a discipline, and a set of tools and responsibilities.” Product culture, on the other hand, is less tangible. It gives valuable insight about how product managers prioritize resource allocation, formulate decisions, and deliver value for their customers. In many ways, good product culture is a “we know it when we see it” sort of thing. What’s most enlightening is the way Bruce brings to life an organization’s culture through the eyes of the customer. Product culture has a Vision that empowers the customer, a Plan that delivers value in incremental steps along the path to vision fulfillment, and an outcome-based effort by a diverse Team aligned around that common vision. Tune in to hear more from Bruce, including: [02:01] Product Culture talks about those cultural aspects of why we’re here, how we work together, how we think about the purpose of going to work every day that’s mostly on my mind. [03:49] Product management and product culture. Considerable overlap, but significant differences. [03:49] Three elements of product culture: vision, plan, team. [06:45] “Things are impossible until they’re not.” It’s the history of Innovation. [07:52] Innovation is not about changing technology. It’s about our perception of what’s possible. [10:33] Have you heard the story of General Magic? [13:29] Product as vehicle. Radhika Dutt: “A product is a vehicle for making change in the world.” [14:01] What killed Blackberry? They forgot, or never realized, that they were a status symbol. [15:15] Product success and the Venn diagram. When feasible and viable come into overlap. [15:59] The product manager’s role in roadmapping. Speak vision into the roadmap. [17:30] The right feature? It depends on what problem you’re trying to solve. [21:20] Outcome teams. The 4th level of product teams. [24:49] The nature of software development. Building one-offs for the first time, every time. [28:04] Prioritization. Why it’s the fundamental skill of the product manager. [32:34] Tactics for up-and-coming PMs. Agree, prioritize, align, repeat. [37:40] Imagination. The ability to envision something that does not yet exist. [40:31] Innovation. Feasible, viable, badass. Bruce’s Recommended Reading: Team Objectives – Overview, by Marty Cagan. Silicon Valley Product Group. February 24, 2020. Off to Be the Wizard, by Scott Meyer. Product Roadmaps Relaunched: How to Set Direction while Embracing Uncertainty, by C. Todd Lombardo, Bruce McCarthy, Evan Ryan, and Michael Connors. About Bruce Bruce McCarthy helps growing organizations achieve their product visions through workshops, coaching, and speaking at events around the world. Bruce co-wrote Product Roadmaps Relaunched: How to Set Direction while Embracing Uncertainty and opines regularly about Product Culture. i t The post 30 / Essential Components of Product Culture appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
29 minutes | 7 months ago
29 / Empathy is the Catalyst for Innovation
Saleema Vellani Innovazing 29 / Empathy Is the Catalyst for Innovation Description Design thinking calls on product people to put themselves in their customer’s shoes. To empathize with them. Saleema Vellani agrees, but adds that empathy is borne out of self-awareness and that understanding others requires us first to understand ourselves. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Saleema Vellani, author of the soon-to-be-released Innovation Starts with I. Saleema explains how practicing empathy, more specifically compassionate empathy, requires a shift in mindset that helps us truly connect with our product’s users in deeper, more meaningful ways. “Compassionate empathy is becoming increasingly important,” Saleema says. “It’s not about just understanding a person, what they’re feeling. It’s actually feeling moved to help them.” To understand that connection, she adds, is to be the catalyst for innovation. Listen in to catch Saleema’s easy-to-implement practical tips for product managers and their teams. What you’ll hear: [01:59] The future of our product space. AI, machine learning, and automation is creating a lot of job displacement. But with it is coming exciting new product roles and opportunities. [02:12] The “Augmented Age.” The human skills (e.g., emotional intelligence, empathy, critical thinking, cultural intelligence, technology, and data science.) [03:39] 3 types of Empathy. Emotional empathy, cognitive empathy, and compassionate empathy. [03:46] Innovation Starts with I. Practicing empathy starts with first understanding oneself. [03:55] Design thinking guides us understand our customers, to put ourselves in their shoes. [04:00] Associative thinking helps us first understand who we are and then connect seemingly unrelated things. [04:50] Be a “dot connector.” Applying associative thinking to move from self-awareness to compassionate empathy to innovation. [05:02] Can empathy be learned? [06:03] Empathy and innovation. Empathy is the engine behind innovation. [07:12] The “sweet spot” of innovation lies at the intersection of feasibility, viability, and desirability. [09:11] Product radical listening. The key to a more holistic understanding of the problem. [09:50] Groupthink. Creativity’s kryptonite. [10:44] Product people, heal thyself. Starting with I requires an openness to learning about yourself. [11:52] Product thinking. A newer concept in which product managers need to become product coaches, and more organizations must become product-led. [12:15] Product thinking, part deux. It’s not just about the products; it starts from understanding yourself. [13:50] Inclusion as the catalyst for innovation. Inclusion requires learning as much as possible about different stakeholders using tools like empathy mapping, journey mapping, and user experience mapping. [15:22] Innovation. The process of taking all the things that are already out there and reassembling them in a new way. [15:49] A “recovering perfectionist.” Wanting to be perfect is counterproductive. [16:25] Outcomes > outputs. Perfectionists think about outputs. Problem solvers think about outcomes and how they make us feel. [17:17] GSD (get stuff done). Better to implement something that’s not perfect than have a bunch of half projects hanging waiting for perfection. [17:56] Compassionate empathy. The kind of empathy that actually moves us to help. It’s solution focused. [19:59] Tips for product managers. Create psychological safety; let failure be OK. Practice inclusion. Be outcome focused. So many more! [20:53] The job of product managers is to give value. Giving value starts with using empathy to understand yourself and your customer. [21:44] Be an intrapreneur in an organization. Help others by giving them autonomy and flexibility, understanding what will make them happy in their work. [23:50] The difference between listening and making a person feel heard. [25:06] Understand the problem before jumping to hypotheses. When we take the time to understand the problem, we often learn that the real problem is very different than we initially thought. [25:14] Innovation is putting together existing things in new ways that create value. Saleema’s Recommended Reading Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. Innovation Starts with I, by Saleema Vellani. About Saleema Saleema Vellani is an award-winning innovation strategist, a serial entrepreneur, and the author of the forthcoming book, Innovation Starts With ‘I’. Saleema is the co-founder of Innovazing, a strategy consulting firm that helps organizations develop business growth and innovation strategies centered in design thinking and agile processes. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship at Johns Hopkins University and an advisor to several startups and mission-driven organizations. Saleema holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Development from McGill University and a Master’s degree in International Economics and International Relations from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. She is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian and has lived in Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Italy, and the U.S. Born and raised in Canada, she is proud of her multi-cultural upbringing as a Toronto native with East African and Indian roots. t f i l The post 29 / Empathy is the Catalyst for Innovation appeared first on The Product Momentum Podcast Hosted By Sean Flaherty & Paul Gebel.
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