Product Thinking podcast

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Compromise and Collaboration

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In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about learning how to compromise and collaborate with fellow product managers and new team members. Q: How do I work with other PMs in a productive manner and avoid an unhealthy competitive atmosphere? [1:41] Q: How can I improve a relationship with a new PM and our ability to collaborate? [6:31] Q: How do you determine how much you need to reduce the scope of a feature when defining an MVP? Do you have any ideas for how my PM and I can come to an agreement? [13:36] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

Altri episodi di "Product Thinking"

  • Product Thinking podcast

    Testing Your Ideas with David Bland

    43:29

    David Bland is the founder of Precoil, a company that helps organizations find product market fit through assessing risk and experimentation, and the co-author of Testing Business Ideas. David joins Melissa Perri on this week’s Product Thinking Podcast to talk about how to identify your assumptions, experimenting within slower feedback cycles, the importance of aligned confidence, and how product leaders have to continuously walk the walk when it comes to experimentation and de-risk.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and David talk about in this episode: David talks about his professional background and how he first got started in the field of business testing. [1:49] David’s framework that uses themes from design thinking to define risk and identify assumptions. Experiment in the areas where there is the least amount of evidence. [3:32] Many product teams put too much emphasis on feasibility but they also need to focus on desirability. Talk to customers to figure out if they want the product itself; if they are, figure out cost and revenue. [4:46] David advises product managers to start with the business model and understand it; that will inform the plan for how the business is going to make money and how the product is going to impact their business. [6:44] "What are the leading indicators that would predict that someone's going to renew? You should be able to start thinking through what are these touchpoints that would lead to somebody renewing, and how do we remove the friction from that?” David tells Melissa. [8:28] The biggest hurdle to experimentation is time. If you don't have time, you are going to take the easy route. The goal is not to run experiments. The goal is to de-risk what you're working on to make better investment decisions. [13:11] If a company is in a check-the-box mentality, it's not in the right condition to learn experimentation. You need to think about how you're de-risking, and changing your mindset and approach to processes within your organizations. David talks about the way he's designed his training programs to help companies with this problem. [16:55] Repetition is key as product leader. Don't stop talking about the way you want your teams to run because you think they no longer need to hear it. "It's part of your job as leaders to keep repeating this, and showing it, and enabling it and creating a culture and environment where people can work this way," David says. [19:38] David talks about experimenting around product strategy from a higher level, what types of experiments he's seen at that level and what experiments he advises product leaders to run. [20:38] One of the main problems with experimentation is that companies often fall into the realm of testing on their customers as opposed to testing with their customers. It should be about co-creation instead. [32:36] If you focus on customer value, you don't always have to have a finished product. It can be a service. Once you're fulfilling a need for that customer, or solving a problem that's valuable to a customer, or performing a service, you can start charge for that service. [35:30] David talks about companies that have been doing experimentation well. [38:00] Resources David Bland | LinkedIn | Twitter Precoil
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    Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Navigating Your Role as a Product Manager

    19:15

    In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about what responsibilities and roles a product manager should take on in various scenarios. She talks through working alongside a UX researcher, responsibilities around maintaining strategy when the bigger picture is unclear, and the do’s and don’ts of working under a new superior. Q: When do you think a UX researcher should be involved to support discovery, and what activities should they take on within discovery? [3:21] Q: How should product managers maintain strategic fit in large corporations, especially in the midst of CEO changes, COVID-19, and new technology trends? How do you balance user-centricity versus internal business value and strategic fit? How am I responsible as a product manager to completely manage all of these vision changes versus what our senior management does, making sure our strategy is adapting? [8:09] Q: Do you have any advice for navigating the new normal [of having a new superior]? [15:32] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com
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    Making the Case for Product Operations with Denise Tilles

    27:48

    Denise Tilles is an experienced product leader, consultant, and coach who has spent her career helping organizations transform opportunity into product vision. She specializes in product strategy, organizational design, and product operations. Denise joins Melissa Perri on this week’s episode to argue strongly in favor of the need for Product Operations as organizations start to scale.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Denise talk about in this episode: How Denise got started in the field of product operations. [1:57] Denise and Melissa explain why they strongly disagree with Marty Cagan’s recent post characterizing Product Ops as simply “process people.” Product ops helps organizations actually scale, and helps teams inform, deploy, and monitor their product strategy. [3:20] There are three tenets of product operations: business and data insights, customer and market research, and processes and practices. Processes and practices concerning areas of product management are especially important as they allow teams to get the work done. Clear roadmaps prevent individuals within organizations from working in silos and contribute to a healthy product culture. [4:54] Many organizations have lots of differing styles of roadmaps that make it difficult to reconcile critical decisions. What they should be doing instead, Melissa says, is have processes in place that standardize strategic decision-making with clarity and transparency. Denise remarks that these aspects of product management are being left to the wayside, putting unreasonable expectations on product managers and that that needs to change. [6:04] Product operations teams are very powerful in that they help product leaders think about how they are measuring, what they are doing consistently, and how they can be truly transformative. Product ops is about enabling product leaders and managers to make decisions. [9:44] When looking for a product analyst, you need to hire someone who’s great at crunching the numbers and more importantly, good at extracting actionable insights. You need a diplomatic person who can help product managers understand how and why the data is being used by the product team. [11:45] Denise and Melissa talk about democratizing customer research. It puts time back into the product manager’s hands so they can focus on more important matters.[15:00] Product managers often don't focus on the market research, but to understand different trends, or how the market is moving, they need to. [18:46] The skillsets of product ops people have to be diverse because product ops has three disparate functions. “You're not going to hire the same type of person as a product ops person across this entire area. It's more about really figuring out what you need in each one of those cases and then going from there,” Melissa says. [24:18] Resources Denise Tilles | LinkedIn | Twitter Produx Labs
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    Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Thinking Outside The Box

    20:50

    In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about what domain experts can do to learn more about product, how high of a level product people can achieve in organizations outside of SaaS or software companies, and what the right process is for rebuilding a product. Her answers have a core theme in common: as a product person, thinking outside the box and looking for opportunities for disruption is always a good idea. Q: Do you have any advice on how I can overcome some of the common pitfalls that arise as a result of being a domain expert and product manager? Where should I focus my career development to become an amazing product manager that can tackle any problem? [1:54] Q: What's the highest product role you typically see outside of SaaS or software companies? Do you see a trend of more CPO roles in more traditional companies like banks or insurance? Do you think they should have that role or does a VP or SVP of products suffice when the core product is in software? [7:38] Q: What’s the best way to approach rebuilding a product? [11:56] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com
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    Identifying Patterns in Product with John Cutler

    49:13

    John Cutler is the Head of Product Education at Amplitude. He is a product evangelist & coach, who has spent his career wrangling complex problems and answering the ‘why’ with quantitative data. He joins Melissa Perri on this week’s Product Thinking Podcast to talk about the importance of product education and getting in your product “reps”, and the types of product patterns he’s discovered after working across industries.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and John talk about in this episode: A product evangelist acts as the public face of a company and connects with the people who use its products in unique ways. Product evangelists bridge the gap of need for education advocacy, helping teams see the future direction that they're going in, and product therapy. [2:04] Product people tend to follow common patterns and principles when it comes to transformation approaches, but how they apply these principles can be different depending on the culture. [6:08] How to pivot to transform an organization must be tailored to the position the company is in. [9:23] Sometimes product people just need to empower their teams. However, there are often systems in place that prevent this. "If you go into an organization that isn't really aligned in a way to allow agency, where there is low confidence among the teams, a lot of dependencies between the teams, and maybe they don't have the way to see if what they're doing is working... no amount of empowerment will help," John tells Melissa. [11:40]  A lot of organizations have people at the head who have had experience in the digital and processing development department, but they have not worked on a team in modern ways of working. They can intellectualize it, John says, but they can't feel it in their bones. [15:11] Melissa talks about product people not being able to recognize product patterns and see how technology can completely change your product. They can't comprehend rethinking the way they approach product, or they don't consider platform approaches. "You can take the strategy of a different SAAS company from the product architecture and how they deliver value, and use the things that work in your company but just refine it and it's those types of things that I feel like are missing," Melissa says. [17:43] People who have been doing product for a while may underappreciate how many signals and tacit knowledge that have been acquired over the decades. Because of this, communicating with someone who hasn't had those signals can be frustrating. It's important to step back and think about how you learned what you learned when trying to teach other people. [21:25] John talks about some of the core strategies of product leadership. [26:18] Before teams decide to move on to strategy, they should do a simple linear regression and analyze the who, what, where, when, and why of their product. Then start layering complexities and uncertainties. John describes a system he's created called Mandate Levels. [30:31] Not everyone in the product world is fortunate to have job mobility, so organizations need to create an environment that gets outcomes going. [33:51] Sometimes product people believe they're empowering their teams but they're not being sensitive and empathetic to the lives of their employees. How a product manager shapes the mission is important because it can leave enough room for people to take risks. [40:15] Product managers must be clear and honest with themselves before they begin to implement change. They need to connect with their organizations and find the kernel of opportunity. [43:53] Resources John Cutler | LinkedIn | Twitter | Articles Amplitude John Cutler’s Product Org Expertise
  • Product Thinking podcast

    Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Early PM Career Strategy

    27:42

    In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers questions about approaching your product management career thoughtfully and strategically. She covers what PMs are particularly good at and how to reframe the idea of PMs being “generalists,” what she thinks about product management certification courses and FAANG companies, and what taking an alternate route via product operations would look like.   Q: What tips would you give to someone who is concerned about being a generalist? [2:06] Q: Should a product manager aim for a start-up or one of the FAANG companies in the beginning of their career? [8:13] Q: What is the career track for product operations, and how do you support a person to grow in this role? [16:06] Q: Are product management certificate courses worth the effort, and which do you recommend? [20:34] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com
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    Debating User Research, Experimentation and the PM Role with Kent Beck

    45:19

    This episode of Product Thinking Melissa interviews Extreme Programming Founder and Agile Manifesto signatory Kent Beck. Kent has had a prolific career in software development,  including a role as Technical Coach at Facebook from 2011-2018, and is now a Fellow at Gusto. Melissa and Kent share their thoughts on where and when user research should fit into the product development process, the “3X” development model Kent originated while at Facebook, incentivizing employees, and what Extreme Programming looks like 20 years later.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Kent talk about in this episode: The greatest value is created when you have somebody with the capability to talk to somebody with the need. [4:55] How the role of software development and product management changes depending on the phase of customer experience. [8:32] There are pros and cons to customer research. On one hand, it’s useful to determine what features people like and dislike. On the other, there have been times where customer research indicated something wasn’t advisable, yet when it was launched, it was successful. Snapchat and the iPhone are prime examples. [11:02] Kent tells Melissa, “If the incentives are there to not [do something], they're not going to [do it]... Incentives are about storytelling, meaning, purpose, fellowship, personal growth, and the sense of mastery.” [17:49] It’s important that companies have causal, low-stakes interactions with people whose lives are affected by the decisions they make. [24:56] People often forget that finding and emphasizing purpose is hugely energizing. Something as simple as identifying your goal and throwing a party when you accomplish it can motivate your employees. [33:32] To be a good coach, you need to be able to apply the knowledge you have in different ways and be a good storyteller. You also need empathy and credibility. [37:54] “If XP wants to come back and be a force [to be reckoned with], we need to have ways of addressing its inequities. We can't reject half the people in the world because they have two X chromosomes, we can't reject two-thirds of the people in the world because their skin happens to be brown. We have to both become aware of and navigate the power differentials that we all bring into software development,” Kent shares. Resources Kent Beck on LinkedIn KentBeck.com
  • Product Thinking podcast

    Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Compromise and Collaboration

    19:00

    In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about learning how to compromise and collaborate with fellow product managers and new team members. Q: How do I work with other PMs in a productive manner and avoid an unhealthy competitive atmosphere? [1:41] Q: How can I improve a relationship with a new PM and our ability to collaborate? [6:31] Q: How do you determine how much you need to reduce the scope of a feature when defining an MVP? Do you have any ideas for how my PM and I can come to an agreement? [13:36] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com
  • Product Thinking podcast

    Identifying Survival Metrics with Adam Thomas

    33:14

    Adam Thomas is a product management expert, speaker, writer, and the Lead Product Manager at SmartRecruiters. Adam has spent his professional life helping teams reduce friction and craft product strategies that lead to better outcomes for their organizations. He joins Melissa Perri on this week’s Product Thinking Podcast to discuss a concept he developed called survival metrics, which enables product teams to change direction safely and quickly.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Adam talk about in this episode: Adam's professional background and how he got into product management. [2:13] Survival metrics as a concept were created by observing the process that goes into building a product. It's born out of the psychology of thinking about what the customer needs. [7:37] The mark of a good survival metric is action. The metric should be something that helps people in the organization understand what steps need to be taken and why those steps are important. Conversely, a bad survival metric has no direction - it’s more 'go with the flow', vague, and subjective. [9:25] Your company's metrics strategy is tied to the anchor of your vision and mission. This is important because it is what's going to drive your organization forward. [11:39] Survival metrics are tied to a company's culture and are developed through employee feedback. When building a product, find out what employees care about and what their incentives are. The more that product managers do this, the better understanding they would have of the company culture. [16:36] Every project product managers work on should have at least one aspect of the 'stop, pivot, and invest' concept. This will get product managers in the mindset of not just thinking about the bad, but also the good. [19:58] When Adam trains new product managers on survival metrics, he first gives them small projects to observe how they assess them. He gradually introduces the concept of survival metrics after a few weeks. [21:09] Adam shares advice he gives to budding product managers who aren't confident in their decision-making. [24:04] Succeeding in product management requires soft skills. It requires being humble enough to come up with multiple decisions and not knowing the answer immediately. Product managers run into trouble when they act on things they have little or no information on. [26:36] Adam lists the types of things that have worked to break down barriers and make product teams more collaborative. [28:58] Resources Adam Thomas | LinkedIn | Twitter
  • Product Thinking podcast

    Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Experimentation

    17:39

    In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa dives into the world of experimentation, answering subscribers’ questions about metrics and signals for internal applications, measuring the success of company transformations, and the best way to track experiments. Q: Do you have any recommendations for metrics signals for internal applications, particularly where we are trying to change behaviors over the long term? How can an organization measure the success of a product-led company transformation? [2:05] Q: How do you track experiments and the results in a central way? [8:44] Q: How do I set a timeframe for measuring success and performance of a product before I pivot or iterate? How do I know when to kill a product, if after a couple more tries the initial idea didn't work? [11:36] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

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