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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 Based on 23 reviews
5 out of 5 stars
I listen to a lot of product podcasts and this is the gold standard: challenging, interesting, informative, and usable. Melissa has an accessible yet direct and professional style and always has compelling guests. Check it out!
5 out of 5 stars
My Go To Profesional Development Pod
This is a great podcast for any product manager, aspiring product manager, or really anyone working with PMs. I value Melissa’s insight and advice. I love the guests she brings on and the conversations they have. It’s a great way to inspire and take actions at work to be a better PM.
1 out of 5 stars
No politics in my business podcasts please.
5 out of 5 stars
Great learning resource for any level of product manager
As indicated by the review title, I can only say this is the best PM resource I have. I even recommend to my teammates and team as I believe my team can hugely benefit from Melissa and other speakers insight, experience, and practical advice. Product manager is hard because the concepts can be easy to understand but they are abstract. Melissa’s podcast translates abstract idea into something concrete and executable that we as PM can practice in our day to day job!
5 out of 5 stars
The best product podcast
I’ve listened to just about all of them and this is by far my favorite. I’m a PM with about four years of experience and find this podcast highly relatable, relevant, and insightful. I’ve listened to multiple episodes twice, jot down notes, and then apply learnings in my day-to-day. I find other podcasts are either very specific to a domain or more conceptual and c-suite strategy level. Melissa talks about it all and asks questions across so many challenging product areas, and doesn’t shy away from the “ok but how does that actually work in reality”. No fluff and tons of insight. Highly recommend.
Chan Work Comp
5 out of 5 stars
BEST product podcast
I have listened to a lot of PM focused podcast and this is by far the best. I love the mix of in depth interviews and product Q&A. I always come away with a few nuggets of knowledge I scribble down in my notes app, a new product influencer to follow or book to read. Multiple times I have taken what I have heard and applied it to my work directly. 👏🏻
5 out of 5 stars
Dear Melissa... thank you! 🙌
Product Thinking is truly an invaluable resource for product professionals! Great content, delivered in an easy to consume format - no matter the topic, you're bound to gain something from every episode! Highly recommend.
5 out of 5 stars
In the conversation of product
If you touch the life cycle of a product this podcast is literally the best on planet.
5 out of 5 stars
Practical PM insights
This is a PM podcast by someone who has actually done product management at scale. It shows up in the insights Melissa shares. With the field exploding, there are too many ‘experts’. Melissa is truly an expert & a thought leader in the PM space. Quality content at just the right frequency to consume & process. Highly recommended.
5 out of 5 stars
Learn something new every week!
I found Melissa from another podcast and really enjoy every episode she releases! I’ve picked up her book and it is awesome as well and this is a must listen in my weekly podcast rotation!
5 out of 5 stars
Required listening for product people who want to excel
Product thinking distill product advice in easily digestible and immediately executable chunks that a product person at every level would find valuable.
5 out of 5 stars
Product Management 101
Whether you’re a newb or a vet, Melissa Perri’s book, “Escaping the Build Trap,” will make you a better product thinker and organizational changer. This podcast expands on many of the book’s ideas and brings in other insightful product people to talk shop. Just listen already!!
5 out of 5 stars
One of the Great Product Thought Leaders Sharing Crucial Insights
Melissa Perri established herself with “Escaping the Build Trap,” and has continued to broaden her impact on the world of software development with her forays into Product Leadership and Product Operations. In conversation with other great thought leaders, her podcast takes these disparate product themes and weaves them into cohesive examinations of topics affecting how teams deliver value in collaborative software development. Highly recommended!
5 out of 5 stars
Insightful topics with great interviews
Product Thinking threads the needle between strategic insights and practical advice in the Dear Melissa segments. This is now a must listen in my weekly rotation.
5 out of 5 stars
Insightful in bite sized nuggets!
Product teams that utilize frameworks when planning & prioritizing will have more predictive outcomes. Melissa explains these best practices in a really simple way. I loved her Dear Melissa podcast on organizing around JTBD –– PMs overseeing a job to create long lasting customer value.
5 out of 5 stars
The content so far has been top notch and offers practical advice for both junior and senior product leaders. It’s also just real talk and she has the network to bring in some major players in the product space to hear from. I’ve seen both product people as well as senior level execs in corporate America listen to what she has to say even if via “The Build Trap”.
5 out of 5 stars
Weekly therapy for product leaders
Melissa’s book, Escaping the Build Trap was my favorite read of 2020. I laughed, I cried, I cringed, and most importantly I learned a ton of practical things and was able to operationalize them. I am so glad to have this podcast in my rotation to hear from MP and other great thinkers in this space.
5 out of 5 stars
Real talk. As real as it gets.
Melissa Perri speaks truth. The q&a are especially excellent. It’s like you know my company and how we need to transform. Must listen for any product person.
5 out of 5 stars
Melissa’s advice is relatable and, most importantly, practical enough to be implemented in your day to day work. I appreciate the real world examples she brings to the table to illustrate her points. I will be listening often as I transition to a career in product management!
5 out of 5 stars
I love Melissa’s perspective and insight into product management. So often when I dive into product blogs and articles, I feel like I’m just reading catchphrases and doublespeak. Melissa gives you a way to see the big picture while breaking it all down into real examples. Can’t wait for the next episode!
5 out of 5 stars
And we're getting this content for FREE?!
Melissa Perri is one of the top voices in the product space for product leaders, and her stuff is always incredible and spot on. But the interviews and content in this podcast are so valuable for me as a product leader that I kind of feel like we're getting away with something here. It's like, "Shh. Don't say anything. But does she know she's giving away this content for free?"
5 out of 5 stars
Can’t wait for more
Great start to what I’m sure will quickly become a must listen podcast for product leaders. Given Melissa’s track record for excellent content, I can’t wait to hear more.
5 out of 5 stars
Future thinking product leadership
Very excited to see how this podcast builds upon Melissa’s impressive experience, and her work on “The build trap.”
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- November 30, 2022
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- Melissa Perri
- Answering Questions About Advocating for Resources, Bottom-Up Transformation, and Setting ExpectationsIn this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about advocating for resources in a non-leadership role, whether or not a bottoms-up transformation can really work if leadership isn’t immediately on board, and how to effectively communicate with teams outside of product in order to set realistic expectations and get them on your side. Q: As a product manager that is not in a leadership role, how do you recommend advocating for additional resources on your development? Q: Have you ever seen a product transformation work from bottoms-up, work at the team level first, and then improve at the executive level? If so, what do you think were the deciding factors? Q: How do I work with non-product teams who have no regard for prioritization or respect for the actual product team’s process? Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com0 comments0
- Leading with Vision and Purpose with Ken NortonKen Norton is Melissa Perri’s guest on this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. Ken is an executive coach who is passionate about “whole person” coaching– he works with product leaders not just on their careers but on their growth and development in all facets of their lives. Ken joins Melissa to discuss the evolution of product management, the stark difference between empowered and unempowered product teams, his biggest piece of advice to early career PMs, what great leadership looks like, his 14 years of experience working at Google and on products like Google Maps and Google Calendar, and why ultimately, product is all about people. Here are some key points Ken and Melissa talk about: Ken reflects on how the product management field has changed and matured over the years. Product management is no longer a “nascent, upstart concept”- it’s an established role that people understand the need for. Ken laments the number of product leaders with no experience in the field being hired into companies. He discusses “this trend of people putting leaders in the position of product leadership, who have never been in the product field before.” Senior product leaders should develop and execute an apprenticeship-type program for people who want to work in the product field. Melissa comments that several product leaders are becoming general managers; she worries about the future of people who are purely product people. Ken says that he sees the general manager position as “a maturity of the product leadership role, a recognition of how important and critical that job really is.” Successful product leaders learn to lead in a way that inspires others, while confronting challenges in a proactive way. Ken talks about his experience at Google, and shares stories and examples about the leadership team and their approach to product. Ensuring your team’s success means laying your plan out in steps and showing real evidence: it means showing a path forward that people can rally behind. Resources Ken Norton on LinkedIn | Twitter | Bring the Donuts, LLC1 comments1
- Dear Melissa: Answering Questions About Platform Changes, Personalized Prototypes, and PrioritizingIn this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa addresses a recent Twitter topic worth further discussing: how important it is for PMs to carve out the time for creative thinking and processing outside of scheduled meetings and tasks. Then she dives into subscribers’ questions about measuring the value of a platform change, how to create prototypes when the product requires personalization and balancing outcome-focused and functional-focused work. Q: How do you measurably prove the value of a platform change? Q: How do you rapidly prototype features that rely on personalization as a value driver without creating the actual product? Do we just build personalized prototypes per test user? Q: How do we balance outcome-focused work with functional work? Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com1 comments1
- Sharpening Your Financial Skill Set with Giff ConstableMelissa Perri welcomes Giff Constable to this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. Giff is a product leader and former CPO of both Meet Up and Neo. Giff is passionate about helping product people sharpen their financial skills, which is a big topic of conversation in this episode. He talks to Melissa about why it’s key that product executives understand the nuances of financials, the most important relationships for a product executive to cultivate and how, why Giff never regrets investing time in the exercise of creating FP&A models, the ins and outs of understanding valuation, and so much more. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Giff explore: Giff talks about his career path and how he ended up in CPO and CEO roles. When communicating in a corporate space, adjust your language depending on who you're speaking to, with the goal of finding common ground. Giff explains the FP&A model. Nothing changes user behavior more than your pricing model. Adjust your pricing model so that the majority of your customers are satisfied. "When both the customer and the company are being successful together, everyone's reinvesting, everyone's happy," Giff tells Melissa. Product leaders should build a relationship with their teams. An easy way to do this is to involve them in decision-making. Trust is built. You don't have to do everything by yourself or work in silos. Valuation has to do with what someone is willing to pay for what you have. Companies are valued with a multiple of their top or bottom line. Lower growth companies are valued in the multiple of the bottom line. Higher growth companies tend to be valued as a multiple of revenue. How fast or slow a company grows has to do with its product. If a company has poor prioritization or if there are market shifts, its product will become obsolete and contribute to slow growth for the company. For larger companies, there's also the risk of being so far ahead that you don't see who's catching up with you, and by the time you do, it's too late. Prioritization and paying attention to market trends and shifts are key. Resources Giff Constable | LinkedIn | Twitter0 comments0
- Dear Melissa: Answering Questions About Defining Product Terms, Founders Relinquishing Control, and Transitioning into LeadershipIn this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about whether or not having clearly defined terms and a common language within an organization matters, how to convince founders to hand over the product reins and hire an interim CPO, and how to convince your team and leadership that you belong in your new role as Director of Product. Q: Do you have any advice on how to establish a common language? Q: As a product consultant, what's the secret to convincing founders to give up control of a product that was a labor of love? How do you best convince a founder that having an interim CPO is worth the investment? Q: How can I build the trust of my team of four product managers and show leadership that they made the right choice with me? Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com0 comments0
- Investing in Internal Tools with John AthaydeMelissa Perri welcomes John Athayde to this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. John is a design team leader, strategist, and individual contributor, as well as VP of Design at PowerFleet. John and Melissa discuss how he shifted focus to the importance of internal tools at Living Social, how he got buy-in from leadership to prioritize internal tools, the process of creating a design system for a scaling organization, the benefits of design systems, design systems vs. style guides, and the tools and org structure he recommends to get set up for success. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and John talk about: What led John to PowerFleet. John shares how he started pushing for improved internal controls. “As I was working on the front-end screens, [I realized] we could make this a little better.” He convinced some product people and engineers, and they collaborated to do a bunch of mockups. They presented them to the CTO, who gave them his blessing. Designers should know how to code, or at least know how code happens, according to John. “You can’t design a building without knowing how a building is built.” You can use product thinking to design your internal tools. It’s less of just a design issue and more of an issue of creating a product, which is a complex internal operating system. This is necessary to actually scale. A UX engineer is a front-end developer who is primarily focused on the look and feel as opposed to functionality. They are the bridge between functionality and design. It's a person with the design sensibility who can speak code and help implement, but they're not doing the implementation. Now that almost everyone has some kind of experience with software, UX and UI have become more essential. Consumers are going to subconsciously compare their experience with your user interface with others. Every company needs a source of truth for their operations, that is, documentation for all the relevant information needed to continue operations. In the event of key people leaving, the work they did would still be there for the next person to take over. We often take for granted how important the role of a UX designer is in a high-growth organization. Resources John Athayde on LinkedIn | Twitter | Website0 comments0
- Dear Melissa: Answering Questions About Program Managers, Switching Jobs, and Experimenting with HardwareIn this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about relationships between program and product managers, the right questions to ask during the interview process so you end up in a company with strong product values, and how to experiment when iterating on complex hardware. Q: What does a great partnership between a product manager and a technical program manager look like? If my long-term career goal is to pivot back into product, how might I build up my product chops in this role in the short term without stepping on the toes of my product partner in crime? Q: Do you have any suggestions for questions I can ask when interviewing for a new role to make sure that I don't fall into the same situation in the future? Q: Do you have any advice for how to do product discovery when you are working with high-end systems and prototyping and iterating are really expensive? Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com0 comments0
- Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story with Donna LichawMelissa Perri welcomes Donna Lichaw to this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. Donna is a product leader turned leadership coach and the author of The User's Journey. She joins Melissa to talk about how she helps leaders and executives answer questions like, “how do I get my team excited to show up to work every day?” by becoming the heroes of their own stories. They discuss the importance of being clear on what untrue stories you might tell yourself and the importance of self-awareness, common challenges Donna faces when working with leaders, the helpful side of imposter syndrome, and how to identify your own superpower and use it for good. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Donna explore: Donna talks about what led her down the path of leadership coaching. A big sign that someone isn't ready to be a leader is when they resort to the blame game. It also indicates a lack of self-awareness. "What I found is that the stories you tell other people are only as powerful as the stories you do or don't tell yourself.” The main challenges that Donna has seen leaders encounter are a lack of trust for their teams and executives, a lack of mentorship, and letting go of control. Imposter syndrome can actually be helpful in a certain way. Donna talks about ways leaders can use it or combat it to perform better at their jobs. The behaviors that aren't serving you are actually your superpowers. "They're your superpowers because you're really good at defaulting to that behavior. And that behavior is really strong. It's so strong that it guides you all the time, even when you don't want it to." Telling stories as a leader is not enough. "The trick is really to involve other people and bring them along on your journey; and with everyone you work with, you always want to think, ‘How are they going to be a hero, and how do I make them feel really excited to work with me?’” To tactically make someone the hero and help bring them on your side, you must first connect with them one-on-one. Understand what makes them tick, their goals, and their challenges. [37:11] Resources Donna Lichaw | LinkedIn | Twitter The User's Journey0 comments0
- Dear Melissa: Answering Questions About PMs as Scapegoats, Breaking Hard News to Developers, and Sunsetting ProductsIn this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about how to handle the unfortunate reality that oftentimes product managers are blamed for things out of their control, how to communicate to engineers when it’s time to pivot off of a project they’ve devoted a lot of time and effort towards, and how to build a shiny new product without completely disregarding all of the learnings from the original one. Q: What should your course of action be if you perceive yourself a scapegoat position in product management? Q: Have you ever had to pause a tool or product? Do you have any frameworks when making such decisions? To what degree is it my responsibility to communicate this as opposed to senior management? Q: How can we use our current product to help us build a better replacement? Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com0 comments0
- Defining Outcomes Over Output with Josh SeidenJosh Seiden is Melissa Perri’s guest on this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. Josh is a consultant and bestselling author of Lean UX, Sense and Respond, and his latest book, Outcome Over Output: Why Customer Behavior Is the Key Metric for Business Success. In this week’s show, he and Melissa explore why saying “outcomes over outputs” is a lot easier than actually committing to it in practice, measurable outcomes, correlation versus causation, the problem with getting fixated on process, and how to keep your team focused on outcomes as a leader. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Josh talk about: One of the challenges companies face that prevents them from becoming outcome-centric is the legacy of how they manage their work, Josh says. “Change in human behavior creates value, which helps us to take a huge step forward.” Josh advises that you build a logic model with impact and outcome. Identify the leading and lagging indicators that help you determine if your business model could be successful. Teams get so fixated on processes or methods that they don’t look at the big picture in what they’re trying to achieve and the whole ecosystem of their market. What data is out there already so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel? The surprising power of the words, “just tell me a story…” to help shift focus to data and figuring out what outcomes to go after. Josh talks about the success of the book and what he might add to a second edition. Josh says that most companies need to develop a risk-tolerant, psychologically safe environment, where employees are allowed to experiment freely to find what works best for the company. Resources: Josh Seiden on LinkedIn0 comments0
- Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Competitive Analysis, Stage Gates, and Aligning Around Lofty GoalsIn this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about ways to research and stay on top of the market in order to conduct a thorough competitive analysis, when adopting a Stage Gate process makes sense and how to design it, and how to organize teams around the product strategy framework. Q: What tips do you have for competitor analysis? Q: What is your experience with Stage Gate? Am I just being stubborn and intractable by thinking that adopting Stage Gate is the opposite of creating a product-led organization? Or, for example, a risk-led organization? Q: In your experience, would it make sense for each squad to have its own challenge, or should there be one or two challenges for the entire product area? Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com0 comments0
- Finding Agility Through Psychological Safety with Tara ScottMelissa Perri interviews Tara Scott at the Agile 2022 Conference on this week’s episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. Tara is an experienced product coach and organizational behavior design coach who specializes in psychological safety, which is the ability to speak up in the workplace without fear of negative consequences. Tara tells Melissa how experiences in her own family led her to this important line of work, how she realized psychological safety could actually help increase organizational agility, what happens when a company isn’t psychologically safe, why having a “work” version of you is actually harmful, the inevitable uncomfortable moments that come with creating a safer work environment, particularly for leadership, and more. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Tara talk about: Tara talks about her own background and what led her to teach psychological safety. Tara assesses the psychological safety of an organization by conducting individual conversations with the team. If you feel like you have to micromanage your employees, it probably means that you don't feel safe giving them the freedom to do their jobs. This can be damaging to your team's morale and productivity. Tara advises that leaders should “lead with curiosity as opposed to leading with questions” as this would create positive interactions with employees and allow them to feel psychologically safe. Open communication, diversity and inclusion, willingness to help and willingness to ask for help, and attitudes towards risk and failure are the four metrics used to measure if a work environment is psychologically safe. Tara explains that when employees are more relaxed and laugh, it is a sign that the work environment is becoming more psychologically safe. Another indicator is when team leaders work actively to create a psychologically safe environment. Tara suggests that every morning, remote teams should sit around before work and just talk to each other – get to know each other and become comfortable hearing your own voice. This promotes psychological safety within the team. As an executive, if you're noticing your organization becoming psychologically unsafe you can introduce an optional virtual coffee, where your employees can join for 15 minutes to relax and have conversations with co-workers. Resources Tara Scott on LinkedIn0 comments0
- Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Picking Up Bad Habits, Prioritizing Inbound Requests, and How Product fits in with IT and Project ManagementIn this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about the importance of hiring a more experienced product leader to help more junior product managers steer clear of bad product habits, how to organize and manage an influx of ideas from different stakeholders, why product shouldn’t be part of the IT organization, and where project managers fit in a product led team. Q: What are the chances of a junior PM unintentionally developing unhealthy habits without the ongoing regular guidance of an experienced PM? What are key signals that might indicate it's time for me to ask my leadership team to bring in a product leader? Q: Any tips for setting up a structure for managing ideas? Q: Why shouldn’t product be part of the IT organization? What are the key talking points you would hit when trying to convince the company that products should be its own organization? Q: Does project management or the business analyst role belong in a product lead or empowered product team? If a large company is undergoing a transformation, where would you see people who have traditionally played the role of project manager or BA succeed? Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com0 comments0
- Driving Portfolio Management with Becky FlintMelissa Perri welcomes Becky Flint to this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. Becky is the Founder and CEO of Dragonboat, the responsive portfolio platform for product and technology leaders, and is an expert in outcome-focused product practice and operations. Becky joins Melissa to discuss how she recognized the need for a portfolio management tool like Dragonboat, why portfolio management should be adopted by any size team, common pitfalls in early portfolio management, why it’s the next iteration of agile, and how to implement a portfolio management practice into an organization. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Becky talk about: Becky’s journey into product and how Dragonboat came about. Portfolio management is not just for large companies or about how you create a hierarchy. It’s about how you make a decision across the product organization to support various needs and lenses of the business. Product operations ensures that people work at a consistent output - this consistency needs to be to an extent where effective decision making can happen. Melissa asks Becky about some mistakes people make with portfolio management. “When people think about portfolio management, they usually think about hierarchy,” Becky shares. “The challenge with hierarchy is that it’s static - once your business changes, you’re stuck. People forget the problem they’re trying to solve with the business when they spend so much time trying to figure out a hierarchy.” When companies started out trying to do agile and Scrum purely by the book, they encountered many difficulties because there was so much learning, evolving and adapting involved in those processes. You don’t need to roll out portfolios in every facet of your company - that would be way too time-consuming and tedious if you have multiple products. Rather, you can start in a few product areas. “Take one or two teams who are ready for change and start to apply portfolio management to areas that are somewhat independent,” Becky advises. No one can build a product alone, and no one can take it to market alone. Becky and Melissa discuss why the role of Chief Product Officer is necessary. Becky says, “Having a leader driving the vision and strategy and enabling the team actually innovates and creates ideas, and makes them able to deliver.” Resources Becky Flint on the Web | LinkedIn | Twitter0 comments0
- Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Transitioning into a Large Product Team, Collaborating with SMEs, and Internal ToolsIn this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about what to expect when transitioning from a small to a large product team, how to work with subject matter experts that have strong opinions on product design, and making the case for creating an internal product team to support a growing organization. Q: I've heard about the dangers of transitioning to a smaller team after being in a large organization, but I'm curious about movement in the other direction. Q: How can I help the team to make the most of everyone's expertise and work better together? Q: Do you have any suggestions for ways to frame a request to start an internal product team? Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com0 comments0
- Enabling Businesses with Climate Data with Gopal ErinjippurathMelissa 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 | Instagram0 comments0
- Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Scaling Up Teams, Defining User Value, and Workplace BurnoutIn this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about scaling up a whole junior product team at once, how a listener can align her team’s KPIs to user value, and why product managers are more susceptible to experience burnout. Q: What’s a successful approach to scaling up a team of junior PMs without leaving stragglers behind? [3:47] Q: How can a team responsible for security set measurable goals that show whether we're delivering real value to users when we're so far removed from the user value? [9:08] Q: What makes product people seemingly have a higher potential to experience workplace burnout? What can we do to proactively prevent or combat this? [13:19] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com0 comments0
- Moving Up to CPO with Amy Carmichael, John Martin & Simone DiveIn this special episode of the Product Thinking Podcast, Melissa Perri invites three graduates from her CPO Accelerator program to share their stories, insights, and advice about moving into the C-suite. Amy Carmichael of Crowdcube, John Martin of Housecall Pro, and Simone Dive of Clir Renewables all recently took on the Chief Product Officer role in their companies. They tell Melissa what it was like to make the jump, how the job differs from other product leadership roles, how to start practicing for the job now as an IC, and the skills they recommend strengthening if you hope to land a CPO job in the future. Here are some key points they will be discussing: Amy, John, and Simone talk about their journey from entering the product field to becoming CPO. [2:16] Melissa asks the guests to reflect on the most surprising aspect of the CPO role. Simone highlights the human element of the product; for Amy it’s taking the time to plan product strategy, and John talks about going to market. [5:21] When transitioning into a CPO, you may need to finetune some skills to succeed in your new role. [8:29] Being a CPO is not only about managing teams and setting strategy – it's about understanding how your product and company fit into the larger market. [10:00] Although financial skills are important as a CPO, John believes that learning to invest in people was the biggest skill he needed to hone. He explains that product managers and product leaders are sought after, so it was important for him to develop his people skills and relationships with his team so they’re likely to stay with the company. [12:32] Melissa asks her guests how they managed to build relationships and foster collaboration with their new team. [14:20] Melissa asks her guests how IC roles can prepare a person to become CPO, and what they can do to put them on that path. [18:52] Simone advises aspiring CPOs to get comfortable not taking credit and to build relationships with the people who make executive decisions. [20:53] Amy, Simone, and John talk about how to evolve into a great CPO [25:11] Resources Amy Carmichael on LinkedIn John Martin on LinkedIn Simone Dive on LinkedIn0 comments0
- Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Company Growing PainsIn this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about organizations that are at a crossroads. She talks about how to help reorganize a product hierarchy that’s lacking strategic product development, how to shake up an org that seems content to operate as a feature factory, and where to focus your company’s resources and energy during an economic downturn. Q: What would be a good way to separate the long-term work of gathering ideas and looking at market trends versus the shorter-term discovery and delivery work? [2:07] Q: Do you have any tips for how I can interact differently with a team who seems satisfied to operate like a feature factory? [9:07] Q: With a downturn in the economy, should I turn the attention of my product team more towards optimization rather than exploration? [16:11] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com0 comments0
- Exploring Product Management in Nonprofits with Steve MacLaughlinMelissa Perri welcomes Steve Maclaughlin to this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. Steve is the Vice President of Product Management at Blackbaud, a cloud computing provider that serves clients within the social goods community. Steve shares his insights on what good product management looks like in nonprofit organizations, product managers as decision makers, the importance of benchmarking, and what it means to operate as a data-driven nonprofit. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Steve talk about: Steve talks about his induction into the world of product management and why he started to help nonprofit organizations with product strategy. [2:04] Melissa asks Steve how to set product strategy and OKRs for nonprofits since they're not working towards increasing revenue but towards the greater good. He responds that the main objective as a product manager of a nonprofit is to "get revenue, keep revenue, grow revenue, and reduce cost". [4:42] To have a successful product that achieves your goals, you need the trifecta of time, talent, and treasure. [10:01] In today’s digital world, the product is the whole experience – it must be a holistic experience for the consumers. [13:43] Despite opposing opinions and ideas on strategy, product team members must ultimately make a decision that takes all perspectives into account. [18:50] Steve explains how he was led to the field of data-driven nonprofits and his journey to becoming a best-selling author with his book, "Data-Driven Nonprofits". [20:34] Data health, data quality, underlying technology, and data science are all important, but the most important thing is the culture surrounding the data. [22:18] Benchmarking is crucial in the nonprofit space: your organization can compare their progress to their competitors’ and determine how to replicate success. [24:42] It may be difficult to stay true to your original mission and vision while ensuring you’re progressing towards your goal, when running a nonprofit. Steve advises using data and benchmarking to measure your progress; more importantly, choose a goal that people would be interested in and build on it over time. [28:11] Melissa asks Steve how to balance keeping the long-term mission in play while ensuring that you're not just over-optimizing for revenue. Steve responds that best practice is to be "very firm on vision and very flexible on details". Once you achieve your vision and mission, it does not matter how many times the fine details of your plan change over time. [31:32] Resources Steve MacLaughlin on LinkedIn | Twitter0 comments0
- The Pivot Series, Part 4: Dear MelissaIn this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa wraps up our four-part series on pivots by answering some of our listener’s questions on the topic. She talks about pivots as “strategy theater,” how to know when to stay on track versus when to pivot, having back-up pivot strategies in case the first idea doesn’t pan out, and communicating strategies amongst other product teams. Q: How often is a product strategy pivot one of the main players in a strategy theater performance? [4:22] Q: What are the best indicators that perseverance will not solve your lack of product-market fit problem? [8:07] Q: Do you line up your next pivots in case this one takes, hoping to find strategies that work? [11:22] Q: How do you go about effectively communicating your strategy to a wider organization for product teams? [14:25] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com0 comments0
- The Pivot Series, Part 3: Thriving In Uncertainty with John ShapiroMelissa Perri welcomes John Shapiro to the third episode of this four-part miniseries about companies that successfully made major pivots during the pandemic. John is the Head of Product of Global Supplier at Wayfair. He manages a team of 60+ product managers, represents the company’s global suppliers, and ensures that products meet the standards of global consumers. Alex shares how Wayfair handled shifting from a heavily in-person culture to operating entirely online, how they rode an unexpected and sudden spike in business, how their long-term vision and strategy kept them on course, how to keep a roadmap flexible even in an enterprise, managing employee burnout during the pandemic, and why they always come back to their customers’ problems above everything else. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and John talk about: John talks about his professional background, his current role in Wayfair, and his accomplishments at the company. [1:46] John highlights the initial conversations and concerns Wayfair’s product leaders were having at the start of the pandemic and how they had to shift from having in-person meetings to building products. [3:50] Like most companies during that time, Wayfair’s main concern was whether their revenue would plummet due to lockdown and restrictions. However, there was increased demand for home entertainment products along with a rise in e-commerce, so Wayfair found a way to survive. [6:19] Wayfair had to be willing to alter its roadmap, even though it caused major revenue loss. John explains, “Our roadmaps are generally built out with problem statements and customer hypotheses… we try to focus on who the user is, what is the problem that they are encountering and how to solve it for them”. [13:00] At Wayfair, product teams have biannual tactical meetings to discuss their strategies. They break down their long-term ideas into short-term hypotheses so they have an objective they can strive to accomplish. If it succeeds the teams get the okay to proceed with their related ventures. [15:21] To have a successful product team, the team must be comfortable communicating with the leader. John suggests that you should deliver what your roadmap promised. Reiterating your ideas creates an environment that’s focused on solving a problem for the customer. [17:42] Wayfair already had systems in place that helped suppliers get their products to market during the pandemic. They were able to continue to supply real-time data to help suppliers develop their businesses and determine what their consumers needed. [24:23] Wayfair ensures that its product teams are as close to the consumer as possible; they ensure that the people designing their products understand their consumers’ needs. [25:23] Product leaders must form relationships with potential suppliers, but that may be difficult to do remotely. John suggests turning on your camera while video calling your client because that allows them to connect with you and helps build trust [30:23] Resources John Shapiro on LinkedIn | Twitter0 comments0
- The Pivot Series, Part 2: Reevaluating The Future with Alex HaefnerMelissa Perri welcomes Alex Haefner to the second episode of this four-part miniseries about companies that successfully made major pivots during the pandemic. Alex is the Head of Product at Envoy and strives to create products for a safe and healthy workplace. Alex tells Melissa how Envoy, originally a company that made products for physical workspaces, had to shift its entire product strategy during the pandemic by staying closely connected to their customers’ changing needs. They talk about why a multi-product company is the goal, how to avoid the “innovator’s dilemma,” how to talk about your roadmap with your customers, and when to keep testing versus when to forge ahead with the data you have. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Alex talk about: Alex talks about his start in product, his professional background, and his current role at Envoy. [1:40]. At the very beginning of the pandemic, Envoy had to adjust its product strategy because their primary customers were physical workplaces. [3:58] As the Head of Product, Alex and his team put together a cross-functional team from product, marketing, and engineering to combat the global changes. The CSM was in constant contact with their customers to understand their current needs. [4:50] To survive in the global marketplace, product teams and companies must be willing to reevaluate their roadmaps if they do not align with the current needs of their customers, and develop a product that is in demand. [9:04] Constant customer research and communication allow your product team to be prepared for what your clients currently need and need in the future. [12:10] Strive to become a multi-product company and try to make your products work together harmoniously. This benefits both the company and the customer. [14:42] To avoid an innovator’s dilemma, you have to understand what your customers want out of your core product and what your product lacks. Then balance those two to ensure that you keep innovating and iterating on your product so it doesn’t become stagnant. [16:56] As a product team, ask your customers every possible question so you can get down to what the customers and end-users need and what would benefit them. [19:03] To build a successful product, the product team should consult with their customers when building their roadmap for the year and ensure that they are on board with the direction your company is taking. [20:53] Overcome analysis paralysis as a leader by ranking the probability of what you and your team believe the future would look like. [23:41] Resources Alex Haefner on LinkedIn | Twitter Envoy0 comments0
- The Pivot Series, Part 1: Embracing The Unknown with Colleen JohnsonMelissa Perri welcomes Colleen Johnson to the first episode of this four-part miniseries about companies that successfully made major pivots during the pandemic. Colleen is the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of ScatterSpoke, a company that leverages AI to make the most out of retrospective feedback. Colleen tells Melissa how their company needed to pivot quickly to win against competitors, how she had to shift from being a subject matter expert to embracing uncertainty and curiosity, her version of a valuable MVP, and which retro data she finds to be the most valuable. Here are some key points you'll hear Melissa and Colleen discuss: Colleen talks about her professional background, what led her to found ScatterSpoke, and what services they provide. [4:31] During the pandemic, when Scatterspoke lost clients to major competitors, they had to determine what made them stand out from other companies who provided the same retrospective services – the answer was a large quantity of retro data. [6:11] Colleen advises listeners to approach change with an open mindset and to be a little bit more cautious. [8:56] A friendly invite via their in-person professional network or even a cold outreach on LinkedIn can help a product manager launch a new product, connect with engineer leaders to provide them with data, test products, and offer feedback. [12:01] In coaching teams and helping organizations adopt agile practices, most people tend to focus on delivery rather than breaking down the work. If you do not break down the work in a way that allows you to iterate and get feedback quickly, the whole pivot process has no benefit. [14:38] The most valuable part of presenting small chunks to engineer leaders and customers is what you learn from their responses, positive or negative. [16:12] To have a successful retro tool, the teams using it - rather than scrum masters and engineer managers - must see its value to their process. [19:46] Engineering managers and product leaders need to understand that retrospectives are important because they help pinpoint issues in the organization. [20:11] As a person working in product and product management, Colleen says that you have to “remove yourself from the subject matter expert seat”. You have to be curious and willing to learn and understand that you are venturing into waters beyond your scope of knowledge with this new transition. [26:45] Resources Colleen Johnson | LinkedIn | Twitter ScatterSpoke | Twitter | Instagram0 comments0
- Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Panicked Startup Founders, Aligning Executives, and Vetting Startup JobsIn this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about wishing startup founders were able to see the value of being more product-oriented and how to influence them in that direction, organizing executives across multiple business units to align on product strategy, and how to gather evidence that a startup is the right place to work (and whether or not it’ll stay in business if you do decide to take the job). Q: How do I help my leadership be more product-oriented? [2:06] Q: How would you go about getting alignment or endorsement from your executive group with multiple business units on product strategy? [9:45] Q: What would be your strategy to evaluate if a product management role in a startup is a good fit? What questions should I ask in the interview? [15:44] Resources Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter MelissaPerri.com0 comments0