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
    • 4.9 • 57 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.

    345: How to use Jobs-to-be-Done to be a market detective – with Dave Duncan, PhD

    345: How to use Jobs-to-be-Done to be a market detective – with Dave Duncan, PhD

    Skills for product managers to deeply understand customers’ problems and goals

    Today we are talking about how to understand what provides value to customers by giving them what they need to solve a problem or complete a task. Clayton Christensen described this as the job to be done.

    It is a topic our guest, David Duncan, knows well, as he co-wrote the Jobs-to-be-Done book Competing Against Luck with Clayton Christensen and has more recently written The Secret Lives of Customers: A Detective Story About Solving the Mystery of Customer Behavior. Dave is a managing director at Innosight, where he helps leaders of organizations create customer-centric teams and innovation strategies.

    Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

    [2:05] How did your experience earning your PhD in physics equip you for your current work in innovation?

    I studied physics because I was fascinated by the subject and motivated by a desire to understand things deeply. Later, I moved into business and now work at Innosight, where we help companies figure out how to innovate more effectively. My background in physics helped me become a better problem solver and a better and more quantitative thinker. It gave me literacy in technology-related topics that enabled me to understand what different companies do. Science and engineering are at the heart of a lot of great innovation.

    [4:00] What does your new book The Secret Lives of Customers add to Jobs-to-be-Done knowledge?

    One of my goals was to create a broadly accessible book. The Secret Lives of Customers teaches anyone in any role in any organization the concepts, tools, and techniques they need to understand customers confidently. I put Jobs-to-be-Done in the broader context of the problem it solves—effectively understanding customers.

    Another goal was to assert the approach to JTBD I and others at Innosight have learned and developed over the years. The book also includes some new tools and frameworks including how to apply Jobs in strategy, as well as product development and innovation.

    [7:18] Tell us about your book’s narrative format.

    The Secret Lives of Customers is a fictional detective story. One of the main characters is a market detective who tries to understand customers in market investigations. The reader learns about the tools and techniques he’s using. This format was much more fun to write, and I hope it’s more fun and engaging to read. It’s best to learn to understand customers by watching someone have a conversation with them, reflecting on what you observe, trying it yourself, and getting feedback.

    [10:51] Why should product managers think of themselves as market detectives?

    In the story, I use market detective to describe a person who is aspiring to understand customers. The book emphasizes one-on-one customer conversations, which is the foundation of all other customer research techniques. One-on-one interviews are often the most valuable technique you can use and almost always relevant to every use case. They enable product managers to hear directly from customers, develop products that are more connected with their jobs-to-be-done, and develop features that reflect an understanding of not just their functional jobs but also their emotional and social jobs. You can make better prioritization decisions about which products to work on and minimize the temptation to be product-led rather than customer-led.

    [13:08] As market detectives, what are the three competencies we need to have to put Jobs-to-be-Done in place?

    You need to learn a language, a method, and a mindset to confidently understand customers.

    Almost every discipline has its own vocabulary, but surprisingly there isn’t a standard, widely accessible language that guides interactions with customers. We need a language that guides us to ask the right questions that lead to the right insigh

    • 32 min
    344: State of product management performance in 2021 – with Greg Geracie

    344: State of product management performance in 2021 – with Greg Geracie

    Learn what sets successful product management teams apart

    Today we are talking about a recent study that gives us insights into what’s going on in product management and product management teams.

    For several years, our guest has conducted the Study of Product Team Performance. The one for this year was rather different as it reflected on the impact of the COVID Pandemic, which we’ll get into in just a moment.

    Returning with us is Greg Geracie the CEO of Actuation Consulting, a global provider of product management training, consulting, and advisory services to some of the world’s most well-known organizations. I’ve known Greg for several years, as we both volunteer with PDMA, the Product Development and Management Association.

    Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

    [2:08] What is the purpose of the Study of Product Team Performance and how was it different this year?

    The study researches the factors that differentiate successful product teams from the rest of the pack. This year, we focused on the impact of COVID-19 on the performance of product teams. Our goal was to capture what we’ve learned from the pandemic and help our clients and followers better understand its impact on product team performance, so they can make better-informed decisions in the future.

    [3:45] What types of companies and industries participated in the study?

    Companies of all shapes and sizes from around the world participate in our research. For this study:

    * 49% of survey respondents work in the technology industry

    * 22% in the services industry

    * 13% in consumer products

    * 4% in education

    * 1% in government

    * 11% in other industries

    The revenue of survey respondents varied:

    * 35% of our respondents worked for companies with revenue less than $50 million

    * 37% worked for companies with revenue between $50 million and $2 billion

    * 28% worked for companies with revenue over $2 billion

    Additionally, over 55% of our respondents were product managers, which was a larger percentage than in the past.

    [5:54] What highlights would you like to share about the study?

    [5:54] Remote-first mindset

    We discovered four key findings. First, survey respondents espoused a remote-first mindset. They believed their organization should be designed with a remote-first mentality and operating structure. Respondents described their organizations as rigid and against remote work, but during the pandemic they saw how working from home could be highly effective. They saw that COVID had changed the mentality of organizations in a way that wouldn’t have happened otherwise, and the lesson many people learned is that organizations need to perpetually experiment with remote technology and collaboration tools before a pandemic or other event forces change.

    Remote working does not extend equally to all industries. Education, academics, and financial services lead the way in transitioning to remote work, while food service, retail, and construction were the lowest adopters.

    Respondents shared challenges that come with remote working. Internet connectivity was a problem for many. Process documentation and onboarding of new employees were challenges. Feelings of alienation and perceived lack of empathy from executives contributed to reduced productivity. Nineteen percent of employees struggled with being effective while working remotely, and many dealt with the loss of family members from COVID. Organizations need to keep in mind the impact of the pandemic on their employees at a personal level.

    [10:03] Importance of strategy

    Organizations with a clear view of their strategy found it easier to successfully pivot during the pandemic. In every study, we’ve found that strategy correlates with higher performance on product teams. This year,

    • 29 min
    343: How product managers can communicate to influence – with Tina Frey Clements

    343: How product managers can communicate to influence – with Tina Frey Clements

    Tips for product managers to communicate so people remember

    We are about to have an important discussion on how to communicate in a way that makes people remember what is important. That is communicating to influence others and build networks to help you accomplish your product objectives. Helping us do that is our guest, Tina Frey Clements. She believes that a company’s success is directly related to the engagement of its people. She excels at moving businesses forward and motivating and growing talent. Her experience has been in many areas but has emphasized the automotive industry, with treks at BMW, Volkswagen, and Mini. 

    Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

    [1:41] You help people become better communicators and facilitators. What do you mean by facilitation?

    When you’re facilitating a message, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with your recipient, the learner. The job of a facilitator is to present the information and get out of the way of the learner and let them learn.

    [3:49] What should we try to accomplish as facilitators?

    First you have to define your specific goal. Usually, a product manager’s goal is to communicate knowledge. A specific goal might be communicating with a retail store so you can sell something or communicating with marketing so they can promote your product.

    Second, remember that whomever you’re communicating with doesn’t necessarily communicate like you. We typically communicate in the way we like to be communicated to, but that rarely works. Figure out how your audience needs to hear your information and communicate so that they are hearing it and retaining it.

    [9:21] How do we help our audience remember, retain, and apply?

    That’s not easy. Once you’ve acknowledged that not everyone learns like you do, the next step is identifying the learning style of the person you’re communicating with. Some examples of learning styles are visual, auditory, reading/writing, intellectual, and kinesthetic. Tailor your communication to your audience’s learning style. For a visual learner, use visual aids. For an auditory learner, ask them to repeat back what they understood. If you’re communicating to a big group, script your message to reach all of them. Always leave your audience with an action item.

    [15:18] How else can we better communicate?

    If possible, be interactive. Use the 80:20 rule—20% of your communication should be teaching the information and 80% should be your audience figuring it out on their own. For people to act, they have to create their own thought about the topic. Interaction is the critical element to engage the audience. Even if you’re in a formal setting behind a podium, you can encourage interaction by asking people to answer questions or raise their hands. Always invite people to ask you questions afterward.

    [24:29] How can product managers focus on solving the customer problem?

    We often focus on our solution instead of listening to customers. We need to prioritize learning about the customer problem. Without knowing your customers’ real problems, you’ll never be successful.

    [28:07] How can we partner with others to be successful in our communication?

    Focus on what you’re really good at and partner with others who complement your strengths. If you know everything about your product, but you’re not good at selling it, partner with someone who is. If you don’t want to partner with someone, change your behavior to communicate better. Don’t fake it so much that you lose who you really are, but take action to build relationships.

    [31:42] How do you use story to make your communication more effective?

    Be transparent, vulnerable, and relatable. This will make your audience want to hear you and trust you. When you can, use story.

    • 36 min
    342: Conjoint the correct way – with Patty Yanes

    342: Conjoint the correct way – with Patty Yanes

    A tool to help product managers understand what features customers value

    Today we are talking about conjoint analysis, which is a tool you can use to make informed decisions about what customers value and what they will pay for.

    If you have to make decisions about what features to include in a new product or the next version of a product, what price to charge for a product, or what the impact on market share will be by introducing a new product, then this discussion is for you.

    To learn about Conjoint Analysis, we are talking with Patty Yanes, a market researcher who has led numerous research projects that resulted in new insights about customers and a deeper understanding of their needs. Patty is with Applied Marketing Science (AMS), a firm dedicated to helping product managers with market research. AMS was founded by an MIT professor and is well respected for the work it does.

    Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

    [1:49] What kind of problems does Conjoint Analysis solve?

    Conjoint Analysis is the industry standard for understanding the features to include in a product. It helps you find out how much people are willing to pay and is the best way to figure out pricing.

    [2:56] What are some other tools similar to Conjoint Analysis?

    * Van Westendorp: a quicker and easier but less reliable method of pricing

    * Gabor Granger: another pricing test

    * Max/Diff (maximum difference scaling): a method of ranking features without considering price

    * Turf Analysis: a method to understand which bundle of features will allow you to reach the most customers

    [5:29] Take us through an example of Conjoint.

    Let’s take the example of a pair of headphones. First, we must make sure we have the right inputs. Inputs that affect the customers’ decision to purchase the headphones are: brand, how it fits on the ear, whether it’s wireless or noise-cancelling, and the microphone. You’ll also need to determine your price, which could vary from $20 to $500.

    [7:54] How does segmentation fit in?

    Segmentation can be part of the process of designing your study or it can be part of cutting the data on the back-end to see how the results vary. For instance, you might create two separate studies for two different headphones, one for gamers and one for audiophiles. Or if you want to develop just one product that you will market differently to different segments, you would design one study with all the attributes and then cut on the back-end to see what’s more important to a gamer vs. an audiophile.

    [9:27] What’s the next step in Conjoint Analysis?

    Make sure you’re talking to the right people. You need a significant sample size including all the people who are part of the decision to purchase your product. We recommend 300 people, with a minimum of 100 per segment.

    Once we’ve designed our Conjoint study, we pre-test our survey. We talk to people in the field to make sure they’re understanding our survey and we’re understanding their answers.

    [12:23] How do you recruit and incentivize study participants?

    We use research panels that are already in existence. The incentives may have to be quite high since people’s time is valuable. Scrappy solutions include talking to customers in a store or reaching out to friends and family.

    [15:29] Tell us more about the pre-test.

    We recruit a small sample of the same type of people who would be taking our general survey and run through the survey with them. We ask them questions to discover what assumptions they’re making about the survey and whether they understand the survey in the way we expect.

    [17:35] How do we field the study?

    We go into the field with a panel, send the survey out, and get the data back. Then, before analysis, we clean the data,

    • 36 min
    341: Using the data warehouse to make better product decisions – with Jeremy Levy

    341: Using the data warehouse to make better product decisions – with Jeremy Levy

    How product managers can use data to understand customers and create value

    Today we are talking about making better product decisions that create customer value using the data you already have.

    A PR person contacted me about a company that received the 2021 Products That Count award in the Operate category. The award recognizes products that help product managers and are pushing for better ways to accomplish work now and in the future. The company is Indicative and they help product managers leverage insights based on data already in their data warehouse, build their product roadmap, optimize user engagement, and reduce churn.

    I’m interested in learning more about this area in general because it brings together several important aspects of product management—the customer journey, data science, data-driven decision making, and reduced time to market.

    Our guest is Jeremy Levy, the CEO of Indicative.

    Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

    [2:00] What problem in product management drew you toward your work with Indicative?

    Our mission at Indicative is to help businesses build better products through data. The first company I founded provided location-based dating for iPhone and Android, and my second company was the first mobile-based CRM for enterprise. In these companies, we struggled with leveraging the data we collected from our customers in a cohesive way for our product teams to make informed product decisions. We created Indicative, the only product analytics platform build specifically for modern data infrastructure. Indicative allows product teams to easily synthesize and use information and ask thousands of questions about their product, roadmap, or day-to-day decisions.

    [5:36] What is a data warehouse?

    A data warehouse is a repository of a company’s business data. It’s separate from a traditional transactional database that runs your application. The data warehouse keeps your data in one place and allows the rest of the company to easily interface with the data. Data warehouses have become available easily and inexpensively; now a startup has access to the same hardware as a Fortune 500 company.

    [9:02] How can we do a better job creating products for customers using data? Can you take us through an example?

    One example is Prezi, which makes virtual presentation software. Customers don’t use their products in a linear flow; there’s an infinite number of journeys the customer could take when they use the product. Any manual analysis of those journeys is impossible, so Prezi built a data warehouse to collect and store all their data. Using our platform, they isolated the individual journeys customers take as they create presentations. They found friction, the most effective paths, and the features that people were and were not using. Understanding the nuances of how people use their products allowed Prezi to better understand their users and inform their roadmap to reduce friction and help people create better presentations faster.

    [12:24] When you brought Prezi onboard, did you instrument their product to collect data, or was there already data available for you to leverage?

    Prezi already had their own data. This is often the case. Companies retain ownership of their data and use a variety of available tools to collect and analyze data, storing it in a single data warehouse. Storing data in a single warehouse makes data collection and analysis safer, more reliable, and less expensive.

    [17:25] How do customer journeys help us make better products?

    Customer journeys include all the paths that customers take when they interact with your product and all the touchpoints like email, registration, and phone calls. We created a product called Journeys that visualizes many possible journeys and allows you to filter the ones that are most effective and visualize them with a Sankey diagr

    • 32 min
    340: Lean product development – with Steve Stucky

    340: Lean product development – with Steve Stucky

    Pipeline, Process, and Practice for Product Managers

    This is the Product Mastery Now podcast. For seven years it was called The Everyday Innovator, but I recently changed the name to better reflect our mission, which is to help you become a Product Master, creating products customers love.

    A common question I am asked is, How can an organization speed up its product development? One way is what our guest is sharing with us today, the 3 Ps of Lean Product Development—Pipeline, Practice, and Process. His name is Steve Stucky, and he has over 25 years of experience applying lean product development. 

    Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers

    [1:20] What is Lean Product Development?

    Lean Product Development is about putting in place the best processes to make better products faster. It’s about eliminating waste in processes, making teams more effective, and aligning the organization.

    [2:56] Why are organizations incorporating Lean Product Development?

    Lean Product Development gets products that meet all the customer needs out the door quicker, without having to work harder. Lean Product Development helps developers spend more time on value-added work instead of wasteful work.

    [5:18] How can an organization use Lean Product Development?

    Lean Product Development is a holistic approach to improving product development, looking at:

    * Pipeline—communicating priorities and aligning the organization so it isn’t overloaded

    * Process—the lean product development process itself

    * Practice—how the team works together

    [6:50] Pipeline

    The Pipeline allows leadership to communicate a ranked list of priorities. The top projects are the focus, and when we run out of resources, the lower priority projects are placed on hold. Top projects get the maximum effort and get done sooner. The Pipeline includes the optimal number of projects for people to be most effective and spend more time doing value-added work—usually two or three projects.

    [11:28] Process

    Process focuses on improving two main areas of the new product development process itself. First, find the waste, wait time, and bottlenecks in the process. Second, make sure development teams have the flexibility to reduce the number of deliverables on their plate to manage the work that’s important for the teams. A Kaizen approach finds bottlenecks and looks at the wait time versus the actual work time. Identify and remove bottlenecks and speed everything up.

    [13:40] Practice

    Several best practices can help improve the speed and effectiveness of project teams. One is using Agile with Scrum, taking the best of both practices. Teams meet frequently and communicate, and the vision and work are visualized using Scrum.

    Facilitated acceleration events are also impactful. A Market Requirements Event prioritizes product requirements in one to three days, rather than the months this process usually takes. The Market Requirements Event involves customer-facing people like sales and marketing, and it’s led by product management with developers and engineers present. You discuss customer needs and competitive threats and identify the key features customers will value in a product. You categorize and prioritize to develop products with maximum differentiation and value, and you align the group around the important requirements.

    Another event is PARM (Project And Risk Mitigation). This is an 8-hour event in which the team builds a project schedule, compresses it, comes back with a date they feel they can meet confidently, and then identifies risks and prioritizes the highest risks for mitigation.

    Rapid Learning Cycles are another great risk reduction opportunity. The team identifies unknowns and focuses on key decisions the team should make and the knowledge gaps they need to close to make those decisions.

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
57 Ratings

57 Ratings

malfoxley ,

Great show!

Chad, host of the Everyday Innovator podcast, highlights all aspects of having a successful business and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!

RWlistens ,

A MUST for product people!

Insightful and relevant!

Joshill:) ,

Quality stuff here

Thanks Chad for bringing guests onto your show that shed light on the topics that really matter to industry pros in product management, research and team work.

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