Monday, February 7, 2022
Is your team struggling with unproductive meetings and workshops? Are you unsatisfied with how your team comes together to refine requirements and specify solutions? Have you heard about example mapping and want to know more?
Specifying and delivering software is a process of discovery. No team has ever delivered a valuable product without discovering many things during the development process, but many teams struggle to get good at discovery. Matt Wynne created a technique called example mapping that has helped thousands of teams around the world use examples to reach a shared understanding of the problems that need solved. As a consequence there are fewer misunderstandings, fewer disagreements, and a smoother flow of value delivery.
Growing the B2B digital services firm, Axioned (est. 2006), has been a fun and challenging journey.
Rubber duck debugging: "Many programmers have had the experience of explaining a problem to someone else, possibly even to someone who knows nothing about programming, and then hitting upon the solution in the process of explaining the problem."
In scaling and growing Axioned, my team and I fully embrace the rubber duck method (aka "talk things out to test it out") to solve problems AND get things done.
This is a highly interactive session (IF it's allowed to be) with exercises that encourage participation amongst attendees.
It lights people-up + drives "aha" moments.
- Intro & practical(s): GTD (getting things done) and how to correctly define "next actions" (verbs/doing words clarify)
- Intro & practical(s): Rubber duck debugging aka "talking things out to test it out" - and how this supports GTD
Although leadership skills have been analyzed for so long, there is something in the way we choose and raise our technical leads that defy all laws. We often think that the brightest and most creative person in the team will eventually become a technical lead, which actually happens in most cases. The exciting part, though, the process of becoming a technical lead starts when we actually take over the role. What seemed to be a gratification for excellent results can become a long list of failures if you don’t really, really prepare for the challenge. Luckily we can learn from each other’s mistakes, so join us to touch some hot spots in the technical leadership journey.
Learn to unleash innovation with the simple rules of Liberating Structures!
Liberating Structures offer a revolutionary solution to collaboration in groups. Invented by Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless, Liberating Structures are a set of microstructures that use a handful of simple rules to unleash and involve everyone - no matter the size of the group.
Agile, Scrum, DevOps, Lean, Spotify squads and Scaled Agile were built on high contact team interactions leading to extraordinary performance, then Covid came and disrupted our models of face-to-face interactions. Remote and hybrid models are our present and future.
As a team member, manager, leader, intrapreneur and change evangelist, do you know how to empower remote team communication to capture room intelligence? Or are your remote interactions basic, excruciating and lack results?
Join me as we discover, explore, and experience a world of unexpected
engagement, collaboration and guaranteed high performance team results.
You will learn by doing:
• How to harness microstructures to instantly accelerate remote and hybrid team collaboration and trust
• Experience by doing unique and foolproof practices to enhance remote participation among individuals and teams
• Synthesize simple collaboration tools to influence in real-time high-performance team interactions
“Quality”… velocity, productivity, and efficiency? Improved performance? Few or no bugs? Meets stakeholder requirements? “Done”… we did what we planned? Fits business objectives? Coded, tested, documented, and deployable?
Remember our customers? The people paying our salaries? Their satisfaction is supposed to be our *highest* priority. But we fall in love with assumptions about users. We burn weeks coding, testing, merging, and releasing product guesses. We move to the next project, and are interrupted later when we learn that customers aren’t finding much value or quality in that last release. Guessing, assuming, and being reactive aren’t Agile or Lean. Six Sigma would be ashamed of you.
“Architecting for customers’ needs and tasks” and “being Agile” shouldn’t be the polar opposites they often are now. No matter what an Agile coach, scrum master, or stakeholder declares, the customer decides what is “quality,” “done,” and “good enough.”
Learn how to change processes to improve agility, eliminate some Lean waste, and produce better customer outcomes.
Over the past 2 decades, interview methods for Product Managers evolved significantly. As we continue experimenting to find a truly accurate means of interviews, many tactics proven to have weak results have been dropped. Interestingly, with dramatic changes to the technology industry in recent years, resulting in both a surge of demand for PMs, and a surge in the supply, many companies unprepared for the new dynamics ended up with poor interview habits. Today, courses for PM interview training literally warn students that "being a good PM and interviewing for PM roles are not the same thing." It's time to re-assess our methods in this landscape, and in observing what we're doing wrong (and right), how to achieve a better process.
Here we'll share market data, learnings from many hiring managers over 5+ years, and learnings from PM interview courses to highlight quantitatively what is happening with our interviews.
Our organization's problem-solving approach has long been based off of Stanford's design thinking method or Google and Jake Knapp’s 5 day process from the book “Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days”. However, 5 day design sprints have had its challenges during the pandemic. We moved 100% remote due to Covid in 2020 and found it challenging to conduct a successful multi-day design sprint to solve key business problems. When already trying to push out as many high value features as possible in a saturated FinTech space, this became challenging and so we successfully created a hybrid approach and modified the process to just 2 hours.
2 hour design sprints help us deliver more value-driven features by simplifying the design thinking and design sprint process to our core business values in five stages - Empathize, Explore, Ideate, Prototype and Test. While still incorporating the spirit of Stanford’s design thinking process and the book “Sprint” we were able to condense our sessions to 2 hours which allowed us to include the right stakeholders, problem solve with our limited time, and have more positive outcomes and deliverables in designs to move into our agile sprints faster. Even better, we were able to have more design sprints in a month to solve multiple problems at a time by having the product managers lead the sessions.
Here are a few advantages and way to have a successful design sprint in 2 hours:
- Have your product manager or designer lead the session
- Simplify the problem you are trying to solve
- Use a collaborative tool for mapping ideas and rapid prototyping such as Figma or InVision
- And more...
PRO WORKSHOP: Building Better Product Culture: Why Extreme Programming (XP) Isn’t Just for EngineersJoin on Hopin
Extreme programming (XP) is a proven method for engineers to produce higher quality code and work better together. But what if I told you XP practices were the key to a better product culture for everyone? Some of the more well known practices of XP are pair programming and Test Driven Development (TDD), but what do they have to do with product management? It turns out that the values, principles, and practices of XP are deeply aligned with a lightweight approach to product management that creates strong, effective, and happy teams. And while these XP practices can be very powerful on their own, when combined with product practices that align around continuous improvement and iteration, the result is greater than the sum of its parts. This is good product culture: deep collaboration between engineering, design, and product to develop better solutions and enjoy the process. There are likely parts of your own practice that fit nicely into an XP-view of product management. Additionally, there are some concrete steps you can start taking today to get some of XP’s benefits by incorporating these practices into your own.
Tuesday, February 8, 2022
There are a host of changes that come with a company being acquired, such as joining a larger organization and integrating teams and product offerings with the parent company. In this session, Jodi will share her first-hand experience leading product teams at multiple companies through acquisitions and spearheading product integration. She will also share best practices for scaling a product organization for growth following an acquisition and building a high-performance team that is aligned with meeting larger business goals.
The people that know our business best, are our business people and the people that know our products best are the people that use them everyday. Building a champion network of employees from your business can not only help you boost engagement and adoption but can also be a great way to get real feedback and build a roadmap that continually drives value for your users.
This session will discuss the importance of building a champion network, where to start and who to select.
This interactive presentation reviews the four distinct schools of thought that have emerged in product management and their impact on the product manager role.
There's no point creating something that no one wants.
Yet, many teams skip doing Product Discovery with customers.
In this session, Jim will present concrete Product Discovery best practices that teams can start using immediately. He’ll focus on how to create quick experiments that drive valuable feedback while being easier to create and easier to analyze.
With these best practices, you’ll feel more confident building prototypes and leading customer interviews so you can make evidence-based decisions. And as you do more Product Discovery, you’ll uncover more customer-inspired innovation.
KEYNOTE (ProductWorld) Cisco Meraki -- How to survive Chipmaggedon: Design and Development of “The New Normal”Join on Hopin
You can’t always get what you want. Right now you can’t seem to get anything at all. Whether you’re sitting in an empty warehouse, staring at a smoking proto board and wondering how long it will take to get a new one, or clicking obsessively hoping your new oven will ship, “Chipmaggedon” has landed with profound impact on how you design, develop, and consume.
How do you protect your product in a global crisis? How do you invest in growth and innovation when you’re constantly playing defense? What’s the trick to get hardware designers, software developers, and supply chain managers together and rowing in the same direction?Join Morgan Teachworth, Vice President of Hardware Engineering and Supply Chain for Cisco Meraki, as he discusses what sparked the global chip crisis and recommends how shifts in design and development methodologies can bring communities together to combat supply chain challenges and survive the end of “Chipmaggedon.”
In this discussion, Michael Fulton, academic director and adjunct professor of Digital topics at The Ohio State University, will discuss the concept of Digital Product Management and how it uniquely defines the intersection between product management and application management in new and powerful ways.
KEYNOTE (ProductWorld): UserTesting -- Leveraging Digital Transformation to Help Product Teams SucceedJoin on Hopin
The challenges of product managers are shifting. The pandemic underscored the need for digital transformation in many companies, and often product managers have often found themselves leading those changes. That increased attention is great, but it also puts additional demands on the time of product managers who were already in fully occupied. How do you fulfill the company’s needs for transformation without working nights and weekends? Michael Mace, UserTesting VP of Market Strategy, will discuss the challenges and opportunities and give practical examples of what to do. Topics will include:
• The importance of identifying customer needs beyond just features, and covering the whole customer experience
• How to avoid the order-taking trap
• Balancing the conflicting roles of product owner and product manager
• The opportunities and challenges of digital transformation, and how product managers are using the transition to help their companies succeed
• How to use real-time human insights to make high-confidence customer-driven decisions without slowing down the development process
So you’re ready to hire someone to help with user experience. You’ve identified usability issues with your sites, apps, or other software products, and need someone to help fix them, a single usability professional to “do UX”—whatever that means. I’m sorry to tell you, this person does not exist. And, if you try to foist all of your usability problems onto one professional, you will not get the rainbow-filled success you’re hoping for.
While UX professionals might be pretty magical beings, no one person can juggle all of the areas of expertise needed for top-tier user experience. Having a full, well-rounded usability team is always ideal. But we don’t live in a world of unicorns or ideals. You may only be able to get the budget, resources, or go-ahead for one UX hire.
If that’s where you’re at, not all is lost. You can still create more useful, usable sites and apps with a single, strategic UX hire. To make this work, you’ll need to focus less on one person to do all things UX and more on how your lone UX pro will fit into the team and skillsets you already have.
Attendees will walk away being able to:
1. Make an honest assessment of their team’s strengths and weaknesses.
2. Understand the value of embedding UX in their existing team structure.
3. Take concrete steps towards happier users and improved success online.
PRO TALK (ProductWorld): Defining Your Journey from Good To Exceptional; Lessons Learned from a Rookie PMJoin on Hopin
Product Managers sit at the cross-road of business, UX, and technology and have the potential to make or break the product. Good product managers work hard to build and launch products that customers love, they conduct research, develop the product strategy and roadmap, communicate in all directions, and juggle about 1000 other things. But what is the journey to become an exceptional Product Manager? What is the roadmap to get there and what skills do you need in your toolkit?
Maria will highlight critical lessons learned in her journey from a non-technical background starting out in Colombia to leading teams across product, design, and engineering and rapidly scaling multidisciplinary and intercultural teams.
Participants will learn about how important skills such as communication, emotional intelligence, and effective priority setting are essential in laying the foundations for high-performing teams. Additionally, participants will walk away with the knowledge to be able to utilize their core strengths to set strategic priorities for their own journey from being good to exceptional.
Product Owner vs Product Manager, what's the difference?
In this session, rather than fuel the seemingly existing battle between the Product Owner/Product Manager titles, we will go into details of why this disparity exists in the first place, what is expected of you as a Product Owner or Product Manager and how to succeed at what you do.
Product development has evolved rapidly over the years, but there has always been one element at the core of success or failure: People.
During this talk, you’ll learn about how great teams are created and how to keep them great, gaining insights into what works and what doesn’t work through stories of 20 years of trial and error. You’ll learn how to grow product teams from scratch, build them through high-scale growth, startup crash and burns, and through company IPOs. Hear about these things and more while learning how to keep your attention on what matters most -- the humans that make it all happen.
Saying no is hard and is also what makes for good strategy. Saying no is particularly hard when we as product people are expected to build connections, lead through influence, effectively collaborate with teams that we might be saying no to (very) often, and build an amazing product that solves real user problems and achieves concrete business goals.
Product people that always say “yes” end up with monster products that do everything and nothing at the same time. They say “yes” because it is very hard to say no effectively.
If those concerns sound familiar, this talk is for you. Gabrielle will share how you can tame your monster by implementing effective & scalable product strategy. She will send you off with actionable steps so that you can immediately get to work, develop a strategic way to say no, and, most importantly, tame your monster!
Today, majority of the world’s most valuable companies by market capitalization are platform companies; to name a few are Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google & Microsoft.
All these companies started off with a great product by claiming a substantial mass of customers and providing enough value for all the stakeholders of the ecosystem by optimizing the "network effects".
In this talk I am going to touch upon the key factors, strategies and business models which can enable transition of a product mindset to a platform mindset.
I will also highlight how some of the global product companies are rapidly transforming themselves as successful platforms using innovative methods in their respective domains
Wednesday, February 9, 2022
PRO TALK (ProductWorld): Culture Clash: How to Make Product and Engineering Work Together EffectivelyJoin on Hopin
Product Management and Engineering are most commonly seen as two separate groups with separate and inward-facing measures of effectiveness. When the effectiveness of these teams are not evaluated together, the two groups are typically driven out of alignment with each other and worse, with the rest of the company. Although not commonly practiced, there are better measures of effectiveness that will not only align Product Management with Engineering and align both groups with the rest of the company, but will also aid in alignment among executives and recruiting.
In this talk, we discuss common evaluation metrics of Product Management and of Engineering, why they fail, and propose a better structure that aligns their goals and unites them, as opposed to setting them at odds with each other.
The idea of understanding the collaboration between Product Manager and different stakeholders in the journey of making a product provides some very invaluable real-world insights. Product managers have the notoriously difficult job of bringing design, engineering, and business together to create successful products that customers love. Product Managers of Open Source goods, on the other hand, serve a diverse group of contributors, packagers, committees, and partners, in addition to demanding commercial clients.
We will look at the particular difficulties and opportunities in this talk and understand some of the nuances of Developing and Communication product strategy as a Open Source Product Manager:
1. Product Management Magic with Open Source
2. Collaborate, Innovate and Express
3. The Craft of working with 'X'
4. The Inconvenient Truth About Product
5. Real Life Product Management
We often talk and discuss about product manifests, methodologies to make a product successful. The prima facie points will help us to understand the strategic pillars needed to make a product successful in the realm of Open Source world.
I will share product strategy for building technology based products with an enterprise mindset. And innovating with an inclusive approach bringing customers, research, design, engineering, sales, legal and marketing at scale
We observe bad Developer Experiences across industries and in a variety of organisations and products. A common result of bad DX is a high cognitive load for development teams: long waiting times lead to a high amount of context switches and ultimately to a degrading momentum. Still some technical products and platforms struggle due to a lack of empathy with the user, the developer.A good Developer Experience on the other hand gets your features into production fast, reliable and safe. Whether you are managing an organisation or building a product for developers, it is time to research your developer users’ experience and invest in it.Based on our experience building a cloud and an IoT platform used by developers, we will highlight the business benefits of a good developer experience and take a closer look at indicators that help identify the right opportunities to invest in.
You just got hired! Congrats! Now what? It takes most new product managers six to eight months to reach full productivity. Most companies and managers don't have onboarding training designed specifically for product managers. This means you would spend half of your first year haphazardly gathering the bits of information you need to be an effective product manager. You need to create a learning plan to conquer your first 90 days. These first 3 months set the foundation you will build off of. Learn what to do and what not to do in your first 90 days. Join this practical session on how to navigate your new role and discover the information necessary to be successful.
2020 was the year we began showing our product docs the care they needed and made them inner sourced, because docs are everyone's business.
Our goal was to make it easy for our teams and customers to use and love our cloud product internally, with the help of documentation.
So, what did we learn, and how did we do it?
In this talk, Alex will take you through the then and now journey of how internal engineering product docs evolved and how the community and customers contribute to the changes and how you can do it too!
Is agility only for product development? Certainly not! By means of product management being an extension of product development to build a 'whole product', plus for the reasons such as product management being at the cusp of various cross-functions involved in the product delivery- product management perhaps requires to be more agile than any other function. Let us explore in this session 'how', and the 'value' in making product management agile.
Does your team take enough time out of their schedules to improve their practice? Or do they find that they are in non-stop status meetings? When do they find time to improve themselves as an individual and a team?
Today's roles require experience and constant practice to be effective. Without taking the time to hone their craft your team will not be able to wrangle the increasingly complex world that they need to deal with daily.
If you don’t put aside the time for the team to learn it will fall to the individual. A small number of people will take on more hours to improve themselves but burn out. While other people that don’t have the extra time will improve at a much slower rate through their experience. The core of the problem is that we separate how we learn from the work we do on a regular basis.
In this talk, Chris Butler will help you understand how you should replace, restructure, and repeat meetings to help the team grow individually and together. By making our learning and training look more like work we will help everyone grow.
Being a high-growth, product-led company in today’s versatile, pandemic-stricken world means you need new organizational structures for rapid innovation so you can meet the demands of the business and still come out on top.
One such trending organization model is the three legged product team owning and driving product strategy, product management and product marketing. Modern SaaS companies must organize product teams in a way that enables continuous value creation and value capture.
When scaling, companies cannot assume the market is in the same state as it was during initial product work. This means companies must continuously adjust product strategies to invest in their next opportunity in shifting markets. Adopting the “three legged” approach to products allows companies to listen to customer needs, innovate new solutions that fit neatly into industry demands, and deliver rich capabilities in a predictable way. This approach is critical to driving continuous improvements in value and, therefore, growth.
What does the ongoing backlog prioritization looks like for platform business model that has users on demand and supply side for example divers and riders on Uber, home owners and renters on Air BnB, etc. This is most tricky and challenging part in platform product management lifecycle. I have touched upon this topic in my book Effective platform product management. I will cover the prioritization techniques, challenges that product managers face and mistakes to avoid while feature prioritization of platform business models.
Since the start of the pandemic, parents have had to play full-time employees and full-time caregivers to our children. Far too often, we talk about our kids as a distraction from our core work, but the transition from individual to parent teaches us lessons about teamwork, empathy, and communication. As a Product Manager, I’ve found these lessons especially important as I strive to build products that make the world a better place for my kids and a workplace culture where they can thrive as adults. By sharing my experiences and challenges as a parent, I hope to combat the implicit bias in our culture that says performance at work suffers when we become parents, especially when women become mothers, and focus the conversation on how parenting helps us be better teammates, teaches us what's really important for our users, and gives us the courage to create a better world for all our children.
Companies like Zoom, Slack, and Amplitude aren’t overnight successes. These companies are surviving and thriving during the pandemic because they prioritized investing in their products during the rapid acceleration of digital transformation. By putting their product first, these tech underdogs have established market leadership in categories where the tech giants FAANG—Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google/Alphabet—have unfair advantages, such as massive distribution, virtually free offerings, and room for growth. Product visionary and Silicon Valley investor SC Moatti can share how these companies are winning against FAANG by building more innovative products and elevating product leaders to the C-suite, turning their product teams into a competitive advantage.