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Enabling Businesses with Climate Data with Gopal Erinjippurath

Enabling Businesses with Climate Data with Gopal Erinjippurath

Product Thinking 17 August 2022

Episode Description

Melissa Perri welcomes Gopal Erinjippurath to this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. Gopal is the co-founder, CTO and Head of Product at Sust Global, a company whose mission is to “develop data-driven products that enable every business decision to be climate-informed so that humanity can thrive in a changing planet.” Gopal joins Melissa to discuss climate sustainability and why climate data is proving to be valuable to all kinds of organizations, how he tested and iterated to build this complex data product, how he’s de-risking bets in a rapidly evolving market, the balance of being mission-driven and commercially minded, and the importance of making product thinking part of an organization’s DNA. 


Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Gopal talk about:

  • Gopal talks about his professional background, how he got into climate sustainability, and what led him to found his company, Sust Global. [1:29]
  • Melissa asks Gopal what type of companies purchase climate data products and services and how they use them in a professional capacity.
  • Your long-term strategy should include holding financial instruments that directly correlate to tangible assets. There are several physical climate risks related to these assets, so ask targeted questions about the climate to protect your assets. [5:26]
  • Gopal shares how he was inspired to go into the business of climate-related data and insights. [8:29]
  • Melissa asks how Sust Global tested their climate-based data product. Gopal explains that the first step was “to start with the outcome rather than the outputs and work backward from there.” Creating mockups of the data-based outcome and testing them with the early set of gated customers can provide valuable feedback. [10:42]
  • Melissa asks Gopal how Sust Global ensures that their climate data product is of the highest quality. Gopal suggests that the best approach is to “sandbox the data capability into an area that one customer cares about and wants to decide on, and then provide them with that data in the simplest form so they can try it and use it for the first time.” [14:22]
  • Your data should fit three criteria:
  • temporal - how fresh your database and data product is 
  • geographic - dimensionality of your dataset, how it's partitioned before it is handed to customers, and what interfaces there are 
  • the business problem [16:26]
  • Gopal highlights the challenges Sust Global faced when creating their product. [19:06]
  • “You must enable your team to stay on top of things and…to fundamentally have product thinking be part of the DNA of your team,” Gopal says. [20:19]
  • Gopal looks at capacity building, strategy and execution when he is building a data-based product team. [22:07]
  • Climate change is a space where it is possible to stay mission-aligned and also be highly commercially minded, due to the rising importance of ESG and climate change initiatives. [24:54]


Resources 

Gopal Erinjippurath on LinkedIn 

Sust Global | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram

...see more

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Leading a Product Organization with Paul Adams

Leading a Product Organization with Paul Adams

Melissa Perri welcomes Paul Adams, Chief Product Officer at Intercom, to this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. At Intercom since the days when they only had only 13 employees, Paul has helped shape the Product department from the ground up. Paul joins Melissa to talk through his approach to product leadership, what his day to day is like as CPO and why he hasn’t been in a product review in years, how to build trust within your organization, and embracing the “messy middle” when it comes to product strategy.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Paul talk about: Paul talks about his introduction to the field of product management, and how he became the Chief Product Officer at Intercom. [1:55] To have a successful product organization, three teams – product management, product design and research and data science – must work together harmoniously. [4:55] Paul believes that the best way to oversee all the different groups within a product organization is by appointing a trustworthy leader to each group and allowing them to have autonomy over their decisions. [6:51]  Paul cautions that the downfall of most organizations is the lack of trust from team leaders. Paul suggests that the teams have open conversations about “Why are they here? What do they not trust?” in order to build trust in the team. [15:03]  When choosing a new team leader or product manager, you have to build a relationship with them so they can trust you and vice versa. [16:12] For your organization to work in unison, the strategy must be clearly, concisely and accurately translated to the execution level, acknowledging the ever-changing trends. [ 20:25] When the company is reviewing the strategy in Google Docs, they urge employees to label their comments “major, minor or curious” in order of urgency. This creates a smooth-running system that maintains discipline. [25:46] The lines between sales, support, marketing, product, and project management need to be blurred. These teams should deeply collaborate in order to achieve collective success for the company. [27:50] For a company like Intercom to work harmoniously, a feedback loop for each team should be set up, where the problems to be solved for each group are shared so that the service can run as smoothly as possible. This only works if there is a strong relationship in the company. [34:05] Paul believes that surveys would be most beneficial to project managers as they collect and track first-party data, which allows them to send targeted ads/messages. [38:31] Resources  Paul Adams on LinkedIn | Twitter

11 May 2022 42m and 51s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About User Research

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About User Research

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about when research is stale and needs to be revalidated, when and why to schedule frequent customer interviews, and understanding product success when conducting product trials. Q: Do you have any tips for identifying when previous validation of knowledge could be stale and might need to be revalidated before continuing work? [2:22] Q: What’s your advice for booking customer interviews? [9:17] Q: Do you have any tips beyond the usual customer surveys and interviews for understanding product success? [16:32] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

4 May 2022 22m and 29s


Shifting How We Measure Success with Jeff Gothelf

Shifting How We Measure Success with Jeff Gothelf

Melissa Perri welcomes Jeff Gothelf to this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. An experienced consultant in the Agile and Lean UX space, Jeff just released the third edition of his popular book, Lean UX. Jeff talks with Melissa about how he’s shifted focus to teaching about OKRs, and why he encourages the companies he consults with to adopt this goal-setting framework to measure success. He breaks down what OKRs are, why they can’t be the only product-led change a company adopts, how many OKRs there should be within an organization, what a good OKR looks like at the executive level, and why OKRs make a “great gateway drug” to organizational agility.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Jeff talk about: HR leadership, especially the performance, retention, and promotion factions, is taking an interest in new ways to measure success, Jeff shares. They want to learn how to deploy this new metric across their organizations so they can improve their overall internal and external performances. [5:03] Jeff shares how he educates clients about integrating their corporate strategy with their OKRs. “These things don’t exist in a vacuum and can’t be manufactured out of thin air,” he says. “They have to be derived from some kind of corporate strategy, product strategy, business unit strategy.” [9:19] Objectives are the qualitative goals that we would like to achieve; they are aspirational and inspirational, and the value of doing them should be clear. [11:02] When your teams are too independent, you run the risk of hyperlocal optimization, Jeff advises. “One of the better tactics that I've seen over the years is to take a set of teams and give them the same OKR set to hit,” he adds. “With those teams, we’ve defined what success is.” [19:09] Jeff describes an exercise he runs with most of his executive clients. They visualize the relationship between impact metrics and leading and lagging indicators in order to identify the outcomes they’re going to work toward. What this exercise ends up becoming is a top-to-bottom customer journey map. [25:44] Typically, teams get told what to build; they make a roadmap and get it approved. In Jeff’s OKR conversations with clients, he removes the output part of the process. They now have to discover what to build by practicing Lean UX, product discovery, and design thinking. Many organizations either don’t know how to do that, or they do and they make it difficult or impossible to execute the work. [33:09] Quarterly check-ins allow you to reflect on whether it makes sense to go towards the goals you’ve set for yourself. [38:06] Being a good storyteller is a key component of being a good product manager. A vast majority of product managers have to rely on bringing people together on a vision they’ve either built themselves or along with a team through storytelling, as they lead without authority. If you can tell a concise and compelling story that ties in the necessary information, that will be a valuable asset. [41:45] Resources Jeff Gothelf on LinkedIn | Twitter

27 April 2022 46m and 54s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Finding a Partnership In Engineering, Moving Backward In Your Career, and Playing It SAFe

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Finding a Partnership In Engineering, Moving Backward In Your Career, and Playing It SAFe

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about working with engineering leadership as a director of product, the idea of moving from a leadership position back to an individual contributor to gain a wider skillset, and whether or not SAFe is the answer for a small product org.  Q: What should my one-on-one’s with my engineering team look like as director of product? How do I find a partner and not an order-taker? [2:30] Q: Should we adopt SAFe? Any tips on what I should study up on and propose as a right solution to process and procedure? [6:56] Q: What advice would you have for someone who is considering stepping out of leadership and back into an IC role to grow their product skillset? [11:01] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

20 April 2022 17m and 12s


Aligning Product Organizations with Adrian Howard

Aligning Product Organizations with Adrian Howard

Melissa Perri welcomes Adrian Howard to this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. Adrian is an Agile Consultant and product coach with more than 25 years of experience, and specializes in coaching leaders around “those messy spaces where product delivery and user research overlap.” Adrian joins Melissa to talk about involving engineers in strategy building, the importance of meaningful strategy, aligning teams across large organizations with varying initiatives and goals, and why team vs team competition can lead to an organization’s downfall.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Adrian talk about: Adrian talks about his introduction to the agile and technical world. [1:58] When incorporating other disciplines such as engineering into product strategy, you need to involve user research and customer support to gain better insight on how a product is developing. [3:30] Before asking questions to your engineers as a product leader, make sure that they are on board and understand the company's strategy. "Your job as a leader is to help either provide that direction, or talk to the people in your organization to discover what directions they think is useful and find a way of prioritizing and aligning about that," Adrian says. [5:14] Too many teams do not feel aligned with the goals of the company, or don’t feel like they have a piece of value that they can deliver on. [9:57] Have conversations about value at the lower levels. Oftentimes these conversations happen at the top, and by the time those conversations reach the bottom level, they're more about effort and work rather than the outcomes. [14:23] Orgs should stop pitting teams against each other, and instead treat their teams as groups collectively trying to deliver on a larger set of values. [20:30] Adrian talks about the competition mindset being ingrained in some company cultures and how he's helped them move away from that. [23:26] "Just asking for the rest of your team to solve a problem that you have pulled out of thin air isn't leadership of the C-suite…that is hoping to steal the credit from the people who are actually coming up with ideas and hoping they'll manage to solve your problem for you," Adrian remarks. [27:48] Usability testing has to be done in tandem with user research to fix organizational gaps, and it also has to be actionable. [31:05] Resources Adrian Howard | LinkedIn | Twitter

13 April 2022 36m and 58s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Dual Track Agile, Processing Negative Feedback, and Starting as a New CPO

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Dual Track Agile, Processing Negative Feedback, and Starting as a New CPO

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about what it looks like when teams are successfully running delivery and discovery in parallel, and the two reasons teams typically struggle with delivery, throwing yourself back in the ring after a disheartening work experience has left you feeling discouraged and frustrated (and asking yourself some hard questions), and where to focus your efforts when starting a new CPO role. Q: How do we do discovery and delivery together for dual-track agile? [1:59] Q: What do you do when a job experience as a product manager has left you so burned out that it makes you afraid to take on that responsibility? [9:29] Q: As a new CPO, where should I start and how should I sequence with regards to building out the team hires, culture, systems, and processes? [17:34] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

6 April 2022 23m and 53s


Getting Your Users Hooked with Nir Eyal

Getting Your Users Hooked with Nir Eyal

Melissa Perri welcomes Nir Eyal to this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. He is an author, lecturer, and investor best known for his book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. Nir joins Melissa to talk about the Hook model, product ethics, serving “chocolate-covered broccoli'' to your users, Wordle, internal vs. external triggers, and what inspired his newest book, Indistractable.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Nir talk about: Nir talks about his introduction to the world of product management, and what led him to write his book. [2:12] A product has to be used with frequency. If it's not used often enough, it's almost impossible to change customer habits. If a product is intended to be used with sufficient frequency, ideally within a week's time or less, it's a good candidate for the Hook model. "It's not that every product has to be habit-forming…It's that every product that is habit-forming needs to have a hook," Nir tells Melissa. [6:00] Look at what competitors are doing in order to improve your products, but also look at who is doing the best out of everyone in the market. To build a product that sticks, model the companies that are the masters of changing habits. Make a product that people will love, and will want to use. [8:10] As long as a product is used with sufficient frequency, and provides utility, it doesn't matter if its consumers are online or offline. [11:25] The Hook model is useful as a diagnostic tool to help product leaders understand when their products aren't satisfying their customers. It helps them create a guide on how to build new products and refine the problems that are in their existing ones. [13:08] Internal triggers are states of discomfort that cause people to use products. It's the job of the product designer to understand what that trigger is, and how their product satisfies it better than the alternatives. [15:28] To create engagement with products, a lot of companies tend to do gamification. The problem with gamification, however, is that it falls flat. Nir says that product leaders end up making “chocolate-covered broccoli”. "Before we understand the problem, we really have to understand the psychological need, [and the] core level human stressors that our product is going to address," he tells Melissa. [16:29] "Anytime you can find a customer need with a question mark at the end, that's a variable reward," Nir remarks. [17:43] If companies want long-term engagement, they have to look for instances that are not game-like, unless those games involve other people. Nir stresses that it's the connections with people that keep individuals engaged. [20:04] There are two categories of triggers: internal and external. External triggers are the 'pings and dings' that occur outside of ourselves that make us use products. The ultimate goal of product development is for customers to use the product on their own without the use of external triggers. If this hasn't happened, then the external trigger hasn't been properly timed. When sending external triggers, they have to be contextually relevant for internal triggers. [22:34] Melissa asks about the possibility of products becoming addictive, and customers developing bad habits when it comes to using them. "For the vast majority of people listening, the problem is not that people are overusing the product...the problem is people won't use the product," he remarks. However, he agrees that some form of legislation needs to be put in place by companies in their use and abuse policies. [27:11] Nir talks about the principles product leaders can implement into their company culture to limit distraction. He also talks about the importance of schedule sinking and time boxing. [35:13] Resources Nir Eyal | LinkedIn | Twitter Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products Indistractible

30 March 2022 43m and 16s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Three Types of Product Management, Articulating Strategy, and Who Should Own P&L

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Three Types of Product Management, Articulating Strategy, and Who Should Own P&L

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about differentiating between types of product management depending on the growth stage of a company, how to successfully craft strategy documents that communicate your vision, and how P&L responsibilities should be distributed across teams.  Q: Are there three types of product management? [2:11] Q: Any tips for writing a strategy document? [9:13] Q: How does product owning the P&L impact relationships with more traditional revenue-driving teams like sales and success? Has this worked out well for the companies you've worked with? [15:04] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

23 March 2022 23m and 31s


Striving For Mindful Leadership with Sam McAfee

Striving For Mindful Leadership with Sam McAfee

Melissa Perri welcomes Sam McAfee to this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. Sam is the founder of Startup Patterns, where he coaches teams and leadership how to attain the human skills necessary in successful product transformations. Melissa and Sam discuss how to strengthen emotional intelligence, how to hone your leadership skills as an IC, and what a truly courageous leader looks like.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Sam talk about: Sam talks about his induction into the field of product management and his professional background. [2:00] Mindful leadership is being able to grow and collaborate with your teams while also paying attention to what you're thinking and feeling as a product leader, and using that information to enhance and enrich your interactions with others. [8:46] The biggest red flag in terms of leadership skills, Sam cautions, is overworked employees. "The reason why that would be a red flag is that it is an indication that there isn't a clear prioritization, or there isn't a clear vision.” This can lead to burnout. [10:43] The first step in building mindful leadership skills is taking time out of each day to reflect. Reflection builds emotional intelligence, which helps build empathy. Leaders who reflect often slow down and observe their own thoughts and behaviors, making them proactive rather than reactive. [15:00] To practice mindfulness as a leader, start observing people's behavior and words. During your interactions with others, try to see things from their perspective, and imagine what they might be thinking or feeling in those moments. Having the courage and compassion to ask others how they're feeling is also an important part of mindful leadership. [21:00] One of the key things in helping product management hone leadership skills is making sure that the product team is aligned in their purpose and objectives. Building relationships is another important aspect. "A product manager needs to have a really good relationship with everyone on the team; they need to understand what people skills are, what their motivations are," Sam tells Melissa. Having curiosity about your people and being intentional with gathering information about everyone's strengths in order to leverage them properly will do wonders for you as a product leader. [27:20] Leaders have to know when to relinquish control. This requires courage and vulnerability but it is important in order to properly transform the work culture within organizations. [32:44] One vital part of courageousness in leadership is saying no to what isn't essential. It is the job of senior management to figure out the vision, decide strategy and then convey that to the rest of the organization, and also to prioritize what is important and what isn't. [35:57] Sam shares what leaders should be looking for when trying to grasp strategy and product initiative. He shares the importance of observing the markets you're in when deciding on strategy. [38:16] Resources Sam McAfee | LinkedIn | Twitter Startup Patterns

16 March 2022 44m and 50s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Approaching Discovery Mode, Aligning Team Strategies, and Missing Company Visions

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Approaching Discovery Mode, Aligning Team Strategies, and Missing Company Visions

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about how to successfully lead the discovery process at a new company with a strong product culture, how to align product strategies across large corporations, and what questions to ask when your organization doesn’t have a clear vision statement to work from. Q: Do you have any strategies or steps that can help me with feeling more empowered? [0:45] Q: What do you recommend large product organizations do so that strategies are aligned? [7:25] Q: What should I do if my company is missing a vision statement? [12:42] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

9 March 2022 21m and 24s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About AI and Platform Products, Being New to Product Ops, and People Management in Product

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About AI and Platform Products, Being New to Product Ops, and People Management in Product

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about data, AI, and platform products, transitioning from project management to product operations, and how to navigate a lead engineering role that is intertwined with both product and people management responsibilities.  Q: How do you do discovery and write requirements for data, AI, and platform products? [1:09] Q: What are some tips and tricks you would recommend for a first-time product operations manager coming from a project management role? What do you think are the most important things to do during the first 30 days on the job? [8:17] Q: Can people and product management really mix? Do you have any tips for making sure both domains can run smoothly without interference? [13:15] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

23 February 2022 19m and 46s


Facilitating Culture Change with Douglas Ferguson

Facilitating Culture Change with Douglas Ferguson

Melissa Perri welcomes Douglas Ferguson on this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. Douglas is the President and Founder of Voltage Control, a change agency focused on helping teams implement new approaches to old systems. He joins Melissa to talk about the realities and challenges of influencing corporate culture, and shares his wisdom on how and where to start your own process of change at your organization.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Douglas talk about: Before getting started with any change initiative, companies should sit down and assess where they are in their change journey. Douglas always starts with the people - those who are on board with change, and the ones who are opposed to it. When you can identify who the key players are, you can tailor your approach to the specific climate of the company. [3:30] Leaders need to ask themselves what kind of change they want to see in their organizations. Identify the most important change that you want to see, and focus there. Oftentimes leaders get distracted by changes that are alluring, instead of focusing on the smaller changes that are right in front of them. Focusing on the key outcomes the change is going to drive for the organization is far more important. [5:55] "It's healthy to step back and even just look at why am I trying to do this culture change," Douglas tells Melissa. He adds that exploring the purpose of change can lead to some epiphanies about what can be done during a particular timeline, and what could not be done. [9:34] When it comes to the detractors in the organization, it's better to understand that they operate on a spectrum. There will be individuals who oppose your suggestions simply because it's personal, but there are also the passive detractors. The passive detractors are neutral and are more skeptical. However, it is possible to bring them around to the changes you want to implement. They simply need a bit more detail and convincing but once they get it, they will become advocates for you. [14:45] It is a lot harder to tell if an executive is committed to change, if you're an individual inside the organization. Consultants that are brought in are usually able to tell from the start. Douglas gives some practical tips on how employees can gauge how committed their employers and leaders are to change. He also shares some questions employees can ask. [17:35] Team level product managers are capable of making change impacts in their organizations. Anyone, no matter where they are in the company, can make a change. Douglas illustrates this using points from the book "Start Within," that he co-authored with Karen Host. If you feel passionate enough about making a change in your company, just do it. [21:31] Breaking through the mentality of 'We can't do this; it's not allowed' at organizations starts with inquiry. Start asking provocative questions about why certain processes aren't performed in the organization. [25:45] Douglas gives tips on what product managers and designers can do to challenge regulations that hinder them from productivity and innovation. One such tip is to befriend the legal department. [29:11] Figure out strategy before you decide to implement change. Douglas and Melissa touch on OKRs and its role as a strategy deployment tool. "OKRs is a strategy deployment technique but if there's no strategy how are you going to deploy it," Melissa says. [35:58] Douglas cautions against putting together a perfect vision of how you think the world should be when giving presentations. "You're not changing, you're not adapting, you're not verifying assumptions that you have about the organization or about how things could work," he says. Be willing to change, be willing to listen and tweak your vision as you go along, and you and the business will be a lot happier for it. [38:33] Resources Douglas Ferguson | LinkedIn | Twitter Voltage Control

16 February 2022 41m and 41s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Market Research Skills, Reactive Product Management, and Career Next Steps

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Market Research Skills, Reactive Product Management, and Career Next Steps

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about learning how to do market research to move up in your career as a product manager, creating products in highly commoditized B2B enterprise markets, and what you should look for in a company when moving from an early-stage startup to an established organization. Q: Do you have any advice on how to improve market research skills? [2:05] Q: How do you escape the trap of a reactive product mindset in a highly commoditized enterprise market? [5:17] Q: What should I look for in a larger company to find a place where my early stage experience is an asset and not a liability? Any other advice on making the transition from early to growth stage companies? [10:18]   Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

9 February 2022 17m and 34s


Part 2: Digging Deeper into SAFe with Eric Willeke

Part 2: Digging Deeper into SAFe with Eric Willeke

Melissa Perri welcomes back Eric Willeke for part two of this SAFe conversation on the Product Thinking Podcast. Eric and Melissa pick up where they left off and dive into the product management and portfolio management parts of SAFe, discussing how product management fits into the SAFe architecture and how it works at scale.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Eric talk about: Product management needs to create an organization that is capable of making strategy real. [4:04] "If you are impacting the market through your work, that's changing your strategy and you need that feedback loop," Eric tells Melissa. [6:36] Eric advises thinking of design strategies and guidelines like visual tables of contents. "What we're looking for when we look at the picture is an entry point, a place I can click; and if I know nothing about the product discipline, I can start to dig in and look at design thinking and understand," he remarks. [8:25] In Fortune 50 companies, for every agile technical domain there is usually only one expert. At the core, Eric stresses, it's about learning and teaching. "If we want to crack the product problem Fortune 50 scale...it starts with education and getting people to think differently, and creating an environment that can select for a different set of behaviors." [15:30] To change a company culture, leaders have to first ask themselves what must be true for the company to be a healthy environment. Think about the problem you're trying to solve then act as if it's the future when that problem is already solved. This mindset creates belief. [17:51] Companies that started with continuous deployment and architecting for flow, manage to avoid more problems than companies who didn't begin that way. [24:28]. Good portfolio implementation for SAFe is based on maintaining relationships and determining the money flow. Portfolio management is conveying strategy into a structure that can implement it. [28:28] Strategy is a continuous behavior leaders must immerse themselves in. Strategy cannot be mechanical, Melissa adds. "You can't get an inspired creative process nor can you get an evolving flow-based architecture out of a mechanical strategy and environment," Eric comments. [36:52] When asked what he would change about SAFe, Eric lists a few things: anchoring on the competency world view as opposed to the table of contents view, more emphasis on the customer as the center of the big picture, and making core values and mindset a priority. [45:32] Eric gives advice for companies just getting started with SAFe, and what they should look for before deciding to adopt the framework. [48:22] Resources Eric Willeke | LinkedIn | Twitter Elevate

2 February 2022 52m and 42s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Startup Roadmaps, Buy-In vs. Consensus, and Restructuring at Scale

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Startup Roadmaps, Buy-In vs. Consensus, and Restructuring at Scale

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about how roadmaps fit into an early stage company, the difference between gaining buy-in as a leader and reaching team consensus, delineating ownership as a leadership team, and how to restructure teams when your organization starts operating at scale. Q: Do you have any suggestions for creating the product roadmap per quarter in a startup company? [1:10] Q: As a product leader, how do you decide where to draw the line between activities you need to lead versus activities you would be more successful with if you had buy-in from your team? How do you draw lines of responsibility and ownership between VP, product director, product managers, and other supporting team members, when as a product director, your responsibility is to lead the product team, the product managers report to you, and there's overlap with what you and the VP are both currently doing in directing team activities? [6:02] Q: How do we best evaluate which parts of the product we build our teams around? What are some common pitfalls when restructuring a product delivery organization to operate at scale? [16:11] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

26 January 2022 25m and 14s


Building a Product Ecosystem with Lisa Schneider

Building a Product Ecosystem with Lisa Schneider

Lisa Schneider is the Chief Product Officer at Framework Homeownership. Previously, she was the Chief Digital Officer at Merriam-Webster, where she led digital strategy and execution and redefined the dictionary for the digital age. Lisa joins Melissa Perri on this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast to share her expertise on crafting great vision and mission statements, the role of the product leader, bridging the gap between sales and product, and why being an integrator is powerful.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Lisa talk about:  How Lisa got started in product management. [1:55] Asking yourself ‘Why?’ is part of the product mindset when developing a new vision and mission. Figure out why you want a new vision and mission, then develop a strategy to bridge them together. Lisa advises that you should not mix the strategy into the mission because it makes the mission become too specific instead of universal. She also cautions against aligning product teams and squads to strategy too much because strategy changes. [7:57] The product vision is a reminder of the ultimate product goal so that teams remember what they're working towards. Product leaders need to create an environment of stability and empathy where their teams don't feel constant uncertainty when strategy changes. [11:36] Product leaders need to propose solutions but also give their teams room to be creative. [13:35] Lisa talks about how she became a Chief Product Officer. [15:44] "The role of the product leader - the real opportunity for the product leader - is to be somebody that understands that entire ecosystem and understands how to integrate it," Lisa stresses. The product leader has to be the one to bridge the gap in organizations where sales and product operate in silos. They have to be the one to have conversations with both departments and gain insight on what they know about the product, and what they need. Asking those questions becomes part of your product research, and it also allows the teams in these departments to take ownership of the product and in turn, they become more invested in the product's outcome. [20:00] Being an integrator within your organization is powerful and important. Asking questions about what people need and how you can help them get there will make you influential within the organization. [23:48] The key to facilitating a problem-solving mindset is less talking about what needs to be done and actually doing it. "Get everyone in a room and start modeling," Lisa suggests. "Lead the conversation and show people how this works." [24:34] Lisa shares her advice for future product leaders. [29:36] To foster a product mindset in organizations that never had it, focus on the outcomes. See yourself as the “product” and think about how you can create an excellent user experience. Be the bridge between leadership and the teams that work with you. [33:46] Resources Lisa Schneider | LinkedIn | Twitter Framework Homeownership

19 January 2022 41m and 20s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Adding in Prod Ops, When to Move On, and What a CPO Should Know

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Adding in Prod Ops, When to Move On, and What a CPO Should Know

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about building product operations teams, staying in a position you love vs. diversifying your experiences, and how much a CPO actually needs to know about the inner workings of their product.  Q: How can an organization make the pivot from being reactionary in their product initiatives to being driven by market research and data? What kind of talent should a product leader be on the lookout for when building this type of team from the ground up? [2:04] Q: How should I balance my love for my current company and role with the pressure to explore new opportunities? [8:39] Q: As a CPO, do I invest the same amount of time in understanding everything about the product, particularly with a complex and feature-rich B2B product? Or should I focus on creating the necessary conditions to transform the product culture of the company? How advanced does my product knowledge need to be? [14:36] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

12 January 2022 20m and 55s


Marrying Product Management and Engineering with Maura Kelly

Marrying Product Management and Engineering with Maura Kelly

Maura Kelly is VP of Engineering at Mailchimp. With over 17 years of experience in the tech industry, Maura is an expert in software development and programming. She joins Melissa Perri on this week’s Product Thinking Podcast to provide engineering’s point of view, and to share helpful tips that will improve the way you as a product manager are collaborating with developers.   Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Maura talk about in this episode: Maura’s traditional path to engineering, and her experience at Mailchimp, where the culture is about empowering the underdog. [1:45] Mailchimp’s first product managers came from other internal disciplines and were workers who already knew Mailchimp and their customers very well. Over time, they continued nurturing people into product managers and started hiring people with product management experience externally. They also mixed up the teams, so that people new to Mailchimp could learn from veterans of the company. [5:44] There is a misconception that engineers don’t care about customers and should keep their heads down doing code, Melissa says. “Engineers want to work on stuff that matters,” Maura claims. They want to be part of a larger mission that makes a difference; it motivates them and enhances their performance. If your head stays down, it’s hard to know the context and information that can help you build a better product. “First solve the problem, then write the code,” she adds. [11:03] Why engineers should be involved in the discovery process, and how this can be done. [12:12] Combining something that someone wants to do with something the company needs, is a great way to both solve a problem and motivate an employee. Maura shares how Mailchimp conducts this ‘management magic.’ [15:05] Melissa and Maura explore how product managers and engineers can work with leadership to ensure their teams focus on the right things. If there are people that aren't a good fit or aren't doing the best work that they could be doing for whatever reason, that should be discussed at the leadership level. [17:16] One thing people don’t realize about engineering is that there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Not only do they write code for solving customer problems, but they also have to write that code to certain coding standards; they’re also getting code reviews, giving them to other people, thinking about the security of the feature they’re writing, among other things. [20:35] Product managers often struggle with understanding the technical side of building a feature. Melissa asks Maura how they should be checking in with the engineering team about the timeline of things that need to be done. [25:28] Resources Maura Kelly on LinkedIn | Twitter MauraChache.com

5 January 2022 34m and 17s


Reflecting on 2021 and Predictions for 2022

Reflecting on 2021 and Predictions for 2022

On this episode of The Product Thinking Podcast, Melissa Perri is looking back on 2021. She is reflecting on the learnings and conversations she had about product strategy and product management. Melissa shares her tips for product leaders, and what they need to be focusing on within their organizations as they enter the new year.   Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa talk about:  The conversation is shifting towards product thinking - not just in the sense of adopting and implementing processes, but asking what it really means to think like a product manager. Product leaders are now critically thinking about what the systems they use and how they interact with each other, as well as how they can influence people they don't have direct authority over. Product leaders are also starting to utilize their skills across different platforms. It's not only about process anymore, but also product strategy and product operations. [2:12] Product leaders need to have systems in place that help them scale. They also need to have product operations processes that can gather data and pass it along to product managers so that they can implement product strategy. [5:19] Product led growth is not a replacement for sales. Product led growth is simply your product being so good that it sells itself. Companies need to work on their onboarding if they decide they want to go in the direction of product led growth. [9:16] Product managers need to think about the way they deliver value to customers, and whether or not doing so takes away from the ecosystems their customers live in. "If we have a responsibility as product managers to build great products for our customers, we also have to make sure that we're not inadvertently hurting other people," Melissa advises. [10:40] It's important as a product manager to pay attention to the new technologies on the market. Pay attention to what investors are investing in, and think about what value you can harness to your customers from these new technologies. [14:38] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

29 December 2021 18m and 58s


Our Best Advice on Strategy and Roadmaps

Our Best Advice on Strategy and Roadmaps

As the year comes to a close, leaders are looking to the future and figuring out how to build out their roadmaps for 2022. On this week’s Product Thinking Podcast, Melissa Perri shares clips of some of the best insights on roadmap creation and strategic planning at different levels of an organization so that leaders can start off the new year right.  Here are some of the key points that were talked about: When building a roadmap, don't assume you can predict the future. Focus on the products that are being built now, so you can have near-term certainty with planning. Executive teams have to do discovery work if they want better estimates. [1:30] Product management needs to be tied to strategic decisions within the business. They have to be involved in the conversation around revenue growth, product growth and expansion because they need to understand the vision of the business. [6:50] Companies need Vision Led Product Management. This means being definitive about what the value of your product is, who it's being provided for and where the differentiation is going to lie. It's essentially having all the components of a product vision. [10:52] Before building a product strategy at a small scale, first figure out if one already exists at your organization. If there is, and it's being executed poorly, figure out what the essential goals are. If there’s no product strategy, do whatever you can to find out and understand the goals of the executives. Once you understand those goals, you can start to build your own product strategy. [13:46] To set strategy, leaders have to be the ones to make the choices about what to invest in for the growth of the business. They have to think about what skillsets they wish to grow in the company, what technologies they want to implement and what they can do to differentiate themselves from their competitors in 2-3 years' time. [20:30] If your sales team is going outside your company's product definition by a great deal, then you most likely don't truly understand the market your product is for. Product leaders need to communicate product-market fit to their sales teams and understand that they as product leaders don't make all the decisions. There has to be an alignment between strategy and communication in the organization. [27:09] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

22 December 2021 34m and


Dissecting the Pluses and Pitfalls of SAFe with Eric Willeke

Dissecting the Pluses and Pitfalls of SAFe with Eric Willeke

Eric Willeke, SAFe Principal Contributor, trainer, and Fellow, is a co-founder of Elevate Consulting where he teaches executives how to lead agile transformations. Eric joins Melissa Perri on this week’s Product Thinking Podcast to talk all about the pros and cons of SAFe, and to share their personal experiences with this often polarizing agile framework.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Eric talk about in this episode: How Eric first started in the field of SAFe. [2:49] There is a huge divide within companies who adopt SAFe between what the product managers do versus what product owners do. It's hard getting those two disciplines to work together for various reasons. This divide hurts the product field because it makes it hard to level up people and careers. [8:51] The role and function of product owners and product managers are essentially the same. Product owners make product-centric decisions for a team of people who want to create amazing technology products. Product managers do the same thing but on a larger scale, and think further ahead. Product managers have more of a roadmap, and more of an abstract view; they see in terms of quarters as opposed to product managers’ monthly timeline. [11:41] Melissa asks what a product management career path looks like in the world of SAFe. "Is a stack of bigger titles equivalent to career progression?" Eric responds. The important thing is whether collaboration is happening along each point in the 'stack'. Are the people in the smaller teams working with the people in the larger teams and are they doing so effectively? [14:28] Melissa and Eric talk about why individuals may deviate from the given product management career path. [16:47] To bridge the gap between the frameworks that are made specifically for digital transformation in companies and software, product people need to consider a few things. These include the products you're selling, the top-level customer-facing service you're offering, and how software helps you do that. The software product people are there to improve the digital transformation and digital enablement experience across the organization. [21:47] Eric talks about the role of the lean portfolio. [27:30] Software product people have a breadth of responsibility within enterprises and very little opportunities for innovation. A lot of product management within this realm is learning enough about one side, and what is actually possible on the other side, then bridging those two together to make innovative leaps. [31:50] Organizations need to provide deep and narrow product visions. You don't want to have ten thousand ideas and visions running around within a company because it's chaotic. Start from strategy, go to prioritization, then look at your teams and who is going to be affected. [33:25] Eric gives tips on how to decide how many product managers to have in your organization. [36:47] Resources Eric Willeke | LinkedIn | Twitter Elevate Consulting

15 December 2021 44m and 27s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Public Roadmaps, Project Management, Product Practice, and More

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Public Roadmaps, Project Management, Product Practice, and More

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about topics across the board- she covers the responsibilities of a Director and VP of Product Management, how to get in your product reps outside of work, her thoughts on sharing your roadmaps with your customer, and product managers vs project managers.  Q: Do Directors of Product Management pull out of the day-to-day and just manage the departments? [1:34] Q: How might a non-technical PM find or develop products outside of work? [4:39] Q: Should we make our roadmap public? What are the complications that may arise if we do? [7:21] Q: How do the roles of project and product managers differ? Where do you see the practical and pragmatic product management's response to value delivery when there are time and money constraints? [9:51] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

8 December 2021 18m and 14s


Testing Your Ideas with David Bland

Testing Your Ideas with David Bland

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

1 December 2021 45m and


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Navigating Your Role as a Product Manager

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Navigating Your Role as a Product Manager

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

24 November 2021 20m and 47s


Making the Case for Product Operations with Denise Tilles

Making the Case for Product Operations with Denise Tilles

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

17 November 2021 29m and 19s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Thinking Outside The Box

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Thinking Outside The Box

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

10 November 2021 21m and 16s


Identifying Patterns in Product with John Cutler

Identifying Patterns in Product with John Cutler

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

3 November 2021 50m and 43s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Early PM Career Strategy

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Early PM Career Strategy

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

26 October 2021 28m and 8s


Debating User Research, Experimentation and the PM Role with Kent Beck

Debating User Research, Experimentation and the PM Role with Kent Beck

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

20 October 2021 46m and 50s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Compromise and Collaboration

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Compromise and Collaboration

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

13 October 2021 19m and 23s


Identifying Survival Metrics with Adam Thomas

Identifying Survival Metrics with Adam Thomas

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

6 October 2021 34m and 45s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Experimentation

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Experimentation

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

29 September 2021 18m and 4s


Developing Strong Product People with Petra Wille

Developing Strong Product People with Petra Wille

Petra Wille is the author of the new book, “Strong Product People: The Complete Guide to Developing Great Product Managers.” A successful product management and leadership coach based in Germany, Petra joins Melissa to talk through how product teams can meet their full potential, and how leaders can achieve effective whole-person management and mentorship. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Petra talk about in this episode: How Petra became a product leadership coach. [2:10] A common complaint from product managers about their professional training is that there is a lack of guidance. There are no career conversations; one-on-one conversations are usually focused on progress updates, revenue updates, and how the product is doing. Managers aren’t focusing on the people development part, and they need to be. [4:45] Petra lists the five steps to forming strong product people. [6:24] Petra talks about the PM wheel she created which is a framework of skills every product manager should have. Petra says this framework embodies her principles and values, and it is customized for each company she works with. [12:29] Petra goes into how she coaches product leaders who don't have backgrounds in product management. [16:40] Petra explains that if you want to transform your organization, you have to bring in people that know how it’s done. You have to invest in a community of practice. “Do some basic training in the beginning, then create a community of practice. Make sure they learn on the job while they're actually doing it,” Petra tells Melissa. [20:25] If people who know how to do products aren’t given the support, they aren't going to stay with your company. Give them the infrastructure to be successful, Melissa says. [26:05] Product managers need to understand and accept that the impact they have now is through others. [27:02] Giving people several ways to structure their feedback can help them have an open dialogue and not be worried about hurting other people’s feelings. Basing your feedback on the impact of whatever situation or action occurred within the organization, positive or negative, makes all the difference. [29:27] Petra gives advice for product managers who don’t have leaders that are mentoring them. [35:32] Resources Petra Wille | LinkedIn | Twitter

22 September 2021 44m and 27s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About IT Department Transformation

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About IT Department Transformation

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about transforming IT departments and legacy businesses into agile frameworks, reframing leaderships’ “May I take your order” approach towards their product teams, and making your case for strong product management practices within an IT-minded organization. Q: Our President and VP of IT want to switch the entire company from project management to product management. What advice do you have for a prospective lead product manager with no prior PM experience? [2:04] Q: How can line workers and IC’s help our management see the value of iterative product development? [10:17] Q: How do you approach arguing to an IT-minded legacy media company to introduce product discovery when they actually have only one product team to work with and multiple media assets or websites? How do we start building trust so that they are willing to hire more teams? [18:21] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

15 September 2021 24m and 8s


Prioritizing Accessibility with Dave Dame

Prioritizing Accessibility with Dave Dame

Dave Dame is Director of Accessibility at Microsoft. He has extensive experience in design thinking, product management, and agile delivery. Dave joins Melissa Perri on this week’s Product Thinking podcast show to discuss how making the workplace accessible and inclusive to employees with disabilities is a crucial first step in making truly accessible products.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Dave talk about in this episode: Dave's role at Microsoft, and how he got involved in product. [2:25] Dave helps product managers understand the diversity of their users, to ensure that they're creating products that are accessible. Product managers and designers should not be designing for people with disabilities, but with people with disabilities. "There's a difference between meeting the standard and having incredible experiences. We don't want to just meet their needs, we want to give them phenomenal experiences where they become champions of our product," Dave tells Melissa. [6:16] Designing with persons with disabilities demands that product managers educate themselves on multiple uses of disabilities, and the multiple types of disabilities. It also means learning what tools are being used by persons with disabilities to manipulate your product, and understanding what your competitors are doing. [7:50] The first step to making sure you're being inclusive to everybody is to hire people with disabilities. [12:50] Everyone is going to experience some form of disability at some point in their life, so product managers need to build products that can be used by many different inputs, and in many different ways, or else they're going to limit who can use their product. [15:47] Focus on the usability life cycle instead of the product life cycle. If product managers don't start thinking about that now, they're going to lose long term loyalty and won't be able to support the modern places that use their product. Product managers have to think about it as the inevitable use case for everybody instead of a single unique use case. [18:00] Any company that is using its accessibility capability as a marketing edge, is a company that's doing it right. [22:21] No two people with the same disability are the same. [28:17] Product leaders and managers need to be mindful of individuals with invisible disabilities, and need to be better at being proactive. They need to make sure that no one is being left behind. Different thinking is needed to push towards the future. The only way this can happen is through equitable platforms that allow for diverse thought to exist. [29:32] When you speak up for your particular needs it becomes relevant for other people in different situations. Disabled people should not have to suffer in silence. [33:07] Resources Dave Dame | LinkedIn | Twitter

8 September 2021 39m and 17s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Democratizing User Research, Product Team Visions, and Too Many Features

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Democratizing User Research, Product Team Visions, and Too Many Features

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about which part of an organization really owns user research, the scope of a product team’s vision and strategy, and how to tell when your product has too many features.  Q: How do you delineate the goals of product manager and product marketing research? [2:03] Q: Should every product manager have a 2 to 10-year vision and strategy, or should each respective PM rather craft division and strategy only covering the current strategic intent? [7:27] Q: How do you know when you have too many features in your product? Any suggestions on how to change the mindset that more is better? [13:26] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

1 September 2021 21m and 29s


Understanding Continuous Discovery with Teresa Torres

Understanding Continuous Discovery with Teresa Torres

Teresa Torres is a Product Discovery Coach, author, and keynote speaker. She is also the founder of The Product Talk Academy where she helps product teams adopt continuous product discovery practices. Teresa joins Melissa to discuss how product managers can implement strong continuous discovery habits into their product practices and how to communicate that work via roadmaps.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Teresa talk about in this episode: How Teresa first got involved in product management. [1:12] The heart of continuous discovery is not about shoving products on our team, but about creating products with them. It’s also about bringing the customer into the building process and figuring out how we make our products work for them. [6:28] We need to be always careful of who we are including when we define the customer and who we are leaving out. We can’t design a product for everybody but we can be more thoughtful and deliberate about boundaries. [7:26] Teresa says product leaders need to be deliberate about their ideas, as this will help them make more strategic decisions. [9:41] Teresa explains the framework of continuous discovery. [11:26] There are three components of discovering opportunities: understanding what success looks like to us in our organizations, defining the opportunity space, and making sure our solutions align with the other two components. [12:40] It doesn’t matter what method we use to discover opportunities. What matters is that we need to be outcome-focused, we need to find the right problems to solve, and then we need to find solutions that fit both the problem and the outcome. [14:15] A big issue with many companies is that they aren’t being deliberate about their target market. They miss out on opportunities because of this. [17:50] We have to be customer-centric in how we set and frame our outcomes. [22:20] We need trust that our employees work at our companies because they care about the customer. We need to trust that they’re going to do the right thing and do their best at work every day with what they’re given. When we do that, their compensation does not need to be tied to their outcome. [25:59] Teresa talks through how to communicate discovery work on roadmaps without getting tied to a fixed timeline. [28:35] We don’t have to be constantly looking for the next task because if we are following continuous discovery practices, we will always have the next opportunity there. [37:15] We need to focus on both business value and customer value. We have to serve our customers in ways that will create value for the business. [39:04] Teresa talks about the target audience for her book. [41:45] Resources Teresa Torres | LinkedIn | Twitter Product Talk Continuous Discovery Habits

25 August 2021 45m and 38s


Dear Melissa – Answering Questions about Complex Product Problems

Dear Melissa – Answering Questions about Complex Product Problems

In this episode of Product Thinking, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about compliance, dealing with physical and digital goods simultaneously, and what good UX looks like in really complicated problems. Q: I started working in product compliance at a company that offers an alternative credit product. It's been challenging for me because product teams do not see the value in my role and do not want to engage in the build-out or with issues that come up as it takes away from them shipping new features. We're a heavily regulated space, but they don't seem to care. And it's making me want to search for a new job. My previous company valued product compliance and saw me as an asset to the team, not a hindrance. How can I help the product managers see the value of my role help? [00:55] Q: I worked for a retailer that has offline and online shops, and we're trying to move towards being more product-driven. I've read a lot and listened to your answers about organizing product teams to be focused on specific value, streams and jobs to be done, and to keep them as autonomous as possible. But how should this work for companies that are not entirely digital? Our product team needs to work very closely with teams like retail, marketing, and creative when it comes to new features. So, we struggle with setting up teams that can ideate and execute entirely on their own. [05:40] Q: I think it’s the trend that many people equate good UX to simplicity. Cause simple whizzer like workflow might be okay for a phone app or web page in the B to C world, but I work on a product that is helping users to tackle complex 3D engineering tasks, construction of huge infrastructures, simulations of physical phenomenon, building of airplanes etc. These tasks can't be simple by definition and require a lot of flexibility and functionality. In my experience, blind simplification of the workflow often leads to a UX quality decrease. It's a challenge to get UX designers onboard with this very niche user workflow. What is the best way to approach this challenge, and what UX principles would work best in a complex product environment? [09:15] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com How to Succeed as a Senior Product Leader with Georgie Smallwood

18 August 2021 15m and 3s


Navigating Mergers and Acquisitions with Justin Anovick

Navigating Mergers and Acquisitions with Justin Anovick

Melissa Perri’s guest on this week’s Product Thinking Podcast is Justin Anovick. Justin is the Chief Product Officer at Optimizely, a company providing digital platform software services. He is a creative thinker and provides great leadership for his team. Justin joins Melissa to discuss how to navigate through mergers and acquisitions with your organization and how to get all members to play on the same team. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Justin talk about in this episode: Why Justin became a product officer. [1:01] Understanding the customer sales cycle allows the product team to know what their customers and prospects are looking for. [3:55] Designing a product takes specific processes; if you change something at the last minute that change will have a major impact. [7:23] The questions, challenges, and differences that Justin has to confront now with his new merger and acquisition. [9:09] It’s very important that everyone is on the same page and understands the vision for the company. “We have to build demos, we have to build the messaging, we have to agree and communicate with the other side to make sure that we're spot on,” he tells Melissa. The vision can’t be conceptualized in a tagline, slogan, or image. The vision has to be about what the product is going to be in the future. [12:15] The more legitimate you can make a product, the better off you will be. The product team also plays a critical role in this. [15:35] In ensuring that a merger can be successful, you have to do things to scale. This sometimes means being okay with processes not being as high quality or going as expected. It also means integrating teams and being people first. [18:52] Invest more in the processes that you're doing well, and come up to average in your weaker areas. [20:52] Justin uses StrengthFinders quizzes with his team to understand the skills that they have, and how those skills complement him and one another. Managers need to understand that it’s not about adapting our teams to think like we do, but letting their skills complement the skills that we have. [22:36] Justin’s key focus is making sure everybody in the company understands their role, the direction the company is headed, the mission, and staying in tune with collecting key feedback from key individuals across the organization. [28:47] Justin talks about the ways he sets goals for Optimizely. [29:36] Test for understanding by using the passive check. This is simply checking with multiple people and using direct communication. We get more value from this because we can ask follow-up questions, and we don’t have to consult surveys. [34:09] Resources Justin Anovick | LinkedIn | Twitter Optimizely

11 August 2021 39m and 28s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions about Scaling Organizations

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions about Scaling Organizations

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about product operations, how to structure teams in an organization cross-functionally, and knowing when it’s time to scale your product. Q: What is the problem product operations solves? What does success look like for these teams? How should these teams be structured? Who should these teams report to? [1:08] Q: How do you know in advance when your product is ready to scale and how do you prepare from a roadmap funding perspective? [11:41] Q: Can you provide some sample product and design team organization structures that you’ve seen work well? Where do product and business analysts sit in the organization? Do designers, assuming they're part of the product management team umbrella, have assigned PMs to partner with? Do you see product directors who manage product managers as stronger in the company domain, or great PM craft practitioners? [16:38] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

4 August 2021 24m and 41s


Tying Product to Go-To-Market Strategy With Ray McKenzie

Tying Product to Go-To-Market Strategy With Ray McKenzie

Melissa Perri’s guest on this week’s Product Thinking Podcast is Ray McKenzie. Ray is the CEO and founder of StartingPoint Technologies, an organization that develops solutions for service-based companies. He has expertise across a variety of fields, most notably strategy development, workforce analytics, and behavioral analysis. Ray joins Melissa to discuss the ideal marketing strategy that product leaders should be adopting. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Ray talk about in this episode: How Ray got into product management. [1:16] Product leaders need to consult with customers and rely on other uses and experiences to outline how to build products. [5:01] One of the biggest challenges when it comes to a company startup is opening yourself up to criticism and feedback. However, allowing yourself to get feedback, both positive and negative, can benefit your business. [7:41] Melissa expresses that when building a product, leaders’ main focus should be on how they can make products easy for customers to use. [12:00] Product management should be tied into strategic decisions in the organization. Product leaders need to be present in decision-making so that they can understand the vision for the business and build products to align with that. [13:50] Product is a revenue driver and not a cost center. [16:58] Being product-led is a go-to-market strategy. Building a product-led company means that product building becomes ingrained in the day-to-day work. [18:07] The different go-to-market strategies that companies need to be thinking about, and how they should decide on which strategy is right for them. [26:53] The main way to experiment with your go-to-market strategy, or test it, is to talk to people. Talk to your ideal customer, your colleagues, and do market research. “If you just talk to people they will lead you in the direction of where it is easiest to go. And if you're taught to understand who your ideal customer is, talk to as many people of that kind as possible, and they'll tell you where you should invest your go-to-market dollars or go-to-market strategy,” Ray tells Melissa. [30:13] Companies that aren't software-based need to think about their ideal customers, what their competition is doing, and what differentiates their product from everyone else. [32:52] Resources Ray McKenzie | LinkedIn | Twitter StartingPoint

28 July 2021 41m and 3s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Evaluating Strong Product People and Organizations

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Evaluating Strong Product People and Organizations

Q: I have been offered a senior leadership role, but part of me feels I still haven’t proven myself with any actual company outcomes as an individual contributor. Should I take the role, where I’d be fairly hands-off, or spend more time honing my craft? [0:46] Q: Is there a way to evaluate an organization before applying? [7:04] Q: Do you have any tips for finding a good VP of product for a growth-stage startup? [12:18] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

21 July 2021 24m and 5s


Getting Leadership Up to Speed with Marty Cagan

Getting Leadership Up to Speed with Marty Cagan

Melissa Perri’s guest on this week’s Product Thinking Podcast is Marty Cagan. Marty is a product executive, the Founder and Product Partner of the Silicon Valley Product Group and the author of “Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love”. He has over two decades experience in the field of product management. Marty joins Melissa to discuss product management and how to become the best product manager you can possibly be. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Marty talk about in this episode: The essence of product is how well the team works together to solve problems in ways customers love, but that which also works for the business. [1:31] The focus of Marty’s book, Empowered, is helping leadership up their game. If a product team is not performing well, the fault lies with the leaders. [2:58] The product leader’s first and main job is to make sure that their product team thrives, and that they do their jobs well. Product managers should be encouraging and coaching their teams, and inspiring them so that they can set up their teams for success. [4:23] “Product teams are only as good as their product managers...if those product managers are not good, it all falls apart and then it doesn't matter how much singing and dancing that product leader can do with the other executives if he or she can't deliver results,” Marty tells Melissa. [8:00] What causes organizations to use tactics that only focus on cost reduction. [13:28] The advice Marty gives to clients on what they can do to change their organizations. [17:38] Becoming a great product manager is about learning from, and being coached by someone who’s dedicated to developing and coaching you. [22:17] How to know which organizations will be willing to train you and how to find a product leader who is going to put in the time and effort to show you the ropes. [24:30] Product leaders hire based on a person’s potential. It’s not about an academic qualification but more of a belief in the person’s ability to reach where product leaders think it can be. [27:22] What organizations should be doing to help bring their less tech savvy employees up to speed, for the benefit of their product teams. [30:28] One of the biggest issues surrounding product management. [34:59] The ten keys to successful transformation. [40:38] Resources Marty Cagan | LinkedIn | Twitter Silicon Valley Product Group

14 July 2021 45m and 26s


Leading Transformation with Amy Radin

Leading Transformation with Amy Radin

Melissa Perri’s guest on this week’s Product Thinking Podcast is Amy Radin. Amy is a growth advisor and problem solver for FinTech and MarTech businesses. She has spent over two decades in the marketing, digital, and innovation sector and is currently a member of the Fast Company executive board. Amy joins Melissa to discuss implementing digital transformation in our organizations through relationships. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Amy talk about in this episode: Amy’s professional background and how she got into digital transformation. [1:29] You can’t solve new problems with old tools. Helping your organization feel comfortable and embrace a new way of doing processes is key. [6:16] It is important to build relationships with the influencers and decision-makers within an organization when you are seeking to implement digital transformation. Get a clear understanding of what success means to them. Once they believe that your first priority is to make them successful, you will win their trust and support. [9:01] When building organizational teams, there is no one-size-fits-all. You have to build on what exists within the organization at the moment as well as acknowledge that there are elements of culture that affect the organizational structure. [14:53] If employees are unable to adapt to new realities of change in their organizations, leaders have to ask themselves if they’ve given them enough opportunity to build new skills. [17:57] “You need to build a very diverse team when you're building change...it’s internal and external people who are bringing different life experiences, different backgrounds. You need diversity to solve hard problems,” Amy stresses. [19:49] We must focus on developing real empathy and deep understanding of our customers’ needs and bring this insight to the organization in a way they will find compelling. [24:32] How Amy gets her teams to take initiative. [24:45] Even on the worst days we have to maintain a sense of optimism and believe that we will get there. [30:22] “You have to look for the actions and behaviors that the organization and the leadership have done either at the organization, or in their prior roles that indicate they understand that you have a common expectation of what transformation and change means and what it takes,” Amy remarks. [35:34] The behavioral evidence Amy looks for that tells her that the company is ready for transformation. [38:14] Resources Amy Radin | LinkedIn | Twitter

7 July 2021 49m and 37s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About PM Soft Skills

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About PM Soft Skills

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers a subscriber’s question about ‘soft skills’ and why they are equally as important as hard skills. Q: What would you say to someone who's concerned about their assertiveness? [00:51] Q: What resources or experiences would you recommend for people who recognize the need for hard skills as part of product, but who would intentionally like to cultivate these soft skills (empathy, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence) as well? [9:06] Q: What would you recommend a team of product managers to do if they’re headed by a CTO who does not have time for the team, or product management know-how? Can a product team ever be successful if they are led by someone who doesn’t seem to have organizational power? [14:03] Going to the C-suite yourselves may not be the option, but how do you surface up the problem? If it's a good C-suite they should start to see that this is an issue because the team might not be performing the way that they actually expected to be. I think you can go to the C-suite to have conversations about your individual products, not necessarily the same product leader but helps surface up what good looks like. [15:48] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

30 June 2021 21m and 35s


Building Responsible Products with Kathy Pham

Building Responsible Products with Kathy Pham

Melissa Perri’s guest on this week’s Product Thinking Podcast is Kathy Pham. Kathy is a computer scientist, a product management executive, and co-leads the Ethics and Responsible Tech at Mozilla. She also co-founded the Mozilla Fix the Internet Incubator, as well as the Product and Society at Mozilla, which focuses on product management, ethics, and the public interest. Kathy joins Melissa to discuss product ethics. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Kathy talk about in this episode: Interesting details about the product management class Kathy teaches at Harvard. [00:47] Kathy’s experiences working at The White House, Harvard, and in product management. [5:52] Ethics and its implications for product management. [12:58] Accessibility and security are important and need to be integrated into a product from the very beginning. [15:48] When designing products for an inclusive audience, you have to take into consideration the team culture that is in place and build out those personas to be as inclusive as possible. “I think it's important to build into the culture knowing that the moment something is built it's really hard to reverse,” Kathy tells Melissa.[19:35] How to respond to changes or challenges with your product platform when it happens in another country where no member of your team is from. [23:34] As product managers, we need to be listening to our users, and that includes listening to those users who are telling us what we don’t want to hear. It means not condemning or shutting down their feedback by telling them they’re wrong. [28:34] Having diverse perspectives within our product teams is very important for the decision-making process. It ensures that the concerns of the target audience are heard and are taken into account. [30:32] When the people building our program algorithms make terrible assumptions or have blind spots, they bake into them issues that already exist in the world and just propagate them through code. [38:50] Resources Kathy Pham | LinkedIn | Twitter

23 June 2021 46m and 23s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Product Ethics

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Product Ethics

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers a subscriber’s question about choice architecture and competing priorities between the business and the customer.  Q: How do you balance the ethics of choice architecture as a product manager who is responsible for satisfying possible divergent priorities between the business and the customer? What is our duty when priorities may conflict? Hear Melissa talk about: Choice architecture and dark patterns What to do with your priorities conflict with each other How ethics in product is vital to how you view your products Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

16 June 2021 14m and 46s


Changing Behavior with Matt Wallaert

Changing Behavior with Matt Wallaert

Melissa Perri’s guest on this week’s Product Thinking Podcast is Matt Wallaert. Matt is a behavioral scientist and a product strategist. He has spent over twenty years applying behavioral sciences to practical problems. He currently holds the position of Executive Director of Behavioral Science at Frog, a Capgemini Company, where he helps organizations build their own behavioral science capabilities.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Matt talk about in this episode: Behavior change can be applied across many disciplines but its natural home is product. The point of product is to change behavior. [1:09] How Matt got interested in the world of behavioral science. [3:07] What it means to have actual outcomes for customers and how behavioral science can be used to point out what those outcomes should look like. [8:41] When doing behavioral research, segment on behaviors rather than demographics. [9:43] Behavioral statements come at the very beginning, and they describe the end. It's calling into being what hasn't yet occurred. [13:08] Activating someone means to get them engaged. "If people feel like they're creating business value, they'll be super engaged." [17:53] Product leaders need a deep understanding of the human side of product management. [26:08] The best product managers are curious people. They want to know how the system fits together and how all the processes within the system work. [30:00] How product leaders can determine if a person has cognition, and the relevant questions to ask to find out. [30:38] "If you can figure out how to change behavior naturally in the world, I can teach you the science part. I can teach you the process part. I can teach you four stages and competing pressures and all of the tricks and tips and tools that we use to make this work in the modern environment. But you have to want to be that person," Matt says. [35:19] "Product people are not status quo people. It's inherently about difference. It's inherently about change." [36:21] Resources Matt Wallaert | LinkedIn | Twitter

9 June 2021 40m and 49s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About PM Time Management

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About PM Time Management

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about how to use their time wisely, whether they’re trying to support their sales team with a complex product, getting the most out of a customer advisory board, or finding time for discovery work on a Scrum-focused team. Q: I'm constantly helping our sales team run demo calls and our account managers onboard and set up new customers. What can I do to empower my team so I can focus on improving our product instead? Have you ever used a dedicated team member to fill this space as a product specialist role? [1:38] Q: What am I signing up for when setting up a customer advisory board? What should I do to launch it smoothly and get the most out of it? What risks am I facing? Is this a stupid idea? [9:31] Q: Is there a way to make product discovery a process and make time for it, like what scrum does for delivery? [16:28] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

2 June 2021 27m and 41s


Tackling Product Research with C. Todd Lombardo

Tackling Product Research with C. Todd Lombardo

This week’s guest is C. Todd Lombardo, the VP of Product and Experience at Openly. C. Todd and Melissa discuss product research–a key combination of user research, market research, and analytics–and how product managers can better implement research practices into their organizations. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Todd talk about in this episode: The kind of product leadership Todd does, and how he got invested in product management. [1:24] The biggest change in product management in the last decade is the legitimacy of position, and product leaders finally having important roles in organizations. [5:40] Product research is about gathering information and trying to synthesize it in a meaningful way. [10:48] Product managers need to have the ability to go out and speak with customers and do qualitative research. [13:16] The mindset of discovery, and how it can contribute to designers and engineers making better decisions which lead to better products and eventually, better outcomes. [18:23] Our job as product leaders is to figure out what our customers want. [21:55] One of the main rules of product research is to prepare to be wrong and go into [product research] with the intent to prove yourself wrong. “If you can't prove yourself wrong you might be onto something right.” [27:09] Always take into account the audience you’re presenting to. Remember that you’re talking to busy executives, so share your conclusions up front so that they don’t miss the main points. [30:30] Resources C Todd Lombardo | LinkedIn | Twitter Openly

26 May 2021 41m and 24s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Growing as a Product Manager

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Growing as a Product Manager

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about: Q: As a CPO, what should I think about when managing disciplines I’m not an expert in? [1:08] Q: Do you have any tips on how to set up good 30-60-90 day smart goals as a product manager for a mature startup? [7:00] Q: What advice do you have in evaluating next steps in moving on to a career after product management? [14:51] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

19 May 2021 29m and 45s


Getting to the Bottom of Agile with Jeff Patton

Getting to the Bottom of Agile with Jeff Patton

The theme of this week’s Product Thinking Podcast is agile development, and Melissa Perri’s guest this week is Jeff Patton of Jeff Patton & Associates. Jeff is one of the first agile product managers, and his company helps other companies use product and customer- centric thinking to improve their market and the way they work. Jeff and Melissa to discuss agile development in this week’s show, including what’s currently going wrong with it. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Jeff talk about in this episode: How both Jeff and Melissa got into agile development. [01:10] The issues agile development was created to mitigate. [7:01] How agile development was understood when it was first created. [14:15] The difference between agile development now and agile development in the past is understanding what an outcome is. “[Product] outcome is measured by whether the customers and users see you try and use it, and keep using it,” Jeff tells Melissa. [14:51] Product development is about prototyping, experimenting, and spending time with customers. [19:12] Three things you should never not do in agile development. [21:54] Companies are now conducting more business via technology which requires them to become more agile. However, they’re not adopting the agile manifesto in the right way. [30:55] Jeff hopes that agile development will morph and become what it needs to be in the future. [39:09] Resources Jeff Patton | LinkedIn | Twitter Jeff Patton & Associates

12 May 2021 45m and 15s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions about Product Best Practices

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions about Product Best Practices

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about applying product practices to nonprofit companies and customer engagement and debunks myths about MVPs. Q: How applicable are product best practices and principles outside of for-profit SAAS companies? [1:08] Q: Do you have any suggestions on how we can encourage our users to experiment with the new payment method our company introduced? [6:32] Q: How do I advocate for a more iterative and incremental approach to new product releases and product updates, as opposed to big bang releases? [10:34] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

5 May 2021 19m and 55s


Culture and Strategy, the Netflix Way with Gibson Biddle

Culture and Strategy, the Netflix Way with Gibson Biddle

The theme of this week’s Product Thinking Podcast is culture, and Melissa Perri’s guest is Gibson Biddle, author of the “Ask Gib” product newsletter. Gibson is dedicated to teaching product strategy and culture both in and outside of the classroom. He joins Melissa to discuss the importance of having a good organizational culture, and how that affects strategy. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Gibson talk about in this episode: The product leader’s job is to delight customers in hard-to-copy, margin-enhancing ways (DHM). [3:18] How Netflix developed their high-level strategy for personalization. [8:47] Gibson’s experience with managing the product team as VP of Product Management at Netflix. Every product leader who worked for him was expected to have clear, defined strategies for their teams. [12:39] The failure of Project Griffin. [20:37] Building a culture where everyone is on the same page about making the best choices for the business is difficult, but not impossible. One key practice is context over control; ensure that everyone understands the context that the business is operating in. [25:54] “At the end of the day, people are not there forever but the culture is; the culture describes the [company’s] values and the values describe the skills and behaviors of everyone in the building,” Gibson tells Melissa. “At our quarterly meetings, we would discuss strategy, but we would also learn to form good judgment. This is what the culture is about; helping individuals make great decisions about products.” [29:41] "Culture is all about who you hire… who you promote- every time someone was promoted to director or VP there was a celebration because it was about them being a culture carrier, them living the Netflix culture. And [when you would] let people go, they might demonstrate amazing results, but they were living outside of Netflix's values,” Gibson shares. [38:46] Strategy is important when starting a product organization, but it’s ok if half of it fails. It’s a process and a bunch of hypotheses that you need to learn from. [43:46] Resources Gibson Biddle on LinkedIn | Twitter GibsonBiddle.com

28 April 2021 48m and 9s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Strategic Team Building

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Strategic Team Building

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about the design and strategy in building the best product teams. Q: Is dividing teams to generate results in different strategies a wise decision? If so, how should they communicate with each other? If not, what is the right way to organize teams? [00:47] Q: Are there any best practices in organizing digital products, future teams, and squads? How do you coordinate a backlog of all the products that are connected in an ecosystem of digital products? [4:53] Q: How do you rightsize your product teams and value streams when the typical software system can be huge with small components? [9:41] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

21 April 2021 19m and 39s


Building Trust To Build Great Products with Brian Bhuta

Building Trust To Build Great Products with Brian Bhuta

The theme of this week’s Product Thinking Podcast is transformation, and Melissa Perri’s guest this week is Brian Bhuta, Chief Product Officer at Signify Health. Brian is an experienced product leader and is passionate about establishing and scaling product management organizations in an agile environment. He joins Melissa to discuss transformations and product management from an inside perspective. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Brian talk about in this episode: How Brian and Melissa both got into product transformation. [1:50] The raw material of transformation is people who are passionate about wanting to do better on a regular basis. [07:09] Employees and customers want a bold vision, and not a boring one. [10:26] Consider and acknowledge that there are people who have invested more into the company than you have. A leader who has the goal of product transformation, but who has a mindset that they’re going to “save” or “fix” the company, is doomed to alienate the people who have helped build the company to where it is. [14:19] We have to build a relationship with our team and the people we are now in charge of. “You’re never gonna be able to work with someone if you don’t understand them,” Brain tells Melissa. [22:24] An executive who sees themself as part of the team will make great steps towards transformation and help the company move towards a great workplace culture. [30:54] When selling a product we need to consider if the product and the market are right. We also need to make sure that we are not promising too many things to our customers. [46:11] Melissa and Brian talk about building relationships as both sales and product leaders, and building trust internally. [47:37] Once you build a foundation of trust you can deal with any subsequent backlash or friction that may arise as systems begin to change. [52:07] Resources Brian Bhuta | LinkedIn, Twitter

14 April 2021 55m and 55s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Communicating Up

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Communicating Up

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about product teams with unequipped product leaders, ineffective usage of data, and killing products. Q: Have you come across situations in your career as a product manager where you were under the authority of people with no background in product management? How would you recommend I bring my concern about this to my leadership without coming across as arrogant? [1:08] Q: My organization struggles to use data effectively. What are some ways to convey the importance of data to leadership? And what are some achievable milestones that can be acquired to prove the value of investing in data? [9:14] Q: How can I reframe the decision to kill products so that everyone can understand them? [13:32] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

7 April 2021 18m and 21s


What Makes a Great Vision with Ben Foster

What Makes a Great Vision with Ben Foster

Melissa Perri welcomes Ben Foster - Chief Product Officer at Whoop and author of Building What Matters: Delivering Key Outcomes with Vision-Led Product Management - to this week’s Product Thinking Podcast. Ben is an experienced product leader who teaches the value of vision to help us craft the right strategy and achieve our desired outcomes. He joins Melissa to discuss the framework he details in his book and what makes a great vision. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Ben talk about in this episode: Ben and Melissa swap stories of how they “accidentally” got into product management. [2:31] Ben’s book describes what causes some companies to struggle with product management, as well as what makes other companies excel. It also features recommendations for product leaders. [9:10] Vision-led product management, Ben tells Melissa, is “being definitive about what the value of your product is going to be, for whom you're going to provide that value, where the differentiation is going to lie, ...all these major components of the product vision.” [10:12] Successful companies see their profits as a byproduct of the value they provide for their customers. Defining what success looks like to customers involves deep research into who your customers are, what motivates them, who else can solve their problem, and what would make them choose you and stay with you. “As you map that out,” Ben remarks, “then you can make sure that everybody on the product team is rowing in the same direction towards actually realizing that vision.” [11:35] Melissa asks Ben to talk about how he implemented his vision-led product management framework at Go Canvas. [20:02] Melissa and Ben talk about the steps in the customer journey. [22:17] “The reason that people actually buy is because of the performance things; the reason they continue to buy is because of the delight,” Ben emphasizes. [27:55] Melissa asks Ben, “What else do you see [as] the differentiators between companies that do product management well and companies that don't?” Ben responds, “One of the key elements for me is they understand the connectedness between value for their customers and value for their business.” [32:33] Ben and Melissa discuss how to convince the CEO that not every opportunity should be pursued. [42:26] Resources Ben Foster on LinkedIn Building What Matters: Delivering Key Outcomes with Vision-Led Product Management

31 March 2021 50m and 7s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions about Internal Products and Prioritization

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions about Internal Products and Prioritization

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about pragmatic versus ideal product management, internal product management, and determining how to build products for a two-sided marketplace.  Q: Do you think there should be a difference between ideal product management and pragmatic product management? [0:59] Q: What kind of metrics are you looking at when customer-based internal users are forced to use the software? There's no LTV, CAC, revenue models, or any of the normal user metrics in B2C or B2B. [7:38] Q: We're building a product for renters, our end users, and landlords, our customers. I'm struggling with prioritizing whose problems to solve first. Is it better to build for our paying customer first, or do we build as fast as possible for renters but risk more turnover with the landlords? [14:03] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

24 March 2021 20m and 21s


Creating Product-Led Strategy with Oji Udezue

Creating Product-Led Strategy with Oji Udezue

Oji Udezue is the Chief Product Officer at Parsible and was formerly the VP of Product at Calendly. Melissa Perri describes him as “one of the best product leaders I have ever met.” His extensive experience in both B2B and B2C companies, including Microsoft and Atlassian, has given him insight into how to set strategy, even in companies where there is none. He joins Melissa to talk about what it takes to implement a product-led strategy, and how to influence a culture shift in your organization. Here are some key points from their discussion: Oji defines being product-led as “increasing customer focus… It means infusing the entire company with this idea that it's more efficient for everyone… to really execute on a really great product that pulls itself forward. And if you can do that then your ability to make profit actually increases…” [2:40] The role of the CPO is to understand the company goals, vision, and mission and track an efficient product course to achieve that. The CPO’s biggest leverage is deciding what to invest in and what not to, Oji says. [6:13] A draft strategy is a lightning rod: it gets the discussion started. Oji uses the VMSO (vision, mission, strategies, objectives) framework to draft strategy. Melissa asks him to advise product leaders who want to start drafting a strategy. He urges them to write it down and then socialize it. He also emphasizes that your draft strategy should be good: people should see wisdom and truth in it. [13:10] Oji predicts that all enterprise companies will become B2C in 10 years. [22:05] Melissa asks what is product-led growth. Oji defines the term and explains what it takes: a good product with great market fit, a good brand, good word of mouth and virality. [27:02] You have to expand your addressable market constantly to stay in the game. [30:38] Oji and Melissa discuss how product leaders can help change their company culture. [33:00] Resources Oji Udezue on LinkedIn | Twitter | Medium

17 March 2021 43m and 5s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Product Transformation

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Product Transformation

In this Dear Melissa episode, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about product transformation. Q1: As the leader of a new product function initiative, what steps can I take to earn the CEO’s trust and create a company culture that embraces an outcome-driven and product-lead mindset? [2:07] Q2: How can I ensure my company is approaching product transformation in the right way? [7:31] Q3: How long does it take a strong product manager (junior to intermediate level) to make some positive impact in a company that lacks a good product culture? Should they stick around if there are no big positive changes after a year, or should they move on to try and learn elsewhere? [15:18] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

10 March 2021 23m and 40s


Don’t Just Tick the Product Management Boxes, a Conversation with Kate Leto

Don’t Just Tick the Product Management Boxes, a Conversation with Kate Leto

Kate Leto is an organisational design consultant, coach and product advisor with a 25 year track record helping to build product teams that thrive. She joins Melissa Perri today to talk about some of the challenges in filling product management roles that companies run into all the time – and how to overcome them. Ultimately, Kate believes that growth mindset – both of leadership teams and product managers themselves is what makes the difference between success and failure. is a career coach who specializes in hiring product managers and organizational design. Here are some key points from Melissa and Kate’s conversation: There are two high level motivations for hiring a product manager. This first is because it ticks a box, the second because you need to make meaningful change. [Listen at 04:45] How Kate has learned to hire great product managers, and strategies for doing so that she helps her clients implement. [Listen at 07:30] The role of emotional intelligence in product management and organizational design, and the key trait that indicates someone will be successful. (Listen from 12:00] The Story of Pete – the team member we’ve all worked with who is technically excellent – but not so strong on the human skills. [Listen at 14:45] How to identify and call out the specific issues when you get the feeling that something is off during the interview process. [Listen from 22:30] What is the mindset you need for success, and what happens when someone doesn’t have it. [Listen from 28:00] The diversity problem plaguing many organizations in tech and other industries; Kate and Melissa talk about how to get out of the trap of hiring the same person over and over again. [Listen from 29:40] Hiring for senior and director level positions, and making sure you’re attracting a diverse array of applicants. [Listen from 43:45] Resources Kate Leto KateLeto.com | Twitter | LinkedIn

3 March 2021 48m and 39s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Starting a Career in Product Management

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Starting a Career in Product Management

In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about transitioning into product management. Q: What can I do to prove to potential employers that I have what it takes to be successful as a product manager, even though I don’t have experience? How do I write my resume? A: Right now, companies are looking for senior product managers to balance out their teams, since they have mostly trained juniors. You should look for a company on LinkedIn that will invest time and resources into training you. Investigate their product leader: if they are very experienced, they will likely know how to train people and be more willing to find people to work with. For resumes, I recommend highlighting your achievements in previous jobs that are affiliated with product management, such as doing customer interviews and creating personas. Pull out what’s relevant and tell the story the way you want to tell it. Q: Do you need an MBA to become a product manager? A: MBA’s typically help product managers in leadership positions, but it’s not a requirement for transitioning into the field.  Q: What steps should a senior product manager take to move into a director role if he or she has not had the opportunity to manage people? A: What I’ve seen that helps people move into that role is showing that you can be strategic and think outside the box. Additionally, you have to be more business-focused; while we want to ruthlessly prioritize the user and their needs, you also have to figure out how to prioritize that within the frame of your company strategy. Think about what the company strategy is and then take every chance you get to explain to the leaders how your product can help achieve those goals. Q: How do I evaluate a company's maturity and practice in modern product management? What should I look for before and during the interview process? A: Here are some questions I ask product management leaders to gauge the company’s maturity, and what the responses indicate. What are your most important business goals? What are your most important product goals? What are you working on now and why? If they can't tell me the story behind that, it means that there's no strategy in the organization or that there's misalignment. If you get to meet the head of sales or the head of engineering, ask them about product management to see if they have a good understanding of it. If the rest of the organization doesn't know what you do, you're probably gonna have a hard time executing and doing your job there. Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

24 February 2021 27m and 30s


Thinking Through Product Strategy with Barry O’Reilly

Thinking Through Product Strategy with Barry O’Reilly

Creating great products is about the systems, processes and culture in place that help companies deliver value to their customers. On the Product Thinking Podcast, host Melissa Perri interviews the thought leaders in product development and answers your pressing questions to help you think like a great product leader. This episode is all about strategy: what it is vs what it isn’t, and how to create a good one. The expert Melissa turns to for strategy advice is Barry O’Reilly, entrepreneur and business strategist who has “pioneered the intersection of business model innovation, product development, organizational design and culture transformation.” Barry is also the author of two seminal books on product strategy and development - Unlearned: Let Go of Past Success to Achieve Extraordinary Results, and The Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale. These are some highlights from Melissa and Barry’s conversation: Learn about the pitfalls that growing companies often experience when they lack clear strategy. [5:15] Strategy is making choices. Barry and Melissa talk about defining your expectations for the outcome, and how to measure the effectiveness of your decisions. [14:40] Bad strategy sounds like fluff, so Barry shares what makes a strategy great. [23:15] Strategy evolves over time - you make choices, execute, evaluate and iterate based on what you learn. [33:10]  Barry explains why cross-functional teams are the best way to approach creating strategy. [38:50] Product management is a creative skill. Melissa and Barry discuss why making space for thinking is important for product leaders. [45:20] Resources BarryOReilly.com Barry O’Reilly on LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube Unlearn: Let Go of Past Success to Achieve Extraordinary Results  The Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale

17 February 2021 52m and 57s


How to Succeed as a Senior Product Leader with Georgie Smallwood

How to Succeed as a Senior Product Leader with Georgie Smallwood

Creating great products is about the systems, processes and culture in place that help companies deliver value to their customers. On the Product Thinking Podcast, host Melissa Perri interviews the thought leaders in product development and answers your pressing questions to help you think like a great product leader. Melissa continues the conversation about strategy, this time from the perspective of the senior product leader. What does it take to be a good CPO? What role does a product manager play in setting strategy for the company? What’s the difference between company strategy and product strategy? Melissa poses these questions to this week’s guest, Georgie Smallwood. Georgie is the Chief Product Officer at Tier Mobility, and the former CPO of N26. She has deep insights into what it takes to create and successfully implement product strategy, and why that is important for autonomy. Here are some key points from Melissa and Georgie’s discussion: Your strategy is the connector between your mission and achieving that mission. It narrows your frame of work and space you can operate in, Georgie says. [6:04] “Creating the strategy is just one part of it. You have to over-communicate all the time. Everything has to come back to it,” Georgie points out. [9:45] Melissa and Georgie discuss the differing ideas around the concept of autonomy. Should there be autonomy without constraints? What is privileged autonomy? [11:42] No product strategy framework is better than any other one. What matters, Georgie says, is how effectively you use them and what you do with them. [20:00] “If you want to change the way that people are doing things in the future, no amount of data is really gonna help you; because there are some leap of faith assumptions that you need to take.” [22:53] If you want to be a senior leader you need to be an expert in something. You need both hard skills and soft skills to be effective. [35:25] Georgie answers a Dear Melissa submission. [35:53] Resources Georgie Smallwood on LinkedIn | Twitter | Medium

17 February 2021 40m and 43s


Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Strategy

Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Strategy

Creating great products is about the systems, processes, and culture in place that help companies deliver value to their customers. On the Product Thinking Podcast, host Melissa Perri interviews the thought leaders in product development and answers your pressing questions to help you think like a great product leader. In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about strategy.  Q: How do you convince the CTO of the value of working towards understanding problems rather than defining pre-made solutions? [1:54] A: Sometimes you just have to demonstrate to them what the customer discovery process is, how it works and why it's valuable, which means you'll have to go out and do it. Figure out how you can define that value, package that up into something that will work for your CTO, and then present it. Start small and demonstrate success.   Q: Do you have any tips for a product leader to make sure that their team gets the big picture and has visibility and ownership end-to-end, including the business success? [9:00] A: There is often a misalignment of business goals across multiple levels of organizations, which indicates that something is wrong with the product strategy. [I suggest] you over-communicate and ensure that the product strategy is well deployed. Everyone needs to understand what problems they are facing and what goals they are trying to achieve. Q: What’s your recommendation on building a product strategy at small scale within the product team and leveraging that strategy up to get broader visibility, and buying from leadership and other stakeholders? Does that work? [13:55] A: Yes, it does work. I would start by finding out if there’s a product strategy that’s been poorly deployed. Figure out the goals that the executives want to achieve, use that opportunity to define said goals, and build your product strategy.  Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com

17 February 2021 22m and 5s


Introducing Product Thinking with Melissa Perri

Introducing Product Thinking with Melissa Perri

Product management has been adopted all over the world in the last decade. But despite its popularity, great product management is still hard to come by. The Product Thinking podcast is setting out to change that. This show will cover: How product leadership influences organizational systems so that product management can thrive. What the role of a product manager looks like at every level. How to invest in yourself as a product manager at every stage of your career. Product Thinking will have two different kinds of episodes - Dear Melissa, a direct line to Melissa to pose your biggest product management questions, and deep-dive conversations with industry leading experts who are pushing the boundaries of what it looks like to excel in this industry. Melissa Perri is a product management leader turned educator and author who has trained hundreds of people around the world to think like great product leaders. Learn more at Produxlabs.com.

21 January 2021 4m and 35s

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