Amazing digital experiences don't just happen. They are purposefully created by artists and engineers who strategically and creatively get to know the problem, configure a solution, and maneuver through the various dynamics, hurdles, and technicalities to make it a reality. Hosts Sean and Paul will discuss various elements that go into creating and managing software products, from building user personas to designing for trackable success. No topic is off-limits if it helps inspire and build an amazing digital experience for users – and a product people actually want.
67 / Innovation Through Digital Anthropology
For product people, a big part of the job is understanding not only what motivates our users, but also the systems they are tied to – and how those two things tie together. As it turns out, the bond that connects them is formed by the tools we build and the best practices we develop around them.
We know these things thanks to digital anthropologists like Ali Colleen Neff, Ph.D., who joins Sean for this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast. To Ali, the role of digital anthropologist is to “think through with other product leaders what it means to make the tools and what it means to introduce them to cultures and systems.” Her research helps us understand the impact our products have on the individuals who use them and the systems in which they operate.
“The tools we build serve as an extension of ourselves,” she says. They enable us to achieve in ways that we wouldn’t be able to otherwise. But, she warns (citing media studies leader, Marshall McCluhan), the tools we build to address one problem can simultaneously foreclose other ideas.
Among Ali’s favorite research methods is directed storytelling, which helps us understand individuals’ thought and decision-making processes. Humans make up culture, so understanding individual stories is key to understanding culture. Tune in to catch some thought-provoking examples from Ali’s research.
You’ll also hear:
* Journey mapping as a tool to understand user engagement at all stages* How to earn trust from customers* The importance of collaboration between engineers and social scientists* Key elements of successful teams that Ali has observed
66 / Key Elements that Foster the Product Mindset
There is an ongoing evolution in organizations toward an emphasis on the customer experience with your product versus a steady delivery of flashy new features. The former focuses on outcomes, while the latter embraces outputs, perhaps better known as “feature bloat” or “experience rot.”
In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean is joined by Marc Abraham, Head of Product – Engagement at London-based ASOS, and the author of My Product Management Toolkit and Managing Product = Managing Tension. Teams that boast a product mindset, Marc says, focus their energies around the 4 C’s: creativity, curiosity, clarity, and customer.
“These elements are not unique to the domain of the product manager,” he adds. “But once you’ve got those four elements of the mindset, you’re really onto something in terms of creating that kind of customer-centric product culture organizations are looking for.”
Listen to hear more from Marc, including:
* The power of “W-H-Y” – the ultimate essence of being a good product person* Embracing tension in product management in a constructive way* Using a shared language for engagement within and outside of your organization
65 / The Creation of Culture as a Competitive Advantage
What job are product leaders really paid to do? When you boil it all down, leaders are paid to deliver results. Quantitative, which many believe are more easily measured. And qualitative, which invites the notion of organizational culture: much more difficult to measure, but more important in today’s world than ever before.
In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean chats with Chalmers Brothers, who for the past three decades has served as author, speaker, and certified leadership coach for executives in some of the world’s best-known companies.
“I have had more conversations with leaders in the past 5 years about the conscious – not haphazard or accidental – creation of culture as a competitive advantage than I’ve had in the first 30 years of my career combined,” he says. “Something is going on.”
That something starts with the effective use of language. Language creates and generates, Chalmers adds. It defines culture, creating a context that enables effective conversation. “With language, we make visible that which was previously invisible.”
Tune in to hear more on this topic from Chalmers, including how:
* Time management is really commitment management.* Effective conversation can help you manage your commitments.* Key elements of leadership lie within the context of innovation.
64 / Managing User Feedback to Prioritize Your Product Roadmap
Product leaders need to be astute prioritizers. That means we have to say no – a lot. To the sales rep begging us to build “the next big thing.” And to the customer account rep pleading for a flashy new feature. Our response to these cries for help is, “Make your case. Tell me why. Show me the user feedback for why we should reprioritize our long-term roadmap.”
In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean checks in with Keith Frankel, co-founder and CEO at Parlor.io, the widely popular feedback management system for SaaS teams. Gathering and analyzing that user feedback is key, Keith explains. As a product leader at HubSpot and chief product officer at educational technology startup called Firecracker, Keith recalls telling his reps, “I will prioritize anything that you can prove to me will have a material impact on this business, but I just cannot chase after every shiny new object.”
Faced with competing business cases and insufficient budget to do both (or either), Keith and his team created Parlor – a product designed for product people. It engages users at multiple levels and serves as a “tie-breaker” of sorts that drives decision-making wisdom through customer insights that align product and customer-facing teams.
Listen is to get Keith’s inside scoop on a super-interesting experiment he’s running that completely rethinks the role of internal meetings and their impact on workplace productivity in a remote-first environment.
Finally, be sure to catch Keith’s three paths to innovation. Cool stuff, indeed.
63 / Unlock Your Inner Genius
Attaining so-called “genius status” – Mozart, Steve Jobs, Einstein spring to mind – seems untouchable to us mere mortals. Or is it. As product people, we have more genius within us than we give ourselves credit for.
In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Matt are joined by Shawn Livermore. The author of Average Joe: Be the Silicon Valley Tech Genius and software architect/consultant with more than 20 years’ experience in our space, Shawn shares strategies the rest of us non-Mensa’s can use to create successful products.
Our best ideas often come to us in seemingly mundane moments, like on our morning commute or while taking a shower, Shawn explains. During these times of “mindless activity,” our minds are free to harness the latent creativity that exists just beneath the surface of our normal, everyday activities. Innovation often comes to us as a “progressive daily trickle,” and by structuring it, anyone can come up with genius ideas, he adds.
Genius may well be within our grasp, but we also need to give ourselves permission to fail. Thomas Edison once famously said, “I have not failed 10,000 times; I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” It’s all about perspective, right?
Like Edison, even icons in the tech industry have stumbled through some not-so-great product ideas. But by documenting our thought processes and sharing them, we signal to others that we are thinkers who are highly capable.
Shawn’s words to the wise: “Never underestimate a nerd with a good story.”
Tune in to the whole episode to catch more of Shawn’s stories and tap into his genius.
62 / Brand Archetypes Help Our Products Speak to the World
We don’t have to know what the word means to recognize how it connects our brand with our users. Archetypes help us choose the right words, assemble them in the right order, and communicate the brand experience our users expect. Our brand is how our products speak to the world.
In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean is joined by Margie Agin, award-winning marketer and founder/chief strategist at Centerboard Marketing. Margie works with B2B companies to identify and communicate key aspects of their brand and drive action. We use archetypes to reflect our product’s personality, Margie offers.
“It’s expressing your company, which includes your product, as a human – not just as technology,” she adds. “And when you do that, it makes you more relatable as a company, building trust and closing the gap between your brand and your customers.”
For B2B technology companies that aren’t consumer facing, finding the human elements of your brand can be more challenging. Are you the Hero? Jester? Or maybe your product brand speaks as a Pioneer, Explorer, Lover, or Sage.
Listen in as Margie shares valuable tips that make this task easier, including gathering people with different experiences with your product to identify and validate how it interacts with users.
Excellent guests and great variety of topics.
A great business podcast bringing together experienced professionals and conversations focused on creating technology for improving and integrating the digital world into our daily lives.
Insightful and actionable I am currently having my team go through episodes as kickoffs for solving certain problems. Keep up the great work!
Insightful Listening Experience
This podcast is excellent. If you are involved or interested in the product development industurty you will not be disappointed. The hosts do a wonderful job presenting important concepts filled with real life examples that will leave you inspired. I will be waiting for the next one!