The Everyday Innovator Podcast for Product Managers https://productinnovationeducators.com Discussions with and for Product Managers and Innovators Mon, 22 Oct 2018 09:55:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 https://productinnovationeducators.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/cropped-LightBulb-1-32x32.png The Everyday Innovator Podcast for Product Managers https://productinnovationeducators.com 32 32 The Everyday Innovator is a weekly podcast dedicated to your success as a product manager and innovator. Join me, Chad McAllister, for interviews with product professionals, discussing their successes, failures, and lessons-learned to help you excel in your career and create products your customers will love. Every organization must have products that provide value to their customers. People like you who know how to create that value are the ones with real influence. The topics are relevant to product and innovation management, and include: creating a culture of innovation, managing product development, validating the viability of product concepts, conducting market research, selecting a product innovation methodology, generating product ideas, working well with teams and cross-functionally, and much more. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean episodic Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters chad@productinnovationeducators.com chad@productinnovationeducators.com (Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters) Copyright © Product Innovation Educators and The Everyday Innovator · All rights reserved. Interviews for product managers and innovators. The Everyday Innovator Podcast for Product Managers https://productinnovationeducators.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/TEI-cover-final-1400.png https://productinnovationeducators.com TV-G TEI 199: A panel discussion with women product VPs and Directors – moderated by Shaughnessy Speirs https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-199-a-panel-discussion-with-women-product-vps-and-directors-moderated-by-shaughnessy-speirs/ Mon, 22 Oct 2018 09:55:35 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=14142 https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-199-a-panel-discussion-with-women-product-vps-and-directors-moderated-by-shaughnessy-speirs/#respond https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-199-a-panel-discussion-with-women-product-vps-and-directors-moderated-by-shaughnessy-speirs/feed/ 0 Female product leaders on grit, grace, and everything in between There are several thousand product managers on LinkedIn and many of them are women. However, I noticed that few product VPs are women. About the same time, I attended a “Women in Product Management” panel at Rocky Mountain Product Camp, moderated by Shaughnessy Speirs. Afterward […] Female product leaders on grit, grace, and everything in between

Women in Product Management-Shaughnessy SpeirsThere are several thousand product managers on LinkedIn and many of them are women. However, I noticed that few product VPs are women.

About the same time, I attended a “Women in Product Management” panel at Rocky Mountain Product Camp, moderated by Shaughnessy Speirs. Afterward we discussed how few product VPs are women and how it would be valuable to have a panel discussion focused on women in senior product roles.

Shaughnessy ran with the idea and organized another panel a few months later for a conference called Denver Startup Week and I had it recorded to share with you. Four leaders joined the panel.

  • Shawna Barnhart, Product Management Leader and Former VP of Product at Artifact Uprising
  • Holly Vezina, Director of Product at APR Consulting
  • Jenn Dearth, Product at Stedi
  • Ann Koerner, Adjunct Professor of Product Management at DU and Former VP of Product at GutCheck

Our moderator, Shaughnessy Speirs, has been a product manager in several software organizations with depth in agile software development and business analysis.

This is a longer discussion. The panel responds to Shaughnessy’s questions for the first 30 minutes and the remaining time they respond to audience questions.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

[2:45] What core values are product managers missing?

Curiosity — never taking something at face value and always looking for the answer behind it. Openness to being proven wrong. In fact, this is something you should welcome because you can learn from it. Curiosity and openness pair really well together when you can constantly question things and learn from your mistakes. You also need to be able to create value and articulate it to your customers and your users. Product managers need to have a product vision and be able to create a plan to get there. The final missing characteristic is grit. Do the jobs no one wants to do and don’t be afraid to apply for positions you don’t think you are qualified for.

[7:30] What are opportunities you took that helped shape your career?

Find the problems that no one else wants to solve and figure out a way to solve them. Don’t be afraid to take on the hard problems, even if they are scary. Realize that you aren’t going to build a mountain in a day and take things one step at a time and lean on data where you can to drive your work. Make sure that the company you are going into has a product culture. You can’t move a few hundred people on your own and you don’t want to feel like you are spinning your wheels. It’s also important to be patient and not ask for more until you really understand what you are doing and why you are doing it.

[13:28] What are the skills required to be a successful product manager?

The ability to turn ambiguity into a clear vision. You need to be comfortable in that ambiguous space in order to derive a clear vision from it. You are always in new industries and working with new clients so an open mind and a passion for lifelong learning is critical. An MBA gives a broad overview of a company, which is necessary for product management. You also need to be obsessed with your customers and make decisions that will be best for them, even if it’s not always best for internal stakeholders.

[16:58] How did your personal identity shape your career?

All of us are moms and there’s nothing like a child to teach you patience. Being a mom makes you a better product manager because it teaches you how to listen and deal with unexpected situations. The hardest experiences in your life are the ones that end up shaping you the most. What happens outside of work is just as important as what happens at work; sharing personal information helps build trust.

[21:54] What are the ways that others have contributed to your growth?

Find leaders who can tell you the things you’re not doing right and how you can improve. It shows they care about you and how you can become better. Trust is important in these relationships, and you need to be vulnerable in order to build trust. Sponsors within the organization are also important — these are the people who will put their neck on the line to help you advance and take on challenging projects. The Colorado Product group has a lot of resources to help find mentors. Find a mentor who can challenge you and make you face your problems directly.

[27:30] How do you make the transition from mentee to mentor?

Mentorship is really natural in product management. We all thrive on feedback and are always looking for ways to improve. Helping other people solve their issues also helps you solve them for yourself. It’s also important to have an opinion and not be afraid to share it, while having empathy at the same time and always being open to learning. The mentor/mentee relationship does not always have to be formal and it should never be forced.

 

Useful links:

Thanks!

Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it on your favorite social network.

]]>
Female product leaders on grit, grace, and everything in between There are several thousand product managers on LinkedIn and many of them are women. However, I noticed that few product VPs are women. About the same time, There are several thousand product managers on LinkedIn and many of them are women. However, I noticed that few product VPs are women.
About the same time, I attended a “Women in Product Management” panel at Rocky Mountain Product Camp, moderated by Shaughnessy Speirs. Afterward we discussed how few product VPs are women and how it would be valuable to have a panel discussion focused on women in senior product roles.
Shaughnessy ran with the idea and organized another panel a few months later for a conference called Denver Startup Week and I had it recorded to share with you. Four leaders joined the panel.

* Shawna Barnhart, Product Management Leader and Former VP of Product at Artifact Uprising
* Holly Vezina, Director of Product at APR Consulting
* Jenn Dearth, Product at Stedi
* Ann Koerner, Adjunct Professor of Product Management at DU and Former VP of Product at GutCheck

Our moderator, Shaughnessy Speirs, has been a product manager in several software organizations with depth in agile software development and business analysis.
This is a longer discussion. The panel responds to Shaughnessy’s questions for the first 30 minutes and the remaining time they respond to audience questions.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:45] What core values are product managers missing?
Curiosity — never taking something at face value and always looking for the answer behind it. Openness to being proven wrong. In fact, this is something you should welcome because you can learn from it. Curiosity and openness pair really well together when you can constantly question things and learn from your mistakes. You also need to be able to create value and articulate it to your customers and your users. Product managers need to have a product vision and be able to create a plan to get there. The final missing characteristic is grit. Do the jobs no one wants to do and don’t be afraid to apply for positions you don’t think you are qualified for.
[7:30] What are opportunities you took that helped shape your career?
Find the problems that no one else wants to solve and figure out a way to solve them. Don’t be afraid to take on the hard problems, even if they are scary. Realize that you aren’t going to build a mountain in a day and take things one step at a time and lean on data where you can to drive your work. Make sure that the company you are going into has a product culture. You can’t move a few hundred people on your own and you don’t want to feel like you are spinning your wheels. It’s also important to be patient and not ask for more until you really understand what you are doing and why you are doing it.
[13:28] What are the skills required to be a successful product manager?
The ability to turn ambiguity into a clear vision. You need to be comfortable in that ambiguous space in order to derive a clear vision from it. You are always in new industries and working with new clients so an open mind and a passion for lifelong learning is critical. An MBA gives a broad overview of a company, which is necessary for product management. You also need to be obsessed with your customers and make decisions that will be best for them, even if it’s not always best for internal stakeholders.
[16:58] How did your personal identity shape your career?
All of us are moms and there’s nothing like a child to teach you patience. Being a mom makes you a better product manager because it teaches you how to listen and deal with unexpected situations. The hardest experiences in your life are the ones that end up shaping you the most. What happens outside of work is just as important as what happens at work; sharing personal information helps build trust.
]]>
Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 1:03:50
TEI 198: How product managers can influence the next generation of innovators – with Kyle Markland https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-198-how-product-managers-can-influence-the-next-generation-of-innovators-with-kyle-markland/ Mon, 15 Oct 2018 09:55:34 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=14141 https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-198-how-product-managers-can-influence-the-next-generation-of-innovators-with-kyle-markland/#respond https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-198-how-product-managers-can-influence-the-next-generation-of-innovators-with-kyle-markland/feed/ 0 Having fun, making friends, and learning along the way. I have a special episode for you. I believe that as product managers and innovators, we have a responsibility to help prepare the next generation of innovators. I’ve explored this topic in a few past episodes and it is time to do it again. So, this […] Having fun, making friends, and learning along the way.

Product Manager Interview -- Kyle Markland Inspiring InnovationI have a special episode for you. I believe that as product managers and innovators, we have a responsibility to help prepare the next generation of innovators. I’ve explored this topic in a few past episodes and it is time to do it again. So, this episode is about encouraging you and providing you with ideas for helping future innovators.

For this discussion, I traveled to a study room on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). I met with a new student, 17-year-old Kyle Markland. While being accepted to MIT is a significant accomplishment itself, what Kyle is known for is his robotic video tutorials. He is a kid teaching kids. His story is an inspiration to Everyday Innovators, as we can also encourage an interest in robotics and other STEM topics, as well as innovation in general, by sharing our experiences.

 

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

[4:25] How did you become interested in robotics?

It started in fifth grade when my school bought a LEGO NXT set. I saved up for a few years and bought my own kit to experiment with. One of the first things I made was a version of the shark robot that’s now featured on my YouTube channel. I tinkered with it over the years and eventually got it to the point where I could display it in public. At the same time, I was part of a robotics team at my school.

[7:30] Why did you develop the YouTube channel?

I aged out of competition and realized that I had a lot of lessons and insights to share. I didn’t want all of the knowledge I accumulated to go to waste. I started by making a video to document how I did line squaring. The video itself was rough, but the information was good and a few experts saw it and became enthusiastic about it. They encouraged me to make more tutorials and gave me tips to make the videos better. I think it’s important to show kids that it’s important to learn along the way and things are not always going to be perfect the first time you do something.

[12:05] Can you share examples of how you’ve inspired other kids?

I get emails from people around the world — little kids, college students, even older people. It makes me feel good to hear from the people I’ve inspired and it helps keep me going. Last year, I received an email from a mother and her 6-year-old son who were using my videos to learn about robotics. I recently had the opportunity to meet up with one of my viewers in person when he was on the MIT campus. I’ve also heard from college students who said the tutorials have helped them with their studies. I also heard from a kid in Norway who made improvements to my programs and I am going to be featuring those programs on my channel.

[15:47] What did you learn during this process?

I’ve learned a lot about video production and presenting information in a professional and easy-to-digest way. My first video was made using an old camcorder and built-in microphone. I spent money on a good microphone and an HD digital camera that could make the videos look nice. The video format also evolved over time. I made my introductions shorter and got to the actual demonstration more quickly. I’ve also learned how to communicate with people in a professional manner. This has helped me interact with my college professors.

[20:50] How can Everyday Innovators help kids develop an interest in STEM?

I just started reading Mitch Resnick’s book called Lifelong Kindergarten and have been very inspired by him. The most important point he makes in the book is that teaching kids about technology must be based in creativity. He emphasizes the kindergarten format, where kids have the chance to play and freestyle while learning along the way. That’s exactly how I got started. I played first and am now learning the calculus that goes into it.

[25:05] How can parents help their kids get involved with robotics?

I recommend Googling FLL (First Lego League) or WRO (World Robot Olympiad) to find robotics teams and competitions near you. If there’s not a team in your area, ask your school board about starting one. When I joined robotics, it wasn’t at my school but now it’s a permanent fixture at the middle and high school.

[28:15] Is there anything you would do differently if you could start over again?

I would tell a younger version of myself to stay on this path. It felt so natural to progress down this road of learning. It was more of my own thing I was interested in. If someone else told me to do it, I would probably have lost interest in it. I take screen shots of the motivating comments people send me and look back at them when I’m in a tough spot. It reminds me that I’m part of something larger than myself and that I’m an inspiration to others.

Useful links:

Innovation Quote

“Engineering perfection comes from not when there is nothing more to add but when there is nothing more to take away.” – an engineering mantra originating from Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” -Isaac Newton

Thanks!

Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it on your favorite social network.

]]>
Having fun, making friends, and learning along the way. I have a special episode for you. I believe that as product managers and innovators, we have a responsibility to help prepare the next generation of innovators. I have a special episode for you. I believe that as product managers and innovators, we have a responsibility to help prepare the next generation of innovators. I’ve explored this topic in a few past episodes and it is time to do it again. So, this episode is about encouraging you and providing you with ideas for helping future innovators.
For this discussion, I traveled to a study room on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). I met with a new student, 17-year-old Kyle Markland. While being accepted to MIT is a significant accomplishment itself, what Kyle is known for is his robotic video tutorials. He is a kid teaching kids. His story is an inspiration to Everyday Innovators, as we can also encourage an interest in robotics and other STEM topics, as well as innovation in general, by sharing our experiences.
 
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[4:25] How did you become interested in robotics?
It started in fifth grade when my school bought a LEGO NXT set. I saved up for a few years and bought my own kit to experiment with. One of the first things I made was a version of the shark robot that’s now featured on my YouTube channel. I tinkered with it over the years and eventually got it to the point where I could display it in public. At the same time, I was part of a robotics team at my school.
[7:30] Why did you develop the YouTube channel?
I aged out of competition and realized that I had a lot of lessons and insights to share. I didn’t want all of the knowledge I accumulated to go to waste. I started by making a video to document how I did line squaring. The video itself was rough, but the information was good and a few experts saw it and became enthusiastic about it. They encouraged me to make more tutorials and gave me tips to make the videos better. I think it’s important to show kids that it’s important to learn along the way and things are not always going to be perfect the first time you do something.
[12:05] Can you share examples of how you’ve inspired other kids?
I get emails from people around the world — little kids, college students, even older people. It makes me feel good to hear from the people I’ve inspired and it helps keep me going. Last year, I received an email from a mother and her 6-year-old son who were using my videos to learn about robotics. I recently had the opportunity to meet up with one of my viewers in person when he was on the MIT campus. I’ve also heard from college students who said the tutorials have helped them with their studies. I also heard from a kid in Norway who made improvements to my programs and I am going to be featuring those programs on my channel.
[15:47] What did you learn during this process?
I’ve learned a lot about video production and presenting information in a professional and easy-to-digest way. My first video was made using an old camcorder and built-in microphone. I spent money on a good microphone and an HD digital camera that could make the videos look nice. The video format also evolved over time. I made my introductions shorter and got to the actual demonstration more quickly. I’ve also learned how to communicate with people in a professional manner. This has helped me interact with my college professors.
[20:50] How can Everyday Innovators help kids develop an interest in STEM?
I just started reading Mitch Resnick’s book called Lifelong Kindergarten and have been very inspired by him. The most important point he makes in the book is that teaching kids about technology must be based in creativity. He emphasizes the kindergarten format, where kids have the chance to play and freestyle while learning along the way. That’s exactly how I got started. I played first and am now learning the calculus that goes...]]>
Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 35:57
TEI 197: Small Business Revolution Series 3 – with Cam Potts https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-197-small-business-revolution-series-3-with-cam-potts/ Mon, 08 Oct 2018 09:55:19 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=14143 https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-197-small-business-revolution-series-3-with-cam-potts/#respond https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-197-small-business-revolution-series-3-with-cam-potts/feed/ 0 Lessons from small businesses that apply to everyone. I’m still on my road trip of the northeast U.S. and made a stop in Bristol, Pennsylvania. What took me to this small town was a video series called The Small Business Revolution. This is a reality show where small businesses in small towns get help from […] Lessons from small businesses that apply to everyone.

Small Business Revolution for Product ManagersI’m still on my road trip of the northeast U.S. and made a stop in Bristol, Pennsylvania. What took me to this small town was a video series called The Small Business Revolution. This is a reality show where small businesses in small towns get help from business experts, and I have become a groupie, visiting each town where the series has been made.

Season three was just launched and you can find it along with the previous seasons on Hulu or at www.smallbusinessrevolution.org.

Product managers and innovators are the heroes of companies, creating products customers love, and in turn generating revenue that pushes the economy forward. That’s what being an Everyday Innovator is all about. And, small business owners are the heroes of small towns.

I love the stories that this video show examines, and the story behind its creation also has good lessons for Everyday Innovators.

The show is produced by Deluxe Corp and I caught up with their VP of Public Relations, Cam Potts, to discuss the making of the show.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

[1:58] What is the Small Business Revolution?

It’s a reality makeover show where Deluxe Corporation goes into a small town in America and gives the town a $500,000 makeover. The public votes on which town wins the contest. We capture the makeover of six businesses in the community from marketing to physical changes. It’s a great opportunity to see real business owners revitalize their organizations. Small businesses are the lifeblood of small towns where industry has moved away.

[6:12] How does the Small Business Revolution relate to Deluxe Corp?

I started here four years ago after my boss found me on LinkedIn. Deluxe wanted to tell the stories of small businesses. We started with telling 100 stories across the U.S. as part of our 100th anniversary. We’ve been known as a check printer, but we do anything a small business needs. The goal of 100 stories campaign was to make people aware that we provided these services to small businesses. From there, we decided to tell longer stories and that’s how the contest idea came about.

[11:34] What are your favorite moments from season 1?

We were immersed in the town of Wabash over the summer so we really made some connections and friendships there. We also helped a variety of businesses, including an art consignment store. We helped that business owner determine how to price her goods in order to make money without pricing items out of the community’s reach. Five of the six businesses we helped were owned by people who did something else before becoming entrepreneurs. They got advice from us on how to position themselves as business owners and how to live that lifestyle and occupy that mindset. We also enjoyed seeing the business owners connect with each other and with the head of the Wabash tourism bureau as the show unfolded.

[19:32] What are the lessons you learned from season 2?

One of the learnings we took from season 1 was to bring experts from each field into Bristol to work with each business owner. For example, we brought in an automotive industry expert to help a family-owned truck and auto repair business. She helped them present a more professional environment and see themselves in a new way. We helped another business owner find a new space after his rent was raised and he could no longer afford it.  It was amazing to see how people in the community stepped up to help him out.

[27:08] What can we expect from season 3?

Season 3 is a departure from the first two years in that Alton, Illinois, is larger than Wabash and Bristol. It has several areas that could be defined as “Main Street” and we opened up the process to all of them. The consequences were more dire this season, with several businesses on the brink of closing and business owners losing connection to the community. We are also working with Ty Pennington this season. He brings a new energy and enthusiasm to the episodes.

[32:15] What have you discovered through this process?

I didn’t realize the lack of financial awareness that a lot of small business owners have. My father owned a small business for 30 years and it provided a great living for our family. I didn’t know a lot of the behind the scenes things, but I saw them through this show. Many of these business owners do not take paychecks and work full-time jobs in addition to running their businesses. I’m also blown away by how many of these businesses do not have websites.

[33:57] How has the show benefited Deluxe?

It’s raised awareness about what Deluxe does for small business. When we started, Deluxe had less than 1 percent name recognition among small businesses. We compete against companies like GoDaddy and MailChimp that spend millions of dollars in advertising that we don’t have. We’ve been very successful in generating media interest in what we’re doing so it’s been very successful from a PR perspective. We’re taking all of the work we’ve done with these businesses and putting them into case studies that are available on our website. It’s also been great for employee engagement. People genuinely want to see these businesses thrive and there’s a real sense of altruism among our team.

Useful links:

Innovation Quote

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” –Alan Kay

Thanks!

Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it on your favorite social network.

]]>
Lessons from small businesses that apply to everyone. I’m still on my road trip of the northeast U.S. and made a stop in Bristol, Pennsylvania. What took me to this small town was a video series called The Small Business Revolution. I’m still on my road trip of the northeast U.S. and made a stop in Bristol, Pennsylvania. What took me to this small town was a video series called The Small Business Revolution. This is a reality show where small businesses in small towns get help from business experts, and I have become a groupie, visiting each town where the series has been made.
Season three was just launched and you can find it along with the previous seasons on Hulu or at www.smallbusinessrevolution.org.
Product managers and innovators are the heroes of companies, creating products customers love, and in turn generating revenue that pushes the economy forward. That’s what being an Everyday Innovator is all about. And, small business owners are the heroes of small towns.
I love the stories that this video show examines, and the story behind its creation also has good lessons for Everyday Innovators.
The show is produced by Deluxe Corp and I caught up with their VP of Public Relations, Cam Potts, to discuss the making of the show.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[1:58] What is the Small Business Revolution?
It’s a reality makeover show where Deluxe Corporation goes into a small town in America and gives the town a $500,000 makeover. The public votes on which town wins the contest. We capture the makeover of six businesses in the community from marketing to physical changes. It’s a great opportunity to see real business owners revitalize their organizations. Small businesses are the lifeblood of small towns where industry has moved away.
[6:12] How does the Small Business Revolution relate to Deluxe Corp?
I started here four years ago after my boss found me on LinkedIn. Deluxe wanted to tell the stories of small businesses. We started with telling 100 stories across the U.S. as part of our 100th anniversary. We’ve been known as a check printer, but we do anything a small business needs. The goal of 100 stories campaign was to make people aware that we provided these services to small businesses. From there, we decided to tell longer stories and that’s how the contest idea came about.
[11:34] What are your favorite moments from season 1?
We were immersed in the town of Wabash over the summer so we really made some connections and friendships there. We also helped a variety of businesses, including an art consignment store. We helped that business owner determine how to price her goods in order to make money without pricing items out of the community’s reach. Five of the six businesses we helped were owned by people who did something else before becoming entrepreneurs. They got advice from us on how to position themselves as business owners and how to live that lifestyle and occupy that mindset. We also enjoyed seeing the business owners connect with each other and with the head of the Wabash tourism bureau as the show unfolded.
[19:32] What are the lessons you learned from season 2?
One of the learnings we took from season 1 was to bring experts from each field into Bristol to work with each business owner. For example, we brought in an automotive industry expert to help a family-owned truck and auto repair business. She helped them present a more professional environment and see themselves in a new way. We helped another business owner find a new space after his rent was raised and he could no longer afford it.  It was amazing to see how people in the community stepped up to help him out.
[27:08] What can we expect from season 3?
Season 3 is a departure from the first two years in that Alton, Illinois, is larger than Wabash and Bristol. It has several areas that could be defined as “Main Street” and we opened up the process to all of them.]]>
Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 42:56
TEI 196: The messy middle of new product projects – with Scott Belsky https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-196-the-messy-middle-of-new-product-projects-with-scott-belsky/ Mon, 01 Oct 2018 11:31:23 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13972 https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-196-the-messy-middle-of-new-product-projects-with-scott-belsky/#respond https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-196-the-messy-middle-of-new-product-projects-with-scott-belsky/feed/ 0   Achieve your product goals without losing yourself along the way Creating a new product starts with excitement and the thrill of doing something different. The launch of the product is surrounded by cheers. For many product managers, it is the best part of their work. But between the project start and the launch is […]  

Achieve your product goals without losing yourself along the way

Product Manager Interview - Scott BelskyCreating a new product starts with excitement and the thrill of doing something different. The launch of the product is surrounded by cheers. For many product managers, it is the best part of their work. But between the project start and the launch is where the hard work occurs. It is the messy middle, full of rocky terrain that is woefully underestimated and misunderstood.

The Messy Middle is also the name of a new book by my guest, Scott Belsky. Scott is the chief product officer of Adobe and founder of Behance, the leading creative network used by more than 12 million professionals. Scott has guided many teams through the messy middle of new product projects and ventures. In the interview, we’ll address a few of the topics from this book, including:

  1. Build your narrative before your product,
  2. Make one subtraction for every addition,
  3. Do the work that needs to get done—even if it’s not your job, and
  4. Identify what you’re willing to be bad at.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

[2:00] Can you tell us about your role as Chief Product Officer at Adobe?

My obsession is building products that enhance the customer experience. Adobe’s products serve a large portion of the creative world. I started in this role 9 months ago to help make sure Adobe is ready for the next generation of customers. Adobe acquired Behance, the company I founded. I helped Adobe move its tools into the cloud and make them easier to use for people once they got there. We’re also exploring new mediums like augmented reality. I was lucky to find a role that excited me in the short term and the long term.

[4:17] Who is your book written for?

The book is the outcome of years of writing down notes from meetings of boards that I’m on, as well as my own entrepreneur journey. I realized I had insight into what people were doing in the middle of projects that worked for them or worked against them. The book brings those insights together to navigate the volatility that people must endure when building a product or launching a new venture.

 [7:25] What do you mean by building the narrative before you build the product?

I encourage product teams to put together the mock-up of the splash page for the product before they even start building anything. This helps them narrow down the focus and determine what you want the customer to experience. This becomes a compass when it comes to prioritizing features. Uber did this when they were determining whether the company should be everyone’s private driver and more upscale or taxis on demand that were accessible to everyone. The decision about which type of message they were sending dictated how the rest of the product was developed. They chose “everyone’s private driver” and chose the branding accordingly.

[11:50] How should product managers think about additions and subtractions?

Simplicity is hard to achieve and even harder to sustain. We often deal with problems and difficult decisions by adding complexity. The product eventually becomes so complicated that customers flock to more simple alternatives. I recommend that whenever you are adding a new feature, ask if there is another feature you can remove. Do this knowing that the more complex a product becomes, the more likely some customers are to turn away from it. Behance used to have a tip exchange that we killed because it wasn’t part of the company’s core mission. When we killed it, we found an increase in the product’s core features.

[17:03] How do you deal with people who say “that’s not my job”?

In my experience, some of the greatest work is done by people doing work they don’t have to do. Those people are passionate enough about something to seek it out and have a fresh perspective that is helpful to the rest of the team. This is easy to say and hard to do. Most people’s jobs have more than enough work to keep them busy and you might receive pushback from your colleagues who feel you are encroaching on their territory. The team also needs to have a culture to accept everyone’s ideas.

[20:41] How do you help people identify the things they are bad at?

It’s impossible to be good at everything, but we still try. You end up being OK at everything but not really great at anything. Southwest did this when they listed their core values. They figured out what made them different and focused solely on those features, getting rid of other things in the process. Vimeo did this when we decided we didn’t need to be the best video platform for everyone; we should instead focus on complex, highly-produced videos. If you’re trying to be too accommodating, you can’t discern who your target audience is.

[26:11] How does the Hero’s Journey relate to product management?

A lot of the personal transformation happens in the moments we want to forget, rather than those we choose to remember. When you’re overwhelmed with self-doubt and uncertainty working in complete anonymity, you have revelations about how you want to lead and move forward. This happens often during the messy middle of projects. After a low point, you have to encourage your team to take those feelings and carry them forward even though they’ll want to forget about it. This will help everyone stay humble and pay attention to the competition.

Useful links:

Innovation Quote

“It’s not about ideas, it’s about making ideas happen.” -Scott Belksy

Thanks!

Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it on your favorite social network.

]]>
  Achieve your product goals without losing yourself along the way Creating a new product starts with excitement and the thrill of doing something different. The launch of the product is surrounded by cheers. For many product managers, Achieve your product goals without losing yourself along the way
Creating a new product starts with excitement and the thrill of doing something different. The launch of the product is surrounded by cheers. For many product managers, it is the best part of their work. But between the project start and the launch is where the hard work occurs. It is the messy middle, full of rocky terrain that is woefully underestimated and misunderstood.
The Messy Middle is also the name of a new book by my guest, Scott Belsky. Scott is the chief product officer of Adobe and founder of Behance, the leading creative network used by more than 12 million professionals. Scott has guided many teams through the messy middle of new product projects and ventures. In the interview, we’ll address a few of the topics from this book, including:

* Build your narrative before your product,
* Make one subtraction for every addition,
* Do the work that needs to get done—even if it’s not your job, and
* Identify what you’re willing to be bad at.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:00] Can you tell us about your role as Chief Product Officer at Adobe?
My obsession is building products that enhance the customer experience. Adobe’s products serve a large portion of the creative world. I started in this role 9 months ago to help make sure Adobe is ready for the next generation of customers. Adobe acquired Behance, the company I founded. I helped Adobe move its tools into the cloud and make them easier to use for people once they got there. We’re also exploring new mediums like augmented reality. I was lucky to find a role that excited me in the short term and the long term.
[4:17] Who is your book written for?
The book is the outcome of years of writing down notes from meetings of boards that I’m on, as well as my own entrepreneur journey. I realized I had insight into what people were doing in the middle of projects that worked for them or worked against them. The book brings those insights together to navigate the volatility that people must endure when building a product or launching a new venture.
 [7:25] What do you mean by building the narrative before you build the product?
I encourage product teams to put together the mock-up of the splash page for the product before they even start building anything. This helps them narrow down the focus and determine what you want the customer to experience. This becomes a compass when it comes to prioritizing features. Uber did this when they were determining whether the company should be everyone’s private driver and more upscale or taxis on demand that were accessible to everyone. The decision about which type of message they were sending dictated how the rest of the product was developed. They chose “everyone’s private driver” and chose the branding accordingly.
[11:50] How should product managers think about additions and subtractions?
Simplicity is hard to achieve and even harder to sustain. We often deal with problems and difficult decisions by adding complexity. The product eventually becomes so complicated that customers flock to more simple alternatives. I recommend that whenever you are adding a new feature, ask if there is another feature you can remove. Do this knowing that the more complex a product becomes, the more likely some customers are to turn away from it. Behance used to have a tip exchange that we killed because it wasn’t part of the company’s core mission. When we killed it, we found an increase in the product’s core features.
[17:03] How do you deal with people who say “that’s not my job”?
In my experience, some of the greatest work is done by people doing work they don’t have to do. Those people are passionate enough about something to seek it out and ha...]]>
Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 32:20
TEI 195: The Henry Ford for Product Managers – with Kristen Gallerneaux, PhD https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-195-the-henry-ford-for-product-managers-with-kristen-gallerneaux-phd/ Mon, 24 Sep 2018 09:55:57 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=14023 https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-195-the-henry-ford-for-product-managers-with-kristen-gallerneaux-phd/#respond https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-195-the-henry-ford-for-product-managers-with-kristen-gallerneaux-phd/feed/ 0 Looking to the past to drive future innovation I am on a road trip through the northeast of the U.S., talking with innovators and product managers. At the encouragement of a friend, I took my two kids to visit The Henry Ford, a museum of innovation near Detroit. It was created by Henry Ford as […] Looking to the past to drive future innovation

Product Manager Interview - Kristen GallerneauxI am on a road trip through the northeast of the U.S., talking with innovators and product managers. At the encouragement of a friend, I took my two kids to visit The Henry Ford, a museum of innovation near Detroit. It was created by Henry Ford as a tribute to his friend Thomas Edison. It’s an amazing place to learn about things I love — inventions and innovations. I’m bringing you a small slice of it in this episode, discussing a few innovators with a focus on three:

  1. Thomas Edison,
  2. Steve Wozniak, and
  3. Steve Jobs.

My guest is Dr. Kristen Gallerneaux, Curator of Communications and Information Technology at The Henry Ford. Kristen is responsible for the development of collections and experiences relating to computing, sound, broadcast, graphic communication, office equipment, photography and motion images, and other such areas related to technology.

She is also an artist, with her media being sound. She recently released a new book from MIT Press titled High Static, Dead Lines: Sonic Spectres and the Object Hereafter, which is a literary mix tape exploring boundaries in sound, culture, and belief.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

[3:28] What can people expect when they visit The Henry Ford?

You’ll see airplanes hanging from the ceiling and some of the oldest steam engines in the world. We also have small-scale things that affect people’s lives like computers and phones. We have a lot of things that people won’t expect to see, like agricultural equipment. Henry Ford founded this place as the Edison Institute as a tribute to his friend Thomas Edison and innovation remains a central theme of everything we do and display.

[6:08] What is your role?

I’m the curator of communications and information technology. I take care of computing collections and the backend process to things we use everyday. I also manage early print and broadcasting technology. I also manage collections from certain innovators like Thomas Edison, Steve Wozniak, and Buckminster Fuller. I’m interested in the minor players and the large historical players.

[8:10] What is one of your favorite Thomas Edison inventions?

One of my favorites is the electric pen, which Edison started working on in 1875. It was a motorized pen that operated like a stencil. It eventually lead to the mimeograph and the history of electric tattoo needles. The technology that was used in that pen hasn’t changed much — it’s a very modern way of looking at historic innovation.

[10:50] What is one trait that you think helped Edison become a successful innovator?

One trait that applies to a lot of successful innovators is learning from failure. Whenever Edison thought he had reached the end of a project, he pushed it just a little farther. When he was trying to find the filament for the light bulb, he tried so many things before finally figuring out what the right material would be.  It was essentially rapid prototyping.

[15:03] Tell us about your experience studying Steve Wozniak.

The Henry Ford has one of the few remaining Apple 1 computers and I was able to study its circuits and learn how to program Basic on it. Wozniak is also known as a bit of a prankster, which is a good reminder that you can be a groundbreaking innovator but also have fun, too. Many people don’t know that the first business Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs built together was a phone hacking company that allowed people to make free long distance phone calls by emitting tones over the phone lines. We have one of those “blue box” devices at The Henry Ford.

[20:06] How are these innovators similar?

They all share a tireless work ethic, which is pretty common among innovators. You can also see similarities in the work environments between Menlo Park (Edison’s lab) and Silicon Valley in the 1970s. However, Edison was very much a businessman and was very protective of his patents. Steve Wozniak wanted to provide circuit diagrams as open-source knowledge. He hadn’t thought to sell them until Steve Jobs got involved.

Useful links:

Innovation Quote

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C Clarke

Thanks!

Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it on your favorite social network.

]]>
Looking to the past to drive future innovation I am on a road trip through the northeast of the U.S., talking with innovators and product managers. At the encouragement of a friend, I took my two kids to visit The Henry Ford, I am on a road trip through the northeast of the U.S., talking with innovators and product managers. At the encouragement of a friend, I took my two kids to visit The Henry Ford, a museum of innovation near Detroit. It was created by Henry Ford as a tribute to his friend Thomas Edison. It’s an amazing place to learn about things I love — inventions and innovations. I’m bringing you a small slice of it in this episode, discussing a few innovators with a focus on three:

* Thomas Edison,
* Steve Wozniak, and
* Steve Jobs.

My guest is Dr. Kristen Gallerneaux, Curator of Communications and Information Technology at The Henry Ford. Kristen is responsible for the development of collections and experiences relating to computing, sound, broadcast, graphic communication, office equipment, photography and motion images, and other such areas related to technology.
She is also an artist, with her media being sound. She recently released a new book from MIT Press titled High Static, Dead Lines: Sonic Spectres and the Object Hereafter, which is a literary mix tape exploring boundaries in sound, culture, and belief.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[3:28] What can people expect when they visit The Henry Ford?
You’ll see airplanes hanging from the ceiling and some of the oldest steam engines in the world. We also have small-scale things that affect people’s lives like computers and phones. We have a lot of things that people won’t expect to see, like agricultural equipment. Henry Ford founded this place as the Edison Institute as a tribute to his friend Thomas Edison and innovation remains a central theme of everything we do and display.
[6:08] What is your role?
I’m the curator of communications and information technology. I take care of computing collections and the backend process to things we use everyday. I also manage early print and broadcasting technology. I also manage collections from certain innovators like Thomas Edison, Steve Wozniak, and Buckminster Fuller. I’m interested in the minor players and the large historical players.
[8:10] What is one of your favorite Thomas Edison inventions?
One of my favorites is the electric pen, which Edison started working on in 1875. It was a motorized pen that operated like a stencil. It eventually lead to the mimeograph and the history of electric tattoo needles. The technology that was used in that pen hasn’t changed much — it’s a very modern way of looking at historic innovation.
[10:50] What is one trait that you think helped Edison become a successful innovator?
One trait that applies to a lot of successful innovators is learning from failure. Whenever Edison thought he had reached the end of a project, he pushed it just a little farther. When he was trying to find the filament for the light bulb, he tried so many things before finally figuring out what the right material would be.  It was essentially rapid prototyping.
[15:03] Tell us about your experience studying Steve Wozniak.
The Henry Ford has one of the few remaining Apple 1 computers and I was able to study its circuits and learn how to program Basic on it. Wozniak is also known as a bit of a prankster, which is a good reminder that you can be a groundbreaking innovator but also have fun, too. Many people don’t know that the first business Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs built together was a phone hacking company that allowed people to make free long distance phone calls by emitting tones over the phone lines. We have one of those “blue box” devices at The Henry Ford.
[20:06] How are these innovators similar?
They all share a tireless work ethic, which is pretty common among innovators. You can also see similarities in the work environments between Menlo Park (E...]]>
Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 29:14
TEI 194: A case study for disruptive innovation before being disrupted – with Chris Clausen https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-194-a-case-study-for-disruptive-innovation-before-being-disrupted-with-chris-clausen/ Mon, 17 Sep 2018 09:55:07 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=14024 https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-194-a-case-study-for-disruptive-innovation-before-being-disrupted-with-chris-clausen/#respond https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-194-a-case-study-for-disruptive-innovation-before-being-disrupted-with-chris-clausen/feed/ 0 Product managers can move the wheel forward by reinventing it I’m currently on a tour through the northeast of the US, visiting product managers and innovators. On my way, I stopped in Minneapolis and found an incredible innovation case study at Deluxe Corporation. You’ll hear from Chris Clausen, Executive Director, how this company that is […] Product managers can move the wheel forward by reinventing it

Product Manager Interview - Deluxe Corp Case StudyI’m currently on a tour through the northeast of the US, visiting product managers and innovators. On my way, I stopped in Minneapolis and found an incredible innovation case study at Deluxe Corporation.

You’ll hear from Chris Clausen, Executive Director, how this company that is more than a century old is avoiding being disrupted by embracing innovation. He’ll share:

  • why they had to innovate,
  • how they discovered the new product and market opportunity,
  • how they decided what to build and what to buy to make the product a reality,
  • that the innovation was viewed by many in the organization as cannibalizing their main business, much in the same way as Kodak viewed work on digital cameras as cannibalizing their core business, and
  • how they used customer testimonies to sell the innovation internally.

It’s a fabulous story with many lessons. The written summary of our discussion is at www.TheEverydayInnovator.com / 194.

Also, I want to tell you about the fastest growing conference for software product management. It is coming up very soon, Oct 2-3, 2018 and you still have time to register. It’s called INDUSTRY and they have several product experts, many you will know from listening to this podcast, lined up to share their experience. Everyday Innovators can register for the conference for 30% off. Just use the code EverydayInnovator when you register. Find all the details at www.INDUSTRYconference.com.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

[5:00] What is Deluxe’s core product and how have you innovated it?

Our Deluxe checks is the answer to the changing face of payments in the United States. Technology has made it much easier to make a payment today than it was 20 years ago on the consumer side. On the business side, checks are still a cornerstone of how payments are made. We saw an opportunity to create an eCheck that would make it easier for businesses to send and receive payments.

[7:16] What was happening in the marketplace that led to you to solve this problem?

We saw what happened on the consumer side, with new payment methods overtaking checks. We wanted to be ahead of the curve on the business payment side. We were looking for the right combination of features to fit our customers’ needs while being innovative and allowing them to utilize technology. We did a lot of research about why business owners were continuing to write checks and found 10 criteria that were driving it. We realized that whatever we created would need to meet all of those requirements.

[11:17] What were your strategies for gathering customer requirements?

We started with quantitative research with large numbers of customers to zero in on some of the key elements of their behavior. We surveyed existing customers and non-customers. We also saw this as an opportunity to grow our market by finding out what the demand was among our prospective customers. We then did in-depth interviews with business owners. Those interviews helped solidify our requirements and put our strategy in place. We did phone interviews and hired a third party to facilitate panel sessions with 5-6 businesses. We are still getting asked to present that research at conferences because very few organizations in the financial services space are doing it.

[19:30] How did you innovate without disrupting your own industry?

We heard from our customers that they did not want to redesign their payment processes. It’s not a priority for them and not something they spent a lot of time worrying about. One of the rules we tried to follow was to innovate without change. We kept the changes minimal enough that they were palatable. The solutions we provide are minimal enough to move a business forward without changing any of their existing processes. We were able to transform our existing business and use the new technology to grow into new markets.

[23:40] How did you sell this approach internally?

We piloted the solution in one of our distribution channels and our executive team bought into it pretty early on. There were a lot of questions from our employees about whether this was the right strategy for us and whether we were trying to put people out of jobs. The acceptance by the customer base made it easier to sell it internally. We brought the customer stories and endorsements forward to help transform our culture. The early adopters are important to prove the concept to other customers and to employees. We are three years into this process and everyone in the company is largely on board and willing to talk about how we can innovate even more moving forward.

[28:12] How was the eCheck product developed?

We realized that there’s some specific expertise needed to bring a digital product to market. At the time, Deluxe was not a nimble development shop, but I was keeping an eye on some of the startups who were doing this well. We partnered with a small company in Grand Rapids, Michigan that had a solution in the market but was still in its infancy. We made the case to acquire them and had people from the acquisition join our existing product team. This created a really dynamic team with a lot of different perspectives.

Useful links:

Innovation Quote

“Innovation without change.” -Chris’ guiding principle for serving his customers

Thanks!

Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it on your favorite social network.

]]>
Product managers can move the wheel forward by reinventing it I’m currently on a tour through the northeast of the US, visiting product managers and innovators. On my way, I stopped in Minneapolis and found an incredible innovation case study at Deluxe... I’m currently on a tour through the northeast of the US, visiting product managers and innovators. On my way, I stopped in Minneapolis and found an incredible innovation case study at Deluxe Corporation.
You’ll hear from Chris Clausen, Executive Director, how this company that is more than a century old is avoiding being disrupted by embracing innovation. He’ll share:

* why they had to innovate,
* how they discovered the new product and market opportunity,
* how they decided what to build and what to buy to make the product a reality,
* that the innovation was viewed by many in the organization as cannibalizing their main business, much in the same way as Kodak viewed work on digital cameras as cannibalizing their core business, and
* how they used customer testimonies to sell the innovation internally.

It’s a fabulous story with many lessons. The written summary of our discussion is at www.TheEverydayInnovator.com / 194.
Also, I want to tell you about the fastest growing conference for software product management. It is coming up very soon, Oct 2-3, 2018 and you still have time to register. It’s called INDUSTRY and they have several product experts, many you will know from listening to this podcast, lined up to share their experience. Everyday Innovators can register for the conference for 30% off. Just use the code EverydayInnovator when you register. Find all the details at www.INDUSTRYconference.com.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[5:00] What is Deluxe’s core product and how have you innovated it?
Our Deluxe checks is the answer to the changing face of payments in the United States. Technology has made it much easier to make a payment today than it was 20 years ago on the consumer side. On the business side, checks are still a cornerstone of how payments are made. We saw an opportunity to create an eCheck that would make it easier for businesses to send and receive payments.
[7:16] What was happening in the marketplace that led to you to solve this problem?
We saw what happened on the consumer side, with new payment methods overtaking checks. We wanted to be ahead of the curve on the business payment side. We were looking for the right combination of features to fit our customers’ needs while being innovative and allowing them to utilize technology. We did a lot of research about why business owners were continuing to write checks and found 10 criteria that were driving it. We realized that whatever we created would need to meet all of those requirements.
[11:17] What were your strategies for gathering customer requirements?
We started with quantitative research with large numbers of customers to zero in on some of the key elements of their behavior. We surveyed existing customers and non-customers. We also saw this as an opportunity to grow our market by finding out what the demand was among our prospective customers. We then did in-depth interviews with business owners. Those interviews helped solidify our requirements and put our strategy in place. We did phone interviews and hired a third party to facilitate panel sessions with 5-6 businesses. We are still getting asked to present that research at conferences because very few organizations in the financial services space are doing it.
[19:30] How did you innovate without disrupting your own industry?
We heard from our customers that they did not want to redesign their payment processes. It’s not a priority for them and not something they spent a lot of time worrying about. One of the rules we tried to follow was to innovate without change. We kept the changes minimal enough that they were palatable. The solutions we provide are minimal enough to move a business forward without changing any of their existing proces...]]>
Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 34:21
TEI 193: Mistakes new (and not so new) product managers should avoid – with Cole Mercer https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-193-mistakes-new-and-not-so-new-product-managers-should-avoid-with-cole-mercer/ Mon, 10 Sep 2018 10:55:51 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=14107 https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-193-mistakes-new-and-not-so-new-product-managers-should-avoid-with-cole-mercer/#respond https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-193-mistakes-new-and-not-so-new-product-managers-should-avoid-with-cole-mercer/feed/ 0 Insights for new product managers and people who want to be product managers. Being a good product manager requires a diverse set of skills, including communicating, influencing, design, technology, product process, and business acumen. New product managers and not-so new product managers have lots of opportunities to make mistakes. When you can, it is better […] Insights for new product managers and people who want to be product managers.

Product Manager Interview - Cole MercerBeing a good product manager requires a diverse set of skills, including communicating, influencing, design, technology, product process, and business acumen. New product managers and not-so new product managers have lots of opportunities to make mistakes. When you can, it is better to learn from the mistakes of others. That is why I invited Cole Mercer to join us and discuss common mistakes and how to avoid them.

Cole has a very popular course on Udemy for people wanting to get into product management or who are brand new to it. He also is creating training on LinkedIn Learning for new product managers.

I also want to tell you about the fastest growing conference for software product management. It is coming up soon, Oct 2-3, 2018 and you still have time to register. It’s called INDUSTRY and they have several product experts (many you will know from listening to this podcast) lined up to share their experience. Everyday Innovators can register for the conference for 30% off. Just use the code EverydayInnovator when you register. Find all the details at www.INDUSTRYconference.com.
Now to the discussion for avoiding product management mistakes.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

[2:35] How did your Udemy course come about and what does it cover?

I taught product management part-time while working at General Assembly, but then moved to Berlin to work for Soundcloud and no longer had the opportunity to teach. I really missed it and at the same time, it was becoming a hot topic without a lot of information about the profession. I wanted to make a soup to nuts online course that included interviews with product managers. We’ve had about 43,000 students in two years — everyone from people who already are product managers to HR people who want to learn more about what product managers do. The course covers a day in the life of a product manager, how a resume should look, and what to do during your ramp-up time.

[6:31] What should a product manager’s role be?

For someone who is brand new to product management, there’s a much longer ramp-up time than other fields. You’re not going to jump in and be effective on your first day or even in your first week. You need to first build your social capital and get to know everyone on the team and what the pain points are. Once you have that backing, you can begin making improvements. New product managers often feel like they are not doing much in their first few weeks, but that’s okay.

[8:55] How do you build that social capital?

One easy way is to eat lunch with people from other departments to understand their roles. You will be building your social capital and understanding places where you can help others in the organization.

[9:50] What misconceptions do people have about product managers?

People often think that product management is a management position where you are managing people. Before I had the course, I used to get emails from people who just got their MBAs and thought they could get a job managing engineers or designers. The reality is that product managers don’t manage anyone in most cases. The whole point of the role is that you want to be able to pitch an idea to your team and have them tell you if it’s bad. They’re not going to feel comfortable doing that to their boss. The only exception is when you are managing other product managers. Social capital becomes even more important when you don’t have any authority on the organizational chart.

[14:06] What mistakes do people make working with others in the organization?

One of the biggest things is not taking input from others or not thinking that other people’s input is valid. You should be open to talking with everyone, no matter what their role. If the janitor has an opinion, you need to take it into consideration. Product managers are not idea people. We do come up with ideas, but they should be driven by data and user feedback. People should feel open coming up to you with feedback at any time, good or bad.

[20:12] How do you handle people who confuse product management and project management?

If you come to work and you get a list of tasks from other departments (marketing, legal, etc.), that’s project management, not product management. If you are in an organization like that, I suggest finding another job that will allow you to be a true product manager. It’s also important at the interview stage for you to make sure that the company really understands what product managers do and how they can add value. Product managers should have autonomy, with the exception of a few times like the launch of a new product or a new version. You should not be handed tasks, which is why product managers are often known as the “no” people.

[24:34] What are the mistakes to avoid when it comes to interacting with customers?

There are so many product managers who will rely on feedback or data from sales, marketing, or customer service instead of getting direct customer feedback. Getting out of the building is the biggest thing you can do as a product manager. You might not need to physically leave the building, but you should be talking one-on-one with users or customers as much as possible. One way to do that is to volunteer to help the customer service team so you can see what the customer is saying. If you are in a B2B company, you need to go on trips with the sales people and listen to what the clients were saying rather than relying on second-hand information from sales. Talking to a few people a week in a user feedback session is not enough. I love to go on Twitter and find out what people are saying about the product, then connect with them personally.

Useful links:

Innovation Quote

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

Thanks!

Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it on your favorite social network.

]]>
Insights for new product managers and people who want to be product managers. Being a good product manager requires a diverse set of skills, including communicating, influencing, design, technology, product process, and business acumen. Being a good product manager requires a diverse set of skills, including communicating, influencing, design, technology, product process, and business acumen. New product managers and not-so new product managers have lots of opportunities to make mistakes. When you can, it is better to learn from the mistakes of others. That is why I invited Cole Mercer to join us and discuss common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Cole has a very popular course on Udemy for people wanting to get into product management or who are brand new to it. He also is creating training on LinkedIn Learning for new product managers.
I also want to tell you about the fastest growing conference for software product management. It is coming up soon, Oct 2-3, 2018 and you still have time to register. It’s called INDUSTRY and they have several product experts (many you will know from listening to this podcast) lined up to share their experience. Everyday Innovators can register for the conference for 30% off. Just use the code EverydayInnovator when you register. Find all the details at www.INDUSTRYconference.com.

Now to the discussion for avoiding product management mistakes.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:35] How did your Udemy course come about and what does it cover?
I taught product management part-time while working at General Assembly, but then moved to Berlin to work for Soundcloud and no longer had the opportunity to teach. I really missed it and at the same time, it was becoming a hot topic without a lot of information about the profession. I wanted to make a soup to nuts online course that included interviews with product managers. We’ve had about 43,000 students in two years — everyone from people who already are product managers to HR people who want to learn more about what product managers do. The course covers a day in the life of a product manager, how a resume should look, and what to do during your ramp-up time.
[6:31] What should a product manager’s role be?
For someone who is brand new to product management, there’s a much longer ramp-up time than other fields. You’re not going to jump in and be effective on your first day or even in your first week. You need to first build your social capital and get to know everyone on the team and what the pain points are. Once you have that backing, you can begin making improvements. New product managers often feel like they are not doing much in their first few weeks, but that’s okay.
[8:55] How do you build that social capital?
One easy way is to eat lunch with people from other departments to understand their roles. You will be building your social capital and understanding places where you can help others in the organization.
[9:50] What misconceptions do people have about product managers?
People often think that product management is a management position where you are managing people. Before I had the course, I used to get emails from people who just got their MBAs and thought they could get a job managing engineers or designers. The reality is that product managers don’t manage anyone in most cases. The whole point of the role is that you want to be able to pitch an idea to your team and have them tell you if it’s bad. They’re not going to feel comfortable doing that to their boss. The only exception is when you are managing other product managers. Social capital becomes even more important when you don’t have any authority on the organizational chart.
[14:06] What mistakes do people make working with others in the organization?
One of the biggest things is not taking input from others or not thinking that other people’s input is valid.]]>
Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 1:03:08
TEI 192: Interviewing users & the art of asking the right questions – with Rachel Wynn https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-192-interviewing-users-the-art-of-asking-the-right-questions-with-rachel-wynn/ Mon, 03 Sep 2018 10:55:55 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=14026 https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-192-interviewing-users-the-art-of-asking-the-right-questions-with-rachel-wynn/#respond https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-192-interviewing-users-the-art-of-asking-the-right-questions-with-rachel-wynn/feed/ 0 Get out of your own way to get better information from your users to make products they love. Creating products customers love. If you are like most product managers and innovators, that is your motivation to do great work — the work of product management. It is our common thread and a distinguishing characteristic of […] Get out of your own way to get better information from your users to make products they love.

Product Manager Interview - Rachel WynnCreating products customers love. If you are like most product managers and innovators, that is your motivation to do great work — the work of product management. It is our common thread and a distinguishing characteristic of Everyday Innovators. Every day we are looking for problems we can solve in ways that create more value for customers.

That means we have to understand customers’ problems, what they want to accomplish, what they want to avoid, and how they want to feel. When we are doing our job really well, we know our customers better than they know themselves.

Part of that job is asking customers questions – the right questions that help us discover information that ultimately leads to products they will love. This is an area Rachel Wynn knows a good deal about. She is a product manager and communication expert I met at Rocky Mountain ProductCamp in Denver, Colorado. She joins us to share her guidelines for asking great questions, which are organized into a framework of three areas, which she calls:

  • Grace,
  • Bias, and
  • Pivot.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

[7:26] How does having a sense of grace help when interviewing users?

Grace is a pretty way of saying “get out of your own way.” We’re all really good at getting in our own ways. We often do this by bringing negative emotions into our conversations. I learned this in my work as a speech therapist; I was absorbing my patients’ emotions. Before I walked into a patient’s room, I would let the emotion from the last session wash away and walk into the next room with a clean slate. I do the same thing between customer calls now as a product manager. You should also resist the urge to fact check your customers as the interview is happening. In the end, their perception is what matters, not necessarily what’s accurate.

[13:26] Where does bias come into play during interviews?

Bias is about the art of asking questions. You should ask questions in a way that sets yourself up to listen well — questions that do not have bias. If you think you know what someone is going to say, you should not ask the question. Leading questions force people to answer in a specific way and double barrel questions ask people to answer two things at once.

[15:10] How can someone ask good questions?

The best tip for asking questions is to stop talking and be okay with a little silence. It’s a little awkward, but if you can embrace it, the person you’re talking to will want to fill the space so they’ll keep talking. They might need time to complete their cognitive processing and will benefit from a little extra time to share deeper insights and specific examples.

[19:33] How can pivots make for better conversations?

Pivot is about letting the user lead. If you are talking to a user, you want them to feel like it was a positive experience, regardless of whether or not it was directly useful to you. You never know when you might need to call on that user again, and they are much more likely to talk with you the next time if they felt like you valued their input. If you find that the user is taking the conversation in a different direction than you planned, make sure you acknowledge what they’re saying and then segue. Asking for advice is another way to get a conversation back on track. You can also keep the conversation going by utilizing “yes and” communication to build on what they say while shifting the discussion where you want it to go.

[26:53] Do you have any go-to questions?

I work for a data analytics company that allows people to manage their data and gain insights on it. At the start of every call, I ask people how long they have used the product and what problems they use the product to solve. I let the user lead as much as possible; I don’t have a bank of questions I typically go to. I paraphrase and ask clarifying questions a lot to make sure I understand what they are saying. Writing questions ahead of time is a good way to practice avoiding bias, but don’t feel bound to ask those questions as a script in an interview.

Useful links:

Innovation Quote

“Proceed as if success is inevitable.” – Unknown

Thanks!

Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it on your favorite social network.

]]>
Get out of your own way to get better information from your users to make products they love. Creating products customers love. If you are like most product managers and innovators, that is your motivation to do great work — the work of product managem... Creating products customers love. If you are like most product managers and innovators, that is your motivation to do great work — the work of product management. It is our common thread and a distinguishing characteristic of Everyday Innovators. Every day we are looking for problems we can solve in ways that create more value for customers.
That means we have to understand customers’ problems, what they want to accomplish, what they want to avoid, and how they want to feel. When we are doing our job really well, we know our customers better than they know themselves.
Part of that job is asking customers questions – the right questions that help us discover information that ultimately leads to products they will love. This is an area Rachel Wynn knows a good deal about. She is a product manager and communication expert I met at Rocky Mountain ProductCamp in Denver, Colorado. She joins us to share her guidelines for asking great questions, which are organized into a framework of three areas, which she calls:

* Grace,
* Bias, and
* Pivot.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[7:26] How does having a sense of grace help when interviewing users?
Grace is a pretty way of saying “get out of your own way.” We’re all really good at getting in our own ways. We often do this by bringing negative emotions into our conversations. I learned this in my work as a speech therapist; I was absorbing my patients’ emotions. Before I walked into a patient’s room, I would let the emotion from the last session wash away and walk into the next room with a clean slate. I do the same thing between customer calls now as a product manager. You should also resist the urge to fact check your customers as the interview is happening. In the end, their perception is what matters, not necessarily what’s accurate.
[13:26] Where does bias come into play during interviews?
Bias is about the art of asking questions. You should ask questions in a way that sets yourself up to listen well — questions that do not have bias. If you think you know what someone is going to say, you should not ask the question. Leading questions force people to answer in a specific way and double barrel questions ask people to answer two things at once.
[15:10] How can someone ask good questions?
The best tip for asking questions is to stop talking and be okay with a little silence. It’s a little awkward, but if you can embrace it, the person you’re talking to will want to fill the space so they’ll keep talking. They might need time to complete their cognitive processing and will benefit from a little extra time to share deeper insights and specific examples.
[19:33] How can pivots make for better conversations?
Pivot is about letting the user lead. If you are talking to a user, you want them to feel like it was a positive experience, regardless of whether or not it was directly useful to you. You never know when you might need to call on that user again, and they are much more likely to talk with you the next time if they felt like you valued their input. If you find that the user is taking the conversation in a different direction than you planned, make sure you acknowledge what they’re saying and then segue. Asking for advice is another way to get a conversation back on track. You can also keep the conversation going by utilizing “yes and” communication to build on what they say while shifting the discussion where you want it to go.
[26:53] Do you have any go-to questions?
I work for a data analytics company that allows people to manage their data and gain insights on it. At the start of every call, I ask people how long they have used the product and what problems they...]]>
Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 32:48
TEI 191: How to create and share product vision – with Jon Hensley https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-191-how-to-create-and-share-product-vision-with-jon-hensley/ Mon, 27 Aug 2018 10:55:50 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=14025 https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-191-how-to-create-and-share-product-vision-with-jon-hensley/#respond https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-191-how-to-create-and-share-product-vision-with-jon-hensley/feed/ 0 Use a simple product statement to align your team and meet your goals. Creating products customers love feels like juggling a whole lot of balls at one time. It can be chaotic. It’s also a good bet that people on your product team, and most certainly in your organization outside the core team, have different […] Use a simple product statement to align your team and meet your goals.

Product Manager Interview - Jonathon HensleyCreating products customers love feels like juggling a whole lot of balls at one time. It can be chaotic. It’s also a good bet that people on your product team, and most certainly in your organization outside the core team, have different understandings of what the product is about. It’s a real challenge to keep everyone on the same page.

The tool that brings order to the chaos is vision. The product vision is like the guiding northern light for the product team, keeping everyone moving in the same direction. It is the responsibility of the product manager to create and share the product vision.

Yet, it is not easily done. Very few great product vision examples exist. Thankfully for us, my guest knows how to create product vision and has done so many times. He is Jon Hensley, CEO of Emerge Interactive. Jon’s expertise is from driving innovation through design thinking from his work designing hundreds of digital experiences with organizations in a variety of industries.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

[2:03] What is product vision and why is it important?

A great product vision is a tool to align a plan with your executives and your team. It helps avoid product drift and putting resources in the wrong areas. It’s often defined as inspirational but should go beyond that and answer the question of why the product exists and how it will benefit the organization and the customer.

[3:27] Why is product vision often lacking in digital products?

The idea of digital products is still pretty young, so that’s part of it. Vision is also looked at as something soft and intangible, and therefore unimportant. Some of the challenges a product faces when it’s in the market can be traced all the way back to a lack of product vision. A weak product is almost as dangerous as not having any product at all. The rules of creating a product vision for digital products have yet to be fully written; it’s not industry knowledge.

[7:10] How do you create a product vision?

There are five critical building blocks to a great vision: goal, action, problem, benefit, result. The goal might be at the organizational level or at the product level. It should be tangible and understood by everyone on the team. The second part is the action needed to achieve that goal. The third building block is understanding what problem you are trying to solve. Organizations tend to fall in love with the solution instead of the problem. Good product managers fall in love with the problem, not the solution. The fourth piece is the benefit to the organization, and the final element is the result, or the benefit to the customer.

[11:34] How do product managers implement vision day-to-day?

Product managers develop a lot of skill around understanding value. They have to take a big idea and create a product out of it that solves a problem for the customer while showing executives how it fits the company’s vision. At the same time, product management leads the effort to execute that vision.

[16:14] What role does collaboration play in creating product vision?

Creating a vision is really powerful as a collaborative exercise. Once you have a vision, it’s the first thing every new team member should see when they join the project. It should help those people see their role in solving the problem and understand the interdependencies among team members. Collaboration also helps create re-enforcement and help keep the team focused over long project timelines. A great product vision can help break down silos and give people across the organization something they can get behind.

[19:37] What format works best for presenting product vision?

Most often, it becomes the cover slide in a presentation. It can also work as a video that’s narrated and serves as more of a rallying cry. Effective visions embrace the empathetic side and show how the vision impacts customers rather than focusing on the organization’s bottom line. GE did a great job of this with a vision for an MRI machine for children. They had a strong, clear vision for what they were trying to achieve and how it would benefit patients and hospitals. No matter what the format is, the vision typically works best when it’s presented as a statement that’s clear and easy to understand.

Useful links:

Innovation Quote

“Vision without action is a daydream, and action without vision is a nightmare.” -Japanese Proverb

Thanks!

Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it on your favorite social network.

]]>
Use a simple product statement to align your team and meet your goals. Creating products customers love feels like juggling a whole lot of balls at one time. It can be chaotic. It’s also a good bet that people on your product team, Creating products customers love feels like juggling a whole lot of balls at one time. It can be chaotic. It’s also a good bet that people on your product team, and most certainly in your organization outside the core team, have different understandings of what the product is about. It’s a real challenge to keep everyone on the same page.
The tool that brings order to the chaos is vision. The product vision is like the guiding northern light for the product team, keeping everyone moving in the same direction. It is the responsibility of the product manager to create and share the product vision.
Yet, it is not easily done. Very few great product vision examples exist. Thankfully for us, my guest knows how to create product vision and has done so many times. He is Jon Hensley, CEO of Emerge Interactive. Jon’s expertise is from driving innovation through design thinking from his work designing hundreds of digital experiences with organizations in a variety of industries.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:03] What is product vision and why is it important?
A great product vision is a tool to align a plan with your executives and your team. It helps avoid product drift and putting resources in the wrong areas. It’s often defined as inspirational but should go beyond that and answer the question of why the product exists and how it will benefit the organization and the customer.
[3:27] Why is product vision often lacking in digital products?
The idea of digital products is still pretty young, so that’s part of it. Vision is also looked at as something soft and intangible, and therefore unimportant. Some of the challenges a product faces when it’s in the market can be traced all the way back to a lack of product vision. A weak product is almost as dangerous as not having any product at all. The rules of creating a product vision for digital products have yet to be fully written; it’s not industry knowledge.
[7:10] How do you create a product vision?
There are five critical building blocks to a great vision: goal, action, problem, benefit, result. The goal might be at the organizational level or at the product level. It should be tangible and understood by everyone on the team. The second part is the action needed to achieve that goal. The third building block is understanding what problem you are trying to solve. Organizations tend to fall in love with the solution instead of the problem. Good product managers fall in love with the problem, not the solution. The fourth piece is the benefit to the organization, and the final element is the result, or the benefit to the customer.
[11:34] How do product managers implement vision day-to-day?
Product managers develop a lot of skill around understanding value. They have to take a big idea and create a product out of it that solves a problem for the customer while showing executives how it fits the company’s vision. At the same time, product management leads the effort to execute that vision.
[16:14] What role does collaboration play in creating product vision?
Creating a vision is really powerful as a collaborative exercise. Once you have a vision, it’s the first thing every new team member should see when they join the project. It should help those people see their role in solving the problem and understand the interdependencies among team members. Collaboration also helps create re-enforcement and help keep the team focused over long project timelines. A great product vision can help break down silos and give people across the organization something they can get behind.
[19:37] What format works best for presenting product vision?
Most often, it becomes the cover slide in a presentation. It can also work as a video that’s narrated and s...]]>
Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 34:01
TEI 190: The 6 dimensions of top achievers- with Arthur Carmazzi https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-190-the-6-dimensions-of-top-achievers-with-arthur-carmazzi/ Mon, 20 Aug 2018 10:55:28 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=14027 https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-190-the-6-dimensions-of-top-achievers-with-arthur-carmazzi/#respond https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-190-the-6-dimensions-of-top-achievers-with-arthur-carmazzi/feed/ 0 Learn how product managers move from the middle of the pack to the front of the crowd. Product managers need to be high achievers and many are. They are the driving force that discover unmet needs customers have, creating value through their product work. The work is both demanding and fulfilling. To be a high […] Learn how product managers move from the middle of the pack to the front of the crowd.

Product Manager Interview -- Arthur CarmazziProduct managers need to be high achievers and many are. They are the driving force that discover unmet needs customers have, creating value through their product work. The work is both demanding and fulfilling.

To be a high achiever, you can learn from those who already are. High achievers have some things in common. Knowing how they think and what they do can help you.

My guest, Arthur Carmazzi, wrote the book on high achievers, titled The Six Dimensions of a Top Achiever. Arthur is the founder of Directive Communication Psychology and is ranked among the top-10 leadership thought leaders by Global Gurus. In our discussion he shares six dimensions of top achievers:

  1. Failure-proof
  2. Discipline
  3. Motivation
  4. Persuasion
  5. Visibility
  6. Finances

 

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

[1:47] What does it take to become a top achiever?

It depends on the individual; there’s no one recipe for everyone. However, there are guidelines that we can use to develop a path to greatness. There are six dimensions I’ve outline in that process after interviewing 50 top achievers.

[3:09] First dimension: Being failure-proof

This sounds counter-productive because failure is how people learn. Understanding the failure is the fundamental stepping stone to more success for high achievers. They don’t let failure bring them down or hold them back from continuing to innovate. We’ve developed the colored brain model for how people get clarity. Sometimes, people don’t get that clarity until after taking action. These types of people will fail more often, but it will happen so fast that they will recover quickly and keep moving forward.

[5:25] Second dimension: Discipline

This includes time management. Managing time is not the same as scheduling; it’s about figuring out how to not waste time. If a top achiever is on a plane, they’re doing something. For me, being fit is important to me, as is being with my kids. So, I do a fitness routine with my kids every morning to achieve both goals. Automations and other people can help with some of the things that are not as important to you. Discipline is about making sure you are constantly applying your skills to reduce the amount of time you waste and focus on things that will get you specific results.

[11:03] Third dimension: Motivation

One of the projects I’m working on right now is building a leadership school in Malaysia. It’s designed to create individuals who are passionate about achieving greatness.  This includes integrating subjects, much the way that different parts of a job are integrated in the real world. Rather than doing homework in specific subjects, we connect everything with a story connected to a specific objective. At the end of four years at this school, every student will have published four books. This is much more motivating for a 15 year old to say to people they’re an author and have books published on Amazon. These goals are achievable by breaking them into one-week milestones. You always have that sense of achievement when you finish something.

[17:35] Fourth dimension: Persuasion

This one is about being able to influence people. Understanding people’s needs and motivations can help you fill those needs in a brand, a product, or even a conversation. Understanding their colored brain process will help you create a product that will meet their needs. You can create specific pockets of persuasion that you can draw from as needed for each situation.

[20:03] Fifth dimension: Visibility

This means personal branding. I’ve met brilliant people who have accomplished nothing because they were working in the background and were invisible. Top achievers develop their personal brand. Find what makes you unique and stay authentic to them. A personal brand is your values, style, and vision combined into one.

[22:34] Sixth dimension: Finances

You don’t have to be an accountant, but you have to understand money. High achievers see money as a tool that can be used to achieve specific things. If you have a problem that can be solved with money, it’s not a problem, it’s an expense. All you have to do is find out how much money you need and work backward to figure out how to get it.

Useful links:

Innovation Quote

“Passion stems from the absolute belief that your actions may present the opportunity to become something more than you already are.” – Arthur Carmazzi

Thanks!

Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it on your favorite social network.

]]>
Learn how product managers move from the middle of the pack to the front of the crowd. Product managers need to be high achievers and many are. They are the driving force that discover unmet needs customers have, Product managers need to be high achievers and many are. They are the driving force that discover unmet needs customers have, creating value through their product work. The work is both demanding and fulfilling.
To be a high achiever, you can learn from those who already are. High achievers have some things in common. Knowing how they think and what they do can help you.
My guest, Arthur Carmazzi, wrote the book on high achievers, titled The Six Dimensions of a Top Achiever. Arthur is the founder of Directive Communication Psychology and is ranked among the top-10 leadership thought leaders by Global Gurus. In our discussion he shares six dimensions of top achievers:

* Failure-proof
* Discipline
* Motivation
* Persuasion
* Visibility
* Finances

 
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[1:47] What does it take to become a top achiever?
It depends on the individual; there’s no one recipe for everyone. However, there are guidelines that we can use to develop a path to greatness. There are six dimensions I’ve outline in that process after interviewing 50 top achievers.
[3:09] First dimension: Being failure-proof
This sounds counter-productive because failure is how people learn. Understanding the failure is the fundamental stepping stone to more success for high achievers. They don’t let failure bring them down or hold them back from continuing to innovate. We’ve developed the colored brain model for how people get clarity. Sometimes, people don’t get that clarity until after taking action. These types of people will fail more often, but it will happen so fast that they will recover quickly and keep moving forward.
[5:25] Second dimension: Discipline
This includes time management. Managing time is not the same as scheduling; it’s about figuring out how to not waste time. If a top achiever is on a plane, they’re doing something. For me, being fit is important to me, as is being with my kids. So, I do a fitness routine with my kids every morning to achieve both goals. Automations and other people can help with some of the things that are not as important to you. Discipline is about making sure you are constantly applying your skills to reduce the amount of time you waste and focus on things that will get you specific results.
[11:03] Third dimension: Motivation
One of the projects I’m working on right now is building a leadership school in Malaysia. It’s designed to create individuals who are passionate about achieving greatness.  This includes integrating subjects, much the way that different parts of a job are integrated in the real world. Rather than doing homework in specific subjects, we connect everything with a story connected to a specific objective. At the end of four years at this school, every student will have published four books. This is much more motivating for a 15 year old to say to people they’re an author and have books published on Amazon. These goals are achievable by breaking them into one-week milestones. You always have that sense of achievement when you finish something.
[17:35] Fourth dimension: Persuasion
This one is about being able to influence people. Understanding people’s needs and motivations can help you fill those needs in a brand, a product, or even a conversation. Understanding their colored brain process will help you create a product that will meet their needs. You can create specific pockets of persuasion that you can draw from as needed for each situation.
[20:03] Fifth dimension: Visibility
This means personal branding. I’ve met brilliant people who have accomplished nothing because they were working in the background and were invisible.]]>
Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 37:11
TEI 189: Building UX in product teams – with Sam Horodezky https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-189-building-ux-in-product-teams-with-sam-horodezky/ Sun, 12 Aug 2018 15:43:38 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=14028 Breaking down myths and misconceptions about two popular — but sometimes opposing — roles. UX is a hot topic and for good reason. The right UX skills on a product team can make the product more successful. The wrong skills waste money and time. Many product managers and leaders make mistakes when adding UX roles […] Breaking down myths and misconceptions about two popular — but sometimes opposing — roles. UX is a hot topic and for good reason. The right UX skills on a product team can make the product more successful. The wrong skills waste money and time. UX is a hot topic and for good reason. The right UX skills on a product team can make the product more successful. The wrong skills waste money and time. Many product managers and leaders make mistakes when adding UX roles to their product teams — but you won’t be one of them because of this discussion.
My guest shares the common mistakes and how to avoid them. He organizes UX skills into three categories: research, interaction design, visual design. Using the right skill at the right time during the development of the product is important. Otherwise, you’ll encounter the square peg in the round hole problem and no one is happy with that.
My guest has been a product manager and is a UX specialist with more than 15 years of experience. He has built UX teams from scratch and now helps organizations build and manage successful teams. His name is Sam Horodezky.
 
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[5:33] How do you describe the roles of product manager and UX professional?
Some product managers intersect more with technology, and others intersect more with design and have less technical capability. Some people have an equal balance between the two. User experience includes research to find latent needs based in ethnography or anthropology — going on site and watching someone use your product. This also includes usability testing. It also includes interaction design, which is 50% working with requirements and 50% working with the user interface. Interaction designers often get into micro interactions like drag and drop. The final stage of user experience is the visual designer, who takes the UX and makes it look attractive. There’s often overlap between interaction design and visual design.
[13:50] How do the two roles overlap?
I see conflict right now between product managers and user experience researchers. Both are trying to work with customers to obtain information and the skill sets are very much in common. UX is a hot field right now and there’s a lot of new blood coming in, with many people coming from design schools. There’s no standard accreditation for UX and it’s a source of tension in the field. You can’t just go look for a particular degree, you have to look a lot deeper. Hopefully we will get to a standard degree, but it might take a while. Not all UX designers are coming from the perspective of trying to understand how a user’s brain works like a product manager might be.
[17:35] What are the steps for creating UX capability on a product team?
People often think they need a UX person without understanding which of the three components (research, interaction, visual) they need. The common reaction is hire a junior initially, which is not enough to change how a product is built. A UX person will always be taking work away from someone else, so there will be ownership tension at the start. They need to figure out a way to interact with product management, engineering, marketing, and other parts of the organization. Anyone looking to hire a UX person should be looking for someone who can create a process that integrates all of those pieces, which a junior level person can’t do. The key is to get a more experienced person with room to grow — maybe someone with 5 or so years of experience.
Teams looking to add UX also need to watch out for the “UX unicorn,” or the person who can do all three components of UX. Like the name suggests, that person does not exist. Startups in particular are always looking for unicorns. You have to decide what type of person you want based on what your need is. For example, if you have a relatively straightforward application, then you probably don’t need a visual designer. If you have a well-defined business plan,]]>
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TEI 188: What product managers should do and not do when transitioning to a new team or organization – with Gavin Feuer https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-188-what-product-managers-should-do-and-not-do-when-transitioning-to-a-new-team-or-organization-with-gavin-feuer/ Mon, 06 Aug 2018 10:55:02 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=14021 How to hit the product management ground running and avoid spinning your wheels. Learning how to best work with a product team or organization requires taking the right action and avoiding mistakes. Your opportunities to make a good first impression are limited, so you need to make the most of them. Most product managers will […] How to hit the product management ground running and avoid spinning your wheels. Learning how to best work with a product team or organization requires taking the right action and avoiding mistakes. Your opportunities to make a good first impression ar... Learning how to best work with a product team or organization requires taking the right action and avoiding mistakes. Your opportunities to make a good first impression are limited, so you need to make the most of them.
Most product managers will work with a new team from time to time and many will change organizations. It turns out this advice will also help product managers who are not in transition.
To explore transitioning well, Gavin Feuer joins us. He is now a senior product manager for T-Mobile, recently making the transition from Amazon. Gavin brings a strong entrepreneurial mindset to the role of product manager, which you’ll hear in the interview. His Amazon colleagues shared that his superpower is the ability to “think big.” He’s happy to help people who have a really big idea think more deeply about it. He also is a volunteer mentor to undergraduate students at the University of Washington, always willing to take on the right motivated mentee who is new to product management.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[3:48] What are some of your key takeaways from your time at Amazon?
Amazon’s leadership principles enable anyone to have a conversation about anything. If you can utilize them in your ideas, you’ll have support to move them forward. Amazon also employs the Working Backwards Process of writing a news story and FAQs about a product before anyone starts working on it. This helps you to focus your ideas and the benefits to the customer.
[7:55] What ideas or strategies from your transition have been successful?
I tried to learn as much as I could about my product and how it got to the current state. I met with anyone who had a hand in it and read any documentation that existed. There was also a bit of unlearning Amazon’s way of doing things and replacing it with T-Mobile’s processes. However, I’m cognizant not to completely lose what I bring to the table from Amazon because it’s part of who I am as a product manager.
[11:34] How do you build trust among new coworkers?
Volunteer for the hard stuff. There was a small launch that happened on the Sunday after my first day. I ended up coming into the office for a few hours to be part of a war room. Going a little bit above and beyond is a great way to show that you are dedicated to the cause. I also put time on just about everyone’s calendar that I’ll be working with to get to know them one-on-one and learn more about what makes them tick. It lays a foundation on which to build future work.
[15:38] How did you decide who to meet with when you started your new job?
I wanted to meet with people on my direct team and sent them calendar invitations with notes about what I wanted to talk about. These were casual conversations over coffee to get to know people on a human level. I also met with people I’ll be working with from a product perspective. These are mostly people who are not on my team. These conversations were focused on how their team has historically worked with my team.
[20:15] How do you move from those conversations into product work?
I’m in the process of re-documenting everything related to the product and how we got here. Getting to know all of these people has helped me learn about work in progress and what still needs to be done. In the absence of up-to-date documentation, people are your main resource about where things are and what needs to be done.
[25:00] What’s something you wish you would have done differently?
Don’t be afraid to challenge the answers that you receive. It’s easy to just accept things at face value, but sometimes you need to dig deeper to get to the bottom of things. It can be tough to challenge things when you are new,]]>
Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 31:57
TEI 187: Seven ways acting techniques can help product managers excel – with Alison Kemp https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-187-seven-ways-acting-techniques-can-help-product-managers-excel-with-alison-kemp/ Mon, 30 Jul 2018 10:55:09 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13962 Develop a sense of curiosity to build trust and achieve your product goals. To be a great product manager, do you also need to be a great actor? No, but there are lessons from acting that will make you a better product manager. While I have no acting experience, not even school plays, I have […] Develop a sense of curiosity to build trust and achieve your product goals. To be a great product manager, do you also need to be a great actor? No, but there are lessons from acting that will make you a better product manager. To be a great product manager, do you also need to be a great actor? No, but there are lessons from acting that will make you a better product manager. While I have no acting experience, not even school plays, I have talked with several actors who became business coaches. It was not an obvious career path until I learned from each of them how their acting skills transferred to skills others need off the stage. They apply practices from acting to help business professionals and leaders.
So, when I saw an article in Mind the Product titled, “Oh the Drama! What Product Managers can Learn From Actors,” I eagerly read it. The author, Alison Kemp, shared seven areas where acting techniques can help product managers, which she called:

* Thinking on Your Feet
* High-Performance Teams
* Creative Thinking and Innovation
* Active Listening
* Pausing
* Storytelling, and
* Identity

I asked Alison to join us to discuss some of these techniques. It proved to be a fun and insightful discussion with important tips for product managers and innovators.
Alison is the founder of Switchvision, which helps clients become more effective communicators, presenters, and interviewers by applying techniques from business, theatre, and psychology.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[7:20] What does it mean to think on your feet?
Life does not go in line with a script, so thinking on your feet is a basic life skill. It’s trusting that the words will come when you need to give an impromptu speech and that you’ll have the confidence to deliver the speech. In a professional setting, I discourage people from scripting a presentation and instead have them focus on how they’ll interact with the audience. It also involves working with silence during one-on-one interactions.
[11:27] How can you utilize these techniques in a meeting?
It’s all about finding someone’s point of view, what’s underneath the things they are saying. Everyone reacts to things but they rarely say why they react that way. In order to really work through a difficult conversation, you need to show curiosity and a willingness to understand where someone is coming from.
[16:05] What role does body language play in these interactions?
There are many reasons for closed body language and it’s not always about the situation you are in, so you have to look at it in context. When someone is closed, it could mean that they are listening and thinking about what’s being said; that’s what an introvert often does. Active listening can help you show a closed person that you are willing to come along with them and creates buy-in needed to commit to an idea or proposal. Maintaining eye contact and matching body language, whether directly or indirectly, can also help build trust.
[24:40] How do these techniques apply in email or other communication that’s not face to face?
Email is the opposite of giving a presentation. You need to tell people what you want them to do first, then go into the rationale for why you want them to do it. Try to match your email style with the other person’s. If they write short emails, you should try to make your emails to them shorter. If they want more details, give them more details. It’s not always good to match when it comes to the time you send emails. If you have someone who emails you in the middle of the night and you respond, you are enabling that behavior and sacrificing your boundaries with them.
[27:13] How can you develop curiosity?
We all have unconscious biases that we need to make conscious in order to challenge them. Put your biases aside and become curious. You can buy yourself time by asking questions that get at someone’s story.]]>
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TEI 186: How product managers convince their managers to pay for training – with Matt Burns https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-186-how-product-managers-convince-their-managers-to-pay-for-training-with-matt-burns/ Mon, 23 Jul 2018 10:55:11 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12786 Have the right conversations with the right people to achieve your goals. We have a great topic for this discussion, addressing a question several Everyday Innovators have asked before, which is… “How do I get my manager to pay for product management training?” My guest will share the right and the wrong ways to get […] Have the right conversations with the right people to achieve your goals. We have a great topic for this discussion, addressing a question several Everyday Innovators have asked before, which is… “How do I get my manager to pay for product management t... We have a great topic for this discussion, addressing a question several Everyday Innovators have asked before, which is… “How do I get my manager to pay for product management training?” My guest will share the right and the wrong ways to get your manager and organization to support your professional development.
He is Matt Burns, an HR executive and winner of Canada’s Most Innovative Use of HR Technology award.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[5:18] How common is it for organizations to reimburse for training?
In my experience, it’s pretty common as long as the training has a direct correlation to the person’s current role. It’s also more common the shorter the training is. Many companies have a specific budget for each person. Longer training programs require more of a conversation between the employee and supervisor because it’s a bigger investment. I’ve also seen partial reimbursements for training that is not directly related to the employee’s job if the company values continuing education or professional development.
[9:10] Where should someone start the process of finding and paying for training?
The first thing would be to have a conversation with your immediate supervisor about your professional goals. This should be an ongoing conversation not just related to professional development. Your supervisor can let you know what the professional development budget is. Some employees might have a mentor or coach who can also provide input. HR can also weigh in about reimbursement and help you to connect with training opportunities.
[12:52] How do you have this conversation with a manager?
It comes down to the basic tactics of negotiation. You need to have a clear picture of what your career path is and how this training fits into it. This should happen before you request a specific training experience and be part of an ongoing relationship with your supervisor. The other thing to consider is ROI and what you will get out of the investment the company is making. You should be able to connect it to what you do currently and/or where you see your future at the organization.
[16:41] How does the request for training relate to an annual performance review?
This is a perfect time to bring up training. You are reflecting on past performance and your goals for the next year. You also have your manager’s attention and a captive audience. Asking for training should not come as a surprise to your manager. This is also the time when organizations are building their budgets for the next year so you can work training into it.
[21:37] What if the answer is no? How can someone move past that?
The first question I would have is “why not?” You want to understand some of the pressure around where the no is coming from so you can try to overcome them. If cost is a concern, you can tie it back to how the training will help you increase revenue for the organization. If the concern is timing, you can talk about training in off hours or postponing it until a more convenient time. Some people are afraid to ask the question because they are afraid they’ll hear that they are not valuable to the organization. Even if that’s the case, it’s something you should know as an employee and can serve as the start of a longer-term discussion about your future at the company.
Useful links:

* Connect with Matt via his LinkedIn profile
* Matt’s documentary work in progress, TheIntersect

Innovation Quote
“Iteration is key to innovation.” -Sebastian Thrun
Thanks!
]]>
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TEI 185: Creating product love – with Todd Olson https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-185-creating-product-love-with-todd-olson/ Mon, 16 Jul 2018 10:55:10 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13970 Combining innovation and data to delight customers. What products do you use that you love? Think of a product that you are glad to tell other people about. You share how it helps you solve a problem or get a task done. Or, maybe how the product makes you feel. It might be your phone, […] Combining innovation and data to delight customers. What products do you use that you love? Think of a product that you are glad to tell other people about. You share how it helps you solve a problem or get a task done. Or, What products do you use that you love? Think of a product that you are glad to tell other people about. You share how it helps you solve a problem or get a task done. Or, maybe how the product makes you feel. It might be your phone, a perfectly balanced and beautifully designed pen, a pocket knife that makes you feel just a little more self-reliant, or, in my case, the Paragon induction cooktop that allows me to make perfect omelets my wife and kids rave about.
Great products are ones that we love. They create emotions in us that go beyond satisfaction, extending to true delight.
Creating products that customers love is what product management is about, and also just happens to be the central theme for all of you who are Everyday Innovators. It is why this podcast exists and is the focus of this episode.
I explore the topic with Todd Olson, co-founder of Pendo, a capability for creating product experiences customers can’t live without. Before starting Pendo, Todd was VP Products at Rally Software and has been a co-founder for two other companies. He was also recently announced as an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year finalist. Todd knows a lot about developing software, founding and building companies, and creating products customers love.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[4:10] What do you mean by product love?
We’re no longer seeking products that just do the job; we want products that we can have an affinity for. Product love means people actually enjoy using the product you provide. Ultimately, it leads to referrals. It can apply to any type of product that makes you smile when you use it.
[7:20] Product love is often cited as a reason people get into product management. Have you encountered that in your experience?
Absolutely. Pain is a really good origin for amazing ideas and amazing products. If your product is not addressing an acute pain, you’re probably missing something. When I built the first version of Pendo, I built a product that would make me happy and assumed it would do the same for others. When you do that, it’s important to keep iterating so you don’t get too far inside an echo chamber but do continue bringing joy to your customers.
[16:22] What else should product managers be doing to create products that customers love?
Keep the notion of delight in mind. The Kano model takes this into account by classifying three types of features — table stakes, linear, and delight. Delight comes down to anticipating what customers want and then delivering it in very novel ways. For example, typing a tracking number into Google and having it return exactly where your package is without having to navigate to other websites. If you know what job your customers want your product to do and you can make that job seamless, it will generate love. Great products and great communities also go hand in hand, as does the ability for customers to make products their own.
[21:30] How can product managers make better use of NPS information?
Product teams should own NPS data, not customer success teams. Product teams fix root problems rather than focusing on unhappy customers. Once you have the data, slice and dice it by demographics and customer size. We’ve also mirrored NPS data with usage information to look at how people use the product and what aspects of the product might be leading to a bad experience. It can also impact follow up communication and determine who can provide referrals or be part of a usability study.
[21:32] How does this tie back to product love?
I was working with a company that provides software to the dental industry. By looking at NPS data, we learned that dental hygienists were not happy. We found that they were not using features of the product that were meant for them.]]>
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TEI 184: What leaders need to understand about product management and what product managers need to understand about the business – with Kirsten Butzow https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-184-what-leaders-need-to-understand-about-product-management-and-what-product-managers-need-to-understand-about-the-business-with-kirsten-butzow/ Mon, 09 Jul 2018 10:55:38 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13960 Becoming a product leader is simpler than you might think. If you have ever had to explain what you do as a product manager to people you work with, you are in good company. Most product managers find this necessary. Further, the role means different things in different organizations. The leaders of your organization may […] Becoming a product leader is simpler than you might think. If you have ever had to explain what you do as a product manager to people you work with, you are in good company. Most product managers find this necessary. Further, If you have ever had to explain what you do as a product manager to people you work with, you are in good company. Most product managers find this necessary. Further, the role means different things in different organizations. The leaders of your organization may have a perspective of the role that is not really accurate, or as I have seen more often, they don’t understand the leverage the role provides them.
In this discussion, we explore what organizational leaders need to understand about the role of product manager. But, we don’t stop there as product managers also need to have a clear understanding of the needs of the organization.
This discussion will help you better talk to the leaders of your company about your role and to understand your very important role more deeply.
To discuss the topic, I invited Kirsten Butzow to join us. She is a product veteran, serving as VP Product Management at Person and Blackboard and has held other product roles. Now she is a product coach for Pragmatic Marketing.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[5:09] What are some of the pain points you encounter most frequently when working with organizations?
One of the primary challenges we hear is that people have too many things to get done — too many features and too many products we’re trying to put into the marketplace. There are not clearly defined allocations of responsibility and accountability. It’s a byproduct of the fact that product management is still in its infancy. We are still trying to figure out the right formula and how to prioritize all the things that need to be done.
[12:19] Have you seen changes in the role of product manager?
When I started my career, technology product mangers were very focused on technology, then they became more business focused. Now we’re seeing more of a focus on user experience and user interface and product managers are getting pulled back into technology a little more deeply. People are expecting them to have a perspective on design. Over time, product managers became product owners too, as organizers adopted agile. I would like to see product managers come back into true leadership positions.
[17:09] What do you want organizational leaders to know about product management?
Organizational leaders need to rationalize all the work that needs to be done. Someone needs to be responsible for understanding the problem that needs to be solved and the people who have that problem. The product leader should be setting the strategy and direction for understanding the what and the who of the problem; the rest of the organization should deal with the how of the design, building, and validation. However, that only works if we give the product leader the clarity and the resources to do it.
[22:40] What should product managers understand about the needs of their organizations?
Product leaders should be business leaders, which means they should have basic financial acumen. As product managers move into engineering roles, they don’t know how to calculate a gross margin or know the difference between fixed and variable expenses. It’s difficult to run a product line with financial goals if you don’t know how to track and analyze those goals. I always encourage MBA students who want to go into product management to take a finance class.
[25:26] Can product managers be effective in cross-functional roles?
There are 37 activities that need to be completed in the Pragmatic Marketing framework. The product manager’s role is to make sure all of them are getting done, but not to personally perform all of them. They should partner with the appropriate people in the organization to get things done efficiently. Product leaders should be leading cross-functional teams that include stakeholders from every ...]]>
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TEI 183: Bad habits experienced product managers should avoid-with Alicia Dixon https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-183-bad-habits-experienced-product-managers-should-avoid-with-alicia-dixon/ Mon, 02 Jul 2018 10:55:53 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13733 Don’t let your calendar get in the way of doing what’s important as a product manager. Experienced product managers benefit from what they learned from previous successes and failures. That experience is valuable. However, they can also pick up some bad habits along the way. Some bad habits may be from a lack of knowing […] Don’t let your calendar get in the way of doing what’s important as a product manager. Experienced product managers benefit from what they learned from previous successes and failures. That experience is valuable. However, Experienced product managers benefit from what they learned from previous successes and failures. That experience is valuable. However, they can also pick up some bad habits along the way. Some bad habits may be from a lack of knowing better but others come from routine and a “this is how we do it”-sort of mentality that too often develops over time in many organizations.
The first step to correcting bad habits is recognizing them and my guest is helping us with that. She is Alicia Dixon, senior product manager at Hilton. Alicia is involved with mobile and digital product innovation. Further, she volunteers for ProductCamp DC and shared aspects of our topic at recently at ProductCamp Silicon Valley.
Also, both Alicia and I have found value in product management training and certification. I began the interview asking her about this, as she currently has five product management certifications, which is more than anyone else I know. We both share the value we have found in earning certifications and why we encourage others to earn them as well. It has something to do with “ah ha” moments.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:15] How did you become a product manager?
My background is in marketing and brand management. I joined the product group at Dell supporting desktop sales. I went to graduate school, but it didn’t work out and I found my way into product management for mobile apps. I currently work for Hilton on digital payments.
[6:50] What value do you find in certifications?
I had to do a lot of self learning when I first became a product manager, so the certifications provided a lot of validation that I was on the right path and course correction when I wasn’t.  I was working on very small teams so it was like the blind leading the blind; getting the certifications helped me feel secure that I was doing the right thing.
[11:03] How did you begin working with bad habits?
I referred about a dozen people to a job opening that a friend of mine sent me. I heard back from her that she didn’t want to hire them because they had developed bad habits. I was on my way to ProductCamp Silicon Valley at the time and thought I should pitch product management bad habits as a session. We ended up having a very engaging discussion.
[13:25] What are some of those bad habits product managers develop?
One is not talking to customers. As a seasoned product manager, you have a laundry list of things you want and you become so tied to it that you lose sight of keeping in touch with your customers. Another bad habit is building exactly what leadership asks for, which leads to becoming a feature factory instead of delivering what the customer wants. In a similar vein, don’t listen solely to sales and build what they are asking for. Salespeople are an important constituent group for product managers, but they should not be the only voices you are listening to. The last bad habit I see is a resistance to use new tools. I used Visio when I got into the field, but there are way better tools available now. I would miss all that if I stuck with Visio.
[19:55] How can people avoid forming those bad habits?
It comes back to time management. If you don’t plan the time into your schedule to meet with customers and learn new tools, you are never going to do it. The other thing that works well is peer groups, whether it’s an internal meet up or an external conference like ProductCamp. These groups help keep your skills sharp and provide an opportunity for you to receive feedback from others.
[26:37] Do managers and other senior product mangers still need to talk to customers and keep their skills sharp?
I’ve heard that people are split on this.]]>
Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 32:09
TEI 182: What Sales wants from product managers – with Ian Moyse https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-182-what-sales-wants-from-product-managers-with-ian-moyse/ Mon, 25 Jun 2018 10:55:28 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13735 Putting sales and product managers on the same team to create better products. Product management is a highly cross-functional role. Product managers work with product teams, R&D, engineering, marketing, finance, and others, but the one group that is most often discussed, especially in B2B organizations, is sales. You’ll hear about it at product management meetups, […] Putting sales and product managers on the same team to create better products. Product management is a highly cross-functional role. Product managers work with product teams, R&D, engineering, marketing, finance, and others,
Product management is a highly cross-functional role. Product managers work with product teams, R&D, engineering, marketing, finance, and others, but the one group that is most often discussed, especially in B2B organizations, is sales. You’ll hear about it at product management meetups, such as how a salesperson keeps asking a product manager to do product demos for customers or how the sales team won’t sell the existing product but some feature that hasn’t even been discussed yet.
This creates tension between sales and product managers, but it can also be a very positive relationship. Salespeople can get product managers access to companies for customer site visits and other customer research. They can be a source of earlier indications of a new trend forming or an old trend changing.
To understand how product management and sales can work better together, Ian Moyse is here to discuss the topic with us. Ian has a technical background with a product mindset and a passion for sales. He is currently the Sales Director for Natterbox, a UK-based Cloud Telphony company. He also received the UK Sales Director of Year award from Institute Sales & Marketing. He shares what sales wants from product management and how the two functions can work well together.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[7:22] What do salespeople want from product managers?
Sales is often a mix of people who might not understand technology or the role of a product manager. They may need more help from a product manager to understand the customer’s need and how the product can fulfill it. A product manager defines the why, what, and when of the product and serves as the bridge between the customer side of the product and the engineering side. From a sales perspective, we always want everything in the product and we want it yesterday. Product managers and marketers can also take the insights that salespeople bring back from the field and use it to inform future iterations of the product.
[12:13] How can product managers gain meaningful insights from sales?
Sales needs to understand what value the product manager brings and how they can help achieve that value, and getting buy-in from sales leadership is essential to making that happen. Once everyone is on the same page, both teams can work toward shared goals. Product managers should have input in loss reports in terms of what data is collected and use the data as a catalyst to go back to the customers through the sales team. The sales team serves as the bridge between product managers in the customers.
[19:04] How can product mangers and salespeople work better together?
It all comes down to relationships and earning credibility among the sales team. You can ask the sales team how they view success and what that looks like 6 months or a year from now. This sets a product manager down a path where they have shared goals and expectations with sales. You can then go back to sales and tout the results that you were able to deliver with their help. Building relationships is an important element, too. Don’t just go to salespeople to request data; take them out for coffee and get to know who they are as people and what drives them. Breaking down silos between the two will lead to better products that provide more value to the customer.
[25:04] How can product managers help sales meet its goals?
Product managers should work with sales leadership to manage the team’s expectations. Every salesperson is going to have a different idea about a new feature that would help them with a customer; those expectations need to be managed and put into context with what the customer needs. Most salespeople and even sales leaders don’t understand the development process; product managers can help explain it a...]]>
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TEI 181: Managing a product during the Maturity phase of the product life cycle – with Janna Bastow https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-181-managing-a-product-during-the-maturity-phase-of-the-product-life-cycle-with-janna-bastow/ Mon, 18 Jun 2018 10:05:01 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13736 Mature products require tough decisions and time for retrospection. In this discussion, we bring some mature thinking to the topic of maturity. The product life cycle consists of five phases — introduction, growth, maturity, decline, and retire. Successful products make it to maturity, and if properly managed, can generate profit for your organization for a […] Mature products require tough decisions and time for retrospection. In this discussion, we bring some mature thinking to the topic of maturity. The product life cycle consists of five phases — introduction, growth, maturity, decline, and retire. In this discussion, we bring some mature thinking to the topic of maturity. The product life cycle consists of five phases -- introduction, growth, maturity, decline, and retire. Successful products make it to maturity, and if properly managed, can generate profit for your organization for a long time. However, managing maturity comes with many challenges that are not present in the earlier stages of the product life cycle.<br /> <br /> My guest helps us understand the issues and how to avoid them. She is Janna Bastow, co-founder of ProdPad,  and co-founder of Mind the Product including MindTheProduct.com, ProductTank, and ProductCamp London. ProdPad creates tools for product managers for road mapping, backlog management, and customer feedback. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 36:16 TEI 180: Why and how APIs should be managed as a product – with Bryan Hicks https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-180-why-and-how-apis-should-be-managed-as-a-product-with-bryan-hicks/ Mon, 11 Jun 2018 11:50:32 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13738 A different type of product, but traditional product management still applies. Today’s topic is the product management of APIs — application program interfaces that enable software systems to share information and interact. In the past I have thought of APIs as a part of a software system. It’s another activity on a project schedule to […] A different type of product, but traditional product management still applies. Today’s topic is the product management of APIs — application program interfaces that enable software systems to share information and interact. Today’s topic is the product management of APIs — application program interfaces that enable software systems to share information and interact. In the past I have thought of APIs as a part of a software system. It’s another activity on a project schedule to complete in the process of creating a software system that needs or provides an API. Our guest convinced me to think differently about APIs–to think of them as a product and to manage them as such. He has been involved in a few API projects, currently working for Ford and creating an API for Lyft (and others) that will be used by autonomous vehicles.
Our guest is Bryan Hicks, senior product manager at Ford Motor Company. He has also worked at SAP, AT&T, and has been an innovation consultant.
Even if you are not a software product manager, I expect you’ll find the discussion valuable, particularly in examining the different categories of customers for a product.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:16] Tell us about the work you are doing with Ford and Lyft on autonomous vehicles
The plan is that Ford will own a fleet of autonomous vehicles. We could try to build our own applications and customer networks, but Lyft already has both of those. We’re using APIs to connect to Lyft’s network and fulfill their rider requests with our vehicles. We’re also leveraging partnerships with Postmates and Domino’s.
[4:02] What are APIs and why are they important?
APIs allow different pieces of software to talk to each other. It’s a contract between two applications for information sharing.
[6:09] When you treat APIs as a product to be managed, who are the customers?
There are three distinct customers: The developers who code with it, the person who pays for the developers to use API, and the end users of the applications using the API. Product managers need to think about all three customers or else the integration will not be successful. The developers need be interested in using it, the people paying for it need to see the value, and it needs to be valuable to the customer. In the case of Lyft, they want a self-driving vehicle and the API is how they get it.
[9:40] How do you respond to change requests in a way that works for you developers?
You have to think of an API like a contract and avoid changing it as much as possible. Machines don’t readjust when you change the API. Instead, we focus in incremental capability and adding new features that don’t require additional coding. The more versions you have out, the more you have to support. If you do create a new version, you need to communicate that the new version is not being supported so people aren’t caught off guard when their app doesn’t work.
[13:50] How do you balance solving your customer’s needs while encouraging open innovation?
There are internal APIs, private APIs, and public APIs. You typically start internal, then move to private, then move to public. This allows you to understand what your customer wants without breaking that contract. For example, Twitter’s API was public but they saw people were using it to build better apps to access the platform, which drove people away from Twitter’s website. This lead them to pull back the API and they received a lot of criticism for it.
[18:45] What are the advantages of thinking about APIs as products?
APIs allow each of the companies involved to focus on their core competencies. For example, Lyft is not a vehicle manufacturer and Ford is not a ride-hailing company. APIs allow us to connect our individual strengths to achieve a shared goal. They’re the SaaS equivalent for people who are building applications.
[20:45] How do you distribute an API?
My boss,]]>
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TEI 179: The specific steps for finding product-market fit – with Dan Olsen https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-179-the-specific-steps-for-finding-product-market-fit-with-dan-olsen/ Mon, 04 Jun 2018 10:55:47 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13737 How product managers scale the pyramid to product success Product management and innovation is about creating value for customers by solving a problem they have. We accomplish this through a tangible product or an intangible service. Done correctly, we have a proper product-market fit — a product that satisfies the needs of a specific market. […] How product managers scale the pyramid to product success Product management and innovation is about creating value for customers by solving a problem they have. We accomplish this through a tangible product or an intangible service. Done correctly, Product management and innovation is about creating value for customers by solving a problem they have. We accomplish this through a tangible product or an intangible service. Done correctly, we have a proper product-market fit — a product that satisfies the needs of a specific market. Finding the correct product-market fit is the tricky part. It is also the topic of my guest’s book, titled The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback.
The other is Dan Olsen, an entrepreneur, consultant, and Lean product expert. Dan has worked with a range of businesses, from small, early-stage startups to large public companies, on a wide variety of web and mobile products. Prior to consulting, Dan worked at Intuit, where he led the Quicken product team to record sales and profit.
 
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:05] Can you give us an overview of the process of achieving product/market fit?
It’s a five-layer pyramid that all starts with the market. First, you decide who your target customer is and how your product is going to solve a problem they have. The top three layers are product layers: value proposition, feature set, and user experience. Once you make it to the top of the pyramid, there’s a sixth step that involves testing prototypes or actual products with customers. There’s room in the pyramid for iterations along the way by creating, designing, testing, and revising hypotheses.
[7:38] How do you find your target customer?
I’ll share an example from one of my clients. I was working with a company that wanted to launch a new product but didn’t have any development resources. It centered around the idea of direct mail, or junk mail and providing transparency about why someone was receiving a particular piece of junk mail — similar to a credit report. The target customer was people in the U.S. who receive junk mail.
[10:22] How did you find the underserved needs?
When it comes to needs you need to live in the problem space, not the solution space. Most people naturally live in the solution space and it’s a product manager’s job to get people out of it to focus on problems. From there, you can use divergent thinking to come up with all of the possible ways to improve the customer’s life. This will generate many ideas that need to be prioritized. In the junk mail example, the priority need was “Learn why I get the junk mail that I get.” Other ideas were “help me save money by getting relevant offers” and “help me compare my spending habits to others.” A secondary benefit was being environmentally friendly by reducing junk mail. We had six needs initially and chose two to focus on.
[19:25] How do you determine the value proposition?
We had six benefits, which is a lot to test, so we split them into two groups. Both had the core value proposition, which was learning why I received so much junk mail. One group paired that with the cost-saving angle, while the other paired it with the environmental angle. I like to use the Kano model for competitive analysis to determine must haves, nice to haves, and distractors.
[22:07] How do you derive feature sets from the value propositions?
We took the core value proposition, which was helping people realize why they are getting the junk mail they get and figured out how to help them see that information through a marketing report that’s similar to a credit report. It contained all of the consumer data that marketing companies had on someone, plus a marketing score to show how likely they were to be targeted for junk mail. We built it out enough to demonstrate a functionality on a simple website. That testing leads to the development of the MVP,]]>
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TEI 178: How to create a guided directed learning group to accelerate product management in your organization – with John Spero https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-178-how-to-create-a-guided-directed-learning-group-to-accelerate-product-management-in-your-organization-with-john-spero/ Mon, 28 May 2018 10:55:43 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13743 Going beyond brown bag lunches for next-level product manager professional development. This discussion is focused on another tool to help you become a product master and accelerate your career. It is a study group approach you can facilitate with a group of product people in your organization. My guest calls them Group Directed Learning experiences. […] Going beyond brown bag lunches for next-level product manager professional development. This discussion is focused on another tool to help you become a product master and accelerate your career. It is a study group approach you can facilitate with a gr...
This discussion is focused on another tool to help you become a product master and accelerate your career. It is a study group approach you can facilitate with a group of product people in your organization. My guest calls them Group Directed Learning experiences. He has been using them for years and found them to be a very effective way to learn and apply new concepts.
It is also a tool I have been using for many years with groups. It results in personal ownership of what is being learned and real behavior change that increases performance.  It is actually how I met my guest. He participated in a public study group I facilitated for product managers and then brought the approach to his organization. He uses it each year as part of the training for new product managers.
My guest is John Spero, a chemical engineer who has worked in research and development, operations, and business management for several companies and in several industries. He is now at Praxair. He is a certified New Product Development Professional (NPDP) from PDMA and a certified scrum master from Scrum Alliance.
This discussion is very important because John shares simple things you can do to facilitate a study group, helping you and other product people improve your skills and making you stand out and get noticed by senior leadership for the value you create.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:55] What is a self-directed learning group?
This is also known as group-directed learning or GDL. It’s a group of people who share a common interest and a desire to learn about it. Program organizers design their own learning tracks and the team has the final call about whether or not the learning track is appropriate. This approach encourages exploration rather than sticking to a set curriculum.
[7:00] How are you using these groups?
We start by sending out a survey to gauge what people want to learn about. We then try to create groups of 6-8 people based on like interests and identify a facilitator to co-develop the learning track. It’s important that the members of the group trust each other and trust the facilitator. The team should also be able to collaborate. We’ve used GDLs for innovation theory and product development, business acumen, and technical skills development. We had engineers go through a training to simulate what the operators at our plants do to help them gain that perspective.
[14:22] Why do these groups work?
This is not a lunch and learn, which are good for awareness but not for long-term learning. Rather, GDL is an extension of standard training methods. We found that our associates needed more training and gave them the opportunity to create it. In order to have good project work, you need to have associates who are fully involved in the process and can see how the training fits into their career development path. We have so many subject matter experts who are good at relating what they know to others.
[17:55] How can someone start a self-directed learning group?
Look at your employees and determine what topics they would like to cover. Select topics quickly once the surveys come back. A good time to start is around performance review time since that’s when people are setting their professional development plans for the year. Avoid holidays or other busy times. Make it part of the work day; don’t do it over lunch or after hours. Have a good system in place to bring in remote team members. Try to vary the level of experience in the group so that everyone can have their assumptions challenged. Senior leadership should also be involved so they can see what people are learning and to show the people in the group that it has buy-in from the top of the organization. There are many good free training options online,]]>
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TEI 177: Creating a hybrid Agile Stage-Gate process – with Colin Palombo https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-177-creating-a-hybrid-agile-stage-gate-process-with-colin-palombo/ Mon, 21 May 2018 10:55:08 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13746 How product managers can turn a marathon into a sprint. Many medium to large organizations are adopting agile practices, such as the use of Scrum. Some are having more success with the adoption than others. Most of these organizations are also using some form of stage-gate for the development of new products. When done right, […] How product managers can turn a marathon into a sprint. Many medium to large organizations are adopting agile practices, such as the use of Scrum. Some are having more success with the adoption than others. Many medium to large organizations are adopting agile practices, such as the use of Scrum. Some are having more success with the adoption than others. Most of these organizations are also using some form of stage-gate for the development of new products. When done right, stage-gate reduces risk, reduces time to market, and increases the return on innovation investment. For the more than 80 percent of U.S. companies using stage-gate, the idea of replacing it with agile is often not warmly embraced. Instead, a hybrid agile stage-gate process is a more reasonable place to start.
My guest, Colin Palombo, has been helping organizations using stage-gate to move to a hybrid agile stage-gate process and enjoying many benefits for doing so while keeping the framework they are familiar with. It’s a win-win. Colin is a managing partner and co-founder of two innovation consulting firms — Innovation Framework Technologies and Bizmotion.
I met Colin at the annual PDMA conference and enjoyed his insights for making stage-gate more agile. I hope you do as well.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:34] What is agile and what is stage-gate?
Stage-gate is an approach for developing new products across industries. It involves breaking down development into stages that are marked by gated decision points. It is designed to eliminate weak products along the way and decrease time to market. Agile is a project management approach for dealing with projects that have high degrees of uncertainty. Stage-gate products can be managed using agile, or using other project management methodologies.
[5:42] Why are organizations taking a hybrid approach?
Traditional stage-gate is managed like a waterfall process, which doesn’t work well when markets and technologies are changing quickly. The process has become too slow and out of date. By applying agile, companies are hoping to create products that keep pace with customer needs. Agile allows product teams to course correct throughout the development process. while reducing time to market up to 20 percent. Agile also leads to higher team morale and better aligns with digital products and physical/digital product hybrids.
[11:00] How do you set up a hybrid process?
Most companies who have physical products want to implement agile processes but don’t know how to do it. We’ve created 10 steps based on our work over the past year — a mix of organizational and tactical aspects. On the tactical side, you still have stages but each stage has a sprint or a number of sprints. A sprint is a fixed period of time in which you seek to accomplish a set of tasks. You can determine how many sprints each stage will have, which creates a fixed timeline using an agile methodology. Agile also eliminates the paperwork associated with stage gate meetings; work is demonstrated by outcomes instead of words written in a document. Teams spend time gathering stories and data about the deliverables rather than creating PowerPoint presentations and filling out forms.
[17:19] What do the stages of product development look like in an agile approach?
Agile requires a shift in thinking to minimum viable product and an accelerated timeline. If a sprint is 10 days long, you have 26 sprints in a calendar year. The first stage becomes concept instead of scoping; think of what you can do within three sprints. What can you deliver to show people the product you want to make? Stage two becomes simulation instead of a business case. It could be 3D printing or CAD; anything to show your product without physically producing a prototype. The third stage becomes pilot instead of development. This gives you a physical product to begin understanding things like fulfillment and intellectual property. The fourth stage becomes scale up instead of validation.]]>
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TEI 176: How product managers can join the meaning revolution – with Fred Kofman https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-176-how-product-managers-can-join-the-meaning-revolution-with-fred-kofman/ Mon, 14 May 2018 10:55:25 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13744 Product Managers can create a shared sense of purpose to empower high-performing teams. This is where you make your move from product manager to product master. That is the move to being a product leader in your organization or the organization you want to work with. Being a leader involves creating vision and providing meaning […] Product Managers can create a shared sense of purpose to empower high-performing teams. This is where you make your move from product manager to product master. That is the move to being a product leader in your organization or the organization you wan... This is where you make your move from product manager to product master. That is the move to being a product leader in your organization or the organization you want to work with. Being a leader involves creating vision and providing meaning to those you work with. It is the topic of Fred Kofman’s new book, The Meaning Revolution: The Power of Transcendent Leadership.
Fred is a leadership development adviser at Google and former vice president of executive development and leadership philosopher at LinkedIn. He earned his Ph.D. in advanced economic theory at U.C. Berkeley and taught management accounting and control systems at MIT for six years before forming his own consulting company and teaching leadership workshops for major corporations and 15,000 executives. Sheryl Sandberg writes about him in her book Lean In, claiming Kofman “will transform the way you live and work.”
We discuss:

* Why organizations lose
* How organizations can win
* The 3-part framework for creating a meaningful culture, and
* How product managers can deal with conflict.

If you are on the path to being a product master, you’ll appreciate Fred’s genuine approach to becoming a leader.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:10] Why do organizations lose?
Organizations lose because they’re not set up to win. Most people do not set up what their jobs are and the organization distracts them from doing what their real job should be. On a sports team, the job of every person on the team is to help the team win. But, if you ask the players, they’ll tell you something specific based on their role. The same thing applies to businesses. The goal of every job is to help the organization win but most people would tell you their job is to sell or to design or something like that. This is how silos form. Everyone in the business should be aligned toward the same organizational goal, but that is usually not the case.
[13:08] What is the Meaning Revolution?
It’s based on the book The History of Scientific Revolutions, which says that science operates within a paradigm and that paradigm changes when exceptions arise. For example, Einstein found that Newton’s equations didn’t apply to gravity when you get closer to the speed of light so he needed a new theory. The anomalies move science forward. The anomaly in business is the difference between global and local performance. Organizations are being asked to measure individual performance and organizational performance. The solution is to infuse the organization with something new, which I’m calling meaning. It’s a combination of collaboration, pride, and excitement — a shared purpose and a sense that everyone is playing a part in a larger goal.
[21:52] How do you communicate to employees that they are part of something larger than themselves?
This is the difference between camaraderie and friendship. You don’t need friends in a performance-driven field, you need people who will challenge you and hold you accountable — things that friends might not do. If you’re not pulling your weight on your team, you need people who will tell you that. Doing so will create a high performing team and a sense of camaraderie that’s much deeper than friendship.
[24:08] How do you create a culture of camaraderie and performance?
It has to cascade from the leadership. You have to define the standard/mission, demonstrate the standard so you don’t create cynicism, and then demand that others in the organization also follow that standard. People in the organization should also know what they can demand of a leader; they should feel empowered to call out things that they don’t feel are in line with the mission.
]]>
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TEI 175: Building B2B products – with Blair Reeves & Benjamin Gaines https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-175-building-b2b-products-with-blair-reeves-benjamin-gaines/ Mon, 07 May 2018 10:55:37 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13745 How product managers make the most of large teams and high-value customer relationships A new book by O’Reilly Press discusses product management for B2B software applications. It’s titled Building for Business. Much has been written about product management and the development of software products, but little that specifically addresses the characteristics of the B2B environment. […] How product managers make the most of large teams and high-value customer relationships A new book by O’Reilly Press discusses product management for B2B software applications. It’s titled Building for Business. A new book by O’Reilly Press discusses product management for B2B software applications. It’s titled Building for Business. Much has been written about product management and the development of software products, but little that specifically addresses the characteristics of the B2B environment. The authors join this episode to discuss how product management is different for enterprise software products, including:

* Differences in consumers from B2B and B2C
* The impact a direct sales team has
* How the scale of enterprise customers impacts product work
* The need for effective collaboration
* Using organizational knowledge

The authors are Blair Reeves and Ben Gaines. Blair is a Principal Product Manager at SAS Software and has previously held senior roles at Demandware (now a Salesforce company) and IBM. Ben is a Group Product Manager for Adobe Analytics and previously managed digital analytics at ESPN.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[1:50] Why did you write this book?
The idea came about over dinner. We realized that none of the writing about product management was focused on building products for businesses and the challenges that come with it.  As soon as we said the idea out loud, we knew that we had to do it. We had been sharing articles for a while and joking about how they didn’t apply at all to what we did in the B2B space.
 [6:19] How do you define the enterprise when it comes to product management?


We definite it as software that businesses buy to meet a need that they have. It’s not an internal tool, but more of a B2B mindset — things like CRMs, ERPs, HR, and finance systems.
[8:15] What are the differences between B2B and B2C product management?
In consumer software, you have lots of different business models — advertising, affiliate, direct sales, etc. They tend to have a lot of customers, whereas enterprise products have a much smaller customer base. The sales cycles are longer and the investment per customer is much higher. As product managers, the planning and maintenance timelines are very different. Your customers may never log into the product but are tasked with buying or procurement and providing IT support. The concerns those people have are very different than the traditional customer or user and the stakes are much higher. In the traditional software industry, the user is king. In the enterprise world, the user might not matter at all. It’s all about ROI as opposed to customer enjoyment.
[18:24] Another difference you identify is effective collaboration. What do you mean by that?
Product managers in the enterprise world tend to have more collaborators than those in the consumer world. We work very closely with marketing and sales at all levels and have a lot of different stakeholders to collaborate with. Learning how to work with those stakeholders is one of the big challenges for an enterprise product manager. Having that organizational knowledge is essential.
[20:26] How does the small number of customers impact product management?
With a smaller number of customers, you can go spend a week with a company and really learn how they are using the software and figure out the problems you are trying to solve. It can be more difficult to settle on what you’re to do when you have tens or hundreds of thousands of customers. On the consumer side, there’s an anthropologic element that doesn’t exist as much on the enterprise side. There are also a lot more people involved in making the sale — account managers, sales engineers, consultants, and many others. The relationships are bigger and require more people to make them successful.
[27:22] How should enterprise product managers gain organizational knowledge?]]>
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TEI 174: Voice of the Customer tools product managers use – with Colleen Knuff https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-174-voice-of-the-customer-tools-product-managers-use-with-colleen-knuff/ Mon, 30 Apr 2018 10:55:47 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12784 How product managers observe and listen to users to gain valuable insights. How do you know what products you should build? What products will delight customers? The answer isn’t a mystery and has been expressed by numerous past guests. One that stands out is Ben Brenton, Chief Innovation Officer at Snap-on Tools, who shared that […] How product managers observe and listen to users to gain valuable insights. How do you know what products you should build? What products will delight customers? The answer isn’t a mystery and has been expressed by numerous past guests. How do you know what products you should build? What products will delight customers? The answer isn’t a mystery and has been expressed by numerous past guests. One that stands out is Ben Brenton, Chief Innovation Officer at Snap-on Tools, who shared that he takes their product teams to meet with customers four days a week. That is the recurring theme–time with customers to understand what will delight them. It is often expressed as voice of the customer, or VoC, research.
My guest has put VOC into practice with great results. She is the Senior Director of Product Management for TeamMate and an award-winning product manager. We discuss VoC tools and the specifics for how product managers can use them, including:

* Contextual interviews
* Budget-minded usability testing.

 
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:30] What is your product and who is it for?
The product is called TeamMate. It’s a tool to help teams with transparency, consistency, and efficiency in their internal audit process. It’s used by large and small public and private organizations around the world. Internal audit is an independent and objective evaluation of the business organization.
[4:50] What tools do you use for Voice of the Customer research?
We get feedback from our professional services team when they are implementing the product to new clients, from the sales team when they are doing demos, and from trade shows. We also do surveys and usability testing and hold user conferences around the world. Our biggest conference draws 700-800 customers and includes a usability lab where customers can evaluate prototypes of things we’re thinking about doing. We also run focus groups and are able to get a lot of meaningful feedback in a short amount of time.
[7:38] How do you apply contextual inquiry to your work?
This is a tool we use when a concept can be open to multiple interpretations. At first, we’re trying to nail down a pain point and we’ll use surveys to do that. From those survey results, we’ll choose customers to go on site and visit. We always send two-person teams, one person who is an active interviewer and someone else who takes notes, pictures, and videos. We want the customer to walk us through the process or pain point, not just tell us. What we find is that what people tell you doesn’t always match with what they actually do.
[10:58] What do you do with all of the information you collect on those site visits?
Our teams write up their notes but keep the language that the clients used in the interview. We set up an affinity wall that informs the problems we’re trying to solve in the new release or feature. Sometimes those pain points are things that are never spoken aloud. One example of this was a client who had built a knowledge base that she was convinced would transform her team’s process. We got about halfway through and she forgot where she was in the process after she was interrupted by a coworker. We learned that it wasn’t easy to cancel the process and start over again and that led to adding contextual awareness to the next version of the knowledge base. It wasn’t a problem that was identified up front, but something we identified through the contextual inquiry process.
[16:11] Do you ever utilize phone calls or web meetings?
We do occasionally, but we’ve found that it’s invaluable to sit in front of someone and watch how they work. It’s difficult to replicate over a phone call or web meeting. You can’t really get a sense of someone’s environment and without ...]]>
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TEI 173: The CORE connective skills of product management – with Matt LeMay https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-173-the-core-connective-skills-of-product-management-with-matt-lemay/ Mon, 23 Apr 2018 10:55:10 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13017 Matt wrote the book he wishes he would have had starting out as a product manager. To be a successful product manager you need several competencies. We tend to be “T-Shaped” people with capabilities in several areas and much more depth in one area, such as development, design, research, etc. Product managers early in their […] Matt wrote the book he wishes he would have had starting out as a product manager. To be a successful product manager you need several competencies. We tend to be “T-Shaped” people with capabilities in several areas and much more depth in one area, Matt wrote the book he wishes he would have had starting out as a product manager.<br /> <br /> To be a successful product manager you need several competencies. We tend to be "T-Shaped" people with capabilities in several areas and much more depth in one area, such as development, design, research, etc.<br /> <br /> Product managers early in their career focus on learning the skills to get the job done -- the technical skills of product management. Only later you might realize those skills are not enough and that the so-called "soft skills" are what really make the difference. Learning those skills sooner results in faster career growth, which is why I invited product manager and author Matt LeMay to join us. He recently wrote the book, Product Management in Practice: A Real-World Guide to the Key Connective Role of the 21st Century. Matt has helped build and scale product management practices at companies ranging from early-stage startups to Fortune 50 enterprises.<br /> <br /> In the interview, he explains the CORE connectivity skills successful product managers need. CORE is an acronym for:<br /> <br /> Communication,<br /> Organization,<br /> Research<br /> Execution Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 40:20 TEI 172: Apple’s product development process and secrets to success – with John Carter https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-172-apples-product-development-process-and-secrets-to-success-with-john-carter/ Mon, 16 Apr 2018 11:50:24 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13371 Sleek and simple: How Apple’s product process mirrors the products it creates. One of the things I enjoy doing is teaching product and innovation management university courses. My students often are in a leadership role in their organization and I’m helping them with product innovation. When we discuss examples of innovative organizations, Apple is a […] Sleek and simple: How Apple’s product process mirrors the products it creates. One of the things I enjoy doing is teaching product and innovation management university courses. My students often are in a leadership role in their organization and I’m he... One of the things I enjoy doing is teaching product and innovation management university courses. My students often are in a leadership role in their organization and I'm helping them with product innovation. When we discuss examples of innovative organizations, Apple is a popular choice. It's also a good choice. They provide many lessons, such as the power of trends, why focusing on fewer products is better than scattering your efforts, the advantages of controlling an ecosystem, and the benefits of the fast-follower strategy.<br /> <br /> So, when I was at a product conference and met the person who helped orchestrate Apple's original product process that is still used today, you can understand why I was excited. This was my opportunity to learn first-hand what Apple was struggling with and how the new adopted product process helped them.<br /> <br /> That person is John Carter. In addition to Apple, he has been a valued advisor to Cisco, Dolby, HP, IBM, Xerox and others. In addition to innovation, he has a strong background in engineering and was the co-inventor of the BOSE Noise Cancelling Headphones.<br /> <br /> I could share a lot more about John's accomplishments, but the recommendations from employees and clients on his LinkedIn profile are more insightful. One shares…<br /> <br /> "John Carter has one of fastest and best minds you will ever encounter. At the same time, he is careful to listen to and integrate the ideas and insights of others. He's open-minded and ethical and knows what risks to take and when. If 'cool-hand' John Carter is in your corner, be prepared to win!"<br /> <br /> In the little time I have known John, I agree -- he is one to learn from, which is why I asked him to join us and discuss the creation of the Apple product process. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 34:41 TEI 171: How any organization can leverage Design Thinking to produce change-with Thomas Lockwood & Edgar Papke https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-171-how-any-organization-can-leverage-design-thinking-to-produce-change-with-thomas-lockwood-edgar-papke/ Mon, 09 Apr 2018 10:50:32 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13372 Understand the uniqueness of your organization’s culture to drive innovation. Organizations are striving to get better at innovation. They know their competitors are doing the same. However, not everyone is having success with their efforts. One more recent popular approach is using Design Thinking, but like any innovation approach, it has to be properly integrated […] Understand the uniqueness of your organization’s culture to drive innovation. Organizations are striving to get better at innovation. They know their competitors are doing the same. However, not everyone is having success with their efforts. Understand the uniqueness of your organization's culture to drive innovation.<br /> <br /> Organizations are striving to get better at innovation. They know their competitors are doing the same. However, not everyone is having success with their efforts. One more recent popular approach is using Design Thinking, but like any innovation approach, it has to be properly integrated into the organization or it won't have the desired impact.<br /> <br /> A new book addresses this, titled Innovation by Design: How Any Organization Can Leverage Design Thinking to Produce Change, Drive New Ideas, and Deliver Meaningful Solutions. I interviewed both authors to find out more.<br /> <br /> Thomas Lockwood has a Ph.D. in design management and is a thought leader at integrating design and innovation into business. Edgar Papke is a leadership psychologist, author and recognized expert in business alignment, leadership and organizational culture.<br /> <br /> They decided to find out what highly innovative companies that were significantly utilizing design thinking were up to, and if what they were doing would provide valuable insight into how any organization can use design thinking to produce change, drive new ideas, deliver meaningful solutions, and influence their culture to be more innovative. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 37:27 TEI 170: From concept to market leader – with product manager Jimmy Hooker https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-170-from-concept-to-market-leader-with-product-manager-jimmy-hooker/ Mon, 02 Apr 2018 10:55:03 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13373 How product managers can challenge ideas to achieve long-term success. We can learn a lot from examining the journey of a product and this interview looks at the product story of Badger Maps, the market-leading route planning app for field salespeople. I spoke with Jimmy Hooker, the Head of Product at Badger Maps, to get […] How product managers can challenge ideas to achieve long-term success. We can learn a lot from examining the journey of a product and this interview looks at the product story of Badger Maps, the market-leading route planning app for field salespeople.... How product managers can challenge ideas to achieve long-term success.<br /> We can learn a lot from examining the journey of a product and this interview looks at the product story of Badger Maps, the marketing leading route planning app for field salespeople.<br /> <br /> I spoke with Jimmy Hooker, the Head of Product at Badger Maps, to get the story. He’s been with Badger since the beginning, where his initial responsibilities were designing and implementing the web app front-end along with designing the mobile apps. Since then, he’s taken on product management, managing the marketing website, SEO strategy, and analytics. He’s passionate about product and obsessed with making useful easy-to-use tools.<br /> <br /> From the discussion you'll learn:<br /> <br /> Sources for product ideas,<br /> How to validate your plans for solving the customers' problem, and<br /> Ways to form the vision for a product. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 40:05 TEI 169: How to make product roadmaps not dangerous – with Bruce McCarthy https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-169-how-to-make-product-roadmaps-not-dangerous-with-bruce-mccarthy/ Mon, 26 Mar 2018 10:55:55 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13374 Shifting focus from the how to the why by properly using a product roadmap. My 12-year old  son recently got a belt sander from his Opa. Opa is a German name for grandfather.  My son is making a bookshelf and has a lot of sanding to do. The belt sander will do the work quickly. […] Shifting focus from the how to the why by properly using a product roadmap. My 12-year old  son recently got a belt sander from his Opa. Opa is a German name for grandfather.  My son is making a bookshelf and has a lot of sanding to do. My 12-year old  son recently got a belt sander from his Opa. Opa is a German name for grandfather.  My son is making a bookshelf and has a lot of sanding to do. The belt sander will do the work quickly. It is the right tool for the job, but only if it is used properly. The powerful motor and rapidly moving belt also makes it a beast. If it is not properly handled, it can do a lot of damage to the person using it and anything around it. I showed my son how to use it correctly and we discussed what can happen if he doesn’t use it the way he should. Thankfully, he has been careful with it and the sanding is going well.
That is the thing with powerful tools. Used properly they are a valuable aid. Used incorrectly, they can cause a lot of pain and turmoil.
The same applies to a frequent tool product managers use — the product roadmap. The traditional use of a roadmap nearly guarantees that product managers will get damaged in some way, like mishandling a belt sander. Think about it. A roadmap requires you to keep your promise even after you have learned that the planned features are no longer needed. Well, at least you kept your promise, but you built the wrong thing. Or, you do the right thing and not add features, breaking your promise you made by putting them on the roadmap.
While the roadmap is one of the most frequently used tools by product managers, it is also one of the most unsafe.
But, the traditional way of using roadmaps doesn’t have to continue. To discuss how they should be used, the author of “Product Roadmaps Relaunched: How to Set Direction while Embracing Uncertainty,” Bruce McCarthy joins us.
The book has received high praise, including from Steve Blank, the grandfather of Lean Startup, who said, “It’s about time someone brought product roadmapping out of the dark ages of waterfall development and made it into the strategic communications tool it should be. McCarthy and team have cracked the code.”
In the discussion, you’ll learn:

* What is and is not a product roadmap.
* Who it is for.
* The inputs needed to properly construct a roadmap.
* How to organize a roadmap.
* Ways to prioritize product features.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[3:06] What is a product roadmap?
It’s not a set of features and dates, which is what most people think, but that’s actually a release plan or a project plan. The product roadmap is really about the why — what’s the product vision and what’s the problem you’re trying to solve. It should inspire people to develop a release plan, but not include those details.
[5:28] Who is the product roadmap for?
It’s really for everyone in the organization, as well as customers and related partners. It’s the story you tell internally and externally of what the product is about and what you are trying to accomplish. It’s a great tool for customer conversations and validating what is or is not important to them. It should be developed collaboratively in addition to being shared across the organization. The more buy-in you receive early on, the more support you’ll have when it comes time to put that plan into action.
[10:47] What are the pitfalls of a traditional roadmap?
Traditional roadmaps overpromise on features and dates, so they’ve abandoned the practice entirely. As a result, thinking becomes very short-term. People only want to see out as far as they can promise, which is usually not more than a few weeks. We should be able to change our mind as we learn, which is why the old-fashioned roadmap doesn’t work anymore.  Shifting attention to focus on the higher-level vision moves you away from that cycle of shortsighted thinking.
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TEI 168: Roles and responsibilities of product managers – with Steve Johnson https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-168-roles-and-responsibilities-of-product-managers-with-steve-johnson/ Mon, 19 Mar 2018 10:55:28 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13375 Cutting through product manager role confusion to create successful products My mission is to inspire and equip product managers to have greater influence in their organizations and over product. I call this helping product managers to become product masters, and that is what both this podcast and the training I provide are about. Helping you […] Cutting through product manager role confusion to create successful products My mission is to inspire and equip product managers to have greater influence in their organizations and over product. I call this helping product managers to become product m... Cutting through product manager role confusion to create successful products<br /> <br /> My mission is to inspire and equip product managers to have greater influence in their organizations and over product. I call this helping product managers to become product masters, and that is what both this podcast and the training I provide are about. Helping you make that move from product manager to product master is explored in this episode by considering:<br /> <br /> Various perspectives on product management,<br /> Responsibilities of the role, and<br /> How Agile practices are impacting the role.<br /> <br /> <br /> Joining me for this discussion is Steve Johnson, who previously shared in episode 115 the 6 types of expertise product managers need.<br /> <br /> Steve has been working within the high-tech arena since 1979 with experience in technical, sales, and marketing positions at companies specializing in enterprise and desktop hardware and software. His market and technical savvy allowed him to rise through the ranks from Product Manager to Chief Marketing Officer. Before founding Under10, his product management consulting company, he was a Pragmatic Marketing lead instructor for more than 15 years. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 41:39 TEI 167: Value Innovation in 10 steps for product managers – with Dick Lee, Ph.D. https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-167-value-innovation-in-10-steps-for-product-managers-with-dick-lee-ph-d/ Mon, 12 Mar 2018 10:50:41 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13376 Expanding on Episode 166 to cover the full Value Innovation process for product managers. The last interview, episode 166, was a panel discussion with innovators at companies using Value Innovation to discover what customers really want before building a product. The panel participants talked about a 10-step process they used. This discussion provides details for […] Expanding on Episode 166 to cover the full Value Innovation process for product managers. The last interview, episode 166, was a panel discussion with innovators at companies using Value Innovation to discover what customers really want before building... The last interview, episode 166, was a panel discussion with innovators at companies using Value Innovation to discover what customers really want before building a product. The panel participants talked about a 10-step process they used. This discussion provides details for each step as well as where additional resources are found.
To learn the 10 steps, I invited Dick Lee, the founder of Value Innovations and a long-time practitioner of the Value Innovation method, to talk with us.
The 10 steps in Value Innovation are:

* Define project mission and objectives,
* Define value chain and identify the most important customer (MIC),
* Develop “as is” and “best in class” value curves
* Conduct contextual interviews to uncover unmet needs
* Develop “to be” value curve,
* Review “to be ” value curve with the MIC,
* Modify “to be” value curve,
* Define value proposition,
* Determine how to deliver the “what,” and
* Confirm with MIC that the “how” is compelling

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:47] Step 1: Define Project Mission and Objectives
We assumed that teams would know what their project’s mission was, but found more and more that it wasn’t the case. This part of the process involves asking some very basic questions like what’s in scope, what’s out of scope, what’s the purpose of the project, and who is the project’s team leader. One example of this is a company called American Vanguard. They make pesticide products that were harming fish, but couldn’t develop a new formula because it would take too long to go through regulatory approvals. In this case, what’s in scope was creating a new delivery method rather than a completely new product.
[6:35] Step 2: Identify Most Important Customer (MIC)
In the B2B world, most people assume that the MICs are their direct customers, or the person that they sell their product to. We developed the Value Chain to help identify the MIC. It breaks down all of the transactions between you and the ultimate end user of your product. We ask three questions at each step of the way: Who is responsible for fixing a problem? Who loses the most money if there’s an issue? Who sees the value in your product? Many times we’ll find degrees of all three in each step of the process.
[11:07] Step 3: Develop “As Is” and “Best in Class” Value Curve
This is one that some companies are inclined to skip. A value curve breaks down a product or service into elements of performance, such as ease of use. Each element has its own attributes that are broken down even further. The value curve also helps prioritize which elements are worked on based on what’s most important to the MIC. You can only work on three or four within a reasonable time frame. You try to put yourself in the MIC’s shoes to develop the curve. This allows interviewers in the next step to connect what the interviewee is saying with the attributes in the value curve.
[13:32] Step 4: Conduct Contextual Interviews to Discover Unmet Needs
Contextual interviews take place in steps 4, 6, 7, and 10. Interviews take place with pairs of MICs so that you get varied perspectives.  Step 4 specifically involves interviews with 6 pairs of people. The most important question in the first interview is “What keeps you awake at night?” We only ask open-ended questions and have no idea where they’ll go. Another example is “What do you expect the biggest challenges to be in your field over the next five years?” It’s important to have the right interviewer to draw information out of people and get them ...]]>
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TEI 166: How product managers innovate – with Dick Lee, Ed Wolf, and John Chattaway https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-166-how-product-managers-innovate-with-dick-lee-ed-wolf-and-john-chattaway/ Mon, 05 Mar 2018 12:50:39 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13377 Using simple questions and a structured process to achieve new product success. As product managers, our natural inclination is to solve problems. The Value Innovation Process teaches us how you get to that solution is just as important as the solution itself. The 10-step process involves asking simple questions in a structured way to get […] Using simple questions and a structured process to achieve new product success. As product managers, our natural inclination is to solve problems. The Value Innovation Process teaches us how you get to that solution is just as important as the solution...
As product managers, our natural inclination is to solve problems. The Value Innovation Process teaches us how you get to that solution is just as important as the solution itself. The 10-step process involves asking simple questions in a structured way to get to the heart of who your customers are and what problem you are looking to solve for them.
Once those elements are in place, it’s much easier to determine what the solution will be and how you will deliver it. This episode has several guests who will share their experiences with the Value Innovation Process:

* Dick Lee, who literally wrote the book on the Value Innovation Process.
* Ed Wolf, a product manager at Caterpillar Trimble.
* John Chattaway, a product manager at Bobcat Doosan.

In the discussion you will learn:

* What the Value Innovation Process is.
* How it’s being used at Caterpillar Trimble and Bobcat.
* How businesses and customers benefit from following the process.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:50] What is the Value Innovation Process and how did it come about?
Dick Lee: Value Innovation is delivering exceptional value to the most important customer in the value chain. The concept is based on the book Blue Ocean Strategy. That was a great book, but it was missing the process for how to implement value innovation. That’s where we came in.
[4:58] How do you determine your Most Important Customer (MIC)?
Dick Lee: In the B2C world, the MIC is always the consumer. The B2B world is a little more complicated. There are three questions you can ask to help determine who it is: Who is responsible for fixing a problem? Who stands to lose the most financially? Who sees the value in the product? It’s rare to find someone who meets all three, but you’ll usually get two out of three.
[11:06] How is the Value Innovation Process used at Caterpillar Trimble?
Ed Wolf: As a product manager, I’m responsible for sensors and other products that can help improve the workflow and how the machines operate. A machine operator can work more autonomously, which improves efficiency and reduces cost. We are taking plans out of the office and into the machine. Value Innovation really drove home the idea that businesses exist to deliver value to customers. We came to understand that we deliver value by solving problems for our target customer group. Value Innovation taught us to ask the right questions about what problems those customers are facing and what other groups are out there who might benefit from our products or services.
[16:47] Is there a specific project where the Value Innovation Process really made a difference?
Ed Wolf: We recognized an opportunity for worldwide distribution for our dealers and wanted to understand the challenges that prevented them from doing so. We went through a process to document those challenges, develop a solution, and determine how to implement it. Most of the things we came up with were fairly obvious, but we would never have come up with them without going through the Value Innovation Process and doing the work. The discipline of the 10-step process really helped keep us on track.
One of the challenges we heard about from dealers were faulty harnesses on machines. It was difficult for them to verify whether the harnesses were actually working without a lot of troubleshooting. We developed a harness testing kit that lets them verify it’s working before they go any further in their work. This was a simple problem with a simple solution, but solving it added a lot of value for our customers.
[22:59] How has the Value Innovation Process changed your approach to working on a project?
Ed Wolf: As a company of engineers and scientists,]]>
Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 41:38
TEI 165: 2018 Product Management Insights – with Nis Frome https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-165-2018-product-management-insights-with-nis-frome/ Mon, 26 Feb 2018 12:50:09 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13018 Survey identifies growing pains as product management expands. The role of product manager formally dates back to the 1930s with its start at Procter & Gamble, but it has only been in the last few years that the role has become much better known. As the field has grown, a few annual surveys to were […] Survey identifies growing pains as product management expands. The role of product manager formally dates back to the 1930s with its start at Procter & Gamble, but it has only been in the last few years that the role has become much better known. The role of product manager formally dates back to the 1930s with its start at Procter & Gamble, but it has only been in the last few years that the role has become much better known. As the field has grown, a few annual surveys to were created to provide insight into the role. One that I follow is the Product Management Insights report, which was just published by Alpha.
I interviewed the report’s co-author, Nis Frome, who is also co-founder and head of content at Alpha, a company that provides on-demand user insights platform for product teams. Nis is also the editor of Product Management Insider and co-producer of the This is Product Management podcast.
We discuss:

* how people move into the role of product manager,
* the key activities product managers are involved in,
* the responsibilities of the product management role,
* where they get their ideas for product features, and
* how they spend their time.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[2:50] Who did you collect data from for the 2018 Product Management Insights report?
This is our fourth year doing the survey, and we try to collect data from as many previous recipients as we can who are still working in the field. We also advertise on social media, on our podcast, and in our newsletter. We want to cast a wide net so it’s not just people who are already subscribed to what we’re doing. Respondents are mostly in the U.S. and do not necessarily need to have the title of product manager, but they have to be responsible for building digital products.
[4:30] Only 11 percent of people taking the survey indicated they started their careers as product managers. How did everyone else get into this field?
People starting directly as product managers spiked a few years ago and is declining as companies shift toward rotation programs and valuing people coming into product management having served in other roles. The most common job someone has before starting in product management is a business analyst, followed by engineering, then marketing/sales/customer success. There’s a belief out there that you need to have a technical background to be a good product manager, but I think we’re starting to see empathy and knowledge of other teams trump technical knowledge. The level of technical knowledge needed really differs from role to role.
[7:17] What does a digital product manager do?
They set product roadmaps and write user stories. More product managers are talking to more customers than ever before. They are using technology to replace things like traditional focus groups so they can reach more of their customers in a way that’s efficient for everyone. A lot of product managers are still doing things like prototyping and managing development teams, which are not things they necessarily should be doing.
[10:01] How can product managers set a roadmap?
We’re advocates of creating thematic roadmaps that demonstrate what problems you’re going to solve, but we realize that sales teams might want something more concrete about what you’re going to build next quarter. A big theme in the report is learning to work within the constraints you have and make the most of a non-ideal situation.
[13:18] What were some of the challenges that came up in the survey results?
Stakeholders and internal politics have consistently topped the list. However, every year we ask about the biggest wish for the coming year and have seen some interesting trends emerge. In 2015, they said it was a better strategy and clear roadmap. In 2016, it was a salary increase. In 2017, it was more resources. In 2018, it’s back to a better strategy and a clear roadmap. This follows industry growth and in some ways we are now back at the beginning.]]>
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TEI 164: How qualitative research drives product management & the next generation Hyundai Santa Fe – with Heather Kluter https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-164-how-qualitative-research-drives-product-management-the-next-generation-hyundai-santa-fe-with-heather-kluter/ Mon, 19 Feb 2018 12:50:21 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13196 From Glamor Moms to a successful product launch with ethnography. One of my early product experiences began with user observations. I spent a week with customers, observing them in their environment, learning what they needed to accomplish and the obstacles they encountered. By the end of the week, I was walking in their shoes.  It […] From Glamor Moms to a successful product launch with ethnography. One of my early product experiences began with user observations. I spent a week with customers, observing them in their environment, learning what they needed to accomplish and the obst... One of my early product experiences began with user observations. I spent a week with customers, observing them in their environment, learning what they needed to accomplish and the obstacles they encountered. By the end of the week, I was walking in their shoes.  It was the start of what became a very successful product.
The use of qualitative research, such as observing customers, is a powerful resource for product managers.
It was used successfully by Hyundai to design the second-generation Santa Fe, a crossover SUV. The person who was responsible for consumer insights and product strategy for the Santa Fe at the time was Heather Kluter. She is an innovator and decision engineer working with large companies to help them think bigger.
In the discussion, you will learn:

* The benefits of ethnographic research
* Why very small market segments are useful (only 10 people for the Santa Fe research)
* Working with internal and external culture differences

 
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers:
[2:10] What lead Hyundai to take this approach for its Santa Fe SUV?


The only people who were buying Hyundais were captive resentfuls — people who couldn’t afford to buy anything else but hated that they drove Hyundais. The chairman of the company issued a mandate that quality needed to be of the utmost importance. We also knew that whatever was designed would need to appeal to an American consumer, even though it was designed in Korea. The research being done was very standard and very quantitative, and we knew that wasn’t a winning strategy. The company was very siloed between research, product development, and marketing. Touch the Market came about to break down those silos.
[5:52] What was your role in Touch the Market?


My role was to tell everyone what prospective customers looked like how we could appeal to them. We identified a target called Glamor Mom that designers and product engineers could think about on a daily basis. We used an algorithm to find people who fit this role and brought them in for interviews to get to know them a little better. It took us more than 100 interviews to find 10 Glamor Moms that were really right. Glamor Mom needed the space and functionality of an SUV without compromising her sense of style with a boxy SUV or a mini van. The car should feel smooth and fun to drive, not like a truck.
[8:50] How did taking such a small focus help you relate to the larger market?
We already had the larger market defined and refined it along the way. We moved from designed target to media target to consumption target and each of them loosely defined. If you start too broad with designers and engineers, you end up with a product that tries to be everything to everyone and have everything in it. We started smaller to help them focus on a specific customer in mind and create something much more special.
[11:22] How did the 10 Glamor Moms contribute to the project?
One of our biggest challenges was convincing Korea to trust qualitative research, and the Glamor Moms helped us do that. Those ten women were with us for four years, and we got to know their lifestyles. We had a cross-functional team who went shopping with them, observed their morning routines, and following them on weekends. We shopped for everything from clothing to groceries and looked at how the moms used the space in the car to organize their purchases. We learned a lot about colors they prefer and how they organized things in their purse. We thought the center console of the car could look a lot like a purse with different compartments to organize things.  The team split up to travel with the moms and then come back and compare notes.
[18:53] Did you consider other segments before deciding on Glamor Mom?]]>
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TEI 163: Rookie mistakes in market research product managers must avoid – with Gerry Katz https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-163-rookie-mistakes-in-market-research-product-managers-must-avoid-with-gerry-katz/ Mon, 12 Feb 2018 12:50:03 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13020 Product managers can separate needs from solutions by asking the right questions in the right way. One of the skills you need as a product master is customer and market research. We explored this earlier with Gerry Katz in episode 071. It was an episode several listeners really appreciated and I have invited Gerry back […] Product managers can separate needs from solutions by asking the right questions in the right way. One of the skills you need as a product master is customer and market research. We explored this earlier with Gerry Katz in episode 071. One of the skills you need as a product master is customer and market research. We explored this earlier with Gerry Katz in episode 071. It was an episode several listeners really appreciated and I have invited Gerry back to share more of his expert experience with market research. Specifically, he discusses market research mistakes product managers too often make, including:

* Confusing qualitative with quantitative research.
* Talking to the wrong customers.
* Asking customers what they want.
* Not separating needs from solutions to needs.
* Translating customer vernacular into company-speak.
* Hearing only what you want to hear.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[0:50] How do product managers confuse qualitative research with quantitative research?
Qualitative research is about words and feelings and things that needs to be said; quantitative research involves ratings and rankings. If your entire questionnaire is open-ended questions, it should be treated as qualitative research and done as an interview. That way, you can ask follow up questions and get clarification when needed. If you’re going to be asking questions that require a verbal response, it’s best to treat it as qualitative research. If you’re looking for ratings, that can be done as a questionnaire. If you’re doing quantitative research, you’ll want to pay attention to the laws of statistics and make sure your sample size is large enough to be representative.
[5:22] What should a company consider when defining its customers?
Customers are much more than the end users of your product. There are lots of people in between like influencers and financial decision-makers and people in the distribution chain. One of my colleagues was working with a financial service company who sold mutual funds and they only considered brokers to be their customers. A few years later, this colleague worked with another company that only talked to investors or people who bought their funds. Both of those groups are customers and product managers need to talk to all of them in order to have valid market research.
[8:10] How do you make sure that you’re talking to the right people?
This is not the place to talk only to your biggest or best customers. You need to think more broadly and include your competitors’ customers, your former customers, and even noncustomers. You’ll learn more from people who aren’t happy with what you have now. Once you’ve identified that customer group, don’t directly ask them what they want and need. Most customers aren’t creative to come up with new ideas or features, so they repeat things that are already in the marketplace. If you take their advice, you’re going to end up creating something that’s already been done. Instead, get them to tell you stories from their experiences and what they were trying to do. The real needs will come out of these conversations.
[12:40] What’s the difference between a need and a solution to a need?
We can use Henry Ford as an example. If he asked customers what they wanted, they would have said they wanted a faster horse. Their real need was to go faster. Ford understood that and came up with a better solution. The customers aren’t engineers or designers; their only job should be to clearly articulate what they need. You can then take that need and figure out what the solution should be, just like Ford did when he invented the automobile.
[15:02] What’s the best way to identify those needs using market research?
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TEI 162: How product managers can influence people – with Tom Henschel https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-162-how-product-managers-can-influence-people-with-tom-henschel/ Mon, 05 Feb 2018 12:50:18 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=13022 Change your perspective to build better relationships and create stories that stick. When I ask product managers why they got involved with product management and what they want from the role, a frequent answer is to have more influence. This also ranks as most important out of all the reasons for being a product manager. […] Change your perspective to build better relationships and create stories that stick. When I ask product managers why they got involved with product management and what they want from the role, a frequent answer is to have more influence. When I ask product managers why they got involved with product management and what they want from the role, a frequent answer is to have more influence. This also ranks as most important out of all the reasons for being a product manager. Does that ring true for you as well?
Product managers with more influence are able to accomplish more — creating better products for customers that they value. Product managers with less influence may be treated like gophers — asked to go do this or go do that. Such product managers are more reactive than proactive. If you are like me, there is little that sounds fun or rewarding about that. Indeed, we need influence.
To help us get it, I invited Tom Henschel back. He joined us in episode 137 to share a tool for talking like a leader, which is part of increasing your influence. This time he shared a model for having more influence called the Five Influence Strategies.
In the discussion, you’ll learn how to use the components of this strategy, which are:

* Build credibility
* Involve people actively
* Frame ideas for them
* Present compelling evidence
* Customize your communication

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[3:38] How can product managers build credibility? 
Credibility is made up of expertise and relationships, which are in conflict with each other. People who are stronger in one area tend to be weaker in another, but both are important when you are in a position where you need to influence people. If you are weaker on the relationship side, going out to lunch with other people in the company you don’t know can help you become more comfortable with people and forming new relationships. One the other side of the coin, you’re not going to get by on the strength of your relationships if you don’t have expertise to back it up so you may need to work on that. A good goal is to focus on growing five percent at a time. You can make incremental changes that will lead to long-term growth.
[10:30] How can we involve others to increase influence?
Influence is not the same as persuasion or convincing someone to do something. Trying to push others toward your point of view doesn’t work. One example of this happened during WWII, when the government was trying to convince women to use more organ meat as a way to help with food shortages. One group attended government seminars about the facts related to organ meat. Another group asked women how they would convince each other to do this, which made them actively involved in finding the solution. The second group was far more compliant because they were actively involved. We often go in ready to defeat objections and spout our point of view, rather than really listening to what others have to say. This ties back to the idea of relationships and getting to know others.
[18:50] What does it mean to frame an idea for someone else?
When you feel really strongly about something, you talk from your point of view, which doesn’t do much to help others come along with you. Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes can completely change the way you think about something. The arguments that make sense to you might not make sense to someone else, but you won’t know that until you fully consider their perspective. Product managers need to be able to put themselves in their customers’ shoes and our colleagues’ shoes to frame ideas from those perspectives. We all think that we’re already good at this, but there is always room for improvement through these role switching exercises.
[24:40] How can someone present compelling evidence?
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TEI 161: Revisiting the GE Appliance innovation lab and extending it to your product – with Taylor Dawson https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-161-revisiting-the-ge-appliance-innovation-lab-and-extending-it-to-your-product-with-taylor-dawson/ Mon, 29 Jan 2018 12:50:55 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12788 Giddy, Dawson’s new venture, connects product managers and entrepreneurs to smash the status quo. Back in episode 110 we learned about FirstBuild, the innovation lab of GE Appliance. It allows them to test ideas and solve problems that would be considered too small or risky by GE Appliance. They have built a platform that is […] Giddy, Dawson’s new venture, connects product managers and entrepreneurs to smash the status quo. Back in episode 110 we learned about FirstBuild, the innovation lab of GE Appliance. It allows them to test ideas and solve problems that would be conside... Giddy, Dawson's new venture, connects product managers and entrepreneurs to smash the status quo.<br /> <br /> Back in episode 110 we learned about FirstBuild, the innovation lab of GE Appliance. It allows them to test ideas and solve problems that would be considered too small or risky by GE Appliance.<br /> <br /> They have built a platform that is fueled by an open community of consumers and problem solvers.<br /> <br /> What would happen if that capability was used by other companies to tackle any type of product concept? That is what Taylor Dawson is discovering. When I talked with him in episode 110 he was the Product Evangelist for First Build. Now he is the CEO of Giddy, who is providing a First Build capability to any large company. That is like being able to create a successful innovation lab overnight without actually building one.<br /> <br /> This also means that Giddy will be deepening and rapidly increasing their own learning started at First Build. That makes them the leader for rest of us to learn from.<br /> <br /> Specifically, in this discussion you will discover:<br /> <br /> Why it's important but almost impossible for large organizations to innovate like a startup.<br /> The advantages of an open innovation lab.<br /> What makes the FirstBuild innovation lab a success — which are ideas to help your organization be more innovative.<br /> The benefits of leveraging Giddy for increasing product success. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 39:02 TEI 160: How LEGO and others use a low-risk, high-value approach to product management – with David Robertson, PhD https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-160-how-lego-and-others-use-a-low-risk-high-value-approach-to-product-management-with-david-robertson-phd/ Mon, 22 Jan 2018 12:50:45 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12790 You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just innovate around it. Fundamentally, product managers should be driving success for their organization. We do that by providing customers value. The source of that value may be, and perhaps should be, closer to our core capabilities than is often thought. The toy company LEGO found this to […] You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just innovate around it. Fundamentally, product managers should be driving success for their organization. We do that by providing customers value. The source of that value may be, and perhaps should be, Fundamentally, product managers should be driving success for their organization. We do that by providing customers value. The source of that value may be, and perhaps should be, closer to our core capabilities than is often thought. The toy company LEGO found this to be true, only after being on the brink of bankruptcy. Other companies have also discovered this principle, which is something my guest calls innovating near the core.
My guest this week, David Robertson, explored this in a book-long case study of LEGO, called Brick by Brick:  How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry. In his recent book, The Power of Little Ideas: A Low-Risk, High-Reward Approach to Innovation, he studies other companies who have won their market using a similar approach.
David is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he teaches Innovation and Product Design. He is also the host of the weekly radio show on SiriusXM called “Innovation Navigation,” where he interviews world-renowned thought leaders about the management of innovation.
In the discussion, you’ll learn:

* Why almost all of LEGO’s product innovation efforts resulted in millions of dollars lost.
* What action turned LEGO around and produced growth.
* How companies have innovated close to their core to create market success.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

* [2:55] LEGO tried many different innovation approaches over the years, but none of them stuck. Why was that?  LEGO saw 14% annual growth for 15 years by making new boxes of bricks with different themes. Things started to change in the 1990s as video games came online. LEGO kept trying to put out more boxes of bricks throughout the 90s, but it only increased their costs and not their sales. At the same time, the idea of disruption was sweeping the business world and LEGO tried just about every way they could think of to disrupt themselves and failed at all of them.


In the end, there’s a huge difference between sufficient and necessary. In LEGO’s case, it wasn’t sufficient to only sell boxes of bricks, but it was necessary and their business model couldn’t succeed without them.


* [6:35] How did LEGO finally turn things around and what did they learn from it? Their success came when they started innovating games, stories, and events around the bricks. They began opening LEGO stores and indoor playgrounds where they could charge admission. They also realized that adding digital games don’t disrupt the bricks, they complement them. When kids play LEGO Star Wars or see a LEGO movie, they want to buy more boxes of bricks, not less. When they tried going purely digital, they turned customers away and created a major loss of revenue from LEGO’s main product, which is the plastic brick.

 

* [8:45] Was there a catalyst that helped LEGO realize that they needed to keep plastic bricks at the core of their business model? The only significant success from LEGO’s period of disruption was something called Bionicle, which was the first buildable action figure. It didn’t look like anything else LEGO had ever done. It was still a box of plastic pieces that you snapped together, but it came with a rich story of heroes and villains that changed from year to year with a new set of action figures. The combination of the story, the action figures, and the scarcity from the collectibles made it hugely popular. Not only did Bionicle save LEGO from bankruptcy, it taught them how powerful stories were to excite kids. They’ve been focused on telling stories ever since. They’ve learned that stories don’t disrupt demand, they increase it.

 

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TEI 159: Don’t make the customer feel anxious. The failure of Crystal Pepsi — with Kyle Murray, PhD https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-159-dont-make-the-customer-feel-anxious-the-failure-of-crystal-pepsi-with-kyle-murray-phd/ Mon, 15 Jan 2018 12:55:13 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12792 What product managers at Pepsi got wrong but you won’t after listening to this. No one and no organization has a perfect record when it comes to releasing new products into the market. Failures are frequent — around 40% or so depending on the industry — and they happen at small companies, big companies, and […] What product managers at Pepsi got wrong but you won’t after listening to this. No one and no organization has a perfect record when it comes to releasing new products into the market. Failures are frequent — around 40% or so depending on the industry ... No one and no organization has a perfect record when it comes to releasing new products into the market. Failures are frequent — around 40% or so depending on the industry — and they happen at small companies, big companies, and experienced companies, including Pepsi.
In this episode, you’ll learn a simple and profound concept that every product manager and product marketer must understand. And, this is an easy one to get wrong. Even Pepsi got this wrong when they created a new product called Crystal Pepsi.
The simple part of the concept — don’t confuse your customer.
The profound part — when introducing something new or making a change, give your customer a reason.
My guest to explain this concept is Kyle B. Murray, the Vice Dean and Professor of Marketing at the Alberta School of Business. Kyle studies human judgment and decision making. His research uses the tools of experimental psychology and behavioral economics to better understand the choices that consumers make.
He is a co-author of an article explaining the mistake Pepsi made with Crystal Pepsi. When I read the article I recognized how important the concept is to product managers and contacted with Kyle to tell us about it himself.
In the discussion you will learn the:

* Reason people didn’t purchase Crystal Pepsi.
* Solution to the issue so you don’t make the same mistake.
* Examples demonstrating the solution.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

* [2:30] You recently examined different types of innovations, such as sustaining vs. radical innovations. What caused you to research this? It all comes down to the consumer. We can describe it however we’d like when we are creating the products, but in the end, the consumer decides whether something is radical or something they already know.

 

* [3:31] For listeners unfamiliar with consumer packaged-goods, can you describe the business and the rate of product introduction? Essentially, this industry represents anything you find in the grocery store that comes in a package and is aimed at consumers. It’s a broad category that employs some of the best marketers in the world who develop some great products. One industry group estimates that there are about 33,000 new products created each month. Innovation happens very quickly ranges from incremental changes like adjusting a color or adding a new option, to things that are truly radical. Many of those products fail, and some are only indented to be around for a few months to build a buzz and then disappear. Segments like potato chips and soft drinks allow you to innovate fairly quickly and put a new flavor or new version of a product out and see what the market thinks.

 

* [8:25] Tell us about Crystal Pepsi and what makes it a useful example to learn from.  Pepsi launched a new version of the product it had always made — the same Pepsi, just without any coloring. This seemed reasonable, given that products like 7Up and Sprite were successful and people were starting question what value the dye for color brought to the product. This was not intended to be a short-time product or new flavor; Pepsi had a plan for turning it into a billion-dollar brand. The reaction was people questioning why they would want a clear Pepsi and what was wrong with the dye in regular Pepsi.

 

* [11:40] Why didn’t consumers purchase Crystal Pepsi? It was perceived to be really radical by the market, but it was really a superficial change to the product. This is a classic example of what drives product acceptance. If we see a new product being too different from what we expect to see, we go from being curious about them to feeling anxious about them.]]>
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TEI 158: Effective virtual meeting skills for product managers – with Dan Hoffman https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-158-effective-virtual-meeting-skills-for-product-managers-with-dan-hoffman/ Mon, 08 Jan 2018 12:50:41 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12829 Six steps to run a productive meeting and build a team that gets things done Every week I’m involved in virtual meetings and the same is true for many Everyday Innovators. If it’s not yet true for you, virtual meetings are almost certainly in your future as more teams become virtual. Facilitating virtual meetings and […] Six steps to run a productive meeting and build a team that gets things done Every week I’m involved in virtual meetings and the same is true for many Everyday Innovators. If it’s not yet true for you, virtual meetings are almost certainly in your futu... Six steps to run a productive meeting and build a team that gets things done<br /> Every week I'm involved in virtual meetings and the same is true for many Everyday Innovators. If it's not yet true for you, virtual meetings are almost certainly in your future as more teams become virtual.<br /> <br /> Facilitating virtual meetings and making them productive takes specific skills that product managers should know. With these skills, you can run virtual meetings that don't waste people's time and that build trust and cohesion in the team.<br /> <br /> To learn the right skills, I have the perfect guest as his company is all about facilitating virtual meetings. He joins us to share his "Six How's of Great Meetings." His name is Dan Hoffman and he is founder and CEO of Circles, an online service that provides guided video peer groups to foster deeper conversations for impactful continued professional learning and personal growth.<br /> <br /> Dan is also a serial entrepreneur, previously the founder of M5, a pioneer in cloud communications, which ShoreTel purchased. He is regarded by colleagues as down to earth, completely approachable, and one of the brightest guys you will ever meet.<br /> <br /> In the discussion, you will learn the Six How's of Great Meetings, which are:<br /> <br /> Culture,<br /> Conversation,<br /> Presence,<br /> Participation,<br /> Agendas, and<br /> Facilitation Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 35:04 TEI 157: Big topics product managers encounter – with Suzanne Abate https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-157-big-topics-product-managers-encounter-with-suzanne-abate/ Mon, 01 Jan 2018 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12849 The right product begins with a validated user need and a market In this episode you’ll learn about some of the big ideas in product management to help you make the move to product master, specifically: The difference between building the product right vs. building the right product, Challenges of working with development teams, How […] The right product begins with a validated user need and a market In this episode you’ll learn about some of the big ideas in product management to help you make the move to product master, specifically: The difference between building the product right... The right product begins with a validated user need and a market<br /> <br /> <br /> In this episode you'll learn about some of the big ideas in product management to help you make the move to product master, specifically:<br /> <br /> The difference between building the product right vs. building the right product,<br /> Challenges of working with development teams,<br /> How to assemble a roadmap,<br /> Release planning, and<br /> The benefits of first using divergent thinking followed by convergent thinking.<br /> My guest for addressing those topics is Suzanne Abate, a seasoned product coach who has developed hundreds of digital products for clients and helped dozens of startups go from idea to execution. She is the Co-Founder of The Development Factory, an LA-based product consultancy, and Chief Product Officer of 100 Product Managers, a free online resource and weekly podcast for new and aspiring product managers. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 39:00 TEI 156: Medical device product management – with Mike Lawless https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-156-medical-device-product-management-with-mike-lawless/ Mon, 25 Dec 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12734 Test to understand where a product design fails and use parallel solution paths Several listeners have asked about medical device products and I searched for someone with deep experience in this area. I realize most of us are not involved with medical devices, but there is much any product manager can learn from the upcoming […] Test to understand where a product design fails and use parallel solution paths Several listeners have asked about medical device products and I searched for someone with deep experience in this area. I realize most of us are not involved with medical ... Several listeners have asked about medical device products and I searched for someone with deep experience in this area. I realize most of us are not involved with medical devices, but there is much any product manager can learn from the upcoming discussion. This ability to learn from product managers in different industries is one of the things I most enjoy about this podcast. We have a lot in common regardless of the industry we work in.
The topic of this episode is pricing. It is a frequently asked about topic and I have a great guest to help us understand the components of a pricing strategy and how to price a product.
My guest is Mike Lawless, who has over 25 years of experience in medical devices, starting as a mechanical engineer. For more than a decade he has been helping to create medical devices for a variety of organizations through his own company, Lawless Consulting.
In the discussion you will learn the:

* Challenges of creating a high-volume manufactured product,
* Importance of prototyping and testing to failure, and
* Benefits of using parallel problem-solving and development.

 
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

* [2:38] What are the types of medical devices you have helped develop? I work on a wide range of medical devices, with several focused on drug delivery, such as insulin and IV pumps, as well as diagnostic devices.

 

* [3:27] How is the development of medical devices different from other products? There are a lot of similarities with other types of products. Most of my work has been in the development and management of high-volume manufactured products. Such products require attention to the functionality of the product as well as design for manufacturing, tooling, and production. Medical devices have an additional challenge to comply with FDA regulations. If the product uses disposable items (such as the tubing set for an IV pump), this introduces additional risks. Also, there is a great deal of innovation in medical devices and of course innovation introduces risk because we are attempting what has not been done before. The greater the innovation, the greater the potential for a technical risk or glitches in manufacturing.

 

* [4:48] What are the challenges of high volume products, like disposables? With disposables that may be manufactured in the millions to tens of millions a year, the tooling and automation becomes critical and can be complicated. A very small mistake is very costly. The core challenge with this type of product development is…


you need to find the problems before they find you.


* [8:21] How does encountering a problem impact medical devices given the regulation needs? It depends, as the FDA regulatory process has many steps including submission of the product for approval. Depending on when the problem is encountered, if the product must be resubmitted it could create months or years of delay. This is a difference between medical devices and other products as the development cycle is longer because the regulations must be met. It’s not uncommon for a medical device cycle to be 3 to 5 years.

 

* [10:05] What kind of challenges do you find with clients who are developing medical devices? The biggest challenge is that the culture is not aligned well with what is needed for product development. The norm is business operations and information that can be put on a Gantt chart. This effects how engineers approach development, with a focus on if something works or not instead of having deeper knowledge of the nuances of why something works. When a problem arises they are caught off guard. The solution to this is to gain a knowledge of failure conditions.

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TEI 155: How product managers can get pricing right – with Tim Smith, PhD https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-155-how-product-managers-can-get-pricing-right-with-tim-smith-phd/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12711 The 5 considerations that result in the best price for a product The topic of this episode is pricing. It is a frequently asked about topic. Determing the proper price for a product  impacts profit potential and sales volume expectations. I have a great guest to help us understand the components of a pricing strategy and […] The 5 considerations that result in the best price for a product The topic of this episode is pricing. It is a frequently asked about topic. Determing the proper price for a product  impacts profit potential and sales volume expectations. The topic of this episode is pricing. It is a frequently asked about topic. Determing the proper price for a product  impacts profit potential and sales volume expectations.
I have a great guest to help us understand the components of a pricing strategy and how to price a product.
He is Tim Smith, author of five books on pricing, Adjunct Professor of Marketing and Economics at DePaul University, and founder of Wiglaf Pricing.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

* [3:05] Why is pricing important? Getting pricing right matters to the longevity of the business and ability to serve the customer. We need to consider fixed cost, variable costs, units to sell, and price. A 1% improvement in price results in a 12% improvement in profit.

 

* [4:43] What is involved in getting prices for a product right? There are 5 key parts to that question.

* Product strategy – who are competitors, who are the key customers (market segments), and what differentiates the product.
* Pricing strategy – what is the basic structure of pricing, such as a purchase, lease, or other exchange of value.
* Market pricing – what is list price, which is determined from the pricing strategy.
* Price variance – this is the go-to-market price, consideration of discounts, and use of promotions.
* Price execution – providing the correct price to customers.

 
* [8:06] How do we get the list price right? This requires market research to determine the customers’ willingness to pay for the value delivered by the product. Techniques include voice of the customer (VOC), economic value to the customer, conjoint analysis, and price elasticity methods. With these, we are trying to understand the value delivered to customers, the desired combination of product features, and alternatives the customer has.

 

* [22:10] Should promotional pricing be used? It’s an important consideration in a pricing strategy. As an example, consider the smartphone market. Apple uses no discounts and has 90% of profit share with 11% of market share while Samsung has 10% of the profit share with 22% of market share. Apple has been very successful generating higher profit with less market share.

 

* [27:38] What is a common mistake that is made with pricing? One is always pricing only on gross margin, only considering product costs and not considering value delivered to the customer.

 
Useful links:

* Tim’s pricing group, Wiglaf Pricing

 
Innovation Quote
“In an authentic world, failure is something you embrace. It’s almost a noble pursuit. I come from that world—it supported me in creating the punk aesthetic.” – Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols.
 
Thanks!
Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it using the social media buttons you see below.
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TEI 154: Pitfalls that can trap new product managers – with Aero Wong https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-154-pitfalls-that-can-trap-new-product-managers-with-aero-wong/ Mon, 11 Dec 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12683 10 common mistakes or pitfalls new product managers should avoid A few months ago I was contacted by a product manager, Areo Wong, who works in Hong Kong. He described himself as a “newbie” with about one-year of experience. He has been struggling to learn what the role of product manager was really about. After trying […] 10 common mistakes or pitfalls new product managers should avoid A few months ago I was contacted by a product manager, Areo Wong, who works in Hong Kong. He described himself as a “newbie” with about one-year of experience. A few months ago I was contacted by a product manager, Areo Wong, who works in Hong Kong. He described himself as a “newbie” with about one-year of experience. He has been struggling to learn what the role of product manager was really about. After trying a few different approaches to learning more, he took a very creative path. He decided to interview 30 expert product managers and create a virtual summit of the insights shared on the interviews. This would help him rapidly learn and provide an opportunity for other younger product managers to do the same. I thought it was a great idea since my work is all about helping product managers know what they really need to know. So, I eagerly accepted his invitation to be part of his Product Manager Summit.
More recently, I was discussing his experience as a product manager and what he had learned so far. He shared 10 pitfalls that he has encountered as a “newbie” product manager and that he has seen others struggle with as well…

* Trying to know everything about the technical side of projects
* Doing the hands-on work alone
* Not saying “no” enough
* Trying to please everyone
* Getting too emotionally attached to the product
* Just wanting to deliver something
* Not distinguishing core features from nice-to-have features
* Just following instructions from senior management
* Always wanting to change the world with little authority
* Forgetting the big picture

We had an opportunity to discuss some of the pitfalls together. I expect you’ll find the discussion helpful.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

* [3:09]  What is the Product Manager Summit? I interviewed 30 product management experts, asking them to share their knowledge with junior product managers. I categorized the knowledge from the interviews into six modules: (1) Product management essentials, (2) Problem space exploration, (3) Agile product development, (4) Lean UX, (5) Product marketing skills, and (6) Product management toolbox.

 

* [5:45] How did the Product Manager Summit come about? I really want to learn how to become a product master from the product newbie that I am now, which is why I interviewed you for the Summit since you have the Product Mastery Roadmap. I am new to product management and the role of product manager is new in Hong Kong, my home. I  hired a researcher to collect information on product management and attended a few events, but it is a challenge to know what is really important about the role of product manager. So, I decided to create the Summit to help myself and to help other product managers.

 

* [8:25] You’ve created a list of 10 pitfalls new product managers can easily fall into. What is the first one? Trying to know everything about the technical work for a product. My product is highly technical. I feel unconformable at times because I don’t really know what product management is about and I don’t really understand all of the technical aspects. After learning more about product management, I have become more comfortable focusing on my product manager role. I am more concerned with the product problem than with the solution.

 

* [10:59] What is another pitfall? I call this doing the hands-on work by yourself. I know I’m expected to produce a deliverable. To satisfy that, I might build something for my boss to see but forget to consider what the customers really want. You have to recognize you are part of a cross-functional team and not doing the work yourself.

 

* [11:19] Why do you say you have to know where your fear comes from? For me, in the beginning, my fear was because I didn’t understand product management and my...]]>
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TEI 153: 3D printing and product management – with John Baliotti https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-153-3d-printing-and-product-management-with-john-baliotti/ Mon, 04 Dec 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12579 3D printing creates new options for product managers and designers beyond prototyping The discussion coming up is about the state of 3D printing for prototyping and additive manufacturing. 3D printing is evolving quickly with the capability to print in a wide variety of materials. Also, post-processing capabilities, such as metal-plating plastic printed parts, are creating […] 3D printing creates new options for product managers and designers beyond prototyping The discussion coming up is about the state of 3D printing for prototyping and additive manufacturing. 3D printing is evolving quickly with the capability to print in... The discussion coming up is about the state of 3D printing for prototyping and additive manufacturing. 3D printing is evolving quickly with the capability to print in a wide variety of materials. Also, post-processing capabilities, such as metal-plating plastic printed parts, are creating new opportunities for ergonomically correct parts. 3D printing provides significant efficiencies and competitive advantages.
I discussed the state of 3D printing and additive manufacturing with industry veteran John Bailotti. His background couples engineering, manufacturing, financial research, marketing, business development, and leadership, providing a valuable perspective in helping companies adopt additive manufacturing.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

* [7:31] Where does 3D printing fit into manufacturing approaches? 3D printing is an additive approach. It’s helpful to contrast this with subtractive approaches. As an analogy, think about ice cream. Hard serve ice cream is scooped out of a container. It is subtracted from the container, leaving a lot of ice cream (material) in the container. To get what you want, you remove what you want or don’t want.  This is a subtractive process. Soft serve ice cream is different. You deposit into a cone or cup only what you want with very little to no waste. This is an additive process. Both processes are complementary and can be used together. For example, currently additive processes provide less accuracy for creating the desired form of an object and subtractive processes can be used to finish the object to precise specifications.  Additive manufacturing uses less material, creates less waste, and may take less time.

 

* [10:51] Are there times when one approach must be used over the other? Some objects cannot be made with subtractive manufacturing or traditional modes. An example is creating the cylinder head of an engine that, instead of using solid metal, uses an internal lattice structure that decreases weight while providing strength.

 

* [12:41] What materials can be used for 3D printing?  Standard filament printers use plastic-like spools of material containing ABS (like the black waste water pipes in a house) or PLA (which is made from corn). Many other materials can now be printed, including other forms of plastics, aluminum, titanium, stainless steel, and carbon fiber. While filament printers warm the material and ooze it together to create an object one thin slice at a time (like a glue gun), other 3D printers use a laser to fuse a powder form of the material to create an object. The technology is evolving quickly.

 

* [20:25] How does 3D printing help with prototyping when developing new products?   It removes any need for tooling, allowing you to produce prototypes much faster and create variations quickly to test with customers. Also, plastic 3D manufactured parts can be finished in another process, such as plating them with metal. This means you can very quickly create an aesthetically and ergonomically correct part finished in the proper metal for testing. While 3D printing is valuable for prototyping, it can also be used for low-volume manufacturing of the final product. By not tooling for manufacturing, you save time and cost. The economics continue to change and more parts are becoming more economical to print than to use traditional tooling.

 

* [25:18] What does tooling mean? Imagine you were creating a case for a laptop computer. This would traditionally be injection molded, forcing warm pellets of material into a tool – a mold – resulting in the desired shape for the case. The mold is the tool. The tooling involved means the creation of the mold, which can be expensive and time consuming to produce.]]>
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TEI 152: The successful product manager is the self-aware product manager – with Tasha Eurich https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-152-the-successful-product-manager-is-the-self-aware-product-manager-with-tasha-eurich/ Mon, 27 Nov 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12539 Improving your internal and external self-awareness is the real secret to success for product managers This may just be the most important interview yet. While it does not directly deal with product management concepts, it does deal with success concepts. The upcoming discussion is about a book The Muse called the number-one best career book […] Improving your internal and external self-awareness is the real secret to success for product managers This may just be the most important interview yet. While it does not directly deal with product management concepts, This may just be the most important interview yet. While it does not directly deal with product management concepts, it does deal with success concepts. The upcoming discussion is about a book The Muse called the number-one best career book available. The book is Insight: Why We’re Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life.
I discussed the key concepts of being more self-aware with Insight author, Dr. Tasha Eurich. Tasha is an organizational psychologist, researcher, and New York Times best-selling author. She has helped thousands of leaders and teams improve their effectiveness through greater self-awareness. In the interview she shares two categories of self-awareness and how we can be more self-aware.
It’s an important topic because greater self-awareness means greater success. I’m certain you will find this to be a very important discussion.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

* [4:48] What is self-awareness? It’s actually challenging to answer because the term is defined differently by people and in literature. We reviewed over 800 studies to create a description of self-awareness. It involves two main categories: internal and external.

* Internal self-awareness. This is our understanding of who we are, what makes us tick, what we want to accomplish, what we are passionate about – our internal reflections and insights about ourselves.
* External self-awareness. This is our understanding of how other people see us. It is also independent of internal self-awareness, so someone may have high internal self-awareness but low external self-awareness, which means they are unaware how others view them. The opposite may also be true. The real power comes from building your internal and external self-awareness.



 

* [8:14] How does increasing our self-awareness help us in our careers? Self-awareness is the meta-skill of the 21st Century. At a basic level, people who are more self-aware are better performers at work, better collaborators and communicators, get more promotions, and are better leaders. There is also evidence that shows more self-aware leaders lead more profitable companies. The reason it is the meta-skill is our level of self-awareness sets the limit for how effective we are in all of the capabilities we need to be successful in organizations. It opens our potential for performance and meaning in what we do. Further, it not only influences our career success but all aspects of our lives.

 

* [10:50] Why do we have blind spots and are not more self-aware? 95% of people think they are self-aware but only 10-15% actually are. The good news is that anyone can improve their self-awareness. There are two groups of factors why we are not more self-aware. First, humans have a unconscious part of our nature that makes it not possible to always be objectively aware of our thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. At any given moment a person is processing 11 million pieces of information, which means much of it is unconscious. Second, culture is pushing people to become more self-absorbed and less self-aware. I call it the cult of self and it is most easily observed in social media. The opposite of self-awareness is self-absorption. It requires conscious effort and work to minimize the impact of these factors that lead to blind spots.

 

* [19:25] What can we do to be more externally self-aware? Start with the right mindset. You have to step back and acknowledge that other people can see you more objectively than you see yourself. This means a simple way to be more self-aware is to get more feedback. One tool for feedback is called the dinner of truth.]]>
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TEI 151: What product managers should know about agile strategy – with Dan Montgomery https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-151-what-product-managers-should-know-about-agile-strategy-with-dan-montgomery/ Mon, 20 Nov 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12482 Product managers operate in an environment of uncertainty and change, requiring the use of Strategic Agility How organizations can improve their product performance and overall performance is as important to product managers as it is to senior leaders. Making improvements has become more challenging as the business environment for most organizations is changing more quickly […] Product managers operate in an environment of uncertainty and change, requiring the use of Strategic Agility How organizations can improve their product performance and overall performance is as important to product managers as it is to senior leaders.... How organizations can improve their product performance and overall performance is as important to product managers as it is to senior leaders. Making improvements has become more challenging as the business environment for most organizations is changing more quickly and contains greater uncertainty than in the past. Organizations that better respond to these changes can create a competitive advantage and one way to accomplish that is through Strategic Agility.
Dan Montgomery is a practitioner of Strategic Agility and shares with us simple and practical tools in this interview. He is also the co-author of The Institute Way: Simplify Strategic Planning and Management with the Balanced Scorecard. He has helped several organizations create strategic plans and add agility.

Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

* [2:57] What is Strategic Agility? It’s the ability of an organization to sense and respond to changes in its environment in near real-time. The change could be opportunities, risks, threats, disruptions, etc. Traditional strategic planning began when the business environment was more predictable. A 3-5 year strategy could be created and organizational resources aligned with it with few uncertainties. Today the level of uncertainty and disruption is much higher than in the past. This requires much greater agility.

 

* [5:39] What are the symptoms of an organization that lacks Strategic Agility? There are three:

* Plans quickly become out of date. Top-down strategy approaches believe that you can predict the future with enough data. This has been called predictive hubris. Such plans are often authored by just a few people and lack diversity of thought. These plans rapidly become obsolete.






* No true buy-in. With only a few people creating the plan, the vision is not broadly held to create buy-in. Many people in the organization may not understand the plan or even be aware of it. Senior leaders or the “experts” create the plan and the rest of the organization is not invested in it.






* Taking on too many projects. I call this initiative overload. There are too many projects for the available resources. Employees quickly get overwhelmed by not being able to accomplish what is expected and progress further slows. The answer to this is to…



Start less, Finish more, Pivot fast.

* [8:44] What tools are helpful for this? Start less and finish more requires having a clear and effective project selection process that is aligned with organizational objectives and then uses effective project management. Pivot fast requires understanding what is and is not working and how the business environment is changing. Tools such as PESTLE are very helpful for this.

 

* [11:30] What are barriers to creating Strategic Agility? Some are bureaucratic that have become part of the processes of the organizations. Others are aspects of the culture of the organization, such as feeling safe to express a differing opinion. For effective Strategic Agility to exist, psychological safety must be part of the culture and fear must be driven out of the organization.

 

* What are tools product managers and innovators can use to influence their organization towards Strategic Agility? Two key tools are:

* [15:39] OKRs — objectives and key results.  These are a lightweight approach to strategy deployment. Each quarter (or another reasonable interval) a team goes through a review of their assumptions about what is important, what they know about their strategy, and what may have changed. Then they set one or two targets for the next quarter.]]>
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TEI 150: What executives want from product managers – with Scott Propp https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-150-what-executives-want-from-product-managers-with-scott-propp/ Mon, 13 Nov 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12464 What product managers need to do for success at each stage of company growth This interview should be a fan favorite as many people have emailed me asking what executives want from product managers. My short answer is that executives and senior leaders want product managers to be thinking and acting more strategically towards the […] What product managers need to do for success at each stage of company growth This interview should be a fan favorite as many people have emailed me asking what executives want from product managers. My short answer is that executives and senior leaders... What product managers need to do for success at each stage of company growth<br /> <br /> This interview should be a fan favorite as many people have emailed me asking what executives want from product managers. My short answer is that executives and senior leaders want product managers to be thinking and acting more strategically towards the objectives of the organization. However, there are a lot of specifics to discuss, and this interview does that. My guest structures the discussion around three stages of organizational growth, which he calls the early stage, adolescent, and well-established. What executives need from product managers differs with each stage.<br /> <br /> Sharing these insights with us is Scott Propp, a former Fortune 100 executive and all around product guy. Today he serves organizations on a short-term basis, helping the executive team identify the right high-value product opportunities that yield the maximum return. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 35:30 TEI 149: How to effectively lead innovators – with Mike Mitchell, PhD https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-149-how-to-effectively-lead-innovators-with-mike-mitchell-phd/ Mon, 06 Nov 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12399 How leading innovation is different from leading business operations The state of innovation in organizations is unsettling. Executives overwhelmingly point to innovation as the growth engine for their organizations yet actual innovation performance is underwhelming. There are several factors contributing to the issue and one of them is the way innovation is led. The reality […] How leading innovation is different from leading business operations The state of innovation in organizations is unsettling. Executives overwhelmingly point to innovation as the growth engine for their organizations yet actual innovation performance is... The state of innovation in organizations is unsettling. Executives overwhelmingly point to innovation as the growth engine for their organizations yet actual innovation performance is underwhelming. There are several factors contributing to the issue and one of them is the way innovation is led. The reality is that most organizational leaders don't really understand innovation or know how to lead it.<br /> <br /> Well, that is about to change with this interview. The Center for Creative Leadership conducts original research, with findings to help leaders be more effective. New research conducted by Mike Mitchell found that leading innovation requires a different approach to leadership. This research explains what leaders need to do to effectively lead innovation.<br /> <br /> Mike joins me to discuss what is needed to lead innovation and what product managers need to know as well.<br /> <br /> Mike has a Ph.D. in Industrial Psychology with a focus on Organizational Leadership. His focus is on what it takes to successfully contribute to, and lead, innovation in an organization. He is a senior faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 45:31 TEI 148: Win-Loss analysis for product managers – with Mike Smart https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-148-win-loss-analysis-for-product-managers-with-mike-smart/ Mon, 30 Oct 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12315 Adding win-loss analysis to your product management toolbox may be the single most effective change you can make I love it when listeners suggest topics to explore on this podcast. One of those is win-loss analysis. This traditionally is considered a sales tool to understand why a customer chose or rejected a product. However, savvy […] Adding win-loss analysis to your product management toolbox may be the single most effective change you can make I love it when listeners suggest topics to explore on this podcast. One of those is win-loss analysis. Adding win-loss analysis to your product management toolbox may be the single most effective change you can make.<br /> <br /> I love it when listeners suggest topics to explore on this podcast. One of those is win-loss analysis. This traditionally is considered a sales tool to understand why a customer chose or rejected a product. However, savvy product management groups recognize it as vital analysis for improving products and the customer experience.<br /> <br /> To explore the topic, I talked with Mike Smart who teaches organizations to conduct win-loss analysis from a product management perspective and also manages the entire analysis for organizations. He is a product management practitioner and founder of Egress Solutions, which helps companies implement product management best practices that build and launch successful products. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 34:10 TEI 147: Making organizations phenomenal – with Joseph Michelli, PhD https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-147-making-organizations-phenomenal-with-joseph-michelli-phd/ Mon, 23 Oct 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12291 Product managers who create great customer experiences create better products Product management is about creating value for customers through the capabilities a product or service provides. That extends beyond actual features and encompasses tangible and intangible dimensions of value. Typically, when creating a new product, we start with a core set of features. Early on […] Product managers who create great customer experiences create better products Product management is about creating value for customers through the capabilities a product or service provides. That extends beyond actual features and encompasses tangible ... Product managers who create great customer experiences create better products.<br /> <br /> Product management is about creating value for customers through the capabilities a product or service provides. That extends beyond actual features and encompasses tangible and intangible dimensions of value. Typically, when creating a new product, we start with a core set of features. Early on this may be a minimum viable product -- which I rather think of as the minimum valuable product -- a product that provides an acceptable amount of value that catches customers' attention. Over time we add more capabilities to create more value, but that is still not what we are striving for. We need to create a whole product -- adding other elements to the customer experience that solves a complete problem and creates a great experience.<br /> <br /> The best person I know of to learn about creating an exceptional customer experience is Joseph A. Michelli. He is an internationally sought-after customer experience consultant who transfers his knowledge of exceptional business practices in ways that develop joyful and productive workplaces with a focus on the customer. His insights encourage leaders and frontline workers to grow and invest passionately in all aspects of their lives. He is known by his many books examining organizations that create exceptional customer experiences, including Mercedes-Benz, Starbucks, Zappos, Ritz-Carlton, and others.<br /> <br /> The audio occasionally dropped out during recording, but it's nothing that gets in the way of the insights Joseph shares. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 28:26 TEI146: Who product managers focus on for designing great products – with Brian Baker https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei146-who-product-managers-focus-on-for-designing-great-products-with-brian-baker/ Mon, 16 Oct 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12186 How to get the right insights from the right users to have successful products Design is increasingly an aspect of product management, not just product teams. More of us are familiar with user experience and its impact on design, but where does design really begin? Every true user experience expert I have talked with about […] How to get the right insights from the right users to have successful products Design is increasingly an aspect of product management, not just product teams. More of us are familiar with user experience and its impact on design, How to get the right insights from the right users to have successful products<br /> <br /> Design is increasingly an aspect of product management, not just product teams. More of us are familiar with user experience and its impact on design, but where does design really begin? Every true user experience expert I have talked with about this has the same answer and that's with the user of the product or the person with the problem that we wish to solve with a product.<br /> <br /> How we actually get insights from users can be the difference between product success and failure. To explore the right way to get insights, I talked with Brian Baker at the First User Group, which is a strategic innovation firm providing business strategy and cutting-edge product design in digital, consumer electronics, and consumer packaged goods. He has delivered over 100 products to brands we would all recognize and it is likely we have encountered one or more of his products. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 46:18 TEI 145: From product manager to leader – with Ken Lane https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-145-from-product-manager-to-leader-with-ken-lane/ Mon, 09 Oct 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=12074 Making the move from product manager to product master requires becoming a leader. A competency on the path from product manager to product master is leadership. As product managers and innovators, we rarely have any actual authority. For example, we can’t fire and hire employees. What product managers do have is influence, and it is […] Making the move from product manager to product master requires becoming a leader. A competency on the path from product manager to product master is leadership. As product managers and innovators, we rarely have any actual authority. For example, Making the move from product manager to product master requires becoming a leader.<br /> <br /> A competency on the path from product manager to product master is leadership. As product managers and innovators, we rarely have any actual authority. For example, we can't fire and hire employees.<br /> <br /> What product managers do have is influence, and it is this competency that allows you to motivate others to support your ideas and plan.<br /> <br /> At the core of leadership is influence.<br /> <br /> This interview explores how you develop influence and become a leader. My guest is Ken Lane, principal coach at Summit Catalyst, where he provides senior executive coaching and helps organizations with strategy development and implementation, change management, and executive team development.<br /> <br />   Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 33:50 TEI 144: What product managers can learn from Amanda Brinkman and Robert Herjavec – The Small Business Revolution movement https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-144-what-product-managers-can-learn-from-amanda-brinkman-and-robert-herjavec-the-small-business-revolution-movement/ Mon, 02 Oct 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11970 My favorite interview: Product managers can create a consumer research platform, re-energize a brand, and do good all at the same time What is coming up is my favorite interview I have done, at least until I have the opportunity to do an update next year. You’ll hear why in the interview, but it stems […] My favorite interview: Product managers can create a consumer research platform, re-energize a brand, and do good all at the same time What is coming up is my favorite interview I have done, at least until I have the opportunity to do an update next ye... What is coming up is my favorite interview I have done, at least until I have the opportunity to do an update next year. You'll hear why in the interview, but it stems with a personal connection I made with the product we discuss, which is a reality TV and web video series.<br /> <br /> First, let me remind you that product managers need to think more strategically to expand their success – to become product masters. This is what executive teams want from their product managers, and this interview with my guest is a great case study for thinking strategically and reshaping an entire organization.<br /> <br /> What if you could create a new product that significantly increased the visibility of your brand – is making it top of mind for your ideal customer – resulting in new sales and increased brand equity while also at the same time creating a rich market research platform?<br /> <br /> Oh, and if that isn't already enough, do real good in the process – transforming your organization's brand from traditional corporate America to one of the good guys – a company doing genuine good for people that further attracts your ideal customer.<br /> <br /> That is what Deluxe Corporation has done with the creation of the Small Business Revolution - Main Street, a TV series spotlighting the importance of small business in American small towns. The show is hosted by Robert Herjavec, known for his work on Shark Tank, and Amanda Brinkman, the Chief Brand and Communications Officer at Deluxe. Amanda formulated the strategy for the Small Business Revolution, and the show is a real winner and a perfect example of a product that creates value for all the stakeholders involved.<br /> <br /> I talked with Amanda to learn more about the creation of the show and its impact. Amanda is a veteran brand and creative visionary who is drawn to purpose-driven marketing and brand transformation. Her work is currently turning around Deluxe Corporation, a 100-year-old company. What she is accomplishing is phenomenal and contains many lessons to inspire product managers and innovators. I'm delighted to bring the story to you. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 36:13 TEI 143: Organization performance improvement for product managers – with Adam Cohen https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-143-organization-performance-improvement-for-product-managers-with-adam-cohen/ Mon, 25 Sep 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11935 Product managers can create a better organization Product management is the economic engine of society. It drives value creation. Without products, whether they be a tangible item like consumer goods, such as toothpaste, a service such as Uber, a checking account, or any other product form, the economic system we enjoy would not exist. It […] Product managers can create a better organization Product management is the economic engine of society. It drives value creation. Without products, whether they be a tangible item like consumer goods, such as toothpaste, a service such as Uber, Product management is the economic engine of society. It drives value creation. Without products, whether they be a tangible item like consumer goods, such as toothpaste, a service such as Uber, a checking account, or any other product form, the economic system we enjoy would not exist. It is through innovation — the creation of new products — that value is created for customers and for organizations. Because of that, your role contributing to product and innovation is vital to not just your organization but to society.
While your role is critical in this value creation, it also gives you unique insights into your organization — insights that equip you for an even larger role if you wish. This role is creating a more valuable organization. You can go from building better products to building a better organization. Phrases like organizational improvement, performance improvement, quality management, and performance excellence are used to describe such transformations.
My guest has been helping organizations make performance improvements for many years. He seeks to inspire and lead people and organizations to achieve organizational excellence. And don’t think this is just about improving the bottom line — organizational excellence is creating a positive work environment along with being a responsible contributor to the community. His name is Adam Cohen. I hope you enjoy the discussion and learning how product managers and innovators can have a larger role in organizational performance.

Summary of some concepts discussed

* [3:19] What does it mean for organizations to improve their performance? When most organizations talk about performance improvement, they are really talking about the bottom line. This is how they can make or save money. However, there is much more to real performance improvement, which is called performance excellence. This is an integrated approach focused on the value provided to all stakeholders, including the customers, employees, community, environment, etc. It requires an aligned approach between elements that are top-down (strategy, vision, objectives), bottom-up (product, customer feedback, employee feedback), and processes in the middle. It means creating a system that improves the way the entire organization works.

 

* [8:58] What is an example of an organization that pursued performance excellence? OMI was a business unit of CH2M, a large engineering construction company. OMI operated water and wastewater systems for municipalities. The journey towards performance excellence resulted in many changes. Before starting the journey, revenue was $300,000 and grew to $300M. Of the many changes along the way, one was the way people were able to innovate and improve the way they worked. The concept of employee empowerment was integrated into day-to-day work. Leaders sought ideas from frontline employees and worked with them to innovate. An emphasis was placed on day-to-day innovation, change, and improvement. Customers became more invested in the organization over time. They participated in annual meetings and shared how the changes made benefited them. During the journey, the organization’s overhead rate remained below 10%. The performance transformation was made possible by how employees were empowered. Employees had a clear understanding of the organization’s strategy and the capability to act upon it. They knew how their individual work contributed to the overall strategy. Together, this created many engaged and motivated employees and made for a better work environment.

 

* [17:07] What are the characteristics of product managers who should be involved in organization performance excellence? The ones that are most effective have a product or product line focus but also have a strategic view.]]>
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TEI 142: Platforms and innovation for product managers – with Larry Keeley https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-142-platforms-and-innovation-for-product-managers-with-larry-keeley/ Mon, 18 Sep 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11894 Savvy product managers use platforms This episode focuses on platforms — a topic I haven’t discussed yet on this podcast. An effective platform strategy is important for growing organizations as well as those that are starting. There are different perspectives on platforms and this interview primarily explores digital platforms. My guest is Larry Keeley, a […] Savvy product managers use platforms This episode focuses on platforms — a topic I haven’t discussed yet on this podcast. An effective platform strategy is important for growing organizations as well as those that are starting. This episode focuses on platforms — a topic I haven’t discussed yet on this podcast. An effective platform strategy is important for growing organizations as well as those that are starting. There are different perspectives on platforms and this interview primarily explores digital platforms.
My guest is Larry Keeley, a strategist who has worked for over three decades to develop effective innovation methods, based in science and analytics. He is President and co-founder of Doblin Inc, an innovation strategy firm known for pioneering comprehensive innovation systems that materially improve innovation success rates and innovation return on investment. Doblin is now a unit of Deloitte Digital.
Larry is also the author of the book Ten Types of Innovation, the Discipline of Building Breakthroughs, which you’ll hear us talk about towards the end of the interview.

Summary of some concepts discussed

* [2:55] What are platforms and why are they important? We live in a connected world. The connected world has transformed what we build, how we build it, and how we make it important. I have two definitions for platforms. The complicated version is an integrated offering that collectively creates a holistic customer experience that is open to others to extend. If you are extremely clever, your platform will create a new ecosystem to do business in. The simple definition is that a platform makes it easy to do hard things. For example, Goolge makes it easy to find information. Successful platforms are not tightly controlled by its creator but leverage other contributors who make it great. Openness is needed because in our modern world no one is smart enough to anticipate all the things all of us will want to do. The platform needs to make it easy for others to adapt and use.

 

* [9:55] What are examples of platforms? They are more abundant than you could imagine. Well-known platforms are Uber, Airbnb, iTunes, Amazon, Amazon Web Serveries, Alibaba, New York Times, This American Life, IBM’s Watson,  and MRI machines to name only a few. Platforms become known as the way with the lowest friction to accomplish an objective customers have.

 

* [14:43] What role do platforms play in innovation? Today they provide modular capabilities to quickly and inexpensively create innovations. For example, if we start a business, we would need a way to collect payment (e.g., PayPal), maybe create a digital rights management system (e.g., iTunes), and populate a database system with customer information (e.g., AWS). Using existing platforms for these capabilities is fast, cheap, smart, and robust. If you have no-to-limited resources, you have to find the blocks of capabilities that allow you as an innovator to do something new. Modern innovation is less about doing something entirely new and more about the eloquent combination of existing blocks that result in value to customers.

 

* [18:59] What is the role of Cloud in platforms? The Cloud provides the ability to have greater efficiencies in several areas, such as economics, security, energy, and speed to implementation. We have moved from what would have taken an innovation team 7 to 8 months to implement to now only taking 1 to 2 weeks by wisely using platform capabilities.

 

* [22:10] How do platforms impact industries? With platforms, companies and innovators enjoy greater efficiency, but it extends to industries as well. Entire industries benefit from dramatically lower total cost, making the world more efficient.

 

* [25:35] How is a desirable platform created? If your offering (product) employs software, is connected to other elements, and demands frequent updates, then it already is a platform. A good offering consists of eloquent technology combined...]]>
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TEI 141: How product managers can better lead change – with Barbara Trautlein, PhD https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-141-how-product-managers-can-better-lead-change-with-barbara-trautlein-phd/ Mon, 11 Sep 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11872 Which of the 7 Change Styles Do You Use as a Product Manager or Innovator? Our work is the work of innovation. A few years ago I heard the word innovation expressed as in-a-new-way. It’s a helpful phrase to remember that the very nature of innovation means doing something new — something we have not […] Which of the 7 Change Styles Do You Use as a Product Manager or Innovator? Our work is the work of innovation. A few years ago I heard the word innovation expressed as in-a-new-way. It’s a helpful phrase to remember that the very nature of innovation m... Our work is the work of innovation. A few years ago I heard the word innovation expressed as in-a-new-way. It’s a helpful phrase to remember that the very nature of innovation means doing something new — something we have not done before — something in-a-new-way. This puts us at the center of change. The very nature of our work as product managers and innovators is change.
We often need to help others we work with understand why change is required. It is a skill we can learn and my quest calls it Change Intelligence. She wrote the book on the topic, Change Intelligence: Use the Power of CQ to Lead Change That Sticks. She coaches business leaders, teams, and product managers to effectively lead change in their organizations. She is also a highly sought-after speaker for leadership and change keynotes all over the world. Her name is Barbara Trautlein.
There are three primary change styles. Listen to identify your individual change style and how you can more effectively work with others who have different styles.

Summary of some concepts discussed

* [1:05] Why is building our capacity to lead change important? New products and improved products represent big change both internally and externally for an organization. This means product managers and innovators must be leaders of change. Building your capacity to lead change is mission critical in our modern business environment, but it is too often overlooked. If you are interested in leadership training, there are many options, which are generally focused on communications, managing conflict, coaching others, etc., but developing competency in leading change is missing. Now it doesn’t have to be. You can increase your Change Intelligence and lead others through change.

 

* [3:30] Why does change equal pain? Neuroscience researchers have found that our brain responds the same to physical pain in our bodies as it does to change in our environment. Even if you are change-friendly and are able to more easily adapt to change, your brain still responds to it as pain.

 

* [6:06] What is Change Intelligence? Intellectual Intelligence, IQ, is needed for solving problems and developing products. Emotional Intelligence, EQ, is needed to partner with others so we understand our own emotions and those of others. Change Intelligence, CQ, is awareness of our change style and the ability to adapt our style to be effective in different situations and with different people. CQ requires both awareness and adaptability. So often when people are asked to lead change or play a significant role in change, which is the norm for product managers, they encounter resistance. Overcoming resistance is the topic most written about in change literature, which creates an erroneous mindset that change is about controlling other people. We can only control ourselves – our mindset and behavior. CQ helps you be more aware of how you approach change and how to better react to others’ response to change.

 

* [9:24] How does knowing your Change Intelligence help you lead change? What looks like resistance in others is an opportunity for us as change leaders to do something different – something more effective. Being aware of your style helps you control your reaction to change and help others navigate the change.

 

* [10:05] What are the 3 styles of leading change? It’s a simple and actionable model, which is people lead change from the Heart, Head, and Hands.


 

* [20:14] How can knowledge of your change style be put into use? With a product team it can help you identify blind spots the team may have regarding change. If the team is missing a change style, knowledge of CQ will help you know how to fill the gap.]]>
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TEI 140: Market validation in 3 steps – with Bryan Elanko https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-140-market-validation-in-3-steps-with-bryan-elanko/ Mon, 04 Sep 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11848 How Product Managers and Innovators Can Validate a Product Concept for a Target Market Creating a successful product requires a diverse set of skills and one of them is properly validating a product concept. One form of this is market validation — understanding what a market segment values in the form of a product that […] How Product Managers and Innovators Can Validate a Product Concept for a Target Market Creating a successful product requires a diverse set of skills and one of them is properly validating a product concept. Creating a successful product requires a diverse set of skills and one of them is properly validating a product concept. One form of this is market validation — understanding what a market segment values in the form of a product that solves a meaningful problem.
To explore the steps for conducting market validation, I spoke with Bryan Elanko, who works on strategic planning and commercialization initiatives for National Oilwell Varco. Bryan has worked in the oil and gas industry for almost ten years across various design, engineering, and management roles. In one of these roles, he implemented NPD systems to drive increased collaboration and innovation, which makes him a great guest for you, the Everyday Innovator. I hope you enjoy the discussion.
Summary of some concepts discussed

* [2:30] What is market validation? It’s a reality check of the business opportunity, customer, the customer problem, and your proposed solution. It’s also a process to uncover snippets of reality that is behind anecdotal statements. Finally, it is a way to judge the agreement or alignment between what you see, hear, feel, and experience regarding your product and its reception by a market.


* [6:40] What problems are created when product managers don’t use market validation? Product managers need a feedback loop – a means to judge ideas that were a success and ideas that were not and why. Market validation gives you a means of knowing why product ideas are or are not a success. Using the “ready-aim-fire” analogy, market validation provides the knowledge to know if you are ready to develop a product concept into a product. Three main problems exist if you don’t do market validation properly.

* First, you are potentially delaying a successful product launch by releasing a product that does not offer customers sufficient value to entice them to purchase the product.
* Second, the organization will struggle to reach financial goals because products are released that are likely to fail.
* Third, you’ll allocate your resources inefficiently, devoting resources to projects that should have been killed but were not.




* [11:52] What are the characteristics of an effective market validation process? Some of the things that stop people from doing market validation are the myth that it is too time-consuming along with the myth that the customer is already well understood. Consequently, an effective market validation process must be quick, concise, and easy to execute to dispel the myths. Mark Zuckerberg gives the advice to “move fast and break things.” This is also good advice for conducting market validation.


* [19:53] How can market validation be conducted? First be clear about the context for the validation work. Is it for incremental improvements to an existing product, a product line edition, or a new-to-the-world game changing product, for example. Then, start with the customer, creating a clear definition of the ideal customer. This tells you who to focus on because next you want to understand the problem from their point of view and the key pain points the customer has. Then consider solutions that solve the customers’ problem and validate that the solution provides sufficient value to the customers. Those are the three essential steps: (1) customer, (2) pain points, and (3) solution. In the process be clear about assumptions you have made throughout these steps and take actions to eliminate the assumptions. Without market validation all you have are assumptions. Market validation gives you facts that decisions can be made from. Start market validation with face-to-face interviews with your ideal customer. Eight to ten customer interviews can provide insights into about 80% of the customer pain points.

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TEI 139: Crisis management for product managers – with Jim Parham https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-139-crisis-management-for-product-managers-with-jim-parham/ Mon, 28 Aug 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11827 Listen to the Interview for Product Managers and Innovators The topic of this episode is crisis management — meaning a crisis that threatens the reputation of a brand or product. When a crisis happens that involves a product, the product manager is expected to help with the issues. Also, as you take on more leadership responsibilities, it […] Listen to the Interview for Product Managers and Innovators The topic of this episode is crisis management — meaning a crisis that threatens the reputation of a brand or product. When a crisis happens that involves a product, The topic of this episode is crisis management — meaning a crisis that threatens the reputation of a brand or product. When a crisis happens that involves a product, the product manager is expected to help with the issues. Also, as you take on more leadership responsibilities, it becomes more likely, if a crisis occurs, that you’ll be part of the team helping to manage the problem. No organization wants to be in a crisis, but when it happens, people who know how to respond are highly valued.
To learn more about managing a crisis, I spoke with Jim Parham. Jim is the Chief Operating Officer at Hirons, an advertising and public relations company based in Indianapolis. He is also a lead Crisis Communication Manager and fondly known by customers and employees as the Professor, in part for his deep thinking as well for teaching part-time at Indiana University. He brings a background in journalism and senior leadership of large organizations, including serving as VP of Marketing.
I hope you are not involved in a crisis management situation, but when it happens, knowing what Jim shares will help you be proactive instead of reactive.
Summary of some concepts discussed

* [2:30] What is crisis management? First, a good example of a crisis is what has occurred with United Airlines lately and some high-profile incidents with customers on their airplanes. A crisis is short or long term damage to an organization. When such a crisis occurs that impacts the organization’s brand or product, a crisis manager works quickly to develop responses for internal employees, external customers, and media and journalist. It is also common to coordinate with the organization’s legal counsel. It comes down to handling the crisis as effectively as possible.

 

* [5:51] Why should product managers know about crisis management? When a crisis occurs, if it involves a product, there will be many questions for the product manager and others involved in developing the product. The product manager will be involved in the crisis management.

 

* [9:29] What do crisis managers do for an organization? It’s not about spinning the situation. You can’t always make lemonade out of lemons. It’s  about explaining what happened and putting the pieces together in a responsible and factual manner.  You have to deal with the responsible parties involved and communicate the facts appropriately.

 

* [11:38] What are the qualities of an effective crisis manager? You have to exercise independence and emotional neutrality. A crisis  manager shows up to work with people who are having their worst day and need to sort it out and make sense of it. You must be a careful listener with the ability to accurately assess a situation that may be changing minute by minute. Written and verbal communications is a must because the crisis manager will be sending messages to employees, media, and others impacted by the crisis as well as conducting press conferences. You must also be a diplomat to deal with the various parties involved who are demanding information and answers. Another capability is knowing what to focus on and when – separating the wheat from the chaff. It is not uncommon to have the wrong information at first and you don’t want to share incorrect information. You also need to understand the current communication channels including the use of technologies and social media.

 

* [16:10] What qualities do a product manager need to help with a crisis? It’s the abilities to remain neutral and not be defensive about the situation. Information needs to be shared clearly and factually.

 

* [18:31] What are the keys to handling a crisis? In the past a crisis manager may have tried to control the information that is shared.]]>
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TEI 138: The science behind success for product managers – with Eric Barker https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-138-the-science-behind-success-for-product-managers-with-eric-barker/ Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11807 Listen to the Interview for Product Managers and Innovators Much of the advice we’ve been told about being successful as a product manager and innovator is logical, earnest… and downright wrong. My guest, Eric Barker, explores the science of success. In his book, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric reveals the science behind what actually […] Listen to the Interview for Product Managers and Innovators Much of the advice we’ve been told about being successful as a product manager and innovator is logical, earnest… and downright wrong. My guest, Eric Barker, explores the science of success.
Much of the advice we’ve been told about being successful as a product manager and innovator is logical, earnest… and downright wrong. My guest, Eric Barker, explores the science of success. In his book, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric reveals the science behind what actually determines success and—most important—how you can achieve it. Eric also has a popular blog by the same name as his book, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, that also shares science-based answers and expert insight on how to be successful.
Much of the insights can be summarized as:
Know yourself and pick the right pond.
This means knowing your strengths and working in an environment where you can frequently use your strengths. This and more is summarized below and discussed in the interview.
Summary of some concepts discussed

* [4:08] When should product managers play it safe and when should they break the rules? First, people need to get to know themselves and align themselves with the right role. If you are a constant rule breaker, find an industry, company, and role that allows you that freedom. Also, from the book Little Bets, we know that low resource, quick commitments that can be tested is the right way to approach innovation. Instead of committing to one thing that we don’t know will be successful or not, make several small commitments that move the needle forward and allow you to assess what is likely to work.

 

* [9:19] How do product managers find the resilience to keep going and not give up? Resilience is important because a lot of people give up on projects that have long term potential. Three ideas are well-established in the literature.

* First is optimism. When you are optimistic – when you believe things will work out – then why not follow through. If you believe you will win, then you’ll take action. Optimism is composed of three Ps – personal, pervasive, and permanent. When you see that you did a good job for what you are personally responsible for, that things are working out for everything you are doing (pervasive), and that it is going to continue (permanent), we feel good. When the opposite is true, people get a feeling of futility and when that continues we call it clinical depression, feeling there is no point to continuing what we are doing. Recognize the positive elements to reinforce the three Ps and argue against negative thinking.
* Second is making work a game, which must have four characteristics. The game – the process you are going through — must be winnable. It must have novelty so it feels new at times and you don’t get bored. It must also have clear goals. Finally, it must provide feedback on your progress.
* Third are the stories we tell ourselves. We turn the events of our life into stories. If the stories you tell yourself involve persistence and not giving up, you are more likely to have resilience.



 

* [17:55] What is more important to product managers – what they know or who they know? The research studies are consistent that having a large network is powerful in getting promoted, getting employed, and being successful. However, there is also research that shows that the more extroverted you are, the worse you are at your job. If you are focused on networking, you are not developing your individual skills. There needs to be a balance between the two. Focus on alignment by asking what your role requires and what your skill sets are in networking versus individual proficiency. Product managers need to know the people who are influential in getting things done. You don’t want to build these relationships when you need something – you want to build them ahead of that time. Take the time to meet the people you will need to help you before you need the help.

 

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TEI 137: How product managers look & sound like leaders – with Tom Henschel https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-137-how-product-managers-look-sound-like-leaders-with-tom-henschel/ Mon, 14 Aug 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11769 Listen to the Interview for Product Managers and Innovators Have you noticed leaders in your organization sound and look different from other employees? It’s not always true for all organizations, but leaders often talk differently — they are optimistic when they speak, they ask insightful questions, and they tend to focus on what is most […] Listen to the Interview for Product Managers and Innovators Have you noticed leaders in your organization sound and look different from other employees? It’s not always true for all organizations, but leaders often talk differently — they are optimisti...
Have you noticed leaders in your organization sound and look different from other employees? It’s not always true for all organizations, but leaders often talk differently — they are optimistic when they speak, they ask insightful questions, and they tend to focus on what is most important.
To explore the topic of what leaders sound like – also known as, how to talk like a leader, I spoke with Tom Henschel, a professional actor who is now an executive coach. He works with clients primarily on achieving the look and sound of leadership. He’s a communication skills coach and has been running his company, Essential Communications, since 1990.
Before that, Tom got his start as a professional actor after attending The Juilliard School and going on to perform in over a hundred plays and episodes of television. He was also a successful director and university teacher.
He also has a monthly podcast, “The Look & Sound of Leadership,” which is a permanent member of the “What’s Hot” business podcast section on iTunes.
Summary of some concepts discussed

* [3:22:] How did your experience as an actor help to equip you as a communication coach? Behavior has meaning. When you raise an eyebrow or a fist when you are talking to someone, it has meaning. The person you’re talking to is going to have a reaction regardless what is in your heart to communicate. In the workplace people can forget that behavior has meaning. I call it acting on the corporate stage. Your audience is around you all the time. From acting I learned the importance of been intentional – understanding your intentions in a scene. The same applies to the corporate environment. I often ask executives what their intentions are — for example, what they want from a meeting or a discussion. Behavior has meaning and your intentions need to be clear. This is especially true for product managers who often do not have any real authority and must use their influence to gain support from others.

 

* [7:04] What is the look and sound of leadership? It is the name of my podcast as well as the brand of my work. It is my coaching. It is simply the idea that your look and your sound has meaning and will impact your effectiveness. I’ll illustrate it with an example. Phil was a senior leader at an aerospace company. He was fantastic at having the look and sound of a leader. He was leading a billion dollar project. When I meet with Phil, I ask him what are we talking about today. He might respond with, “There are three things I want to talk about – a conversation with my boss, an issue about my staff meetings, and something with one of my direct reports.” That kind of sorting of information and clarity is a great way to sound like a leader. That is the look and sound of leadership. Some people are great at it and others are terrible. Product managers must communicate with others, especially leaders, in ways that make sense to the person they talk to, helping them understand the bigger picture. Sorting information like Phil does is a useful communication tool and part of looking and sounding like a leader. I call this tool Sorting and Labeling.

 

* [13:55] How do you use Sorting and Labeling? It involves four parts: (1) headline, (2) sort, (3) labels, and (4) transitions. Refer to the infographic below. The headline tells people what you are talking about. For example, “what I want to talk about is giving a successful presentation.” Pause after the headline to make it stand out as a headline. Next is sort, which usually means using numbers. For example, “I have one item we need a decision on …” or “ I have three items to discuss, first…” Next are the labels for each item you wish to communicate. For example, Phil used the labels of a conversation with his boss,]]>
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TEI 136: Improving organizations with Design Thinking and Positive Change Leadership – with Gene Beyt https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-136-improving-organizations-with-design-thinking-and-positive-changed-leadership-with-gene-beyt/ Mon, 07 Aug 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11678 Listen to the Interview for Product Managers and Innovators This is your home for making your move from product manager to Product Master so you can BEAT the competition. There are four levels, which spell BEAT, toward product mastery — Build your base, Earn professional certification, Apply deep dives, and Transform the organization. The fourth […] Listen to the Interview for Product Managers and Innovators This is your home for making your move from product manager to Product Master so you can BEAT the competition. There are four levels, which spell BEAT,
This is your home for making your move from product manager to Product Master so you can BEAT the competition. There are four levels, which spell BEAT, toward product mastery — Build your base, Earn professional certification, Apply deep dives, and Transform the organization. The fourth level — transform the organization — is the topic of this episode. At this level, product managers go from building better products to building a better organization. This is a role product managers are uniquely equipped for and are the best resource for organizations that truly want to improve.

 

Someone who has helped several organizations be better, specifically those in health care, is Dr. Gene Beyt. Gene is a medical doctor who now works with organizations as a healthcare designer, educator, artist, and creative director. He has a simple mission — to put human needs and well-being at the center of all that we do.
 
Summary of some concepts discussed
 

* [3:34:] How are product managers uniquely equipped to transform the organization? The position of a product manager provides three advantages. (1) Product managers are system thinkers who have a holistic view of the organization. (2) They have a strong sense of the culture of the organization, understanding the expected norms and routines. (3) They have gained relationships over time that span the organization, which enable them to navigate politics and have a powerful perspective.


* [7:18] What is a positive business? Much of the research in this area has come out of the University of Michigan. It’s a fundamental idea that an organization that is human-centered and customer-outcome focused and chooses affirmative business practices will have greater beneficial impacts to employees and customers. It is a business based on positivity. Such organizations typically have a general good as its aim, with a positive impact on the community and the environment while pursuing profit. The research of such businesses indicates that the outcomes of performance and profitability usually exceed expectations. The bigger picture is to help humans thrive and flourish, and in the process, such businesses achieve higher performance. There is a current movement to create “B-Corps” which is a public business entity that has the charter to do good first while maximizing profit.


* [13:44] How do you apply Design Thinking for organizational improvement? In a traditional organization where there is a fair amount of control, the common path to improvement is through reducing variation. Plan-Do-Check-Act cycles and Lean tools are used to reduce waste, improve profitability, and hopefully improve customer satisfaction along the way. From the perspective of the healthcare industry, there are four areas to consider. Real improvement cannot be achieved without re-designing these areas. They are (1) the patient experience, (2) patient outcomes, (3) cost, and (4) the workforce that tends to be burned out and disengaged. What Design Thinking does is turn around the normal problem-solving process. Instead of first focusing on a solution, you start by gaining an empathetic understanding of those affected – the customers (patients) and the employees (care providers). When employees are taught Design Thinking and they use it to solve problems, you see real change in the culture and improvements across the four areas.


* [24:15] What is Positive Change Leadership? Positive Change Leadership is used concurrently with Design Thinking. Fundamental to the definition is the understanding that at one time or another everyone in the organization is leading other people and everyone is a follower. The idea is that leaders are making a change towards a positive business.]]>
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TEI 135: The essential 4-step product innovation process based on Design Thinking – with Gordon Stannis https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-135-a-product-innovation-process-based-on-design-thinking-with-gordon-stannis/ Mon, 31 Jul 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11619 Listen to the Interview for Product Managers and Innovators   I love hearing how companies are creating successful products that provide customers value, which is the topic of this episode. Gordon Stannis, the Director of Design and Strategy at Twisthink shares their approach to developing innovative solutions for their Fortune 500 clients. Gordon started his […] Listen to the Interview for Product Managers and Innovators   I love hearing how companies are creating successful products that provide customers value, which is the topic of this episode. Gordon Stannis, the Director of Design and Strategy at Twisthi...
 

I love hearing how companies are creating successful products that provide customers value, which is the topic of this episode. Gordon Stannis, the Director of Design and Strategy at Twisthink shares their approach to developing innovative solutions for their Fortune 500 clients. Gordon started his work as an industrial designer and then moved into product development and management roles.
We discuss the process Gordon uses for creating innovative products, and he shares the product journey of a tool for competitive swim coaches as an example of the process.
 
Summary of some concepts discussed
 

* [2:26] How has product design changed? 15 years ago clients told us what they wanted and we would design a product that met their needs. Today we design user experiences, services, and products as an integrated package after first discovering unmet needs of customers. The creation of tangible products has shifted to the creation of services.


* [4:12] What is your approach to designing products? First, we align our language with our clients. We need to be chameleons and use the language our clients do. We understand them and their needs. We use the analogy of bridges half constructed because we build bridges between where clients are with their product needs and where they want to go. We embrace failing as part of the design process, and we plan to fail a lot during the front-end of product design so we don’t fail on the back-end. Failing simple means we are learning. When we fail we learn knowledge that competitors are unlikely to have. Failure Lab is a useful site that showcases the learning from personal stories of failure.


* [13:52] What are the steps in your process? What is interesting is how the process has changed over our history. 15 years ago clients provided marketing requirements documents. We haven’t seen those in years – no one has time for such documents anymore. Now we identify the “hill” the client wants to pursue. This is investigated during the initial discussions with the client. This is like therapy sessions – you could call it innovation counseling to discern where they want to go and why they want to go there. This is the first step.


* [15:57] What is the next step? At some point during the innovation counseling sessions, someone will share a magic sentence that becomes the North Star for the project – a clear sentence that describes where we are heading. For example, in one session the North Star statement was “we want to use design technology and strategy to allow a coach to be a better coach and an athlete to be a better self-coach.” This example became a product used by 13 USA Olympic swimming champions. We then build plans to support the North Star.


* [17:33] What comes after the North Star? We have to understand the market and develop a great depth of empathy for the customer. We hang out with the customer in their environment. Continuing the example, we hung out at pools where high-end competitive coaches work, to understand what they want to accomplish and the challenges involved. From this, we create a picture of what would be valuable to customers.


* [19:12] What do you do with the understanding of the customers’ problem? We fast forward and do pre-design. This is not a real solution design phase but a quick and intuitive view of what elements of a solution could look like. For the swim coach challenge, we took our understanding of the problem and made simple prototypes and a product video showing the prototypes in use. We had the opportunity to attend a swim coach tradeshow to get feedback from coaches. We created a fake company and had a booth at the show with our simple prototypes and product video. We told coaches we could collect 10 metrics from a swimmer an...]]>
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TEI 134: 4 steps for building an innovation ecosystem- with Dave Oventhal, DBA https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-134-4-steps-for-building-an-innovation-ecosystem-with-dave-oventhal-dba/ Mon, 24 Jul 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11560 Listen to the Interview for Product Managers and Innovators My discussion is with Dave Oventhal, who has spent over twenty years in various product development and marketing positions, including product planner, product marketing manager, and product manager, and has led product management teams in various industries. He has extensive experience conducting qualitative and quantitative research […] Listen to the Interview for Product Managers and Innovators My discussion is with Dave Oventhal, who has spent over twenty years in various product development and marketing positions, including product planner, product marketing manager,
My discussion is with Dave Oventhal, who has spent over twenty years in various product development and marketing positions, including product planner, product marketing manager, and product manager, and has led product management teams in various industries. He has extensive experience conducting qualitative and quantitative research and has been directly involved in hundreds of product development projects. He has served as a chapter president for the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) — an organization I also recommend to product managers. And, he has a doctorate in business administration with an emphasis in strategy and innovation.
 
Summary of some concepts discussed:

* [2:23] What is your work at Kawasaki Motor Corporation? I get to play with a lot of toys – motorcycles, jet skis, and more. My group is responsible for product management, data analysis, business planning – all the product planning/product management activities. My specific role in the group now is market research and I’m also overseeing product management activities for the Jet Ski line of products.


* [4:22] What is an innovation ecosystem? Innovation is turning ideas into value. An Ecosystem is a community of interacting people and their environment. So an innovation ecosystem is building the organizational culture to include innovation.


* [6:12] Who should be involved in creating an innovation ecosystem? Ideally, it is senior or executive leadership. It needs to come from the top down. CEOs and executives often talk about the importance of innovative solutions and new products. To change the status-quo, senior leaders need to be behind the effort.


* [12:26] What are the four steps to creating an innovation ecosystem?

* Get commitment from leadership. Senior leaders must champion the effort and lead from the front.
* Teach core skills. Conduct workshops that teach problem-solving, creativity, and decision making. Get everyone understanding what it means to improve the organization’s innovation ecosystem and get them moving towards the goal.
* Put the plan into practice. Create metrics to gauge progress and access which groups are moving towards the goal and which need further help. Make it part of performance reviews. Recognize that it is a long-term change.
* Experiment and test. Kawasaki Motors is full of former competitive racers, including me, and we all know the phrase go slow to go fast. You have to do the right things first and learn the basics before going faster. This means taking the time to experiment, assessing what is working, and making improvements to better move towards the goal.




* [38:00] What would you tell a new product manager that you wish you had known when you started as a product manager? Learn from more experienced product managers. Understand how the work in the organization is getting accomplished. Also, get involved with a product management group. The Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) is an excellent one I’ve been involved with. Take your profession seriously and be part of an association. Also, consider professional certification, including PDMA’s New Product Development Professional (NPDP) certification.

Useful links:

* Connect with Dave on LinkedIn
* Dave’s website
* Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) website
* Information on the New Product Development Professional (NPDP) certification

 
Innovation Quotes
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TEI 133: History as a tool for product managers & innovators – with Scott Bowden https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-133-history-as-a-tool-for-product-managers-innovators-with-scott-bowden/ Mon, 17 Jul 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11461 I am a student of approaches for innovation – how ideas are conceived and turned into valuable products and services. However, my guest introduced me to a new line of thinking — an approach to innovation I had not previously been exposed to and for that I’m thankful. I now have another tool in my innovation […] I am a student of approaches for innovation – how ideas are conceived and turned into valuable products and services. However, my guest introduced me to a new line of thinking — an approach to innovation I had not previously been exposed to and for tha... I am a student of approaches for innovation – how ideas are conceived and turned into valuable products and services. However, my guest introduced me to a new line of thinking — an approach to innovation I had not previously been exposed to and for that I’m thankful. I now have another tool in my innovation toolbox and you will too after hearing Scott Bowden share how innovations throughout history can provide modern ideas and help solve problems we face today.
After spending nearly 20 years at IBM, Scott is now traveling the globe to investigate and share how historic innovations provide lessons for the modern-day innovation practitioners – you and me.
Scott shares several examples of historic innovations and I hope you find them as interesting as I did.
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some concepts discussed:

* [2:10] History can be a great tool in solving day-to-day problems encountered in innovation.


* [2:44] Three different ways of solving innovation problems are: (1) using mimicry for incremental improvements, (2) finding aha moments that lead to breakthroughs, and (3) applying analogies from other disciplines or fields of study. Historical innovation is a use of the third approach – applying analogies. Exploring examples is a good way to think about historical innovation. Six examples follow.


* [5:38] Example 1 – James Watt was a struggling engineer trying to create a more efficient steam engine to pump water out of the coal mines in England. While taking a walk, the idea of a new condenser model came to him, which became successful and launched the Industrial Revolution. The innovation tool is to step outside of your normal routine and give your brain an opportunity to think about the problem differently.


* [6:50] Example 2 – Masada is an ancient fortress in the desert region of Israel built on a high plateau with an elevation of about 1300 feet. The innovation was how they engineered a water collection and delivery system. Part of the system involves servants who would lift the water from cisterns to the higher levels of the fortress where it was needed. It is an example of how a manual step may be used, at least temporarily, to solve a technical challenge.


* [10:04] Example 3 – Medinas consist of tight alleyways and random walkways laid out in a maze-like manner. They are common in Morocco and seen in Indiana Jones and James Bond movies. They served as a security feature of a city. If an enemy was able to breach the walls of the city they would find it difficult to navigate through the Medina, giving an advantage to the residences. A modern implementation of this idea could be seen in computer security that organizes information in a Medina-manner so if the firewall was breached, it would still be difficult to find meaningful information.
* [14:30] Example 4 – The Inca Civilization was an empire in South America that existed around the 1400s. One of the most famous sites is Machu Picchu, set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru. It is a rock Citadel with incredible rock drop-offs on three sides. It may have been constructed as a university to aid them in the future expansion of the civilization into the unknown jungle. If so, it would be an example of taking smaller known steps that help to construct a path to something that is unknown.


* [19:14] Example 5 – The Inca Moray is a site of agriculture terraces used for seed research. Each terrace is about 8 feet tall with only three or four steps from one terrace to the next. Because the steps are so tall, they are difficult to walk up and down but they are spaced in a manner that makes them easier to run up and down. The innovation analogy is to consider how speeding up or slowing down a step or set of activities can impact the solution.


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TEI 132: Integrating Lean Startup and Stage-Gate – with Mark Adkins https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/integrating-lean-startup-and-stage-gate-with-mark-adkins/ Mon, 10 Jul 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11303 Lean Startup or Stage-Gate? More often organizations are not choosing one or the other but taking the “and” option and integrating both into their product processes.  The challenge is how to get them to play nice with each other and gain the benefits of each without losing something in the process. To discuss this topic […] Lean Startup or Stage-Gate? More often organizations are not choosing one or the other but taking the “and” option and integrating both into their product processes.  The challenge is how to get them to play nice with each other and gain the benefits o... Lean Startup or Stage-Gate? More often organizations are not choosing one or the other but taking the “and” option and integrating both into their product processes.  The challenge is how to get them to play nice with each other and gain the benefits of each without losing something in the process.
To discuss this topic I turned to a well-experienced product manager and innovator who mentors young entrepreneurs as well as large companies, showing them how to put Lean into practice and align it with other methodologies, including Stage-Gate. My guest is Mark Adkins, president of Smart Hammer Innovation, a management consulting business that helps companies apply best practices to Innovation Management. He is also a part-time professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation.
Mark shares how Lean Startup works best in the front end of Stage-Gate, enhancing an organization’s product process.
 
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some concepts discussed:

* [2:17] Mark’s first experience as a product manager earned him and his organization the Outstanding Corporate Innovator award. Not bad!


* [9:40] Several product managers recognized the need for a faster way to find and test breakthrough ideas. This was pre-Lean Startup. Mark’s company formed a group called Innovation Ventures that operated outside of a stage-gate process to explore ideas in an environment with fewer constraints.


* [10:00] Mark mentors students at the University of Pittsburgh in the Blast Furnace program for entrepreneurs. He uses Eric Ries’ Lean Startup materials and Alex Osterwalder’s Business Canvas/Value Proposition materials (see episode 123 for an interview with Alex Osterwalder). He has also applied the materials in large organizations. The breadth of experiences has provided important insights.


* [11:25] An example is Mark’s engagement with a large company he has worked with for the last year and a half integrating lean startup methodology as pre-stage gate (or stage 0) process. The company had a very solid stage-gate process but lacked breakthrough product development. Adding Lean improved that.


* [15:31] Big companies struggle with the concept of “fail fast.” What is important is that learning takes place. When you’re doing your early customer investigation, thinking of value propositions, or considering product concepts, you’re in the early stages of innovation and your sole metric is based on asking, what am I learning?


* [18:47] The standard stage-gate processes are: (1) scope, (2) business case, (3) development, (4) test & validation, and (5) launch. Add a zero stage for Lean.


* [24:46] Stage 0 is built around Lean and is where a Learning Plan is created and conducted. A Learning Plan is an iterative loop of:

* Ideation – create or discover ideas
* Experimenting – designing experiments to test assumptions
* Customer discovery – get out of the office and talk to customers about the idea
* Business model canvas – create a one-page business plan to analyze the feasibility of the idea




* [26:00] The idea is evaluated for feasibility using the areas of technical, clinical (for medical products), organizational, and financial.


* [27:40] Keep turning the crank, moving through a Learning Plan, creating a new one, and moving through again, until you know how to solve a specific customer problem in a specific way that creates value for the customer and your organization.


* [29:26] In addition to Eric Ries’ work,]]>
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TEI 131: Charting change for product managers-with Braden Kelley https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-131-charting-change-for-product-managers-with-braden-kelley/ Mon, 03 Jul 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11249 As product managers and innovators we are often at the center of change because our work involves creating something new, which itself is change. Further, we need to persuade and influence others to change their perspective and embrace our ideas for building better products. Sometimes the change is small, like a new feature to a […] As product managers and innovators we are often at the center of change because our work involves creating something new, which itself is change. Further, we need to persuade and influence others to change their perspective and embrace our ideas for bu... As product managers and innovators we are often at the center of change because our work involves creating something new, which itself is change. Further, we need to persuade and influence others to change their perspective and embrace our ideas for building better products.
Sometimes the change is small, like a new feature to a product, while others it is large, like acquiring another company.
Adding change management tools to our product management toolbox is wise, which is why I am bringing you the one and only creator of the Change Planning Toolkit. He also wrote the book, Charting Change: A Visual Toolkit for Making Change Stick. And, he is a recurring guest. Back in episode 024 he discussed five keys to developing an innovation culture. His name is Braden Kelley.
In addition to being a speaker and executive trainer, he has helped numerous organizations increase their revenue and cut their costs through the creation of innovative strategies, organizational change, and improved organizational performance.
I am glad to welcome Braden back to discuss change with us.
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some concepts discussed:

* [3:26] People don’t automatically resist change. They resist change they don’t like or don’t want. If they want the change, they will support it.


* [5:53] Change is definitely not easy; 70% of change efforts fail. That’s why Braden created the Change Planning Toolkit. As an innovator, he was being tasked with change initiatives and needed a toolkit to be successful. The Toolkit is based on what we’ve learned from Agile, Lean Startup, and change management methodologies.


* [13:26] The framework for effectively dealing with a change initiative is called Architecting with Change and begins with Strategy and ends with Change Maintenance. See the figure below.


 

* [18:23] Using a tentative approach to making a change can be dangerous. For example, a leader sharing that we’ll try something new for 6 months and try something else if it doesn’t work may result in employees waiting out the 6 months for things to return to normal.


* [20:26] There are 8 change mindsets in organizations that can be harnessed for success: (1) mover and shaker, (2) thrill seeker, (3) mission driven, (4) action oriented, (5) expert minded, (6) reward hunger, (7) team player, and (8) teachers.


* [24:33] Even with good planning,  not everyone can be turned into a supporter. Those involved in a change can be characterized as (1) strong supporters, (2) tepid supporters, (3) disaffected, (4) passive resisters, and (5) passionate resisters.


* [28:33] Creating and conveying a compelling vision of the future after the change is critical to the success of the change. This quote sums it up well, “Nobody cares what’s over the horizon unless you send back some pictures and a map of how to get there.”


* [30:45] The chance of success greatly increases when you get the right people involved from the beginning and they are involved in building the plan. Those that will be impacted by the change should contribute to the plan.

 
Useful links:

* Change Planning Tools
* Disruptive Innovation Toolkit, including the Experiment Canvas
* Braden’s book, Charting Change: A Visual Toolkit for Making Change Stick

 
Innovation Quote
“True innovation requires that you consciously leave the breadcrumb trail behind for others to follow and come join you.” – Braden Kelley
 
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TEI 130: Avoiding product management dogma – with Chris Spagnuolo https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-130-avoiding-product-management-dogma-with-chris-spagnuolo/ Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11200   I met my guest at a Product Camp and learned that we shared a perspective about innovation and product management processes. He sums up this perspective as being “anti-dogma.” There is a good deal of dogma around processes and too often processes are applied blindly without knowing the details required to use the process […]   I met my guest at a Product Camp and learned that we shared a perspective about innovation and product management processes. He sums up this perspective as being “anti-dogma.” There is a good deal of dogma around processes and too often processes are... I met my guest at a Product Camp and learned that we shared a perspective about innovation and product management processes. He sums up this perspective as being “anti-dogma.” There is a good deal of dogma around processes and too often processes are applied blindly without knowing the details required to use the process wisely in a specific situation and culture.<br /> <br /> In this interview, we discuss the issue of process dogma as well as a toolbox approach to the work a product manager does.<br /> <br /> My guest is Chris Spagnuolo. Chris is a product management and innovation consultant who works with organizations of all sizes to deeply understand their portfolio and product challenges and help them design opportunities to improve. He has led cross-functional, collaborative, agile product teams at organizations of all sizes and successfully founded three startups. He avoids dogma and instead focuses on generating insights through deep understanding of the organizations that he works with to identify a sustainable, adaptable journey for them to achieve their goals. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 34:20 TEI 129: How product managers can better work with Sales – with Keith Hawk https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-129-how-product-managers-can-better-work-with-sales-with-keith-hawk/ Mon, 19 Jun 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11142   In this episode, we are talking about sales people and how product managers can improve their work with sales people. For some product managers, sales professionals are a source of tension, maybe because they overpromise and make product commitments without first coordinating with product management. For other product managers, sales professionals provide access to […]   In this episode, we are talking about sales people and how product managers can improve their work with sales people. For some product managers, sales professionals are a source of tension, maybe because they overpromise and make product commitments ...  
In this episode, we are talking about sales people and how product managers can improve their work with sales people. For some product managers, sales professionals are a source of tension, maybe because they overpromise and make product commitments without first coordinating with product management. For other product managers, sales professionals provide access to customers and help arrange problem-discovery interviews. They are an ally to product management.
Regardless of your working relationship with sales professionals, there is room for improvement. To explore this topic you would be hard-pressed to find anyone better than my guest, Keith Hawk. Keith has incredible street cred for this topic as he worked in a technology support role early in this career, working with sales professionals and product management. From there he served as the Director of Technology Support, Director of Marketing, VP Customer Support, and recently retired from his long-term role as the Senior Vice President of Sales for LexisNexis, a multi-billion dollar organization with over 10,000 employees. Keith has a very rich background in the information industry and he has played a broad role in the development of LexisNexis as a company. He is also the author of the book Get-Real Selling: Your Personal Coach for REAL Sales Excellence, which greatly influenced my thoughts on the function of Sales.
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some concepts discussed:

* Business-to-Business sales is about one thing – helping to make other people’s businesses more successful. Aspects of this include helping them help their customers, improving the economics of their business, and improving the personal quality of their lives.


* A poor sales person can be thought of as a bag diver – a walking, talking brochure that is just spitting out product features until they find a feature or a product someone cares about — reaching into their bag of brochures over and over.


* 3 things a good sales professional wants from product managers are:

* Availability – open communication to discuss opportunities that may require a new product feature or an entirely new product.




* Interaction – product managers that can interact with customers and understand how customers actually use products and feel their challenges.
* Formalize – define the relationship between Sales and Product Management and schedule periodic collaboration to share successes and opportunities.




* When a sales person overcommits with a customer, promising a capability that doesn’t currently exist, a big girl, big boy talk is needed between Sales and Product Management leadership. Ask if this was our money, would it be in our best interest and the best interest of the customer to create the new capability. A foundation of expectations – values and standards to live by – should exist between Sales and Product Management.


* Product Management and Sales leadership need to set ground rules for customer discovery meetings and general interactions.


* Product managers can have customer discovery meetings with sales people during the early stages of a customer sales cycle, before a sales person has created a recommendation for the customer, without concern of the meeting becoming a sales meeting.


* To avoid Sales too frequently engaging product managers to meet with customers, consider if sales engineers are needed. Also, set an expectation between Sales and Product Management for how much of a product manager’s time can be devoted to direct support of Sales, such as 10% of their time.

 
Useful links:

* Keith’s book,
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TEI 128: Creating better product teams – with Nate Walkingshaw https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-128-creating-better-product-teams-with-nate-walkingshaw/ Mon, 12 Jun 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11122   Back in episode 121 I had the pleasure of talking with Richard Banfield, one of three authors of the new book Product Leadership. Then, in episode 125 I spoke with Martin Eriksson, who also is a co-author of the book. So, it seemed only proper that I make this a true trifecta by interviewing […]   Back in episode 121 I had the pleasure of talking with Richard Banfield, one of three authors of the new book Product Leadership. Then, in episode 125 I spoke with Martin Eriksson, who also is a co-author of the book. So,  
Back in episode 121 I had the pleasure of talking with Richard Banfield, one of three authors of the new book Product Leadership. Then, in episode 125 I spoke with Martin Eriksson, who also is a co-author of the book. So, it seemed only proper that I make this a true trifecta by interviewing the third co-author, which is Nate Walkingshaw. I was especially eager to do this after Richard told me that Nate is the smartest product person he knows. Nate has some firm opinions on product teams and how to structure teams to work well. You may have seen his thought-provoking post on Mind the Product titled, “Agile Died While You Were Doing Your Standup.” In our discussion, we touch on concepts from that post but dive deeper into team structures and needs for modern product teams.
Nate has started successful companies in the medical and fitness markets and has had many product experiences. Later he became the Chief Product Officer for Pluralsight, the largest providers of online technology learning, where he built a user-centered product team. In 2016 his role expanded to Chief Experience Officer where he oversees Development, Content, and Product Marketing.
 
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some concepts discussed:

* Nate’s new book,
Product Leadership, is now available. It is the first book focused on product leadership for product managers.


* Software as a Service (SaaS) has forced teams to change. The feedback loop between users and developers is now “end-of-the-day” – hours, not days.


* Siloed teams won’t work today – product teams must be fully integrated.


* Corporate strategy and technology strategy must be aligned.


* The three key elements for teams that increase velocity are:

* Vision – is there a clear vision for each product team and are they connected to the vision?
* Strategy – do team members know the product strategy and how their work fits into the strategy of the team and the organization?
* Autonomy – do team members have the freedom to explore the execution of the strategy for the team?




* Velocity also increases when team members experience first-hand how customers respond to using the product and to changes when they are made. Web collaboration tools are used with customers for real-time interactions.


* Compensate teams, not individuals, for meeting objectives.

Useful links’

* New Book – Product Leadership: How Top Product Managers Launch Awesome Products and Build Successful Teams
* Pluralsite—technology training and where Nate is Chief Experience Officer

 
Innovation Quote
“In a world of change, the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned shall find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.” ― Eric Hoffer
 
Thanks!
Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it using the social media buttons you see below.
]]> Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 43:10 TEI 127: B2B product management – with Jeff Lash https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-127-b2b-product-management-with-jeff-lash/ Mon, 05 Jun 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11103   This is a listener suggested episode, which I love doing. I enjoy receiving requests from listeners asking for specific topics to explore. Several people have had questions about B2B product management. A B2B company sells its products to other organizations while a B2C company provides its products to consumers. To explore this topic, I […]   This is a listener suggested episode, which I love doing. I enjoy receiving requests from listeners asking for specific topics to explore. Several people have had questions about B2B product management. A B2B company sells its products to other organ...  
This is a listener suggested episode, which I love doing. I enjoy receiving requests from listeners asking for specific topics to explore. Several people have had questions about B2B product management. A B2B company sells its products to other organizations while a B2C company provides its products to consumers.
To explore this topic, I asked Jeff Lash to join us. Jeff is a recognized thought leader in product management, with over a decade of experience in the development of Web-based products and SaaS systems. His product management career includes both new product launches and major turnarounds of existing product lines, as well as creation of the product management role into organizations. He has significant expertise in customer understanding, new product innovation, agile product management, user experience design, and product development processes. He is a Vice President at SiriusDecisions, a research and advisory company for B2B organizations.
While the focus of our discussion is on product management for B2B companies, there are tips and practices B2C product managers will find valuable too.
 
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed:

* How does B2B product management differ from B2C? The B2B product group is like a smaller business in a larger business. B2B product managers are generally responsible for an entire product while a B2C product manager may be responsible for a portion of a product, for example, the Search capability of a product. While there are many similarities, I’m starting to see some trends in differences, such as with the importance of user experience design. Also, B2B product managers are more involved in enabling and helping the sales team be successful.

 

* How do B2B sales models impact product management? Direct or indirect sale channels are part of the B2B product manager’s tools and responsibilities. Product Management is interlocked with the Marketing and Sales function of an organization. Product managers can get overloaded by Sales and sucked into helping too much with questions and customer calls instead of doing the work of product management. Organizations that excel have balance. They have clear responsibilities for product managers in terms of how they support Sales and well-communicated ground rules. Also, Product Marketing exists as a function to transfer knowledge of the product to rest of the organization. We see alignment between the executives responsible for Product Management, Marketing, and Sales.

 

* How do buying roles impact product management? This is a key difference with B2B product management compared to B2C. In a B2B environment, there are multiple buyers, such as Decision Maker, Champion, Influencer, and GateKeeper, in addition to the actual users of the product. Product managers need to address personas for each of the roles involved in the buying process and also help Sales understand these roles and vice-versa.

 

* How can product managers avoid the “one-off” practice that some B2B organizations find themselves in – customizing a product for each customer? Organizational culture is a key influencer to this situation. Some cultures permit sales professionals to write new product capabilities into customer contracts and then product management has to find a way to satisfy the expectations created by Sales. This is a poor practice. Executives need to be in alignment and have a clear means of addressing specific customer requests. One technique is to have an agreed upon percentage of product management and development resources to respond to requests from Sales. For example, 20% of the roadmap is set aside to be sales opportunity driven. Also, when new product functionality is needed to “close” a deal or keep a customer,]]>
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TEI 126: Mapping innovation – with Greg Satell https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-126-mapping-innovation-with-greg-satell/ Mon, 29 May 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11073   A brand new book for product managers and innovators hits physical and virtual shelves this week. It’s titled Mapping Innovation and my guest, Greg Satell, is the author. We talk about some of the concepts from the book and other writing he has done, including while there is no one-way right way for companies […]   A brand new book for product managers and innovators hits physical and virtual shelves this week. It’s titled Mapping Innovation and my guest, Greg Satell, is the author. We talk about some of the concepts from the book and other writing he has done,... A brand new book for product managers and innovators hits physical and virtual shelves this week. It's titled Mapping Innovation and my guest, Greg Satell, is the author. We talk about some of the concepts from the book and other writing he has done, including while there is no one-way right way for companies to innovate, there are patterns, as well as a framework for different types of innovations and skills needed for each.<br /> <br /> Greg has several international business experiences building and managing media businesses. He last served as the SVP of Strategy and Innovation at Moxie Interactive, a leading marketing services organizations. Lately he has been writing and speaking about innovation and I'm glad he is speaking with us, in this interview. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 31:59 TEI 125: Product management communities of practice – with Martin Eriksson https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-125-product-management-communities-of-practice-with-martin-eriksson/ Mon, 22 May 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=11000   You are not alone as a product manager or innovator if you have had to explain your job to people you work with. It’s not uncommon. While your role is vital to the creation of successful products, it is not always understood by others. It can also be a lonely role because of that. […]   You are not alone as a product manager or innovator if you have had to explain your job to people you work with. It’s not uncommon. While your role is vital to the creation of successful products, it is not always understood by others.  
You are not alone as a product manager or innovator if you have had to explain your job to people you work with. It’s not uncommon. While your role is vital to the creation of successful products, it is not always understood by others. It can also be a lonely role because of that. Even though product managers frequently collaborate with others, they don’t often interact with other product managers – people who actually understand their job along with the joys, frustrations, and pains it brings.
What is a product manager or innovator to do? My guest has the answer, and it is one I have experienced and valued myself – participating in communities of practice.
My guest is a co-author of the book, Product Leadership, which was the topic of episode 121 with one of the other co-authors. He started his career as a web designer and developer but found his real talent was translating between design, development, and business people. After several startups in his native Stockholm, he has led product teams at Monster, the Financial Times, Huddle, and Covestor in London and Boston. You may recognize him as the founder of ProductTank, a meetup for product managers, and co-founder of Mind the Product, a blog and training resource for product managers. His name is Martin Eriksson. Our discussion covers why product managers need to be part of a community of practice and, if you are not already, how to join or start one.
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed:

* Please share an update on your Product Leadership book.  It’s being released next week, at the end of May. Details are available at Productleadershipbook.com. We interviewed 75-100 product leaders to understand the challenges with product leadership and how to overcome them. We are discussing the book at some upcoming meetups as well as the Mind the Product annual conference in June in San Francisco.

 

* What is a community of practice? If you look at established professions like Law, Engineering, or Project Management, you find strong professional groups where people come together to learn from each other and explore what is new. That is a community of practice. It may take the form of a meetup, professional association, or another form of group.

 

* Why do product managers need to be part of a community of practice? Product managers can feel a bit alone on the job. We may be the only product manager on a team. You don’t have anyone to complain to about the work and bounce ideas off of that also understands the role. You can feel like Engineering is ganging up on you, Business Leadership is putting undue pressure on you, or Sales is ignoring you.  You need get out of that environment at times and talk to peers in similar situations and know that you really are not alone. You need a tribe of your own to be part of.

 

* What should product managers expect from a productive community of practice? Product managers need to be curious and always learning. The pace of change in industries and technologies requires product managers to be learning and striving to stay in front of the meaningful changes. The ability to learn from your peers is the most important aspect of a community of practice. You also get to hear about the challenges others are facing. It’s important to know that you are not alone and that others encounter similar issues.

 

* What are opportunities for product managers? One group that has been around is Product Camp. It’s a one-day unconference, generally with no set agenda that self-organizes shortly before the conference or even the morning of the conference by the attendees. Product Tank that I started has more than a 100 locations around the world. It is a fairly standardized format, with meetings taking place in the evenings after work ...]]>
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TEI 124: Business design for product managers – with Jay Peters https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-124-business-design-for-product-managers-with-jay-peters/ Mon, 15 May 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10927 Product managers and innovators want more influence in an organization so they can better create value for customers. Without influence, we can’t build support for our ideas and convince others to help us. Influence also allows us to be more strategic in our work, which is the same thing executive leaders want from product management. […] Product managers and innovators want more influence in an organization so they can better create value for customers. Without influence, we can’t build support for our ideas and convince others to help us. Influence also allows us to be more strategic ... Product managers and innovators want more influence in an organization so they can better create value for customers. Without influence, we can’t build support for our ideas and convince others to help us. Influence also allows us to be more strategic in our work, which is the same thing executive leaders want from product management. When I share that this podcast and my training helps product managers become product masters, increasing influence is the key factor involved for the product manager. Part of the journey to mastery is thinking more strategically and more in terms of value not only to customers but to the organization as a whole. This means moving from involvement in the design of products to involvement in the design of businesses.
And that is exactly what today’s guest is here to talk with us about — thinking of business design through the lens of product management and innovation. My guest is Jay Peters, Managing Director for PARK USA. PARK is one of the leading experts in the management of design and innovation. They consult, coach and educate on how to maximize the value of design.
Product managers and innovators learn about four areas of Design Value from the interview:

* More profit,
* More brand equity,
* More innovation, and
* Faster change.

Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed:

* What is Design Value in an organization and why is it important?  It simply means the value that design can create for organizations. The challenge is to identify the contributions that design can bring to an organization. Value is often measured using the triple bottom line — economic, social, and environmental dimensions. In addition to organizational profit, you ask how the organization is doing good for the community and for the environment. For design value, there are four main categories for contributions: profits, brand equity, innovation, and change. Design is about the approach, strategy, and methodology for making improvements in each category.

 

* What is the profit category?  This is the economic component of the triple bottom line. Design can help drive profits several different ways. It can help sell more of the same offer or product or create a premium product to sell at a higher price. Design can also help decrease manufacturing or marketing costs.

 

* What is the brand equity category? Design can help increase brand exposure, loyalty, awareness, and desirability. It is really about brand positioning and recognition. Design can have a significant impact on driving a brand strategy.

 

* What is the innovation category? Design can help innovation from a consumer or desirability standpoint, which can lead to improved innovation and faster time to market. It can also produce more intellectual property, contributing to improved value for the organization.

 

* What is the change category? This impacts organizational culture or society. Design can help organizations foster a culture of innovation and creativity. It can help society with some of its most challenging problems such as issues around pollution, homelessness, etc. Change is always resisted until those involved understand the benefits of making the change. Change can be accomplished top down, with senior leadership driving the change, or from the bottom up, such as a product team pushing for change improve value for customers.


 
Useful links

* Jay is with PARK, guiding design leaders
* Design blog Jay contributes to – Empowering design leaders

 
Innovation Quotes
“Great design management and leadership adds great value to the t...]]>
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TEI 123: A product management view of Value Proposition Design – with Alex Osterwalder https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-123-a-product-management-view-of-value-proposition-design-with-alex-osterwalder/ Mon, 08 May 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10865   This interview is rather meta. It’s a discussion about a book; not about the book itself, but about the product management decisions for creating the book. This is the story of recognizing a problem a target market has and addressing it with a product. You likely already know my guest, Alex Osterwalder, as the […]   This interview is rather meta. It’s a discussion about a book; not about the book itself, but about the product management decisions for creating the book. This is the story of recognizing a problem a target market has and addressing it with a produc...  
This interview is rather meta. It’s a discussion about a book; not about the book itself, but about the product management decisions for creating the book. This is the story of recognizing a problem a target market has and addressing it with a product.
You likely already know my guest, Alex Osterwalder, as the inventor of the Business Model Canvas — a one-page business model — and author of the related book Business Model Generation. He is also the 2015 winner of the prestigious Thinkers50 Strategy Award and is ranked as the #15 most influential business thinker by Thinkers 50. Further, in 2013 he won the inaugural Innovation Luminary Award by the European Union. He more recently co-authored the book Value Proposition Design, which in a way, is the topic of our discussion.
However, I didn’t want to ask him the same questions he has been asked a hundred times that you can find in other interviews. Instead, I asked him to discuss the book from the perspective of a product manager — identifying the need for the book, its target market, the value it creates for customers and for his organization, as well as how the name was chosen. So, you not only get some insights into what Value Proposition Design is, you also get to see the book as a product and the product management thinking that went into its creation.
If you are new to Value Proposition Design, think of it as the third leg of a stool consisting of Lean Startup and Design Thinking as the other legs — all three are similar in intent and each provides valuable tools, arguably with Alex’s tools being most valuable to product managers who think like product leaders — or in my words, product masters.
 
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed:

* Why was this product needed – the Value Proposition Design book? There were two triggers. The first one was that the Business Model Generation book was pretty successful and a lot of people started using the business model canvas. What we didn’t realize is that some people were repurposing the business model canvas to sketch out their value proposition. The business model canvas was never designed to help with that particular job. The only job to be done was how to sketch a business model. So we tried to figure out what would another tool be to satisfy the need. So that was the origin of the tool – addressing an unmet need of our existing customers. The second tool customers needed was the value proposition canvas. It’s like zooming in. The business model is the big picture perspective and you zoom into the value proposition. The other trigger was that we learned so much over the year since we launched Business Model Generation that we had a huge need to share that learning. We built upon what was working, integrating customer development and lean startup approaches into the new book with what we were learning as well.  Also, we had just launched the Strategyzer brand and the book was an opportunity to promote the brand with “Strategyzer” on the cover.

 

* What opportunities would the book create for your company? The original vision for Strategyzer was to be the SAP of strategy, or the strategic operating system. We wanted to build the enterprise software that would help senior leaders manage strategy, manage innovation, and create new growth engines. It’s like strategy support tools, computer-aided design for strategy. So that was the original vision. Ultimately what we learned over time was we need three pillars to realize the vision. One is the tools and the concepts and the content. How do we help business people better solve these jobs to be done? How do they create business models, value propositions, etc.? You do that with the right tools and right processes. We teach it to them with content. The second pillar is the platform.]]>
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TEI 122: The elements of value for product managers – with Paul Jackson https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-122-the-elements-of-value-for-product-managers-with-paul-jackson/ Mon, 01 May 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10816 Listen Now to the Interview   Ok, I admit it, value is my most overused word. It’s because I love the word. What do product managers and innovators create for customers? Value! How about organizations? They create value. What do customers want? The products they purchase must provide value — more value for them than […] Listen Now to the Interview   Ok, I admit it, value is my most overused word. It’s because I love the word. What do product managers and innovators create for customers? Value! How about organizations? They create value. What do customers want?  
Ok, I admit it, value is my most overused word. It’s because I love the word. What do product managers and innovators create for customers? Value! How about organizations? They create value. What do customers want? The products they purchase must provide value — more value for them than other product options provide. How do product managers want to be seen by those that they work with? As someone who is valuable –again, creating value. Yes, value is central to product management and innovation.
It’s also an important term to my guest who has explored various models of value. He is the author of the weekly Pivot Product Hits, a newsletter for product managers on digital product strategy. He has been a Product Manager, creating digital products and services, for over 15 years, and is currently the Managing Director of Castle in the UK. His name is Paul Jackson.
In the discussion, you will learn:

* What is important about creating value.
* The Almquist model of value.
* How to discover what customers’ value.

 
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed:

* How did the Pivot Product Hits newsletter come about? The name came about as I was looking for a Twitter handle around the time that the Lean Startup book was published. The notion of a pivot caught my attention and the handle was available. At the time, I had worked for 10 years as a user experience designer and for a few years as a product manager. I sensed that product management was going to become a significant discipline in the future. At the time there were few British bloggers writing about product management. I wanted to be one of them and write about my observations. My early posts were about bringing lean practices to corporate settings. While that is rather standard now, at the time is was a very new concept for rigid corporate environments.

 

* Frame the concept of value for us. Value is extremely relevant in product management conversations. It is at the heart of challenges product managers face. Consumer choice and the decisions involved when making product purchases are not rational. We make decisions based on a subjective view of gains and losses. The constitution of value is grounded in these irrational decisions but refracted through the lens of gains and losses. In the world of digital applications, there are far too many choices available to consumers. The ability to understand what informs consumer choice is a ninja skill for product managers to make their products stand out from competitors and appeal to users.

 

* What are the elements of value? There are many value models to consider, from Alan Klement’s Job Story to Alex Osterwalder’s Value Proposition Canvas. One of the most exciting contributions to this topic is from Eric Almquist and team at Bain. Extending Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, they represent the elements of value as a pyramid stacked in four layers (shown below). All together, they identified 30 elements of value. The four layers, starting at the bottom are: Functional Elements, Emotional Elements, Life Changing Elements, and Social Impact Elements. Many products directly compete on functional elements of value. However, Almquist’s research shows the opportunity to find Blue Oceans and increase profit margins is by competing on emotional elements of value. Apple is a good example that does this well. An interesting finding is that the best companies in a category are only better than their competitors on around 8-9 value elements. Consequently, success does not mean excelling in all 30 elements of value. Parity on most elements while excelling in 5-8 elements important to consumers is a good starting point.

 

 

]]>
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TEI 121: How top product managers launch awesome products and build successful teams- with Richard Banfield https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-121-how-top-product-managers-launch-awesome-products-and-build-successful-teams-with-richard-banfield/ Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10765 Listen to the Interview   As you know from my Product Mastery Roadmap, product masters are the product leaders who have influence throughout an organization to launch awesome products customers love and to build successful product teams. And, this is exactly the topic I discuss with my guest. Richard Banfield has co-authored an exciting new […] Listen to the Interview   As you know from my Product Mastery Roadmap, product masters are the product leaders who have influence throughout an organization to launch awesome products customers love and to build successful product teams. And,  
As you know from my Product Mastery Roadmap, product masters are the product leaders who have influence throughout an organization to launch awesome products customers love and to build successful product teams. And, this is exactly the topic I discuss with my guest.
Richard Banfield has co-authored an exciting new book for product managers along with Martin Eriksson, the founder of ProductTank, and Nate Walkingshaw, Chief Experience Officer at Pluralsight. The title of the book is Product Leadership: How Top Product Managers Launch Awesome Products and Build Successful Teams. It is available for pre-order on Amazon and at http://productleadershipbook.com/.
The pre-publication version I was able to read was excellent and I’m looking forward to getting the final version when it is released in May. This discussion with Richard will give you a preview and valuable insights for becoming a product leader.
Richard is the CEO of Fresh Tilled Soil, where he leads strategic vision. He’s also a mentor at TechStars and BluePrintHealth, an advisor and lecturer at the Boston Startup School, and serves on the executive committees of TEDxBoston, the AdClub’s Edge Conference, and Boston Regional Entrepreneurship Week.
Whether you are a new product manager or one with 10+ years of experience, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this interview.
 
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators

* How do you contrast product managers from product leaders? Many product managers don’t think of themselves as leaders. As product managers become more influential in delivering value to customers their role becomes more oriented towards leadership. Further, to guide, drive, and help the product team deliver value, you need to exhibit leadership qualities. We address the questions of what does it mean to be a good manager and what does it mean to be a good leader. Beyond a leader’s style, a key question is what are you connecting – are you connecting the product vision to the roles of team members, influencing the progress of the organization, etc.

 

* How did the book come about? The motivation for the book was curiosity. All three of the authors have a lot of experience creating products. My company alone has developed over 700 products, which has resulted in a massive knowledge. However, I began wondering if my experience was similar to others and what I was missing. I started asking others about their product development and management experiences – what they saw working and what didn’t work. Those conversations were the start of the book. The book is a reflection of what questions the profession is asking. It addresses the questions you’ll hear at a product conference or meetup.

 

* What does it take to be a great product leader? The process for becoming a successful product leader will vary from person to person but there are some patterns of good product leaders. First, they are team players. They are good with human beings and bringing the best out of them. Next, you have to be a life-long learner. You also have to “embrace the suck.” There will be challenging times getting a product to market. Sometimes the work just sucks and you have to persevere. Leaders embrace these moments and working with the team to solve the challenges. They act and think team-first. Further, depending on the stage of the organization, they will have multiple hats (roles) to wear – they help where help is needed. The softer skills are also vital – writing, communicating, managing your time, negotiating, selling, persuading others with your ideas. Another key quality is “grace under fire” and being able to manage yourself well while leading others.

 

* My preview of the book included a checklist for becoming a great produc...]]>
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TEI 120: Product development and management at Snap-on – with Ben Brenton, PhD https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-120-product-development-and-management-at-snap-on-with-ben-brenton-phd/ Mon, 17 Apr 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10713 Listen to the Interview   I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing guests with incredible insights for us product managers and innovators and today’s guest cuts through a lot of noise and presents clear principles for creating more successful products. My guest is the Chief Innovation Officer and Vice President of Innovation for Snap-on, the leading […] Listen to the Interview   I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing guests with incredible insights for us product managers and innovators and today’s guest cuts through a lot of noise and presents clear principles for creating more successful products.  
I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing guests with incredible insights for us product managers and innovators and today’s guest cuts through a lot of noise and presents clear principles for creating more successful products. My guest is the Chief Innovation Officer and Vice President of Innovation for Snap-on, the leading global innovator, manufacturer and marketer of tools, diagnostics and equipment solutions for professional users. His role is to drive innovative products, solutions and processes that fundamentally change the markets Snap-on serves and enhance customer perception of its brands. He has helped to create, support and institutionalize a culture at Snap-on that embraces creativity, risk, change and fearless innovation. As you hear in the interview, prior to joining Snap-on, he spent 4 years in Marketing at PepsiCo, most recently as the Director of Innovation for the Frito-Lay Convenience Foods division. Before joining PepsiCo, he was Marketing Director of New Products at Kraft Foods. He has over 20 years of experience focused on new product development, marketing and innovation. His name is Ben Brenton and I expect you’ll find what he shared to be as valuable as I did.
We had to conduct the interview by phone, so the audio quality is a little different than normal, but not distracting.
 
 
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators

* Tell us about your move from the food and beverage industry to SnapOn. I had earned a PhD in Food Science and Nutrition. I ended up at Kraft Foods in biotechnology doing basic research. After a couple of years, I moved to being a manager in product development. About nine years into my career, I made another move, which was to marketing. I continued to work on a number of products. A few years later I had the opportunity to join PepsiCo. Four years into my career there, I was contacted by SnapOn, who was seeking a role that was new to me – Chief Innovation Officer. I was hired to create a culture of fearless innovation constructed around customer insights. This might seem to be a weird transition as I didn’t know anything about metallurgy or the products. However, the essence of my work is putting innovation processes in place that can be used across any industry and keeping the customer at the center of innovation. That work is not unique to a specific industry. It’s also important to note that we’re not only a tool company for professionals – 40% of our business is software development.

 

* What are the key parts to the product development and management process you use? One of the first things I did was to make sure all of our product groups had a basic Stage-Gate process. This provided each group a product development process. After this, there were three guidelines that were put in place:

* All product work needed to be based on customer insights. This means product teams are out talking to end-users and watching them do their work. This creates an understanding of specific needs.
* We would check in with customers throughout the development process. Products used to be developed internally and then only shown to customers for feedback after functional prototypes that were ready for manufacturing were developed. Now we use rapid prototyping tools throughout the development process and get customer feedback early and more frequently.
* After launch, we circle back with marketing and sales people and assess and improve the delivery of messages appropriate for a product and the needs of customers.



 

* Do you have a story of a product’s journey you can share? One that reflects the need of observing customers (end users) involves an examination of the wind power industry. Technicians at times have to climb out of the generator housing and onto th...]]>
Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 45:47
TEI 119: The 17th Annual Product Management and Marketing Survey results – with Rebecca Kalogeris https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-119-the-17th-annual-product-management-and-marketing-survey-results-with-rebecca-kalogeris/ Mon, 10 Apr 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10606 Listen to the Interview   Are you like other product managers and innovators? Do you spend your time like most do? Are the challenges you encounter different from other product managers? These types of questions are explored each year in the Annual Product Management and Marketing Survey. I explored the results of last year’s survey […] Listen to the Interview   Are you like other product managers and innovators? Do you spend your time like most do? Are the challenges you encounter different from other product managers? These types of questions are explored each year in the Annual Pro... Are you like other product managers and innovators? Do you spend your time like most do? Are the challenges you encounter different from other product managers? These types of questions are explored each year in the Annual Product Management and Marketing Survey. I explored the results of last year’s survey on The Everyday Innovator, and it is time to do it again for the 2017 survey.<br /> <br /> My guest is returning for a second time to tell us about the pulse of product management as indicated by the survey. She is Rebecca Kalogeris, Vice President of Marketing for Pragmatic Marketing. Before joining Pragmatic Marketing, Rebecca managed product management and marketing teams at a variety of software companies. Among her marketing responsibilities is pouring through the survey results of the annual study, so she is the perfect person to discuss the state of product management with.<br /> <br /> In the interview, you’ll discover:<br /> <br /> - Who do product managers tend to report to,<br /> - How many product managers organizations generally have,<br /> - The key challenges product managers face, and<br /> - What would make product managers more effective. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 41:53 TEI 118: Tools for data-driven product management – with Shah Ahmed https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-118-tools-for-data-driven-product-management-with-shah-ahmed/ Mon, 03 Apr 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10590 Listen to the Interview   I call listeners to this podcast Everyday Innovators. That means something. We are wired in such a way that makes us curious about problems people have, but we don’t stop there. Our real curiosity is how can we develop a product, or enhance a product, that solves a problem and […] Listen to the Interview   I call listeners to this podcast Everyday Innovators. That means something. We are wired in such a way that makes us curious about problems people have, but we don’t stop there. Our real curiosity is how can we develop a produ...  
I call listeners to this podcast Everyday Innovators. That means something. We are wired in such a way that makes us curious about problems people have, but we don’t stop there. Our real curiosity is how can we develop a product, or enhance a product, that solves a problem and creates value for customers. This is the world of product managers and innovators. And, as an Everyday Innovator, you are part of this world.
Some Everyday Innovators have emailed me asking to discuss tools for product managers. There are a lot of ways to think about tools, such as the innovation tools Evan Shellshear talked about in episode 113.
A common request is software tools for product managers and this is the episode for that topic. To help me, I found a company that maintains a list of software tools they use in their own work. They also add to the list other tools that could be used. In all, the list contains 87 tools. To discuss what is on this list, I spoke with Shah Ahmed, a project manager at the company, which is Indicative, a behavioral data analytics company. Shah works on developing products and manages implementations of their platform.  Previously, he was a management consultant for Deloitte, focusing on large-scale technology changes for Fortune 500 companies.  His interest in building product started when he worked at a startup incubator at Cornell University during his undergrad.
If you have been wanting to hear about product management software tools, now is the time.
 
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
The discussion is based on the blog post, “87 Most Essential Tools for Data-Driven Product Management.” We discussed tools in 11 categories:

* Mindmapping
* Flowcharts & Diagrams
* User Research
* Roadmapping
* Wireframing
* Prototyping
* Usability Testing
* Agile Project Management
* A/B Testing
* Heatmapping
* Analytics

Listen to the interview for the discussion and refer to the original blog post for the tools in each category.
 
Useful links for product managers:

* Indicative’s list of product management software tools
* Shah’s LinkedIn profile
* Indicative — Analytics that tell you how to grow your business

 
Innovation Quote
“There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you’ve made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you’ve made a discovery.” -Enrico Ferm
 
Thanks!
Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it using the social media buttons you see below.
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TEI 117: How Pitney Bowes built a Product Management Council – with Felicia Anderson https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-117-how-pitney-bowes-built-a-product-management-council-with-felicia-anderson/ Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10566 Listen to the Interview I took notice when Pitney Bowes created a Product Management Council, and I wanted to learn what they are doing with this council. Anytime an organization puts a focus on their product development and management capability, I expect good things to come of it. That’s because products are the revenue engine […] Listen to the Interview I took notice when Pitney Bowes created a Product Management Council, and I wanted to learn what they are doing with this council. Anytime an organization puts a focus on their product development and management capability, I took notice when Pitney Bowes created a Product Management Council, and I wanted to learn what they are doing with this council. Anytime an organization puts a focus on their product development and management capability, I expect good things to come of it. That’s because products are the revenue engine of organizations and the better job we as product managers and innovators can do creating products that provide customers value, the better it is for our organization.
To find out about this focus that Pitney Bowes has placed on product, I spoke with Felicia Anderson. She is the Senior Director of the Product Management Council and Launch Management at Pitney Bowes. She helps product managers build their skills to increase product launch success and deliver greater business impact.
In our discussion, you’ll learn:

* tips for improving the product management capability of your organization,
* how to construct a vision of the product management team, and
* a simple way to get started through lunch-and-learn meetings.

 

Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators

* Let’s start with some context — what is the business of Pitney Bowes? At Pitney, we help our clients combine both physical technologies and digital technologies to conduct commerce. So as we like to say, we’re the craftsmen of commerce.

 

* What is the charter/purpose of the Product Management Council? Our vision is to help our product managers increase their capabilities so that they can have a greater business impact. We believe product management is essential to fueling the growth of the company and increasing the innovation that we’re able to bring to market. At Pitney and in other companies, product management is often distributed throughout the organization and what we’re trying to do with the Product Management Council initiative is to bring that together so that we see each other as a community and we have a place to have a voice jointly.

 

* What were the events that led to the creation of a Product Management Council? Last Spring, which was before I had joined, our CEO was talking to his executive team and he asked the question, “Who’s responsible for the care and feeding of the product managers?” Because they are distributed in the business units and even in the lines of business within the business units, there wasn’t really a single person or a single set of people who were responsible for the development of product management. As a result of those discussions came this idea of establishing a product management council.

 

* How is the Council structured? There are two pieces to the product management council initiative. One is the product management leadership team. That’s our executive sponsors and the leaders of each of our five business units. That size of that team is 22 people. We meet monthly and discuss the issues that are at top of mind regarding product management. The second piece, of course, is the broader community itself. It’s the 225 people throughout the organization that comprises the product management community. Most of them are product managers, that’s product managers and their management, and also related stakeholders. We have 30 or 35 people from marketing as well. Some other key stakeholders, like learning and development in HR, also are in that community.

 

* What activities have you done? Each year or each period we agree at the top level what are our focus areas. So we have different components occurring regularly. The gemstone activity is our annual summit. Once a year we get all of our product managers, in fact, everybody in the product management community, in person, face to face, for a two-day meeting. We just happened to have that PM summit last week.]]>
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TEI 116: How to transition into product management – with Charles Du https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-116-how-to-transition-into-product-management-with-charles-du/ Mon, 20 Mar 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10542 Listen to the Interview One of the questions I am asked by listeners is how do you become a product manager. For example, Melissa emailed me and said: “I’d like to hear more about transitioning to a product management role in software – getting yourself up to speed on the technical aspects that product managers […] Listen to the Interview One of the questions I am asked by listeners is how do you become a product manager. For example, Melissa emailed me and said: “I’d like to hear more about transitioning to a product management role in software – getting yoursel... One of the questions I am asked by listeners is how do you become a product manager. For example, Melissa emailed me and said: "I’d like to hear more about transitioning to a product management role in software – getting yourself up to speed on the technical aspects that product managers needs to know to interact with developers."<br /> <br /> This came up more recently when I opened my IDEA Framework eCourse that teaches the essential base of knowledge for becoming a product leader and doubling your product success. Many people asked if this would help them get into product management and I told them that while they need the skills it teaches to be successful as a product manager, it is for existing product managers -- ones with at least a year of experience, not ones transitioning or who are brand new to the role.<br /> <br /> So, I contacted someone who specializes in helping people become product managers and to get grounded as a new product manager. He has trained thousands of people on these topics, including leading workshops at General Assembly, Stanford, and for other schools. He also worked as a software product manager at NASA, Apple, Ticketmaster, and Live Nation.<br /> <br /> And, if you regularly listen to The Everyday Innovator, you’ll recognize him as a returning guest, having shared specific tips for how to prepare for a product management interview back in episode 67. His name is Charles Du and this is a discussion you will enjoy and find valuable if:<br /> <br /> - you want to be a product manager, or<br /> - are brand new to the role of product management, or<br /> - you wish to do a better job mentoring product managers. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 42:11 TEI 115: 6 areas of expertise effective product managers need – with Steve Johnson https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-115-6-areas-of-expertise-effective-product-managers-need-with-steve-johnson/ Mon, 13 Mar 2017 11:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10521 Listen to the Interview Product managers and product teams have the challenge of creating market-winning products — those are products that customers love and that create value for customers and the organization. Some product managers are not as effective as they could be, or they have actually become less effective over time. According to my […] Listen to the Interview Product managers and product teams have the challenge of creating market-winning products — those are products that customers love and that create value for customers and the organization. Product managers and product teams have the challenge of creating market-winning products — those are products that customers love and that create value for customers and the organization. Some product managers are not as effective as they could be, or they have actually become less effective over time. According to my guest, an effective product manager has six types of expertise. We’ll explore each in just a minute. This interview also gives me the opportunity to interview a legend in product management, along with providing you a glimpse at a side of him you may not know — as singer and songwriter.
He has been working within the high-tech arena since 1979 with experience in technical, sales, and marketing positions at companies specializing in enterprise and desktop hardware and software. His market and technical savvy allowed him to rise through the ranks from Product Manager to Chief Marketing Officer. He has launched dozens of product offerings. Before founding Under10, his product management consulting company, he was a Pragmatic Marketing instructor for over 15 years. His name is Steve Johnson.
In the interview you will learn the six areas of expertise that effective product managers need:

* Technology,
* Operations,
* Process,
* Domain,
* Market, and
* Business.

Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed:

* What is the Umbrella Song about? Steve is not only a product management legend, he is also a singer and songwriter. Listen to the interview to hear a portion of the Umbrella song or visit his music on iTunes.


* What do product managers want their executive team to know about product management? One thing product managers want executives to know is that a sentence from a senior leader about what they want can be months of work for a product team. On the other hand, executives want their product managers to be more strategic – to be more business savvy.



* What expertise does a product manager need to be effective?  First up is Technology expertise. I see a lot of “purple squirrel” job posts for product managers. Purple squirrels are the perfect candidate who can start tomorrow and hit the street running and is willing to work for peanuts. Many purple squirrel job posts have a strong preference for technology expertise. There seems to be a feeling that you need to have a deep technical understanding or you can’t play the game. Product managers need to be technical enough to understand the questions from development. But in a lot of cases, a strong technical expertise ends up meaning you basically are part of the development team and not really part of product management. The development team has to have technical expertise for the types of products developed.


* Next is Operations expertise. Operations cover different contexts depending on the product. I’ve been working on a software system for product managers and am finding myself more involved with operational questions. Examples include how much storage space will each customer need as part of a SaaS solution. I’m thinking about operation-related factors, such as performance requirements, capacity requirements, etc.


* Then Process expertise. Many organizations have a lot of process around development, but not other places. I find that really good product managers tend to see things as a process. I have a simple example. I took my parents to dinner earlier this week and I walked up to the salad bar. The plates for the salad bar were on the far left and the big bowl of lettuce was on the far right and all the toppings were in the middle. I immediately thought the plates are on the wrong side.]]>
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TEI 114: New product managers share insights about the role and making the transition into product management – with 3 millennial product managers https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-114-new-product-managers-share-insights-about-the-role-and-making-the-transition-into-product-management-with-3-millennial-product-managers/ Mon, 06 Mar 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10493 Listen to the Interview This is the where product managers learn to be product masters. Product masters are the leaders of products in organizations and this episode is a very special one as I have not one but three guests who are all on their way to becoming product masters. This episode came about with […] Listen to the Interview This is the where product managers learn to be product masters. Product masters are the leaders of products in organizations and this episode is a very special one as I have not one but three guests who are all on their way to b... This is the where product managers learn to be product masters. Product masters are the leaders of products in organizations and this episode is a very special one as I have not one but three guests who are all on their way to becoming product masters. This episode came about with the help of one of my customers — Soren — who is in my IDEA Framework eCourse, which teaches the essential base of skills that lead to being a product master. We were discussing topics for this podcast and he shared how he would love to hear from other millennial product managers. He said that the experts I often interview provide valuable insights for him, but that he would also like to hear from product managers who are younger in their career and still figuring out what it means to be a product manager.
I not only thought that was a great idea but knowing Soren, I also thought he would be a great guest to share advice from his experience. He found two other young product managers so we could have a variety of experiences to learn from.

They are each in their 20’s and have been working as a product manager for 6 months to about 3 years.
Both new and more experienced product managers should listen to this discussion as there is something for all of us. Specifically, younger product managers will learn:

* Challenges product managers must deal with,
* Tips for improving your effectiveness, and
* The one thing each of the guests wish they knew about product management sooner in their careers.

For experienced product managers, please listen carefully to what motivates and frustrates these younger product managers and how you could be a mentor to other product managers, also helping them become product masters.
 
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed – given the richness of the panel discussion, this summary is sparse. The discussion really needs to be listened to.

* What was your motivation for working in product management? The opportunity to be creative along with the ability to deliver what you want to create value for customers. The responsibility was appealing. It’s more of an abstract challenge and allows me to be more of a big-picture thinker. The creative freedom drew me in. I enjoy taking an idea from its start and seeing it through to its finish in the form of a product. Being a product manager means never being bored – there are always new things to do and learn.

 

* What frustrates you about the role of product manager? It’s challenging to define my role at times – what am I really? The work can vary a good deal. It’s also difficult to know what I should be spending my time on and knowing what is important from day to day. Finding my place in the organization and gaining the influence I need are other challenges. I have to develop my influence with the executive team.

 

* What is one thing you have learned that has improved your product work? It was important to understand that product descriptions and requirements from various stakeholders are not always accurate and need to be carefully validated. Also, as most products fail to meet their objectives, you can’t fall in love with your product. Instead, love the problem, but not the product. You also have to develop good business knowledge and learn how to manage stakeholders. And maybe most important, get a mentor who can help you with understanding not only product management but also the business.

 

* What would you tell a new product manager that you wish you had known when you started as a product manager?

* Protect your time; share your big ideas with others; start small; show rather than tell.
* Don’t be shy, ask for feedback;  it is a collaborative role and your job is...]]>
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TEI 113: Innovation tools – with Evan Shellshear https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-113-innovation-tools-with-evan-shellshear/ Mon, 27 Feb 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10438 Listen to the Interview A frequent question lately has been what tools are used by product managers and innovators. In this episode, we are addressing some tools for innovation. I’ll cover product management tools in a future episode. To discuss innovation tools, I talked to the one person who has literally written the book on […] Listen to the Interview A frequent question lately has been what tools are used by product managers and innovators. In this episode, we are addressing some tools for innovation. I’ll cover product management tools in a future episode. A frequent question lately has been what tools are used by product managers and innovators. In this episode, we are addressing some tools for innovation. I’ll cover product management tools in a future episode. To discuss innovation tools, I talked to the one person who has literally written the book on innovation tools, which appropriately is also titled, Innovation Tools.
My guest and bestselling author is Even Shellshear. Evan’s focus is on industry transforming technologies and methodologies, from software to consulting. His background is in economics and game theory. He is also the founder of Simultek, a company that leverages game theory to elicit people’s true preferences.
In our discussion, product managers and innovators will learn:

* using crowdsourcing as a catalyst for innovation and avoiding crowd slap,
* tools for early prototyping,
* using and avoiding problems with behavioral innovation, and
* business model innovation.

 
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed:

* Why did you write Innovation Tools? When people think of innovation, Lean Startup often comes to mind. There is a gap between the theory of Lean Startup and other such methodologies and actual execution. When people express the gap, they understand the methodology but are missing a concrete set of low-risk tools to make innovation a reality. The Lean Startup is really about managing risk. It’s a risk management methodology and framework to help people launch new ideas and companies in a low-risk fashion. What was missing was not just a set of tools to implement that but a set of tools that were centered around low-risk activities and risk-minimizing execution strategies. I set out to fill that gap and help people find risk-minimizing tools out there to help you implement something like Lean Startup. The impetus for the book was many conversations with people saying, “Yeah, look, I get it but I need to do something, to get my hands dirty. What’s out there?” That was the reason why I wrote that book, to help people with this important piece.

 

* Let’s talk through some of the tools. Tell us about Crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is important because it’s been a massive catalyst for driving innovation. We know that the crowd has a huge number of perspectives and great expertise. What you’re doing with crowdsourcing is you’re tapping into that expertise, that desire for people who know something special, to give you that something special. That’s really the challenge and the benefit of crowdsourcing. The other part of crowdsourcing is where you flip it. Instead of reaching out to the crowd and asking for solutions or ideas, you reach out to the crowd and ask for funding to launch a solution to a problem.

 

* What are the pros and cons of Crowdsourcing? There’s a thing called the crowd slap, which is where some companies like Chevrolet have tried to source the crowd for ad campaigns or other ideas and because of the company’s image in society, instead of people taking it seriously, they ridiculed the company. However, the biggest challenge around crowdsourcing is managing the crowd and having the right expectations from the beginning. As an example, in 2006, IBM ran their Innovation Jam. They received 46,000 contributions, which they then reduced down to 31 ideas for further refinement. That’s less than 0.1 % of all ideas contributed. If we say that it took someone five minutes to consider every idea, 160 24-hour days would be required to go through all those ideas, or about 480 work days, or roughly two years of one person’s time. This is the challenge with crowdsourcing. It’s understanding what you’re going to get out of it, what the work requirement is, and what the other options could be for less effort....]]>
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TEI 112: Lean marketing for product managers – with Joe Dager https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-112-lean-marketing-for-product-managers-with-joe-dager/ Mon, 20 Feb 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10407 Lean concepts are being applied across organizations, but what about applying them to marketing? To explore how Lean benefits marketing, I talked with someone who has helped many organizations fuse Lean practices into marketing. That person is Joe Dager. As product managers are frequently involved with aspects of marketing, I thought these concepts would be […] Lean concepts are being applied across organizations, but what about applying them to marketing? To explore how Lean benefits marketing, I talked with someone who has helped many organizations fuse Lean practices into marketing. Joe Dager describes himself as the chief antagonist of Business901, a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to sales, marketing, and service.  His process thinking comes from over thirty years in marketing within a wide variety of industries as applied with Lean concepts. Joe has been part of several start-ups, a few turnarounds and now works creating digital marketing processes, primarily with SaaS-type companies.
From the discussion, product managers and innovators will learn:

* what Lean marketing is,
* how to measure the benefits of Lean in marketing,
* the steps for fusing Lean into your marketing work,
* helpful tools to use, and
* how to navigate the necessary culture change.

 
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed:

* What is Lean marketing? It is really a learning cycle and one where product managers should be involved. It is applying the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) cycle that is the basis of scientific learning to marketing. Lean marketing is an iterative approach to marketing.


* How do you view Lean? I always laugh and say anyone over the age of 35-40 thinks of traditional lean with roots in Toyota manufacturing. Anybody under that age, lean is Lean Startup from Eric Ries. I think of lean as PDCA. It is the continuous improvement with a recognition of standard work. That’s SDCA — Standard Work, Do, Check, Act. In contrast, Lean Startup, is EDCA — Explore, Do, Check, Act. So that’s what you need. You need all three components: PDCA, SDCA, and EDCA.


* What metrics should Lean marketing use? Start with understanding exactly the markets you’re in and the customers you’re addressing. You have to see what your marketing experiment is framed around before considering metrics. Let’s take an example. If you conduct an experiment with a metric of how many signups during a period of time for a digital product and another experiment that doesn’t have a clear metric, which one do you start with? The one where you have metrics. When you think of all the data that’s available, my advice is to just keep it simple. The first thing you have to do is determine who’s going to be looking at the measurements and then also how often they’re going to be looking at them, as well as what they’re going to use out of the metrics. It’s really starting with a feedback plan that identifies how you’re going to measure aspects of a marketing experiment. Then see what tools you’re using and what’s available very quickly to you.


* What are the steps for starting with Lean marketing? Start by not calling it lean. What you basically do is the typical marketing process when you start any marketing plan, which is first examining existing customers. Identify current buying behavior — what you do and what they do. That is your standard work. Then you decide where you want to go next. You create one or two experiments to dig deeper that could be used to improve your standard work. Then you iterate to close the gap between where you are and where you want to go. A great tool to use to do all that is lean A3. It’s just a one page document where the left side is Plan and the right side is Do, Check, Act. That’s how I’ve introduced it to a lot of companies.


* What tools can be used? In addition to the lean A3,]]>
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TEI 111: How SPICES help product managers build insanely great products – with David Fradin https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-111-how-spices-help-product-managers-build-insanely-great-products-with-david-fradin/ Mon, 13 Feb 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10383 Listen to the Interview A book caught my attention recently, and when I investigated the author, I was even more intrigued. The book is “Building Insanely Great Products,” written by David Fradin. David has trained thousands of managers throughout the world. He infuses his workshops with insights and experiences gained as a product leader at […] Listen to the Interview A book caught my attention recently, and when I investigated the author, I was even more intrigued. The book is “Building Insanely Great Products,” written by David Fradin. David has trained thousands of managers throughout the ... A book caught my attention recently, and when I investigated the author, I was even more intrigued. The book is “Building Insanely Great Products," written by David Fradin.<br /> <br /> David has trained thousands of managers throughout the world. He infuses his workshops with insights and experiences gained as a product leader at companies like Apple & HP.<br /> <br /> In our discussion you will learn the six keys to building insanely great products, that is remembered using the acronym SPICES, which is for:<br /> <br /> - strategy,<br /> - process,<br /> - information,<br /> - customers,<br /> - employees, and<br /> - systems & tools. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 41:23 TEI 110: How GE’s FirstBuild creates products – with Taylor Dawson https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-110-how-ges-firstbuild-creates-products-with-taylor-dawson/ Mon, 06 Feb 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10263 Listen to the Interview We have seen significant increases in large companies creating some type of innovation lab or starting a partnership with an innovation lab. One benefit is that the innovation lab can run at a different pace than the organization. The lab has more freedom to try quick experiments and explore new areas […] Listen to the Interview We have seen significant increases in large companies creating some type of innovation lab or starting a partnership with an innovation lab. One benefit is that the innovation lab can run at a different pace than the organizatio... We have seen significant increases in large companies creating some type of innovation lab or starting a partnership with an innovation lab. One benefit is that the innovation lab can run at a different pace than the organization. The lab has more freedom to try quick experiments and explore new areas that may be deemed too risky for the large organization. One lab that caught my attention when I first learned of it a few years ago was FirstBuild, which describes itself as the “place where ideas come to life.” FirstBuild is a creation of GE Appliances. They have created an open community with access to world-class engineering and design talent for exploring ideas and creating home appliances.
I plan to visit FirstBuild in a few months to learn more, but for now, I spoke with Taylor Dawson, their Product Evangelist. Taylor’s background is in mechanical design engineering, having spent time at Lexmark International and then GE Appliances. In our discussion, you will learn:

* Why FirstBuild was created and how it helps GE,
* How they identify product ideas and potential market segments,
* Why they use crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo, and
* Why a prototype is worth a thousand meetings.

 
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed:

* How did FirstBuild start? Eric Ries was a consultant to the GE executive team. This resulted in an initiative called Fast Works. It was an experiment to try lean startup principles at GE. Essentially an internal VC panel was created where employees could pitch ideas and seek sponsorship from a senior leader. Several good things came out of that program, but we also recognized that many barriers were still in place hampering innovation. After asking questions how to create an environment that could operate more like a start up, FirstBuild was born. The result was an open innovation business separate from GE. We created an online community where members could share ideas, participate in challenges, and collaborate. We also created a maker space that anyone from the local community can use. They can bring ideas and make something new. The combination of these approaches infuse FirstBuild with a great deal of entrepreneurial spirit as well as providing access to world-class engineers and creative minds.

 

* Where to product ideas come from? A great example to talk about is Opal, our nugget ice maker. GE already had nugget ice technology. The team that developed it was trying to find a way to get it into a GE refrigerator. I was aware of this effort. We also saw part of our online community discussing nugget ice. Putting the two together was pretty straightforward, leading to the concept of a countertop nugget ice maker. We shared some specifics with the online community – a countertop unit that would hold 3 pounds of ice, make a 1 pound of ice an hour and cost $500. For the nugget ice enthusiasts, this was an appealing product concept. Often our product ideas come from the seemingly random intersection of technology we have access to and what happens in our maker space and online community. Serendipity is at work.


 

* How do you use design challenges? When we encounter a problem, we can create a challenge in our online community. We try to give the most basic possible specification and frame the problem in a very general way. The great thing about design challenges is we will receive so many completely different concepts. It gives us the opportunity to choose what’s going to be the core that the product is built around. We usually provide a specific monetary incentive for winning a design challenge. If we plan to use a crowdfunding campaign for the product, we sometimes offer a percentage of the campaign to the challenge winner.

]]>
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TEI 109: How product managers can design the organization they want – with John Latham, PhD https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-109-how-product-managers-can-design-the-organization-they-want-with-john-latham-phd/ Mon, 30 Jan 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10240 Product managers have unique experiences and competencies that equip them for senior leadership roles. Many CEOs come from a product management background, including the last 8 CEOs of Proctor & Gamble. But, what should the product manager turned senior leader (or one who is planning on being a leader in the future) do to help […] Product managers have unique experiences and competencies that equip them for senior leadership roles. Many CEOs come from a product management background, including the last 8 CEOs of Proctor & Gamble. But, But, what should the product manager turned senior leader (or one who is planning on being a leader in the future) do to help his or her organization be more successful, and just as importantly, be the type of organization where people are motivated and want to work?
Well, that is the topic of this episode. My guest is John Latham who is sharing insights from his latest book, [Re]Create the Organization You Really Want. This is a book I have been encouraging John to write for several years, and I am delighted he has. You see, John has a rare combination of having performed research with leaders of world-renown organizations that moved from being good organizations to being the very best in their industry. He also has decades of experience helping organizations reach higher levels of performance. In the discussion, you’ll hear why product managers are suited to be organizational designers — treating the organization as a product to improve.
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed:

* What led to the creation of [Re]Create the Organization You Really Want? The book presents a definition of what it means to be a great organization and provides the framework for creating a great organization. Great organizations create financial results while creating value for all stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, workforce, community, and the natural environment. Being great means creating financial results in a way that also creates value for these stakeholders, resulting in a sustainable organization. The book is a culmination of 30 years of professional practice helping organizations be great and research into such organizations. The catalyst for the book was research of CEOs who had successfully recreated their organizations to win the Baldrige Award. This research, combined with other research and professional experience, led to the frameworks presented in the book, providing a roadmap for leaders to create great organizations.

 

* Why are organization design and leading transformation an important topic now? The short answer is we have tried everything else, and we are still struggling to make organizations that perform at their full potential. Organization design is the alignment of four cornerstones: (1) stakeholders, (2) strategy, (3) systems, and (4) scorecard. These cornerstones are held together by a supporting organizational culture. It’s an important topic today because the pace of change is increasing along with the increasing complexity of business environments.

 

* What challenges do product managers face in becoming organization designers? Product managers are ideally suited to take on the challenge of designing the organization. They understand the organizational system better than those working in isolated functional silos. Also, they are accustomed to working with products that create value for customers and thinking about how to design in a value-creation manner.  Yet, they face three big challenges. First, is taking a dynamic system’s perspective to the overall organization. It is not something that is taught in business schools. Second, is a product manager’s ego. Collaboration is essential to organization design, and collaboration is something that product managers tend to have experience with, but it is all-to-easy for the ego to get in the way and we all need to be aware of this. The third is curiosity. While product managers may be curious about meeting customers’ needs and wants, they need to develop curiosity for improving the organization also – such as conducting experiments to see what works and what doesn’t.]]>
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TEI 108: Communicating design in product management – with Latif Nanji https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-108-communicating-design-in-product-management-with-latif-nanji/ Mon, 23 Jan 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10187 Listen to the Interview The role of product management is encompassing more design and the need to integrate design capabilities into the product team. It is a topic that Latif Nanji is passionate about, along with designing products customers love. Latif is the CEO of Roadmunk, which creates road mapping software for the enterprise.  Roadmunk […] Listen to the Interview The role of product management is encompassing more design and the need to integrate design capabilities into the product team. It is a topic that Latif Nanji is passionate about, along with designing products customers love. The role of product management is encompassing more design and the need to integrate design capabilities into the product team. It is a topic that Latif Nanji is passionate about, along with designing products customers love. Latif is the CEO of Roadmunk, which creates road mapping software for the enterprise. Roadmunk was built out of Latif’s frustration to create well-designed roadmaps quickly for stakeholders.<br /> <br /> Latif shares that product managers’ ever changing roles now involve understanding and leveraging UX and UI. The challenge is how product managers properly align design principles into their work and what values product management needs to champion.<br /> <br /> In this interview you will learn a 5 element framework for communicating design in product management:<br /> <br /> - empathy in product management and design,<br /> - language of design,<br /> - data around design,<br /> - executive buy-in, and<br /> - designing the MSP. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 41:40 TEI 107: Create group flow for radical innovation – with Laurie Buss https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-107-create-group-flow-for-radical-innovation-with-laurie-buss/ Mon, 16 Jan 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10164 Listen to the Interview I’m very interested in how innovation can be made better and one category of tools is related to team performance – higher performing teams can create products that produce higher value. One particular tool is Group Flow, which was the topic of a paper published by The International Council on Systems […] Listen to the Interview I’m very interested in how innovation can be made better and one category of tools is related to team performance – higher performing teams can create products that produce higher value. One particular tool is Group Flow, I'm very interested in how innovation can be made better and one category of tools is related to team performance - higher performing teams can create products that produce higher value.<br /> <br /> One particular tool is Group Flow, which was the topic of a paper published by The International Council on Systems Engineering titled “Group Flow: the Genesis of Innovation.” Its author is Laurie Buss, who I interviewed to learn how teams can create group flow. When I discovered Laurie's work, I felt like I found a kindred spirit based on how she describes innovation, which is, that …<br /> <br /> Innovation is key to the continued growth of established economies, not only for the creation of new designs, products, services, and markets but also for the development and retention of top-performing employees.<br /> <br /> She has a degree from UCLA in Aerospace Engineering and is highly regarded in the international satellite industry, working with numerous large organizations in spacecraft design and test, launch, operations, and many other aspects that require innovative thinking. She also has a new book coming out in the second quarter of 2017 with a working title of "Brainpower Redemption."<br /> <br /> In this interview Laurie shares concrete steps to facilitate group flow, which includes 4 elements that are easily remembered using FLOW as an acronym:<br /> <br /> -Focus,<br /> -Location,<br /> -O (for round table), and<br /> -Work tools. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 47:57 TEI 106: Jobs to be done – with Tony Ulwick https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-106-jobs-to-be-done-with-tony-ulwick/ Mon, 09 Jan 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10122 Listen to the Interview I have a returning guest, Tony Ulwick, who is sharing 6 tools from his new book, Jobs to Be Done: Theory to Practice. Tony is well known for the creation of Outcome Driven Innovation and as the founder of Strategyn. When ODI was published in the Harvard Business Review, they declared […] Listen to the Interview I have a returning guest, Tony Ulwick, who is sharing 6 tools from his new book, Jobs to Be Done: Theory to Practice. Tony is well known for the creation of Outcome Driven Innovation and as the founder of Strategyn. I have a returning guest, Tony Ulwick, who is sharing 6 tools from his new book, Jobs to Be Done: Theory to Practice. Tony is well known for the creation of Outcome Driven Innovation and as the founder of Strategyn. When ODI was published in the Harvard Business Review, they declared it one of “the ideas that will profoundly affect business as we forge ahead in today’s complex times.”<br /> <br /> From the discussion, product managers and innovators will know how to apply Jobs to Be Done by applying 6 steps:<br /> <br /> - Define the customer’s “job-to-be-done”<br /> - Uncover the customer’s needs<br /> - Quantify the degree to which each outcome is underserved<br /> - Discover hidden segments of opportunity<br /> - Align existing products with market opportunities<br /> - Conceptualize new products to address unmet needs Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 50:05 TEI 105: Highlights from valuable 2016 interviews with savvy product management insiders – with Chad McAllister, PhD https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-105-highlights-from-valuable-2016-interviews-with-savvy-product-management-insiders-with-chad-mcallister-phd/ Mon, 02 Jan 2017 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=10069 Welcome to the second anniversary of the Everyday Innovator — another 52 episodes of discussions with skilled product managers and savvy insiders. In this year in review I share highlights from several of the discussions – emphasizing concepts and tools product managers and innovators should know. Just like my 2015 Year in review, there are […] Welcome to the second anniversary of the Everyday Innovator — another 52 episodes of discussions with skilled product managers and savvy insiders. In this year in review I share highlights from several of the discussions – emphasizing concepts and tool... Welcome to the second year anniversary of the Everyday Innovator -- another 52 episodes of discussions with skilled product managers and savvy insiders. In this year in review I share highlights from several of the discussions – emphasizing concepts and tools product managers and innovators should know. Just like my 2015 Year in review, there a lot of key concepts shared in these episodes.<br /> <br /> The review of interviews below is organized into 6 topics:<br /> <br /> why product managers should become leaders of organizations,<br /> the skills that correlate to 25% higher pay for product managers,<br /> examples of product management in action at companies,<br /> Design Thinking and its applications,<br /> tips for interviewing for a product management role, and<br /> specific innovation approaches & tools.<br /> And, the review concludes with a few of my favorite quotes from guests. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 40:22 TEI 104: Storytelling for innovation – with Michael Margolis https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-104-storytelling-for-innovation-with-michael-margolis/ Mon, 26 Dec 2016 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=9945 My guest today discusses another valuable topic related to the skills that all product managers need and that, according to a 2016 study, results in a 25% increase in pay. If you want to see the full list of topics, go to www.TheEverydayInnovator.com/podcast. The topic is how to use storytelling to share ideas and persuade […] My guest today discusses another valuable topic related to the skills that all product managers need and that, according to a 2016 study, results in a 25% increase in pay. If you want to see the full list of topics, go to www.TheEverydayInnovator. The topic is how to use storytelling to share ideas and persuade others to join you. My guest is Michael Margolis. He is the CEO and founder of Get Storied, which serves leaders, innovators, and trailblazers who have a world-changing agenda. He helps those who are inventing the future and need to get their story straight, because ideas don’t sell themselves. He has helped Google, NASA, Greenpeace, Deloitte, and Facebook, among others. His work has been featured in Fast Company, TIME, and Wired.
In our discussion, product managers will learn about the three principles for effective storytelling:

* context,
* emotion, and
* evidence.

 
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed:

* Our topic for this discussion is pitching and presenting disruptive innovation through storytelling. Let’s start by framing the nature of storytelling — what is storytelling about? It’s narrative strategy. It’s the process of how you take anything that is an idea — a product, a service, any business transformation — and get others to see what you see. Storytelling is how you convey that idea in a way they can identify with it, that they can relate to it, and they want to be a part of it. It’s in many ways the holy grail of what every innovator and human-centered designer is trying to solve.


* What are the principles to crafting a story that influences others? The principles are Context, Emotion, and Evidence.


* What is Context? This is a really important principle as it relates to idea adoption. Most of us lead with data. If you start your story with the data, the story is dead on arrival because you haven’t provided any context. You might get people nodding their heads, but they’re not really on board. They’re not leaning in. They’re not accepting your story as their story. Context is when you start a story you start with the where. What I mean by that is, where am I? When you start a story, what your audience is trying to figure out is where the story takes place. What world are you asking them to step into? What’s that ecosystem, universe, or more simply, context? Paint that picture for them and then quickly capture their imagination. If you can’t get them curious and leaning in, you’re going to have a hard time carrying that attention through the rest of your presentation.


* What about Emotion? This is where you  need to show and get people to feel how much you care about who’s at the heart of this story. Who’s at the heart of the story is usually a customer or a key internal stakeholder. You’re telling a story in a way that shows that you get what they’re going through. You’re showing the emotional impact this has on people’s lives.


* How does Evidence fit in? This is where you bring in the data. You demonstrate that you have a right to tell the story and that this story is real. The evidence is the proof. A caution is to not answer all the questions your audience would have. You want to let the story continue.

 
Useful links:

* Get Storied website.
* How to tell a world-changing story video series.
* Undeniable Story online course that teaches storytelling for innovation and change.
* Follow Michael on Twitter

 
Innovation Quote
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Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 48:16
TEI 103: How Karcher developed a new product that captured the market – with Bill Ott https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-103-how-karcher-developed-a-new-product-that-captured-the-market-with-bill-ott/ Mon, 19 Dec 2016 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=9762 Listen to the Interview This interview is a great discussion about a product story — from how the product concept was developed all the way through launch, including industry awards the product has received. My guest is Bill Ott, Executive Vice President of the product development organization at Kärcher. They are the world’s leading manufacturer […] Listen to the Interview This interview is a great discussion about a product story — from how the product concept was developed all the way through launch, including industry awards the product has received. My guest is Bill Ott,
This interview is a great discussion about a product story — from how the product concept was developed all the way through launch, including industry awards the product has received. My guest is Bill Ott, Executive Vice President of the product development organization at Kärcher. They are the world’s leading manufacturer of cleaning equipment. Bill is a hands-on executive with global experience in private, Fortune 500 and start-up environments within the consumer, commercial and industrial sectors. Bill started his career as a design engineer and progressed from an individual contributor to management roles while working for IBM, Thomson Consumer Electronics and Philips Electronics.
In our discussion, product managers will learn about:

* identifying customer needs,
* using Voice of the Customer research to uncover and prioritize needs,
* navigating the Lean cycle of Build, Measure, and Learn, and
* launching successfully.

 
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed:

* Where does this product story start? Karcher North America is the market leader in carpet extraction cleaning. The core product line was 15 years old and in need of innovation.

 

* How did you identify what the customer needed? Our goal for improving the product line was to decrease the time it took to clean carpet by 30%. That formed the basis of our fundamental requirements and resulted in what we call a concept definition package. We added objectives of reducing work effort that causes fatigue and adding agility so the carpet cleaning machine could work in small spaces like hotel rooms. Our Concept Team takes it from there. The Concept Team consists of the product manager, an industrial designer, an engineer and a project manager. They have the responsibility of developing the concept that ultimately goes to development. Next is voice of the customer (VOC) research.

 

* How was the VOC research conducted? We have a skilled group of ethnographic researchers. We do interviews as well, but a lot of the time we actual watch the operators use the equipment and visually observe reactions, how they go about doing their job, where the pain points are, and ultimately creating a map of the processes they use. We conducted VOC research with existing customers that matched our target market for the new product: universities, schools, hotels, airports, office buildings, and casinos – anywhere with large amounts of carpet.

 

* What happened after the VOC research? We accumulated a long list of needs from VOC research. We apply the Build, Measure, Learn cycle from the lean startup methodology. Our designers conduct brainstorming and use affinity diagramming to organize ideas for solving the needs. Those ideas are narrowed, focusing on the highest potential, and then prototyping of the ideas begins. We invite some customers to our lab to provide feedback, helping with the “measure” part of the lean cycle. Then we learn from the feedback and conduct another round of Build, Measure, Learn. Another tool we rely on is Value Stream Mapping. We have a lean master who facilitates a meeting with the Concept Team to map out the complete process from the point in time that the operator shows up to clean carpet to putting the machine back in the closet, including when the space with the carpet can be used again. This helps us identify areas of waste to eliminate.

 

* What is the finished product?


 
For more, listen to the interview or read the transcript below.
 
Useful links:

* Bill’s LinkedIn profile
*
Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 46:40
TEI 102: Executive coaching for product managers – with Evan Roth https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-102-executive-coaching-for-product-managers-with-evan-roth/ Mon, 12 Dec 2016 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=9731 I’ve been fortunate to have excellent mentors at different times during my career. I’ve seen an interesting trend in the last few years – the rise of the personal coach. This is a type of mentor. A personal coach can help you in many ways, all of which are generally related to improving performance and […] I’ve been fortunate to have excellent mentors at different times during my career. I’ve seen an interesting trend in the last few years – the rise of the personal coach. This is a type of mentor. A personal coach can help you in many ways, I've been fortunate to have excellent mentors at different times during my career. I've seen an interesting trend in the last few years - the rise of the personal coach. This is a type of mentor. A personal coach can help you in many ways, all of which are generally related to improving performance and success -- identifying objectives, holding you accountable for taking action, providing unbiased feedback, and at times just helping you get out of your own way by identifying how you're limiting your success.<br /> <br /> Recently I was talking with the head of product for a global company and he mentioned he had been meeting with a coach. I was curious about this because I noticed a change in him and I asked how the coach helped. His response made me more curious and I wanted to talk with his coach myself, which I do in this interview. My guest is Evan Roth, a certified executive coach that works with both individual executives and as well as their teams. Evan has 30+ years' real-world corporate experience in leadership and organizational development, accounting and finance, business strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and international operations. He happens to be based in Denver, Colorado, near my home, but thanks to Skype, he works with clients across the globe.<br /> <br /> In our discussion, you will learn about:<br /> <br /> - limiting beliefs,<br /> - assumptions and interpretations,<br /> - my personal example of being in quicksand, and<br /> - how to have more energy. Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 43:55 TEI 101: 9 traits of highly innovative people- with Tamara Kleinberg https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-101-9-traits-of-highly-innovative-people-with-tamara-kleinberg/ Mon, 05 Dec 2016 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=9685 Listen to the Interview I’m a big believer in people playing to their strengths, and this includes product team members and others involved in innovation. Not everyone has the same strengths – if we did, that would be a bit boring. Realizing how people approach innovation and their strengths is something Tamara Kleinberg accomplishes. Tamara […] Listen to the Interview I’m a big believer in people playing to their strengths, and this includes product team members and others involved in innovation. Not everyone has the same strengths – if we did, that would be a bit boring. I’m a big believer in people playing to their strengths, and this includes product team members and others involved in innovation. Not everyone has the same strengths – if we did, that would be a bit boring. Realizing how people approach innovation and their strengths is something Tamara Kleinberg accomplishes. Tamara has spent more years than she’ll admit brimming with ideas and launching and running entrepreneurial businesses. She is known for her ability to innovate from ideation to implementation and has brought to market products for very large brands. For the past 18 years she has advised companies such as Disney, Procter & Gamble, General Mills and Otterbox on fostering innovative ideas and people. She has run multi-million dollar businesses and launched a few of her own, including Launch Street, which provides resources for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.
In the interview, we discuss nine traits of innovators and how to identify the trait(s) that is your strength. The traits are:

* Collaborative
* Experiential
* Futuristic
* Fluid
* Imaginative
* Inquisitive
* Instinctual
* Risk Taker
* Tweaker

 
Also, you will learn the two most important things to say after you present a new idea.
 
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed:

* What is the backstory on your Innovation Quotient Edge? The Innovation Quotient Edge (IQE) is the culmination of 20+ years of work and experience. I started my career in brand strategy and innovation in New York City in a big firm and in advertising on Madison Avenue. Then I branched off, with most of my work being in new product development for Fortune 500 consumer goods companies—Procter and Gamble, General Mills, Clorox, etc. Time and again I would hand innovative ideas to these brilliant people in these great companies. Yet a lot of them wouldn’t make it to market. Their ability to be innovative and drive change they needed to get the results was suffering. So I stepped back and thought about what was occurring. I always believed that if we did one or two things, we’d all be innovative. But in my work and research, what I actually discovered blew my assumptions out the door, about how innovation works. What I discovered is that we’re all innovative, but how we innovate is unique to each of us. In fact, there are nine human triggers of innovation and the combination of your top two triggers make your unique innovator profile.

 

* What are the nine traits? The image  below provides a good summary of the nine traits. Listen to the interview to hear details about each.


 

What is the language of innovation? When we present ideas we often force people into a yes or no vote. We share the idea and ask “What do you think?” Most people hate ideas that are new. We are programmed to poke holes in them. Instead, when presenting a new idea, ask:

* “What would you do to strengthen this idea?” and then
* “What holes do you see and how would you fill them?”




 
Useful links:

* Special resources from Tamara just for listeners, diving deeper into the
Language of Innovation.
* Tamara’s website
* How entrepreneurs elevate communities and change the world: Tamara G. Kleinberg at TEDxCSU
* Connect with Tamara on LinkedIn

 
Innovation Quote
“The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be s...]]> Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 42:54 TEI 100: Celebrating 100 episodes for product managers – with host Chad McAllister https://productinnovationeducators.com/blog/tei-100-celebrating-100-episodes-for-product-managers-with-host-chad-mcallister/ Mon, 28 Nov 2016 12:50:00 +0000 https://productinnovationeducators.com/?p=9603 Welcome to the 100th episode of The Everyday Innovator podcast. I have a little something different for this episode, being this is kind of a big milestone, the 100th episode. I don’t have a guest today, and I’ll tell you more about that in the episode recording. For the 100th episode, I cover four topics: […] Welcome to the 100th episode of The Everyday Innovator podcast. I have a little something different for this episode, being this is kind of a big milestone, the 100th episode. I don’t have a guest today, and I’ll tell you more about that in the episode... Welcome to the 100th episode of The Everyday Innovator podcast. I have a little something different for this episode, being this is kind of a big milestone, the 100th episode. I don’t have a guest today, and I’ll tell you more about that in the episode recording.<br /> <br /> For the 100th episode, I cover four topics:<br /> <br /> - An opportunity to get The Everyday Innovator coffee cup.<br /> - Learning from self-reflection to increase your empathy and influence, using my self-reflection as an example.<br /> - Why the podcast and blog is named The Everyday Innovator.<br /> - Answers to product manager questions: advice for new product managers, where product management is heading, and why launches go bad.<br /> Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters clean 33:31