73 episodes

Successful product management isn’t just about training the product managers who work side by side with developers everyday to build better products. It’s about taking a step back, approaching the systems within organizations as a whole, and leveling up product leadership to improve these systems. This is the Product Thinking Podcast, where Melissa Perri will connect with industry leading experts in the product management space, AND answer your most pressing questions about everything product. Join us each week to level up your skillset and invest in yourself as a product leader.

Product Thinking Melissa Perri

    • Business
    • 4.6 • 10 Ratings

Successful product management isn’t just about training the product managers who work side by side with developers everyday to build better products. It’s about taking a step back, approaching the systems within organizations as a whole, and leveling up product leadership to improve these systems. This is the Product Thinking Podcast, where Melissa Perri will connect with industry leading experts in the product management space, AND answer your most pressing questions about everything product. Join us each week to level up your skillset and invest in yourself as a product leader.

    The Pivot Series, Part 1: Embracing The Unknown with Colleen Johnson

    The Pivot Series, Part 1: Embracing The Unknown with Colleen Johnson

    Melissa Perri welcomes Colleen Johnson to the first episode of this four-part miniseries about companies that successfully made major pivots during the pandemic. Colleen is the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of ScatterSpoke, a company that leverages AI to make the most out of retrospective feedback. Colleen tells Melissa how their company needed to pivot quickly to win against competitors, how she had to shift from being a subject matter expert to embracing uncertainty and curiosity, her version of a valuable MVP, and which retro data she finds to be the most valuable. 

    Here are some key points you'll hear Melissa and Colleen discuss: 

    Colleen talks about her professional background, what led her to found ScatterSpoke, and what services they provide. [4:31]

    During the pandemic, when Scatterspoke lost clients to major competitors, they had to determine what made them stand out from other companies who provided the same retrospective services – the answer was a large quantity of retro data. [6:11]

    Colleen advises listeners to approach change with an open mindset and to be a little bit more cautious. [8:56]

    A friendly invite via their in-person professional network or even a cold outreach on LinkedIn can help a product manager launch a new product, connect with engineer leaders to provide them with data, test products, and offer feedback. [12:01]

    In coaching teams and helping organizations adopt agile practices, most people tend to focus on delivery rather than breaking down the work. If you do not break down the work in a way that allows you to iterate and get feedback quickly, the whole pivot process has no benefit. [14:38]

    The most valuable part of presenting small chunks to engineer leaders and customers is what you learn from their responses, positive or negative. [16:12]

    To have a successful retro tool, the teams using it - rather than scrum masters and engineer managers - must see its value to their process. [19:46]

    Engineering managers and product leaders need to understand that retrospectives are important because they help pinpoint issues in the organization. [20:11]

    As a person working in product and product management, Colleen says that you have to “remove yourself from the subject matter expert seat”. You have to be curious and willing to learn and understand that you are venturing into waters beyond your scope of knowledge with this new transition. [26:45]


    Resources 
    Colleen Johnson | LinkedIn | Twitter
    ScatterSpoke | Twitter | Instagram

    • 36 min
    Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Panicked Startup Founders, Aligning Executives, and Vetting Startup Jobs

    Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Panicked Startup Founders, Aligning Executives, and Vetting Startup Jobs

    In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about wishing startup founders were able to see the value of being more product-oriented and how to influence them in that direction, organizing executives across multiple business units to align on product strategy, and how to gather evidence that a startup is the right place to work (and whether or not it’ll stay in business if you do decide to take the job).

    Q: How do I help my leadership be more product-oriented? [2:06]

    Q: How would you go about getting alignment or endorsement from your executive group with multiple business units on product strategy? [9:45]

    Q: What would be your strategy to evaluate if a product management role in a startup is a good fit? What questions should I ask in the interview? [15:44]

    Resources
    Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter
    MelissaPerri.com

    • 24 min
    Following What Brings You Joy with Lenny Rachitsky

    Following What Brings You Joy with Lenny Rachitsky

    Today on the Product Thinking Podcast, Melissa Perri is joined by Lenny Rachitsky, author of the popular product advice column Lenny’s Newsletter. Melissa and Lenny compare notes on what it’s like to move from working directly in product to creating product content and courses, and Lenny explains how his newsletter was born and its growth trajectory since, what he’s learned about how to create valuable content, what success means to him, and how to keep your energy focused on the things that light you up. Here are some of the key points you’ll hear Lenny and Melissa talk about:

    How Lenny got into product management originally. He started his career in computer science and initially worked in coding before deciding to try and build his own company, which he did in Montreal, before joining AirBNB where he moved into product management. [02:20]

    Melissa talks about how, not that long ago, there wasn’t really a career path for product management and her realization that you can be involved in management without building it yourself. [05:15]

    By writing Medium post called What Seven Years at AirBNB Taught me about building that did incredibly well, Lenny realize there was an audience out there hungry for content about product management and development. Eventually, this led to his newsletter, job board, and course. [09:55]

    Lenny shares how much of his work is research-based – determining the information he wants to share, and reaching out to the experts who have the best answers, then consolidating them into actionable, valuable materials for people. [14:55]

    Where do we get energy from things we do? Not every type of work or every type of content is a home run for the person creating it. Melissa and Lenny talk about how a Product mindset can be helpful with this. [18:25]

    Melissa talks about how even when you’re running your own company, it’s still work, and you can still burn out. There is nothing wrong with building a lifestyle business–not everything has to be a major, venture-funded enterprise. [21:15]

    Many people want to start lifestyle-type businesses. Lenny shares his advice for building something that brings you a lot of joy. One of the keys is having people to support you, and building in time for experimentation. [25:20]

    Melissa shares her own philosophy on building a business that fits your lifestyle instead of changing your life to fit your business, and how to tell when it’s not working. [29:45]

    There are two phases to growth–how it starts and how it grows. Lenny talks about how growth has worked in his ventures. Quality of content is paramount.[34:40]

    Lenny talks about what is currently interesting and inspiring to him in Product management. [40:55]

     
    Resources: 
    Lenny on the web | Twitter | LinkedIn
    Lenny’s Newsletter
    28 Ways to Grow Supply in a Marketplace

    • 44 min
    Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Strategy, Discovery and Delivery

    Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Strategy, Discovery and Delivery

    In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about separating product strategy from overall company strategy, rules of thumb for discovery and delivery phases, and what a small company starting to scale up really needs in order to carve out a thoughtful product strategy and vision.
    Q: Do you have any advice on how to align between product strategy and business strategy, especially when a product doesn't have a strong executive presence? [1:13]
    Q: How do you manage discovery and delivery simultaneously during a 12-week quarter? Should there be two different roles? [6:59]
    Q: What should the next step be for a company entering a scale-up model with no long-term strategy? [11:13]

    Resources
    Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter
    MelissaPerri.com

    • 17 min
    Empowering An Organization Through Product Operations with Scott White

    Empowering An Organization Through Product Operations with Scott White

    Melissa Perri welcomes Scott White to this week’s episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. Scott leads the product vertical at AirTable, so he shares how his own organization puts into place the tools and processes AirTable supports. Melissa and Scott discuss the many benefits of product operations and how it evolves as a company grows, “global alignment with local autonomy,” Melissa’s dream product ops set up, automated roadmap review, and product management in platform companies. 

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

    Scott talks about his introduction to the product management field, his professional background, and what led him to AirTable. [2:02]

    Scott shares why he entered the product management sphere, how his product works, and the versatility of AirTable. [4:25]

    AirTable’s product development process and how product operations are conducted.

    Product development should be a company-wide concern and not solely the product team’s. “Great ideas can come from anywhere within an organization as long as people have the visibility and the context into why the organization is prioritizing what that they are,” Scott says. [14:44] 

    The evolution of product operations and when it is most essential to organizations of varying sizes. Scott says that there are two major points where your product operations should metamorphose: “One is when you need to improve your product desperately ….. Number two is when you're drastically increasing the complexity of your business.” [17:39]

    Scott shares how his product operations team sets goals, monitors strategy, and tracks the goals and metrics, to ensure that they're tackling the task at hand so that they can achieve their goals. [21:07]

    Scott reveals what he believes to be the most crucial practice that a product leader can implement when conducting product operations. “I think ultimately [as a product leader] it’s critical to understand the voice of your customers when you're building products.” [37:00]

    Melissa asks Scott about his transition from CEO to product leader and what aspects of his former role he carries into his new one. [38:58]


    Resources 
    Scott White | LinkedIn | Twitter 

    • 43 min
    Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Product Management Outside of SaaS

    Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About Product Management Outside of SaaS

    In this Dear Melissa segment, Melissa answers subscribers’ questions about product management in software vs hardware, SaaS vs e-commerce, and within the governmental sector. She covers the differences in product strategy, things all of these product jobs will have in common, how to figure out which tools apply to your industry and product type, and how to measure impact over time for products where results could take years to come by. 

    Q: Do you see a difference in the strategic and tactical delivery of customer value between a digital product and a physical product created through discrete manufacturing processes? Are there any major pitfalls that I should be aware of as I work with the product roadmap and product lifecycle management of a non-SaaS product? [2:01]

    Q: What are some key differences in SaaS product management teams versus product management teams inside of retailers? What advice would you give for someone in the new role who is also becoming a VP or an executive for the first time? [9:02]

    Q: How do you find good metrics when the effects of an improved road maintenance program might not show or pay off until years or decades later? How do we handle these kinds of outcomes when trying to measure the impact of our products? [12:12]

    Resources
    Melissa Perri on LinkedIn | Twitter
    MelissaPerri.com

    • 19 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

MoB1212114888 ,

I tapped on 1 star by accident and can’t deselect it - haven’t even listened to the podcast yet

I tapped on 1 star by accident and can’t deselect it - haven’t even listened to the podcast yet

Flashgordo12 ,

Such a fun, informative podcast about product

Melissa is not just a seasoned PM, a coach, author and speaker. She’s an entertainer( and maybe a comedian?) I listen to this podcast every week. Highly highly recommended.

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