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.”

Product Management Mentoring – Growing Globally

TPM-Short3-LogoWe are very excited to announce The Product Mentor Session 4 has just launched!  Since it’s very lean MVP kick-off 2 years ago, The Product Mentor has grown to 20+ countries and over 500 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 philosophy of paying-it-forward to share as much of the product management knowledge with everyone who has yet to make it into the program. 

  • Mentees share their newly acquired knowledge via Articles containing notable lessons learned from their Mentors
  • imageMentors 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)

  • December 6
    • 10AM ET: Rapid Prototyping with Nis Frome
    • 12PM ET: Business Development vs. Product Management with Chris Butler
    • 2PM ET: Product Strategies for Non-Strategists with Dustin Levy
    • 4PM ET: Users vs. Thought Leaders with Jordan Bergtraum
    • 6PM ET: Finance and Business Case Essentials for Product Managers with Vikas Batra

  • January 10
    • 10AM ET: Creating and Managing Product Roadmaps with Marc Abraham
    • 12PM ET: International Product Management – The Challenge of Globalization with Ladislav Bartos
    • 2PM ET: Product Management: Product- vs. Services-centric Companies with Sarah Varki
    • 4PM ET: Not My Job with Marc Wendell
    • 6PM ET: Building Your Product Management Playbook with Ian Moulton
  • February 7
    • 10AM ET: Influencing Development Teams with Krishna Madhuvarsu
    • 12PM ET: How to Interview a Product Manager with Felix Sargent
    • 2PM ET: Define a Strategy and Vision for Your Product with Cameo Doran
    • 4PM ET: Measuring Product and Development with Bennett Morrison
    • 6PM ET: Working Remotely with Rishi Kumar

  • March 13
    • 10AM ET: Growth Hacking: Weaving Marketing into the Fabric of Your Product with Jason Valdina
    • 12PM ET: Does gender play a role in the world of product management? with Amanda Ralph
    • 2PM ET: Working with Designers with Jonathan Berg
    • 4PM ET: David v. Goliath: How to displace a huge entrenched incumbent with Greg Larkin
    • 6PM ET: Maximizing Your Linkedin for a Successful Product Management Career with Paul Hurwitz

  • April 17
    • 10AM ET: Mastering the Art of the Client Demo with Melissa Hunter
    • 12PM ET: Numbers and Limits: Balancing Data and Design in Product Management with Vasu Vadlamudi
    • 2PM ET: Agile in the Real World with Addi Regev
    • 4PM ET: Key to Product Management Success: Building Team Morale with Jenn Bornstein
    • 6PM ET: Google’s 70/20/10 Rule for Driving Product Innovation with James Alexander

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

The Product Jobs [Update]

tpj-logo-w_lkw_thumb1_thumb_thumb_thSince launching The Product Jobs, several months ago, to freely connect product job seekers and those looking to hire great product people there have been over 800 product job postings!

Today, I am very pleased to be announcing some new features…

  • Social sharing of cool and interesting jobs
    • If you see a job that someone in your social sphere may find interesting, or wish to clue in your friend on a great new opportunity for their career, you can now easily share the posting with him / her via Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus
  • Easier Applicant Management
    • For job posters, all applicants, along with their application dates, resume, and cover letter information, are now called out in the “My Job Posts” section and selectable within the new applicant section at the bottom of the corresponding job post.

It can be hard to find a product job, harder to find the right product person. I get it. This has been my experience, as well as that of scores of others.

Visit http://TheProductJobs.com today.

The Product Jobs is FREE for all! Just create an account to apply to, or post, a new PRODUCT position.

IMG_2282I believe in a growing and vibrant product person community. That is why I created The Product Jobs as well as founded The Product Group, the largest product management meetup in the world, providing product people of all types a laid-back conversational place to go to network, learn, and talk.

I hope you enjoy these new features for TheProductJobs.com and benefit from it as much as I enjoyed building it.  Please help me in spreading the word of this resource for the Product community, enjoy, and happy hunting!

Thanks.

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

The Product Jobs

tpj-logo-w_lkwI believe in a growing and vibrant product person community. That is, in part, why I founded The Product Group, the largest product management meetup in the world, providing product people of all types a laid-back conversational place to go to network, learn, and talk. It is out of this endeavor a new product idea was sparked.

IMG_2164Members of The Product Group are constantly asking me for advice and assistance in getting into Product Management or finding their next Product job, or for recommendations for a great product person. It can be hard to find a product job, harder to find the right product person. I get it. This has been my experience, as well as that of scores of others.

Today, I am very proud to announce the official launch of The Product Jobs for product job seekers and those looking to hire great product people.

Visit http://TheProductJobs.com today.

The Product Jobs is FREE for all! Just create an account to apply to, or post, a new PRODUCT position.

Please help me in spreading the word of this new resource for the Product community, enjoy, and happy hunting.

Thanks.

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

The Product Mentor

TPM-Short3-LogoWhen I started as a product person, there was no one I could go to for product management advice. Heck, most people didn’t even know what a product manager was.

Product Community Improvements

Sharing advice and experiences amongst diverse and smart product people is the single largest reason I founded The Product Group; providing product people of all types a laid-back conversational place to go to network, learn, and talk.

highres_193505062

With all the progress the community has made over the past several years, finding and connecting with a product management mentor, someone you can meet with one-on-one to do everything from sharing product insights to receiving career advice, still proves challenging for many.

The Product Mentor

That’s why, today, I am proud to announce the launching of this new community initiative, a mentorship program to connect product management mentors with those seeking mentorship.

http://TheProductMentor.com

It Takes 2

If you are interested in being a product management mentor or mentee click through The Product Mentor to sign-up today.

Enjoy & spread the word. (TWEET)

BTW, many have signed up earlier and can expect the screening / interview process of mentors and mentees to commence very shortly. We will always have more mentees than mentors, so if you know of someone looking to give back to the community, please forward along this information. (TWEET)

Thanks!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

Announcing the 3rd Annual Award for The Best Product Person!

TBPP2012_alt-abrv-114 Established in 2010, The Best Product Person (#TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management.

Submit your nomination for TBPP today!
http://tbpp.wufoo.com/forms/the-best-product-person-of-2012/

Winners are awarded and invited to speak and share their knowledge and experience with the larger product community. Nominees are evaluated in the areas of: Becoming a Product Person, Your Product, Advice to Product People, and Product Management Trends.  This year, the person who nominates the winner shall also receive a prize!

Past winners of The Best Product Person…

2012
Nominate TBPP Now (prize: MORE AWESOME THAN EVER!)

2011
Chris Sarette of Invisible Children (prize: "Making Ideas Happen")

2010
Giff Constable of Aprizi (prize: Mental Notes from Stephen Anderson)

The only eligibility requirement is being an awesome Product Person! Anyone can nominate! Reminder: You can only nominate someone you personally know.

Please submit your nomination today! There are prizes and so much more!

http://tbpp.wufoo.com/forms/the-best-product-person-of-2012/

For more information about TBPP 2012: https://tpgblog.com/tbpp

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

Happy New Year! Product Management in 2012

2012Happy New Year! The last year has seen many changes in the world of product management. Yet, with all these changes, we can all expect ever more exciting trends, processes, and, especially, products in 2012!

A Look Back

In 2011, many of the prevailing trends we experienced were…

  • Increased focus on process for innovation and ideation
  • API’s, relationships, modular innovation, integration. You are not a true product unless you have an API.
  • Decreasing use of the free service / product business model. Growing on free is no longer the best policy. You can actually create a viable, sustainable business by charging customers money. (omg)
  • The new form factor — the tablet. While it has been around for sometime, the tablet (specifically, the iPad) has had a profound affect on not just tablet design, but all product design and product-consumer expectations of interaction — more intuitive, more touchy.

The Coming Year

It’s always fun to attempt to predict the future. Based on my interactions with the product management community, the following are my predictions for the big trends of 2012.

  • Offline. There will be a broad-based movement back to enabling the offline application, powered by HTML5, from document management to media consumption.
  • Death of XML. XML is on the wane, and JSON’s time has come. With all of the frameworks that have been developed to extract, transform, and transport XML, there will be great entrepreneurial opportunities in 2012 tooling-up JSON.
  • The number of product management roles will continue to grow. However, they will be filled by more and more junior people. These positions will also focus much more on the tactical side of product management (vs. the strategic).
  • In demand skills of the product manager of 2012 (and beyond)…
    • Tech / programming. There will be increasing need for technical experience or programming skills for product manager roles (even UX centric ones).
    • Statistics. Establishing and gathering metrics will become increasingly central to what it means to be a product manager. You need to demonstrate your value and make smarter decisions. (One of the key drivers has been the growth of Lean Methodology.)
  • Customer driven roadmapping will gain increasing momentum. And, mirroring that trend, but inward facing, more company-wide integrated product management will be taking shape.

What’s next?

What are your predictions and expected trends for product management in 2012?

Enjoy & thanks to everyone who followed, read, and participated in The Product Guy blog and The Product Group, new and old, in 2011! We are going to have a supremely awesome 2012!!! See you there!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

The Best Product Person of 2011 is…

The Best Product Person of 2011 nominations have begun!

To nominate someone you think should be recognized as The Best Product Person of 2011:

Submit your nomination’s…

  1. name,
  2. a paragraph as to why you think they are The Best Product Person of 2011, and
  3. how they can be contacted.

You must know the Product Person, as they can expect to be contacted by me to speak with them further for consideration as The Best Product Person.

And, yes, you can nominate yourself.

At the end of the year, the winner will be selected and they will receive “something special” (to be announced very soon).

Submit your nomination today!

I am looking forward to seeing how this turns out. And, do spread the word of this new contest — the more the merrier for everyone involved.

A Look Back…

The Best Product Person of 2010 is Giff Constable of Aprizi.

TBPP2010_alt-abrv-114Giff’s career path has traveled that of entrepreneur, artist, and investment banker — no doubt, all contributing to his outstanding product person success. He has spoken about cutting edge technology at major conferences like NRF and GDC, as well as through media outlets such as Business Week, New York Times, CNBC, NPR, ABC News, and Reuters. For more about Giff Constable, check out his blog @ http://giffconstable.com/.

Runner-up is Paul Gray of Brainmates. Paul Gray has spent ten years working in the entertainment, media and communications industries within Australia and Europe. Paul worked in both B2B and B2C roles for organizations including Disney, Foxtel, and British Telecom.

Sketching a Path Forward

sketch-forwardDon’t debate the debaters, but instead, influence the influencers.

Product managers are leaders and influencers of features, ideas, and epic tasks. Some have direct and backed authority, many others have variants that are partial or merely implicit. Either way, to achieve the greatest success, do you rule with force? Or influence, and guide, and allow for shared discovery in support of your product’s end goals?

Functional Forms

When your designer says “no”… how do you get them to “yes”? Let’s look at this challenge with respect to a few designer types that many of us have had the pleasure and privilege of working with.

The Perfectionist
The Innovator

This week, let’s take a look at…

The Mixologist
The Standard Bearer

The Mixologist

The Mixologist may lack vision or a good stream of resources. No problem.

Influence the sources. If the sources are blogs, suggest other blogs more inline with your desired approaches. If the sources are people, work with them, share your vision, share your perspectives, recommendations, creativity, logic and reasoning. Build relationships and foster broad support from below. Tread lightly here; you do not want to offend The Mixologist by overstepping or allowing any of your relationship building to be construed as anything threatening.

When The Mixologist is aligned with your goals and proposing ideas you have pitched and sought, get your ego out of the way… #1 is always to achieve the business objective. And, if you have built sound relationships, the right people will know where the credit truly belongs. Oh yeah… and frequent lunches with The Mixologist help too.

The Standard Bearer

“Standards are great, because there are so many to choose from.”

There are a ton of standards out there. For every standard, there is another competing one. Identify the competition, share it around the organization. Build support for the new standard, or at least for a willingness to experiment with it. Let those new supporters become the advocates of the new thinking. Foster an environment where multiple ideas, multiple standards can co-exist and compete on objective measures. Encourage and reward the experimentation with competing standards as well as non-standard concepts. Standards are great; they can always be improved.

Designers are people, too.

Yep. And, they too, do not often fit a simple character description. Most designers are a mix of traits, some potentially described here.

Generally speaking, the best influencer, the one to really buddy up to, is statistics– they can often be your best influencer and supporter in most cases. Collect the data, find the data, and introduce the data (“your key influencer”) to your designer and together understand it, explore it, and challenge yourselves to build upon it.

Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing various examples and approaches in wielding strategic influence as a successful product manager.

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy