300 episodes

Product Mastery Now (previously The Everyday Innovator) is a weekly podcast dedicated to your success as a product manager, leader 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.

Product Mastery Now for Product Managers, Innovators, and Leaders Chad McAllister, PhD - Helping Product Managers become Product Masters

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 5 Ratings

Product Mastery Now (previously The Everyday Innovator) is a weekly podcast dedicated to your success as a product manager, leader 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.

    422: Building more innovation organizations – with Sabra Horne

    422: Building more innovation organizations – with Sabra Horne

    What product managers can learn about innovation from the U.S. government’s innovation efforts

    Today we are talking about building more innovative organizations. To help us with that, we have the author of Creating Innovation Navigators: Achieving Mission Through Innovation joining us. That is Sabra Horne, who is Entrepreneur in Residence at BMNT, where she supports the development and deployment of government innovation efforts.

    Before joining BMNT, she was Chief of the Innovation Hub, responsible for envisioning, establishing, and developing innovation efforts in the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Previously, she served the National Security Agency (NSA) as Deputy Chief for Information Sharing and Collaboration, facilitating sharing of NSA’s most highly classified intelligence. 

    Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

    [1:59] What is the state of innovation in government organizations?

    We probably think of the government as a bureaucratic mechanism that is slow and lumbering, but there are many innovative organizations within the government, such as NASA and DARPA. In many cases, the government can be somewhat slow, and we intentionally bring people to the government who are not experts in innovation—people who are great at following processes and strategies so we have repeatable efforts consistently focused on making the best use of taxpayer dollars. The challenge is balancing the responsibility of being methodical and precise with having innovative tactics. Every individual within the government has the ability to be more innovative, if we think about what that might look like, how we could achieve that, and how we’re going to achieve mission impact even more effectively.

    Useful links:



    * Check out Sabra’s book, Creating Innovation Navigators: Achieving Mission Through Innovation

    * Learn more about BMNT and read Sabra’s blog post, “What I Wish Someone Had Told Me Then: Creating Innovation In Public Sector Organizations”



    Innovation Quote

    “This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.” – George Bernard Shaw

    Thanks!

    Thank you for taking the journey to product mastery 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.

    • 32 min
    421: Cross-discipline Design Thinking – with Emily Phelan

    421: Cross-discipline Design Thinking – with Emily Phelan

    Insights from an innovative Design-Thinking program

    Today we are talking about Design Thinking through the lens of a unique new program at the University of Wisconsin that is teaching product design from a multiple-discipline perspective. For example, product design grad students learn UI/UX principles while learning about electronic circuits and product packaging. The cross-discipline experience is unique and provides a valuable perspective.

    Joining us to discuss Design Thinking is a recent graduate of this program, Emily Phelan. Emily is now a customer experience strategist for Landor & Fitch, the New York-based brand and design group. Previously she was a marketing specialist for Accenture. She also had her own design company and pursued other entrepreneurial interests. And Emily is an amazing illustrator—check out her LinkedIn profile for some of the superheroes she has designed.

    Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

    [5:49] Can you take us through the Design Thinking framework as you applied it through the University of Wisconsin’s program?

    The framework we used was from the Stanford d.school. There are four phases:

    Useful links:



    Connect with Emily on LinkedIn

    Check out EmilyPhelan.com

    Check out Design is Storytelling and Speculative Everything

    * Learn more about Stanford d.school



    Innovation Quote

    “Commit and figure it out.” – Jimmy Chen 

    Thanks!

    Thank you for taking the journey to product mastery 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.

    • 29 min
    420: Get into the Discovery Zone – with David Matheson, PhD

    420: Get into the Discovery Zone – with David Matheson, PhD

    How to get out of your organization’s routine and create real value – for product managers

    This episode is sponsored by PDMA, the Product Development and Management Association. PDMA is a global community of professional members whose skills, expertise, and experience power the most recognized and respected innovative companies in the world. PDMA is the longest-running professional association for product managers, leaders, and innovators, having started in 1976. I have enjoyed being a member of PDMA for more than a decade, finding their resources and network very valuable. Learn more about them at PDMA.org.

    PDMA invited me to their conference, which was in Orlando, Florida, to interview some of their speakers. This speaker presented on the topic Get into the Discovery Zone. With Lean and Agile methods, it is too easy for teams to fall into the trap of pursuing speed and a sense of progress, while failing to provide value on the most important aspects that customers need. The Discovery Zone changes that. We’ll find out how from David Matheson. He’s a Practitioner & Thought Leader in Portfolio & Innovation Management and cofounder of SmartOrg, a Silicon Valley based company that connects innovation and finance. With decades of experience, David has helped senior management of firms around the world improve their results from portfolio management, product development, innovation, R&D, capital investment and strategy. He earned a Ph.D. at Stanford University where he has also taught strategic portfolio management.

    Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

    [2:10] What is the problem that led to the Discovery Zone?

    The Discovery Zone grew out of my work with HP. Around the time the Apple Watch came out, HP had the best smartwatch. The innovation team was charged with figuring out if they could pull off a digital watch. They made a really cool watch and sold enough to show it’s real. Everyone got super excited. The management review board’s next questions was “How do we make a business out of this for HP?” The team ran ahead and made more watches. They proliferated about 10 different watches, and they all sold and made more money. The team came back and said, “Look at our great success,” but management said, “You did not answer our question. In fact you’ve demonstrated this cannot be a business for HP.” And they killed the program.

    It was probably the right call because the innovators charged ahead with making the product and didn’t think about answering the questions that would really make this work for HP. HP made a few SKUs of laptops and sold millions. Watches run in ten thousands. The innovation team demonstrated unintentionally they couldn’t make it scalable.

    There’s an innovation blind spot that Lean and Agile methods invite us to walk into. We come up with hypotheses and do the ones that make the most traction. “Learn quick” is the mantra. That’s good as far as it goes, but most teams often don’t do critical thinking. They don’t take a broad enough view and work on the wrong hypotheses is. Like the team at HP, they’re not asking the right questions.

    Useful link:



    * Visit David’s website, SmartOrg.com



    Thanks!

    Thank you for taking the journey to product mastery 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.

    • 33 min
    419: Improv to Improve Your Team’s Creativity – with Seth Greenwald

    419: Improv to Improve Your Team’s Creativity – with Seth Greenwald

    Tools for building a more collaborative product team – for product managers

    This episode is sponsored by PDMA, the Product Development and Management Association. PDMA is a global community of professional members whose skills, expertise, and experience power the most recognized and respected innovative companies in the world. PDMA is the longest-running professional association for product managers, leaders, and innovators, having started in 1976. I have enjoyed being a member of PDMA for more than a decade, finding their resources and network very valuable. Learn more about them at PDMA.org.

    PDMA invited me to their conference, which was in Orlando, Florida, to interview some of their speakers. This speaker presented on the topic Improv to Improve Your Team’s Creativity. How do you think improv can improve your product work and your group? We are about to find out.

    Our guest is Seth Greenwald, aka Sherpa Seth. He’s a best-selling author, keynote speaker and popular communication coach for creative professionals and technical leaders. He founded Creative Warrior Secrets to help professionals be excellent communicators and increase their success. He holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering and has served as design lead and senior project manager for many of the nation’s largest engineering and construction organizations. Among other publications on communication, he hosts an online course called Improv to Improve Your A-Game Mindset.

    Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

    [3:13] What do you mean by improv to help teams improve?

    The improv TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? was my inspiration. I saw how they did everything on the spot, and I always liked laughing, so I wanted that for my team. In many large organizations, people are working in silos and never really collaborate. I wanted to help them figure out how to break out of their silos and improvise. I was always the guy hiding behind my laptop. I wanted everyone to go away and just leave me alone and let me focus. That’s not good when I wanted to be in the world with other people. I needed to learn how to speak to and collaborate with people.

    I joined an organization called Toastmasters, and they taught me how to present, but I also wanted to learn how to speak with and collaborate with people when I’m not presenting. Whose Line Is It Anyway? was a revelation for me because they were so in-the-moment, focused, and working together. I didn’t want to be a comedian, but I did want to have fun with my team. I want to help you learn how to have fun with your team. That’s what I mean by improv communication.

    Instead of going back to your laptop and solving a problem by yourself, learn to solve problems together in real time. Each team member is coming to the problem from their own point of view, and you have to force yourself to organically solve the problem with others in the same space and timeframe. It’s hard for a lot of people to do that. You have to trust what comes out of your mouth and be in the moment.

    You need to listen fully and have a yes, and mindset. Go from a me go mindset—one person wins—to a we go mindset—we win together.

    Useful links:



    * Check out Seth’s website

    * Join Seth’s Improv2Improve Course and tell Seth you heard about it on the Product Mastery Now podcast to receive a discount



    Thanks!

    Thank you for taking the journey to product mastery 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 bu...

    • 30 min
    418: Telling the product and brand story – with Sarah Panus

    418: Telling the product and brand story – with Sarah Panus

    Insights on brand storytelling for product managers

    Today we are talking about the problem you solve, the value you create, and the difference you make—and not just you specifically but also your organization. Just like you, I have encountered organizations that confuse me—I’m uncertain what they are really about. This is a branding and messaging issue. As product professionals, we need to help position our products in ways that make sense for customers and the organization. We have to tell the product and brand story effectively.

    To help us do that, Sarah Panus is with us. She is a brand storytelling strategist and coach, host of the Marketing With Empathy podcast, and founder of Kindred Speak, which provides editorial brand storytelling services and coaching. Sarah also speaks on topics for humanizing your brand. Before starting Kindred Speak, she contributed to brand and marketing strategy for the Sleep Number Corporation and other companies.

    Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

    [2:14] What is brand storytelling?

    Brand storytelling is when a brand shares editorial stories with their audience. Editorial stories are not promotional stories. They’re narrative stories designed to engage your audience, attract new people to your brand, and keep them engaged. They’re something your customer base wants more of, versus promotional content that they’re not really excited to read. Brand storytelling educates, entertains, and inspires your audience.

    A brand story isn’t solely about the product. Your webpage can talk all about the product features and benefits. Create a story around the problem the product solves . Bring in real people who can talk about their experience. The product isn’t the hero of the story. Your customer or the problem is, and the product gets mentioned as a secondary element that can help solve the problem. These are the types of stories you read in a magazine or on a digital site. You need both marketing storytelling and brand storytelling, but brand storytelling is better designed and what I’ve seen drive leading ROI of attracting the audience and keeping them engaged.

    Useful links:



    * Listen to Sarah’s Marketing With Empathy podcast or search for it wherever you listen to podcasts

    * Learn more about brand storytelling on Sarah’s website

    * Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn



    Innovation Quote

    “Don’t compare your beginning or middle to someone else’s end.”  – attributed to Tony Robbins

    Thanks!

    Thank you for taking the journey to product mastery 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.

    • 34 min
    417: Using roadmaps with OKRs – with Michael Harrison

    417: Using roadmaps with OKRs – with Michael Harrison

    A process for improving product roadmapping using Objectives and Key Results – for product managers

    Today we are talking about roadmaps. Some product people love roadmaps, while a lot hate them. What can make them better? Our guest has had good experience creating roadmaps from objectives and key results (OKRs), and he is going to tell us how.

    That guest is Michael Harrison. He is the Head of Product Management for Fleetio, a SaaS company that automates fleet operations to keep vehicles and equipment running smoothly.

    Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

    [2:11] What are approaches to product roadmaps have you used?

    As Fleetio has scaled, the needs of our roadmap have changed a lot. When we were small—seven employees—we operated on a project-based roadmap, a series of features with goals and timelines for when we hope to deliver those. That worked pretty well. When we were small, it kept us focused and we could afford major changes in direction. Now, as we’ve evolved, we need more of an outcome-based roadmap because it naturally keeps us more aligned as we get bigger.

    Useful links:



    Learn more about Fleetio

    Connect with Michael on LinkedIn



    Innovation Quote

    “As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.” – John Wheeler  

    Thanks!

    Thank you for taking the journey to product mastery 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.

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

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Awesome

Chad brings value consistently. -Allan from Product Centric

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