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ITX Product Momentum
27 minutes | Dec 14, 2021
74 / Crafting A Product Vision Begins With ‘Scaling Trust’
Among the many lessons Shopify’s Mamuna Oladipo has learned in her career is that communicating a product vision isn’t a “one-and-done” exercise. Working with such diverse audiences requires product leaders to create a narrative around the vision and communicate it multiple times, in different ways. Not everyone, she explains, digests information in the same way or at the same pace. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Mamuna joins Sean and Paul to share her vast experience leading product teams across a broad range of industries. Currently VP of Product at Shopify, Mamuna’s experience includes service at Kickstarter, SeamlessDocs, and The Orchard, a division of Sony Music. “A product leader’s view of the world is a lot better than their teammates’,” she says. “They can’t always see what we see. So our job is to help them get up there as efficiently as possible. We do that by ‘scaling trust’,” which is a sort of shorthand for deepening team cohesion, understanding customers’ needs, and thinking holistically about our product. It’s a significant investment, Mamuna adds, but it’s critical to communicating product vision and delivering value to your users. Check out our pod conversation with Mamuna, and catch more of her insights – Product work is people work. Spend time with the people who use your product and who build your product.Change is going to happen. Learn to embrace it so you can minimize its impact on your team.Words matter. Adapt your vocabulary – and your approach – to communicate the product narrative to diverse audiences. The post 74 / Crafting A Product Vision Begins With ‘Scaling Trust’ appeared first on ITX Corp.
21 minutes | Nov 30, 2021
73 / The Competence Ramp: From Efficacy to Mastery
Scott Rigby, Ph.D. joins Sean and Paul for the second in a three-part series on Self-Determination Theory – specifically, the basic human needs of Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness. In this episode, our conversation centers around Competence: the need to be effective and successful at what we’re doing. It doesn’t come easily, or immediately; rather, it’s part of a continuum that develops over time through a series of stages. As product managers, we can think of these stages as a ramp, or an evolution, that begins with “understanding the schema” – i.e., the rules of the game. Schema frames the question, what can I do inside this experience? As learning occurs, competence deepens. And users gain comfort in knowing they possess the ability to be successful. This efficacy leads to skill – that is, a sense that not only can I accomplish this task; but I’m really good at it. Efficacy and skill form the foundation upon which we build a sense of growth in pursuit of mastery – the sense that I’ve reached a level of competence where I can create new ways of using this application or interacting in this environment, or I can be training others. Catch more of our conversation with Scott, and learn to apply the Competence Ramp in building successful user experiences through your products. And be sure to tune in to part 3 of our conversation on Self-Determination Theory – Relatedness. The post 73 / The Competence Ramp: From Efficacy to Mastery appeared first on ITX Corp.
32 minutes | Nov 16, 2021
72 / The Product Leader’s Dilemma: Balancing Possibility, Predictability
As product leaders, we’re rarely hired to build a product from scratch. Unless, of course, you’re the founder. Much of the time we’re handed our predecessor’s backlog with little guidance – other than, perhaps, “Here, help us with this.” And with that, you’re faced with a decision to make: press forward, predictably and safely, in a project-led mindset. Or change tack, introducing the thrill of possibility and risk into a product-led process. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul are joined by Janna Bastow, co-founder of ProdPad, ProductTank, and Mind the Product. Janna discusses the tension within organizations between the predictability that shareholders long for, and the uncertain sprint-to-sprint existence of the product manager. “The people who are investing in your company are watching your stocks,” Janna says. “They want predictability at that level. They don’t care about the individual product features and, you know, agile vs. waterfall vs. whatever else. To them, Agile is just a means to the end.” But for product managers, predictability is often just as risky as innovation. To us, Agile helps us run our experiments we need – some of which lead to innovation. It’s not reasonable to expect us to know what the results of these experiment are, though. Janna suggests that product leaders should work with management to carve out the freedom and budget to find the right balance between predictability and possibility. The post 72 / The Product Leader’s Dilemma: Balancing Possibility, Predictability appeared first on ITX Corp.
25 minutes | Nov 2, 2021
71 / From Autonomy to Innovation
Connecting the dots between theory and application is rarely an easy task. It’s made a bit easier, though, when the theory goes to the heart of human existence: we want – no, we need – to be the authors of our own narrative. And that narrative must be something that we endorse and take ownership of. In other words, humans need Autonomy. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Scott Rigby, Ph.D. joins Sean and Paul for the first in a three-part series discussing Self-Determination Theory – specifically, the basic human needs of Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness. This episode focuses on Autonomy, with future episodes addressing Relatedness and Competence. Autonomy, Scott shares, is not the freedom do whatever we want to do. “Autonomy is this idea of endorsement…that even within the structure of an organization, even when there are assigned goals and objectives, I can still endorse what I am doing – that I’m on board.” And that’s a very important concept for product managers to embrace, particularly within the context of assembling and motivating product teams to create complex technical software. We need our teams to endorse the role they play in translating shared goals into reality as we bring together multiple disciplines to meet the needs of our users. “There’s a lot of structure there,” Scott adds. “So we can’t define autonomy as freedom and expect to get the job done. When we create that optimal balance of structure with our team’s self-expression, we create the space for them to innovate and to solve challenging problems for their users.” The post 71 / From Autonomy to Innovation appeared first on ITX Corp.
27 minutes | Oct 19, 2021
70 / Making Innovation Predictable
What if there were a way to know that your product was going to win in the marketplace – and to know it even before you begin development? In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Tony Ulwick – CEO of Strategyn and “father of the Jobs To Be Done framework” – joins Sean and Kyle Psaty, ITX’s VP of Marketing, to talk all things JTBD. Tony walks us along the process of innovation through the JTBD lens, offering a systematic way to deliver an innovative solution with every product release. Innovation, Tony says, is “coming up with a solution that addresses unmet needs.” When you talk to users, he adds, you’re better able to identify and address their needs. Then you can segment them to make sure you’re providing the right solutions to the right people. “Innovation doesn’t have to be a guessing game,” Tony says. “Once we have those inputs, we have the necessary insights to make innovation predictable.” Listen in to catch all of Tony’s insights, including his thoughts on: When iteration is useful and when it is notDifferent types of jobs that products can accomplishOther elements necessary for success Register now for Strategyn’s next webinar – Thursday, October 21, @1:30 pm ET – as Tony hosts Sean to discuss how empowered teams unite behind a shared product vision. The post 70 / Making Innovation Predictable appeared first on ITX Corp.
30 minutes | Oct 5, 2021
69 / Take Small Steps To Achieve Product Vision
Achieving product vision isn’t just about where we’re going, it’s also about where we begin the journey. A clear vision should also provide a path toward resolution of problems when they arise. Product teams should find their vision aspirational, yet relatable to their work and their values as humans. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Esther Derby joins Sean and ITX Innovation Lead Roberta Oare to discuss the leadership principles she has discovered in her career. Simple, but often overlooked, these principles help product leaders navigate the environment in which we work: how we define vision, the interpersonal dynamics on and between teams, and how we apply these principles to achieve sustainable transformation. Examining our environment is especially useful for product people, Esther adds. “Talk about how things emerge and what conditions are present that will allow for something to take hold and take off. How do we create the conditions that allow us to align deeply with our customers? What are the conditions that currently exist for them? How can we shift those conditions to allow our product to become an integral part of their lives?” Catch our entire conversation to hear Esther explain why – Working on teams is messy.Traditional job descriptions are not as well defined as we think.Organizational structures and incentives get in the way of inter-team cooperation.Working toward your vision is like planting a forest. The post 69 / Take Small Steps To Achieve Product Vision appeared first on ITX Corp.
35 minutes | Sep 21, 2021
68 / Design Thinking’s Double-Edged Sword
For people who love their work as much as UX designers do, it can be easy to get “lost in the sauce,” tackling projects for the love of the craft as opposed to applying your craft to solving complex problems for the benefit of others. Design thinking helps keep us centered on our customers’ needs. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean is joined by co-host Brian Loughner, a talented interaction designer at ITX, and guest Scott Berkun. For years, Scott has been a leader in the UX design space, having worked as an interaction designer and project manager at Microsoft and WordPress. Scott, Sean, and Brian tackle design-related concepts in this thought-provoking episode. Among them is a discussion centered around design thinking. Design thinking presents a double-edged sword, Scott says. On the one hand, it helps us understand what design is and designers do. But on the other, it tends to oversimplify and trivialize an extremely challenging role that requires immense talent and experience to perform well. What’s also cool about this pod is the way Scott takes time to examine some of the words we use in our space. Important, meaty words like design maturity, externalization, co-design, and design theatre among others. Trust and integrity play a role too, helping us understand the optimal environment for effective design. The post 68 / Design Thinking’s Double-Edged Sword appeared first on ITX Corp.
28 minutes | Sep 8, 2021
67 / Innovation Through Digital Anthropology
For product people, a big part of the job is understanding not only what motivates our users, but also the systems they are tied to – and how those two things tie together. As it turns out, the bond that connects them is formed by the tools we build and the best practices we develop around them. We know these things thanks to digital anthropologists like Ali Colleen Neff, Ph.D., who joins Sean for this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast. To Ali, the role of digital anthropologist is to “think through with other product leaders what it means to make the tools and what it means to introduce them to cultures and systems.” Her research helps us understand the impact our products have on the individuals who use them and the systems in which they operate. “The tools we build serve as an extension of ourselves,” she says. They enable us to achieve in ways that we wouldn’t be able to otherwise. But, she warns (citing media studies leader, Marshall McCluhan), the tools we build to address one problem can simultaneously foreclose other ideas. Among Ali’s favorite research methods is directed storytelling, which helps us understand individuals’ thought and decision-making processes. Humans make up culture, so understanding individual stories is key to understanding culture. Tune in to catch some thought-provoking examples from Ali’s research. You’ll also hear: Journey mapping as a tool to understand user engagement at all stagesHow to earn trust from customersThe importance of collaboration between engineers and social scientistsKey elements of successful teams that Ali has observed The post 67 / Innovation Through Digital Anthropology appeared first on ITX Corp.
24 minutes | Aug 25, 2021
66 / Key Elements that Foster the Product Mindset
There is an ongoing evolution in organizations toward an emphasis on the customer experience with your product versus a steady delivery of flashy new features. The former focuses on outcomes, while the latter embraces outputs, perhaps better known as “feature bloat” or “experience rot.” In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean is joined by Marc Abraham, Head of Product – Engagement at London-based ASOS, and the author of My Product Management Toolkit and Managing Product = Managing Tension. Teams that boast a product mindset, Marc says, focus their energies around the 4 C’s: creativity, curiosity, clarity, and customer. “These elements are not unique to the domain of the product manager,” he adds. “But once you’ve got those four elements of the mindset, you’re really onto something in terms of creating that kind of customer-centric product culture organizations are looking for.” Listen to hear more from Marc, including: The power of “W-H-Y” – the ultimate essence of being a good product personEmbracing tension in product management in a constructive wayUsing a shared language for engagement within and outside of your organization The post 66 / Key Elements that Foster the Product Mindset appeared first on ITX Corp.
26 minutes | Aug 10, 2021
65 / The Creation of Culture as a Competitive Advantage
What job are product leaders really paid to do? When you boil it all down, leaders are paid to deliver results. Quantitative, which many believe are more easily measured. And qualitative, which invites the notion of organizational culture: much more difficult to measure, but more important in today’s world than ever before. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean chats with Chalmers Brothers, who for the past three decades has served as author, speaker, and certified leadership coach for executives in some of the world’s best-known companies. “I have had more conversations with leaders in the past 5 years about the conscious – not haphazard or accidental – creation of culture as a competitive advantage than I’ve had in the first 30 years of my career combined,” he says. “Something is going on.” That something starts with the effective use of language. Language creates and generates, Chalmers adds. It defines culture, creating a context that enables effective conversation. “With language, we make visible that which was previously invisible.” Tune in to hear more on this topic from Chalmers, including how: Time management is really commitment management.Effective conversation can help you manage your commitments.Key elements of leadership lie within the context of innovation. The post 65 / The Creation of Culture as a Competitive Advantage appeared first on ITX Corp.
31 minutes | Jul 28, 2021
64 / Managing User Feedback to Prioritize Your Product Roadmap
Product leaders need to be astute prioritizers. That means we have to say no – a lot. To the sales rep begging us to build “the next big thing.” And to the customer account rep pleading for a flashy new feature. Our response to these cries for help is, “Make your case. Tell me why. Show me the user feedback for why we should reprioritize our long-term roadmap.” In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean checks in with Keith Frankel, co-founder and CEO at Parlor.io, the widely popular feedback management system for SaaS teams. Gathering and analyzing that user feedback is key, Keith explains. As a product leader at HubSpot and chief product officer at educational technology startup called Firecracker, Keith recalls telling his reps, “I will prioritize anything that you can prove to me will have a material impact on this business, but I just cannot chase after every shiny new object.” Sound familiar? Faced with competing business cases and insufficient budget to do both (or either), Keith and his team created Parlor – a product designed for product people. It engages users at multiple levels and serves as a “tie-breaker” of sorts that drives decision-making wisdom through customer insights that align product and customer-facing teams. Listen is to get Keith’s inside scoop on a super-interesting experiment he’s running that completely rethinks the role of internal meetings and their impact on workplace productivity in a remote-first environment. Finally, be sure to catch Keith’s three paths to innovation. Cool stuff, indeed. The post 64 / Managing User Feedback to Prioritize Your Product Roadmap appeared first on ITX Corp.
31 minutes | Jul 14, 2021
63 / Unlock Your Inner Genius
Attaining so-called “genius status” – Mozart, Steve Jobs, Einstein spring to mind – seems untouchable to us mere mortals. Or is it. As product people, we have more genius within us than we give ourselves credit for. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Matt are joined by Shawn Livermore. The author of Average Joe: Be the Silicon Valley Tech Genius and software architect/consultant with more than 20 years’ experience in our space, Shawn shares strategies the rest of us non-Mensa’s can use to create successful products. Our best ideas often come to us in seemingly mundane moments, like on our morning commute or while taking a shower, Shawn explains. During these times of “mindless activity,” our minds are free to harness the latent creativity that exists just beneath the surface of our normal, everyday activities. Innovation often comes to us as a “progressive daily trickle,” and by structuring it, anyone can come up with genius ideas, he adds. Genius may well be within our grasp, but we also need to give ourselves permission to fail. Thomas Edison once famously said, “I have not failed 10,000 times; I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” It’s all about perspective, right? Like Edison, even icons in the tech industry have stumbled through some not-so-great product ideas. But by documenting our thought processes and sharing them, we signal to others that we are thinkers who are highly capable. Shawn’s words to the wise: “Never underestimate a nerd with a good story.” Tune in to the whole episode to catch more of Shawn’s stories and tap into his genius. The post 63 / Unlock Your Inner Genius appeared first on ITX Corp.
29 minutes | Jun 29, 2021
62 / Brand Archetypes Help Our Products Speak to the World
Archetype. We don’t have to know what the word means to recognize how it connects our brand with our users. Archetypes help us choose the right words, assemble them in the right order, and communicate the brand experience our users expect. Our brand is how our products speak to the world. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean is joined by Margie Agin, award-winning marketer and founder/chief strategist at Centerboard Marketing. Margie works with B2B companies to identify and communicate key aspects of their brand and drive action. We use archetypes to reflect our product’s personality, Margie offers. “It’s expressing your company, which includes your product, as a human – not just as technology,” she adds. “And when you do that, it makes you more relatable as a company, building trust and closing the gap between your brand and your customers.” For B2B technology companies that aren’t consumer facing, finding the human elements of your brand can be more challenging. Are you the Hero? Jester? Or maybe your product brand speaks as a Pioneer, Explorer, Lover, or Sage. Listen in as Margie shares valuable tips that make this task easier, including gathering people with different experiences with your product to identify and validate how it interacts with users. The post 62 / Brand Archetypes Help Our Products Speak to the World appeared first on ITX Corp.
36 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
61 / Simple Steps for High-Touch User Engagement
Maybe more than anything else, product people want good, honest, relevant feedback about their products. And their go-to source for the straight-up truth? Moms and best friends. They’re the ones who’ll give you the sort of “big-picture feedback you’re desperate for.” And the best part is they know enough not to give advice you didn’t ask for. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, author-entrepreneur Rob Fitzpatrick joins Sean and ITX product strategist Matt Bush to discuss how best to do product discovery and get answers to these questions: “How do I get people to talk to me? How do I know if I have enough feedback? How do I figure out if I’m building the right thing?” In his book, The Mom Test, Rob writes, “It’s not everyone else’s responsibility to tell you the truth; it’s your responsibility to go out and find it.” Coupled with his personal rule – i.e., to build products only for customers I actually want to be friends with – and you’ve got a recipe for product success. Even more than that, though, you’ve got a blueprint for research, discovery, and engagement that leads to better products and more interesting stuff to work on. Listen in to catch more of Rob’s “how to’s” on user engagement and workshopping: How (and where) to initiate the perfect learning conversationHow keen focus on your MVA will help you build your MVPHow to recognize compliments as the red flags that you’ve started asking bad questionsHow to match the 5 teaching formats with the type of content you’re teaching The post 61 / Simple Steps for High-Touch User Engagement appeared first on ITX Corp.
28 minutes | Jun 3, 2021
60 / Define Your Brand With Innovative UX Design
As product people, how do we know when the time is right to “color outside the lines”? Maybe experiment with a new design approach or re-create some of the early Wild West days when design standards were the exception, not the rule. After all, isn’t that a fundamental piece of the innovation puzzle – standing convention on its head by doing something that hasn’t been done before? In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, award-winning product designer and strategist Bill Flora joins Sean and ITX’s Mike Thone (a designer/disruptor in his own right) to chip away at the question. “I always feel like it’s our job to push,” Bill explains. “There are so many opportunities to innovate. But I also think there are areas where we can innovate within established patterns. You know, ‘let’s not try and reinvent here.’ At the end of the day, our job is to make sure our customers are happy.” Bill’s resume includes stints with Microsoft, Nike, MasterCard, and NASA. And he is currently the Chief Creative Officer at Blink, a user experience consulting and usability research firm. So if you’re keen on defining your brand through UX design and collaboration, Bill shares some key insights throughout the pod. He also defines design language and explains the key role it plays in boosting company culture and user experiences. Listen to hear more from Bill, including – Enhancing wonder and discovery through communication and design at NASAScrollytelling, the art of creating interactive experiences using content in multiple media to make stories come to lifeSetting priorities as a designer, making time for things that fit in your vision The post 60 / Define Your Brand With Innovative UX Design appeared first on ITX Corp.
24 minutes | May 18, 2021
59 / Balance Mission & Vision For Great Products
What does it really mean to be obsessed with serving your customers? How can we balance mission and vision to build great products? In this episode, ITX product leader Matt Bush joins Sean in a lively conversation with Esteban Contreras, a Senior Director of Product Management at Hootsuite. Like many so organizations in the space, Hootsuite deftly adapted to a pandemic-driven business climate to continue serving customers from a fully remote work environment. Esteban shares how celebration and culture were key to this process. Some customers seem less concerned with the long-term vision of your product. Even product teams sometimes struggle to grasp their long-term goals when they don’t know the path for getting there. For some, Esteban adds, “A successful day simply means getting out of work on time.” And that’s why mission is so important. Mission explains why we exist in the first place. Listen in to catch more from Esteban; learn about his unique entrance into product management and cools ways to celebrate activities that are integral to customer success. The post 59 / Balance Mission & Vision For Great Products appeared first on ITX Corp.
30 minutes | Apr 30, 2021
58 / Innovate With Continuous Discovery
Innovation is important, especially for digital products. However, it can also be an annoyance if a clear focus on customer needs is not present. In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul talk with Teresa Torres, a product discovery coach focused on continuous discovery. Continuous discovery has numerous benefits for companies, product people, and customers, but product leaders must make time for continuous discovery on a weekly basis. Only by talking to customers can real value-producing innovation occur. Moving away from old-school ways of working can be difficult, no matter what industry your organization is in. Teresa says that you often have more influence than you might think and that a lot can be done just by “rocking the boat a little bit.” Listen to glean more valuable insights from Teresa, including: Constantly evolving methods of work and how to contextualize themThe place for products that create joy, even if they don’t solve a problemHow to get started, no matter how daunting a new initiative might seem The post 58 / Innovate With Continuous Discovery appeared first on ITX Corp.
29 minutes | Apr 20, 2021
57 / The Product-Led Organization
What does “product-led” really mean, and how can you leverage it in your personal practice and throughout your organization? In this episode, Sean and Paul catch up with Terrence Liverpool, AVP, Consumer Bank Digital Product Manager at Synchrony Bank. Terrence brings a wealth of insights that come from working across the digital sector at companies such as Comedy Central and Nasdaq. Terrence is both an intrapreneur and an entrepreneur and he shares how product ownership is central to both roles. Terrence also draws our attention to another key skill for product managers: intuition. He encourages PMs to question decisions that are made and then “dig deeper to get the story behind it all.” With changing business goals, it is also important to continually refocus on the big picture. Tune in to this episode to hear all of Terrence’s insights, plus more on: Sustaining two-way communication with stakeholders to prioritize the user experience Leveraging your organization’s core values to guide long-term goals Promoting customer advocacy through innovation The post 57 / The Product-Led Organization appeared first on ITX Corp.
33 minutes | Apr 6, 2021
56 / Lifelong Learners Propel Product
In today’s episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia, the Founder and CEO of Product School, shares his inspiration for Product School and its role in shaping the next generation of product leaders. Carlos has an unending passion for helping others succeed in the product space, and his enthusiasm is contagious! The most successful and inspiring product leaders are all very curious and interesting people, but it can sometimes be difficult to find time in our busy lives for learning and self-improvement. Carlos shares strategies to make lifelong learning a reality. “We are all creating the future together,” he says. Working towards product-oriented goals throughout your organization can eliminate silos and drive better customer outcomes. Likewise, sharing your insights and learnings with others can fuel long-term success in the industry. Listen to hear more about: Democratizing access to education in product management and more generally Finding mentors, no matter what stage of your career you are in Product managers as generalists and the importance of product-specific, on-the-ground experience if you are transitioning from a more specialized role The future of product management now that the profession has gained traction and clarity The post 56 / Lifelong Learners Propel Product appeared first on ITX Corp.
37 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
55 / Encouraging Great Ideas
Great ideas can come from anywhere. It is the job of product leaders to seek out these ideas by taking educated risks, thinking (and working) outside the box. In this episode Aaron Cooper, the Enterprise User Experience Leader for Navigation and Sensors at Honeywell, shares key strategies for ideation, workshopping, and working across disciplines. Aaron believes that “excellent facilitation helps you scale your ideation.” In fact, great ideas and great leadership go hand in hand. An idea can lay dormant for years waiting for just the right moment to be applied; the quietest team members often contribute the deepest insights. The key is creating a space for everyone’s contributions, then recognizing which can be applied to build better products. Listen in to learn some strategies that improve your facilitation skills, and be sure to catch Aaron’s thoughts on: Persona speed dating to keep customers’ needs front-of-mind across the organization Gleaning deep insights by asking the right questions and asking them often Challenging the status quo and choosing people who are “willing to be a little crazy” The impact of AI on the future of product, especially for designers The post 55 / Encouraging Great Ideas appeared first on ITX Corp.
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