Best Thing About Being a Product Manager

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Out of the hundreds of nominations, and amazing finalists, the 7th annual winner of The Best Product Person is … Chris Butler.

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy and The Product Group.

Take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

In the now…

> What do you like most about being a product manager?

I really love research like contextual inquiry. In the process of being in someone’s environment we learn so much about what they need and want from something. Their anxieties and joys while performing their job. Riding around in a truck with people from the gas station repair group for PwC was one of these experiences. Helping a host run the front of house for a night is another.

More to Come

Over the coming weeks we will be speaking with and learning more from Chris Butler.

Thank you to everyone who participated, nominated, interviewed, AND passed on the word! The nomination period for The Best Product Person of 2017 has begun!  Nominate your pick for The Best Product Person right now!

http://TheBestProductPerson.com

And, don’t forget, take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About ‘The Best Product Person’

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy (http://tpgblog.com) and The Product Group (http://meetup.com/theproductgroup).

TBPP Recognizes 1 person each year, invites them to speak and share their knowledge and experience with the larger product community. The nominations can be submitted by anyone. And, if you are the first to submit the winning nominee, you too will be rewarded  Over the course of the year, the various nominees are interviewed and the finalists narrowed down to: The Best Product Person of the year . The finalists are interviewed and evaluated for excellence in Product along the following lines… Becoming a Product Person, Your Product, Advice to Product People, and Future & Trends.

TBPP is both (1) the way the Product community gets together to recognize excellence amongst our ranks as well as (2) provide, to a large audience, insights into that excellence in a manner we can all learn from and leverage in our own Product journeys.

For more information about The Best Product Person award and past winners visit https://tpgblog.com/tbpp

About ‘The Product Group’

The Product Group is an opportunity for Product Managers, etc. to come together to meet, interact, and network. It’s an awesome way to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational environment within which sharing and learning can flourish and complement the knowledge base for all on a peer-to-peer basis. The NYC chapter of The Product Group meets the first Thursday of each month. If you are interested in a establishing chapter near you, please contact The Product Guy or The Product Group for more information. (https://tpgblog.com/theproductgroup/ )

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Worst Thing About Being a Product Manager (and making it better)

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Out of the hundreds of nominations, and amazing finalists, the 7th annual winner of The Best Product Person is … Chris Butler.

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy and The Product Group.

Take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

In the now…

> What do you like least about being a product manager?

My least favorite thing that can fall to product managers are status updates/reports. They can be good when the right expectations are set. However, most of the time the people compiling them need to play a game of poker with the people that are asking for them on how much detail is too much or too little. No one ever seems really happy about status reports. I am not sure that after the first couple most people read them.

More to Come

Over the coming weeks we will be speaking with and learning more from Chris Butler.

Thank you to everyone who participated, nominated, interviewed, AND passed on the word! The nomination period for The Best Product Person of 2017 has begun!  Nominate your pick for The Best Product Person right now!

http://TheBestProductPerson.com

And, don’t forget, take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About ‘The Best Product Person’

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy (http://tpgblog.com) and The Product Group (http://meetup.com/theproductgroup).

TBPP Recognizes 1 person each year, invites them to speak and share their knowledge and experience with the larger product community. The nominations can be submitted by anyone. And, if you are the first to submit the winning nominee, you too will be rewarded  Over the course of the year, the various nominees are interviewed and the finalists narrowed down to: The Best Product Person of the year . The finalists are interviewed and evaluated for excellence in Product along the following lines… Becoming a Product Person, Your Product, Advice to Product People, and Future & Trends.

TBPP is both (1) the way the Product community gets together to recognize excellence amongst our ranks as well as (2) provide, to a large audience, insights into that excellence in a manner we can all learn from and leverage in our own Product journeys.

For more information about The Best Product Person award and past winners visit https://tpgblog.com/tbpp

About ‘The Product Group’

The Product Group is an opportunity for Product Managers, etc. to come together to meet, interact, and network. It’s an awesome way to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational environment within which sharing and learning can flourish and complement the knowledge base for all on a peer-to-peer basis. The NYC chapter of The Product Group meets the first Thursday of each month. If you are interested in a establishing chapter near you, please contact The Product Guy or The Product Group for more information. (https://tpgblog.com/theproductgroup/ )

Getting Excited About Your Product

Out of the hundreds of nominations, and amazing finalists, the 7th annual winner of The Best Product Person is … Chris Butler.

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy and The Product Group.

Take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

In the now…

> What excites you about your current products?

One project we are working on at Philosophie is for PricewaterhouseCooper and Google. It is focused on field service operations, aka gas station repair people. It would seem to be very simple in how they work, but there is an important and complex way that everyone comes together to provide high service to their customers. It involves a lot of people to get a job done right with the highest customer service that the organization holds so high.

They have a challenge of moving from a regional, family based business to national player. We believe that technology will enable the team to keep that type of coordination without sacrificing the great customer service focused organization.

More to Come

Over the coming weeks we will be speaking with and learning more from Chris Butler.

Thank you to everyone who participated, nominated, interviewed, AND passed on the word! The nomination period for The Best Product Person of 2017 has begun!  Nominate your pick for The Best Product Person right now!

http://TheBestProductPerson.com

And, don’t forget, take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About ‘The Best Product Person’

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy (http://tpgblog.com) and The Product Group (http://meetup.com/theproductgroup).

TBPP Recognizes 1 person each year, invites them to speak and share their knowledge and experience with the larger product community. The nominations can be submitted by anyone. And, if you are the first to submit the winning nominee, you too will be rewarded  Over the course of the year, the various nominees are interviewed and the finalists narrowed down to: The Best Product Person of the year . The finalists are interviewed and evaluated for excellence in Product along the following lines… Becoming a Product Person, Your Product, Advice to Product People, and Future & Trends.

TBPP is both (1) the way the Product community gets together to recognize excellence amongst our ranks as well as (2) provide, to a large audience, insights into that excellence in a manner we can all learn from and leverage in our own Product journeys.

For more information about The Best Product Person award and past winners visit https://tpgblog.com/tbpp

About ‘The Product Group’

The Product Group is an opportunity for Product Managers, etc. to come together to meet, interact, and network. It’s an awesome way to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational environment within which sharing and learning can flourish and complement the knowledge base for all on a peer-to-peer basis. The NYC chapter of The Product Group meets the first Thursday of each month. If you are interested in a establishing chapter near you, please contact The Product Guy or The Product Group for more information. (https://tpgblog.com/theproductgroup/ )

A Designer’s Perspective on Working with Product Managers

Guest Post by: David Pasztor

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A product manager just stopped by the desk of the designer on a lazy Thursday afternoon. The designer showed him something, and they started discussing a new feature’s design loudly. The manager used wide gestures to show where he wanted to move certain elements. The developers sitting nearby just watched the show for the first time, but after a while they stood up to join the party one by one. Soon the whole team was standing behind the designer’s screen shouting new ideas and tips about the layout, the colors, the icons, the fonts and everything else. The designer just took a deep breath and hid his face behind his hands. He thought it will be an easy Thursday.

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I’ve been in this situation while I worked with various product teams as a designer. I also know how much effort these team put into finding out how to work with developers. Unfortunately design is a completely different world and what works with devs does not work with designers. So after growing our design team at UX studio from 2 to 20 people, I share my learnings with you about how to work with designers.

How to give designers tasks and keep them motivated?

Just like engineers, designers are also problem solvers. We like to get painful user problems to solve. You can ask me to change the color somewhere or put a button on a screen, and I will probably do that, but I really like to get challenging problems where I can do my research build prototypes, do user tests, and come up with a solution that will raise our product to the next level. So give designers bigger challenges like: “We should redesign the sign up flow to decrease drop-offs” or “add a new reporting module to this business app, so users can easily present their results”.

Designers and UX researchers will be motivated if you give them important product issues to solve. Frame them from the user’s perspective, and tell them why the given problem is worth it to be solved.

Also give them free hand with the solution and enough time to go through their process. Many people think design is just a quick task before development, which is not true in many cases.

When you give them a task, the best designers will always ask back instantly “why?”. Not because they don’t trust your judgment, but because they will ask for every small detail and background information that will help them during the design process.

What to expect from a design team?

Designers can help product people a lot. Let’s take a look at all the things we can do to make your life easier.

The role of design is to build a bridge between humans and technology, so a design team’s most important goal is to get to know your customers really well. That’s why we have UX researchers working besides designers, because good design needs a lot of research. The design team has to bring new insights from your customers all the time. They have to know and communicate what are their pains and needs. The design team should also deliver insights from your products or prototypes. They have to tell you what people understand (or don’t understand) in your product, where do they get stuck, and what are the annoying usability issues. This is essential to design a product that works well.

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Agile development doesn’t just mean faster turnarounds and sprints. In an agile product team everyone is aware of the customer’s problem we solve, and everyone can make decision and react on issues. Design workshops, like persona, jobs-to-be-done or customer journey workshops can help the team to get a better understanding of customer’s pains and needs. These workshops are fun, and they are also useful to align the team and get everyone on the same page. You can expect your design team to facilitate these workshops when you start developing a new product or reach a bigger milestone.

Designers can help with validating new feature or product ideas. The best designers always adjust the sophistication of their work to the given design phase. When they work on a new feature, they start with paper sketches to communicate ideas quickly, then they do clickable prototypes to test different solutions with real users. These are low-fidelity materials, the goal is to get feedback quickly. But when time comes to development designer can also create pixel-perfect, detailed UI design plans.

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Designers are not the genius artist types any more, like you see on Mad Men. The best designers are not the ones who create one concept and push it through the whole team with a cool presentation. The best designers always explore many different solutions for a problem and share them with the team. They can tell you what are the advantages and disadvantages of each one. They also share research and test results, and they let the team choose the best direction together.

Designers has to work well with developers. The truth is noone likes to read written documentations, so the final UI design and the clickable wireframes are the best specifications for any software feature. As they say, an image worth thousand words, and a prototype worth thousand meetings. It is just easier to understand and can save you from many misunderstandings. The best designers also use tools like Zapier or Avocode to help coders to get the necessary parameters from the design files.

What do designers expect from a product manager?

It’s a no-brainer, but the most important thing a good product manager can give to its team is clear goals. We have to know the vision we have behind the product, which means who do we design it for and what problems do we solve with it? Besides the long-term goals, a simple, high-level roadmap is also good, to communicate the most important areas we have to cover to achieve our goals. The goals and the roadmap has to be crystal clear to everyone in the team, not just designers.

Design takes place in the early-phase of the product development, when we still have many open questions. So unfortunately it is difficult (if not impossible) to predict the time certain design tasks will need. Sometimes we just need a few iterations, sometimes a lot more. Don’t expect designers to do perfect job for the first time, no one can. Let them do their design rounds, as many as they need. One more week of design is not a big cost for a feature that will serve your customers for years.

Designers and researcher will ask you to access existing customers. Give them the chance to visit or talk to real customers. It is impossible to design for someone who you’ve never met. Designers are usually very good in communication and empathy, so you don’t have to worry, they won’t bite your precious clients.

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The design team will also need access to usage statistics. Sometimes it is enough to share your analytics tools, but in some other cases they will have questions you can’t answer with these, so a database expert will have to help them and dig into raw data.

Design is not just a task you give out to your designers, it will need your active participation. First of all, be available on online and offline channels, because designers will have many questions while they work. You will also have to attend design meetings. In our UX minimum checklist we propose week-long design sprints with a design meeting every week, where the product manager and someone from the developers are there. Designers will also do workshops time to time where product people, or sometimes the whole product team has to attend.

Designers will also ask for feedback frequently. Feedback is essential part of design, so please spend some time with it. Designers are used to getting feedback from many different people, so you don’t have to be too polite, honesty is more important. You are welcome to tell your concerns, but you also have to highlight the things you like. The best is to use the 3+3 formula: tell the 3 things you like in the design and the 3 areas you would improve. The best designers will always ask you why you like or not like certain things. This is a very important question, because it will help them to understand your thoughts and step forward. So if you want to give good feedback tell designers why you love or hate something. If it is hard to describe your thoughts by words, you can still look for other good or bad examples on the internet. Saying “I miss the wow effect from this website” will not really help the designers. Show them an other site that has the “wow effect”, and they will understand better what you mean.

I hope these tips will help you to work together with your beloved designers and UX researchers. Just treat them well, and they will do an enormous job to make your product successful. If you want to learn more about UX you can also download our ebook: a product manager’s guide to UX design.

About the Author

david-pasztor.jpgDavid Pasztor designs digital products for more than 10 years. He is the founder of UX studio, a 20-person user experience company in Budapest. They have Berlin, London and US-based startups within their clients, as well as international brands like HBO. David also teaches design on his own design course, and he was invited as guest lecturer to various universities

Product Management Insights – Walking in Another’s Shoes

Out of the hundreds of nominations, and amazing finalists, the 7th annual winner of The Best Product Person is … Chris Butler.

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy and The Product Group.

Take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

In the now…

> Whose shoes would you like to walk in for a day? why?

Emergency response planners, like Adam Davidson from the the UN, that respond to situations where people are in dire need of help. I heard a podcast on Slate about his work responding to the ebola emergency.

Not only is his job life or death, but he has to figure out how to help people with limited resources that are half way across the world. He has to make tough choices and needs to make the hardest prioritization calls known.

More to Come

Over the coming weeks we will be speaking with and learning more from Chris Butler.

Thank you to everyone who participated, nominated, interviewed, AND passed on the word! The nomination period for The Best Product Person of 2017 has begun!  Nominate your pick for The Best Product Person right now!

http://TheBestProductPerson.com

And, don’t forget, take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About ‘The Best Product Person’

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy (http://tpgblog.com) and The Product Group (http://meetup.com/theproductgroup).

TBPP Recognizes 1 person each year, invites them to speak and share their knowledge and experience with the larger product community. The nominations can be submitted by anyone. And, if you are the first to submit the winning nominee, you too will be rewarded  Over the course of the year, the various nominees are interviewed and the finalists narrowed down to: The Best Product Person of the year . The finalists are interviewed and evaluated for excellence in Product along the following lines… Becoming a Product Person, Your Product, Advice to Product People, and Future & Trends.

TBPP is both (1) the way the Product community gets together to recognize excellence amongst our ranks as well as (2) provide, to a large audience, insights into that excellence in a manner we can all learn from and leverage in our own Product journeys.

For more information about The Best Product Person award and past winners visit https://tpgblog.com/tbpp

About ‘The Product Group’

The Product Group is an opportunity for Product Managers, etc. to come together to meet, interact, and network. It’s an awesome way to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational environment within which sharing and learning can flourish and complement the knowledge base for all on a peer-to-peer basis. The NYC chapter of The Product Group meets the first Thursday of each month. If you are interested in a establishing chapter near you, please contact The Product Guy or The Product Group for more information. (https://tpgblog.com/theproductgroup/ )

Day-to-day Product Management Inspiration

generate_creative_inspiration[1]Out of the hundreds of nominations, and amazing finalists, the 7th annual winner of The Best Product Person is … Chris Butler.

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy and The Product Group.

Take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Getting to here…

> What inspires you in your day-to-day work?

My ongoing study in complexity and systems thinking inspires me. Right now I am going through some online courses by the Santa Fe Institute. It shows us that what we used to think was very simple or ordinary really isn’t. We just chose to not understand the way things worked wholly. We ignored the nuance of life.

For software to eat the world it needs to augment and improve the complex way that we all interact with each other. The times we don’t you will see crappy software, poorly designed hardware and things that just don’t work. The Cynefin framework has been one way to think about this when looking at new problems.

More to Come

Over the coming weeks we will be speaking with and learning more from Chris Butler.

Thank you to everyone who participated, nominated, interviewed, AND passed on the word! The nomination period for The Best Product Person of 2017 has begun!  Nominate your pick for The Best Product Person right now!

http://TheBestProductPerson.com

And, don’t forget, take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About ‘The Best Product Person’

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy (http://tpgblog.com) and The Product Group (http://meetup.com/theproductgroup).

TBPP Recognizes 1 person each year, invites them to speak and share their knowledge and experience with the larger product community. The nominations can be submitted by anyone. And, if you are the first to submit the winning nominee, you too will be rewarded  Over the course of the year, the various nominees are interviewed and the finalists narrowed down to: The Best Product Person of the year . The finalists are interviewed and evaluated for excellence in Product along the following lines… Becoming a Product Person, Your Product, Advice to Product People, and Future & Trends.

TBPP is both (1) the way the Product community gets together to recognize excellence amongst our ranks as well as (2) provide, to a large audience, insights into that excellence in a manner we can all learn from and leverage in our own Product journeys.

For more information about The Best Product Person award and past winners visit https://tpgblog.com/tbpp

About ‘The Product Group’

The Product Group is an opportunity for Product Managers, etc. to come together to meet, interact, and network. It’s an awesome way to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational environment within which sharing and learning can flourish and complement the knowledge base for all on a peer-to-peer basis. The NYC chapter of The Product Group meets the first Thursday of each month. If you are interested in a establishing chapter near you, please contact The Product Guy or The Product Group for more information. (https://tpgblog.com/theproductgroup/ )

Biggest Product Regret

Out of the hundreds of nominations, and amazing finalists, the 7th annual winner of The Best Product Person is … Chris Butler.

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy and The Product Group.

Take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Getting to here…

> What’s your biggest product regret?

My biggest product regret is eventually moving on from a product when changing jobs or projects. Every product I have ever worked on had more things to do for it. More things to learn. I think that need really drives me today when trying to understand what is most important so the things I regret are smaller.

In particular, the restaurant SaaS named Complete Seating I helped start was not a perfect solution by any means, but really focused on the key problems of how the restaurant front of house operated. I wish we could have kept working on it.

More to Come

Over the coming weeks we will be speaking with and learning more from Chris Butler.

Thank you to everyone who participated, nominated, interviewed, AND passed on the word! The nomination period for The Best Product Person of 2017 has begun!  Nominate your pick for The Best Product Person right now!

http://TheBestProductPerson.com

And, don’t forget, take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About ‘The Best Product Person’

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy (http://tpgblog.com) and The Product Group (http://meetup.com/theproductgroup).

TBPP Recognizes 1 person each year, invites them to speak and share their knowledge and experience with the larger product community. The nominations can be submitted by anyone. And, if you are the first to submit the winning nominee, you too will be rewarded  Over the course of the year, the various nominees are interviewed and the finalists narrowed down to: The Best Product Person of the year . The finalists are interviewed and evaluated for excellence in Product along the following lines… Becoming a Product Person, Your Product, Advice to Product People, and Future & Trends.

TBPP is both (1) the way the Product community gets together to recognize excellence amongst our ranks as well as (2) provide, to a large audience, insights into that excellence in a manner we can all learn from and leverage in our own Product journeys.

For more information about The Best Product Person award and past winners visit https://tpgblog.com/tbpp

About ‘The Product Group’

The Product Group is an opportunity for Product Managers, etc. to come together to meet, interact, and network. It’s an awesome way to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational environment within which sharing and learning can flourish and complement the knowledge base for all on a peer-to-peer basis. The NYC chapter of The Product Group meets the first Thursday of each month. If you are interested in a establishing chapter near you, please contact The Product Guy or The Product Group for more information. (https://tpgblog.com/theproductgroup/ )

Deciding to be a Product Manager

Out of the hundreds of nominations, and amazing finalists, the 7th annual winner of The Best Product Person is … Chris Butler.

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy and The Product Group.

Take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Getting to here…

> How did you decide to become a product manager?

I had thought originally I would be an engineer out of college. While interviewing for a program manager position at Microsoft I was intrigued by the questions I was asked while interviewing. One question in particular was ‘how would you design a washer/dryer for someone that was sight impaired?’

The reason why I stayed in product while trying out business development and evangelism is that it has the right mix of partnership and execution. Even when I worked in a BD role it was very product focused, sometimes whether the product team liked it or not.

More to Come

Over the coming weeks we will be speaking with and learning more from Chris Butler.

Amazon.com Gift Cards - In a Gift Box - Free One-Day ShippingThank you to everyone who participated, nominated, interviewed, AND passed on the word! The nomination period for The Best Product Person of 2017 has begun!  The individual who first nominates TBPP is also awarded!  This year, the first nominator of Chris received a $100 gift certificate to Amazon.comNominate your pick for The Best Product Person right now!

http://TheBestProductPerson.com

And, don’t forget, take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About ‘The Best Product Person’

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy (http://tpgblog.com) and The Product Group (http://meetup.com/theproductgroup).

TBPP Recognizes 1 person each year, invites them to speak and share their knowledge and experience with the larger product community. The nominations can be submitted by anyone. And, if you are the first to submit the winning nominee, you too will be rewarded  Over the course of the year, the various nominees are interviewed and the finalists narrowed down to: The Best Product Person of the year . The finalists are interviewed and evaluated for excellence in Product along the following lines… Becoming a Product Person, Your Product, Advice to Product People, and Future & Trends.

TBPP is both (1) the way the Product community gets together to recognize excellence amongst our ranks as well as (2) provide, to a large audience, insights into that excellence in a manner we can all learn from and leverage in our own Product journeys.

For more information about The Best Product Person award and past winners visit https://tpgblog.com/tbpp

About ‘The Product Group’

The Product Group is an opportunity for Product Managers, etc. to come together to meet, interact, and network. It’s an awesome way to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational environment within which sharing and learning can flourish and complement the knowledge base for all on a peer-to-peer basis. The NYC chapter of The Product Group meets the first Thursday of each month. If you are interested in a establishing chapter near you, please contact The Product Guy or The Product Group for more information. (https://tpgblog.com/theproductgroup/ )

The Latest Product Management Mentors

TPM-Short3-LogoWe are very excited to announce The Product Mentor Session 6 has just launched!  Since it’s very lean MVP kick-off in 2013, The Product Mentor has grown to 20+ countries and over 800 mentees in our backlog.  Help us with our global backlog of mentees and…

Sign up to be a Mentor today!

The Product Mentor is a very exclusive program to be chosen for.  As a result, all participants have fully embraced the sharing as much of their product management knowledge with everyone who has yet to make it into the program.

  • imageMentees share their newly acquired knowledge via Articles containing notable lessons learned from their Mentors
  • Mentors lead Talks on topics where mentors, mentees, and the rest of the Internet get to listen and ask questions in real-time.

This Session is shaping up to have some truly great Talks scheduled.  Hope to see you at one of the upcoming talks (or feel free to check out past ones on our YouTube Channel @ http://tpg.li/subscribe-tpg)

Sunday, Feb. 12

  • @ 10AM ET
    Advocating for Lean Practices with Nis Frome
    How to align lean methodologies with various (and often competing) stakeholder objectives.
  • @ 12PM ET
    Strategy in an Agile Environment with Chris Butler
    The team makes progress sprint-over-sprint, but how do they know if you are always headed the right direction? Strategy for agile teams is about how they link the high level decisions that leaders make with the day-to-day actions that team members make.
  • @ 2PM ET
    The Value of Win/Loss Analysis with Jordan Bergtraum
    Performing your own Win/Loss analysis can help you more objectively learn why your product sells, and even more important why it doesn’t sell. I’ll discuss the tactics of having there interviews, what questions to ask, and how to use the results.
  • @ 4PM ET
    Mixed Reality Interfaces and Product Management with Vikas Batra
    In this talk Vikas will share recent   developments in the field of Virtual Reality(VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) . Share use-cases on how AR is being used by enterprises to help you identify how you could use it to gain competitive advantage in your market.

Sunday, Mar. 12

  • @ 12PM ET
    Product Management & The Nuances of Digital Health Apps with Shelley Iocona
    Creating digital health applications requires product managers employ a unique and specific skill set, one that is often only learned by effective collaboration with clinical and administrative personnel. The learning curve can be very steep! Everything from how medical usability studies are conducted to best practices developing front-end requirements that conform to the FHIR data model for interoperability are nuances that can make or break your product development lifecycle. Learn what to look out for as a product manager working on a digital health application and set yourself up for success.
  • @ 2PM ET
    A New Flavor of Agile with Andrew Hsu
    How to thoughtfully include everyone’s experience to build the most effective product. “Absorbing what is useful, discarding what is not, adding what is uniquely your own. “
  • @ 4PM ET
    How do we build better teams? with Atma Degeyndt
    Reverse Game Theory or Mechanism design is about constructing a game with payoffs, in order to maximize utility.  Atma will discuss how to use behavioral and psychological levers (rules) to design teams with a higher probability of success.

Sunday, Apr. 16

  • @ 10AM ET
    Productivity Hacks for Product Managers with Andy Wadhwa
    Getting things done and accomplishing more in less time is an especially important skill for product managers. During this talk, Andy will go over a list of recommendations he has found to be helpful in boosting his level of productivity.
  • @ 12PM ET
    How to Break Into Product Management with Paul Hurwitz
    Learn how to leverage domain expertise and product management knowledge to break into a Product Manager role.
  • @ 2PM ET
    Getting Ahead in Product Management with Felix Sargent
    You’ve become a product manager, but now what? How do you progress your career, and what are you doing it for? This talk goes over how to turn an unimportant (but ok) project into a shining example for the company, and your career with it.
  • @ 4PM ET
    Opportunity Mapping for Product Discovery with Charlotte Gauthier
    Opportunity mapping helps product managers uncover the implicit needs and assumptions hidden in our understanding of a problem, and guides us to reframe the problem in order to generate many possible solutions. This allows for a more robust product discovery process.

Check back at http://TheProductMentor.com on the day of the Talks and a link will be posted for you to watch and participate.

More About The Product Mentor
The Product Mentor is a program designed to pair Product Management Mentors and Mentees around the World, across all industries, from start-up to enterprise, guided by the fundamental goals…

Better Decisions. Better Products. Better Product People.

Each Session of the program runs for 6 months with paired individuals…

  • Conducting regular 1-on-1 mentor-mentee chats
  • Sharing experiences with the larger Product community
  • Participating in live-streamed product management lessons and Q&A
  • Mentors and Mentees sharing their product management knowledge with the broader community

Sign up to be a Mentor today & join an elite group of product management executives!

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

Recap: Product Panel: How to build a customer-driven product team

Originally posted to Alpha UX Blog (written by Nis Frome) and reblogging to further share the great evening we had discussing the Future of Product Management and Product Career Development (Finding / Hiring / Recruiting).


Image result for building a team

As organizations recognize the value of customer-centricity as a mindset and discipline, they’ve begun to invest in a dedicated product organization. But finding and recruiting talent remains a pressing challenge. On the flip side, there is considerable interest in entering a product role from employees within other departments, from marketing to client success. But the prerequisites to landing a product management job are often ambiguous or seemingly unattainable. As is the case for most product management processes, having empathy is the key when it comes to making a match.

Alpha teamed up with AC Lion, Product School, and The Product Group to host a dinner and event on the topic of product management recruiting. Two panels focused on employer and candidate perspectives, respectively, featuring product leaders from Informa, New York Public Radio, YieldMo, XO Group, AC Lion, Product School, Wade & Wendy, and Swyft Media. They provided insight into best practices from sourcing candidates to interviewing.

Most important qualities that employers should look for in candidates

Panelists focused on four key areas when evaluating candidates: experience shipping, an emphasis on collaboration, customer-first perspective, and the absence of an obsession with product or technology.

speakers

A history of shipping indicates that a candidate can navigate the many obstacles that often stand in the way.

“Huge bonus if you’ve done a product for internal use,” Josh Wexler, VP of Product at YieldMo, noted, alluding to the particularly difficult process of simultaneously navigating internal politics to deliver a solution to internal stakeholders.

Further, candidates show that they are team players when they give credit to others. Product management isn’t a solo effort and candidates would be wise to acknowledge how they aligned and relied on key players to get the job done.

“Don’t say you want to be in product because it’s flashy,” said Ambreen Hussain, Senior Product Manager at Swyft Media. “Product management is not glamorous. It’s very diplomatic and political. You’re executing on goals decided by someone else with no one reporting beneath you.”

It’s also a big red flag if a candidate can’t point to any difficulties they’ve had, since it’s virtually unthinkable for nothing to go wrong during the product development lifecycle.

“Acknowledge you’ve made mistakes. Don’t say everything has worked out and you’ve never had an argument,” said Jeremy Horn, the founder of The Product Group and the VP of Product at Wade & Wendy. “That’s why we put required years experience on the job description – it’s to assess how much you’ve overcome.”

When asked whether having domain expertise in the employer’s industry is a requirement, panelists took a surprising stance. Dan Storms, Senior Director of Product at XO Group, is responsible for wedding planning websites such as The Knotbut cleverly pointed out that he’s “been married [but] never been a bride.”

“You just need to prove that you are aware of your blind spots and can pick up on industry nuance,” he added.

While Marty Schecter, Head of Product Management at Ovum, noted that “the best ideas come from people without [an industry] background,” he does “try to make sure there’s a good balance.” Other panelists weren’t as welcoming.

“It’s really difficult to work with someone who has so much experience in industry,” said Wexler. “They wear blinders.”

Domain expertise simply isn’t as important as an “insatiable curiosity,” in the words of Nathaniel Laundau, Chief Digital Officer at New York Public Radio.

Optimizing the interview process

To test many of the above criteria, it’s become common for employers to give candidates ‘take home’ assignments. Such projects vary greatly, but there are some striking similarities, such as a final presentation.

Storms said that a presentation illustrates whether or not a candidate “can collaborate and influence” stakeholders, which, after all, is what the job is all about.

According to Schecter, “the best people do their homework – they read our 10K, understand our strategy, explain how they can help us make our numbers.”

The project that Schecter’s team at Ovum gives to candidates received praise from other panelists. His team asks candidates to walk through how they would compete against a certain product if they were to create a startup.

But the presentation isn’t the only step of the interview process. Candidates should consider not only how they answer interview questions, but also how they maintain the pace.

“I almost want [candidates] to run the meeting for me,” said Storms. “If I’m interrogating you, there’s something wrong.”

crowd

When it comes to candidates asking questions of the employer, Rick Aronstein, VP and Head of Product Recruitment at AC Lion, pressed candidates to have the appropriate mindset.

“The interview is really dating, you should enjoy the process,” he said. “You should feel like you have great exposure to the company.”

Aronstein has worked with hundreds of product management candidates to place them at leading brands across New York. He believes that there are a number of benefits to working with a recruiter during a job hunt.

“You get much better two way communication,” he said. Because he can reach out to an employer after an initial interview on behalf of a candidate, he can “have a lot of candid conversations with [the] candidate [to help them] ace the next interview.”

Candidates should tailor their resumes to the position

Panelists shared differing perspectives with regard to crafting a résumé, but they all agreed: one size does not fit all.

“Product management is defined in so many different ways,” Hussain argued. “Cater your résumé once you do research about the company.”

Beyond creating multiple variations of a résumé dependent on the employer, panelists talked at length about positioning.

“You really have to prepare your background and LinkedIn like SEO,” said Carlos González de Villaumbrosia, the CEO of Product School. “So if someone sees it they’ll want to give this person a chance to tell [them] more about themselves. Be employer-centric.”

And being employer-centric is important whether or not the candidate already has past experience as a product manager.

“Every line on your resume should talk about the business value you delivered for each role and responsibility,” said Horn. “Even if you’re a developer or project manager – it doesn’t matter – show that you can think about the business.”