Every month, product experts from around the world share their ideas and insights in our Prioritised and MTP Leader and every month we recap some of their finest tips. So, whether you’re a member who’d love a quick recap or a non-member who’d love a glimpse inside some of our membership content, we’ve got you covered.
Here are this month’s 5 quick tips from the content published in May.
1. Good norms build trust over time
It is said that 50% of leadership transitions fail and anyone who’s done it knows it’s no easy task. With that in mind we asked a selection of leaders their tips for success and shared them in Make the transition to product leadership. One of those leaders, Ha Phan, Director of discovery at Pluralsight, says there are tactical things that you should do as a leader to set up people for success.
“One of the first things we do when we spin up a new team is build a team charter. This is our agreement on our values and how we work together, because if you have good norms, you build trust over time. I believe in being an advocate for my team, in building psychological safety, I just really care about everybody in my team. I think that we are able to build a really good product because of me. One of the surprising things — that I didn’t expect about being a leader — was that I became a better person.”
2. Leaders can’t fix everything at once
In Achieve success with the Product Leader Map, an exclusive session for MTP Leader members, Dave Martin, Executive Coach and Chief Product Officer at Fractional explained how product leaders can use The Product Leader Map to gain focus. The Product Leader Map, he tells us, helps to segment work into three core segments; Products, Culture, and Team. Those core sections are then further broken down into nine additional segments.
Because, as product leaders, there’s so much to tackle at any one time Dave suggests picking a section of the map that best represents an area you’re keen to improve, and focusing on it for 90 days. If you’re keen to improve ‘Products’, for example, you might pick ‘Strategy’ (one of the nine additional segments) to focus on. Then, write down six things you’d like to see improve in this area.
Members and non members alike can check out Dave’s post, Level up Your Product Function With the Product Leader Map, where he introduces the idea, then watch the session to learn more.
3. Think differently when working remote
We’re all used to remote working now but that doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to improve our remote practice and so we called upon some pros to share their advice. In Remote work in post-Covid times, Vice President of Product at Forbes, Ebony Shears, CEO and co-founder of Supernormal, Colin Treseler, and Chief Product Officer for GitLab, Scott revealed what’s worked well for them, what the impact of the pandemic has meant they’ve had to do differently, and how they’re looking after their teams while remote.
Tips included using A-synchronous video to bring a human connection into the everyday (something that can also be helpful in tackling timezone issues), and trying out nonlinear workdays. “Employees might check in in the morning, then go for a run or a walk,” Colin says. It’s a case of trying things and seeing if they work. Scott also explained how GitHub introduced friend and family days to give its employees some much needed breathing space.
4. Focus on what people appreciate most
In his #mtpcon Digital APAC keynote, Purpose-driven Product, Bruce Haldane, Gojek’s Chief Product Officer discusses how the organisation (Indonesia’s first unicorn and largest on-demand multi-service platform) maintains focus on its original purpose using a formal system they call the ‘customer lens framework.’
This, he tells us, consists, of asking 3 questions:
- Are customers happy?
- Are we growing?
- Are we delivering value?
Using these questions, the team at Gojek generates hypotheses and, facilitating experimentation and validation, back-researches ideas with a large commitment of resources and continual iteration. “We focus on what will have the most impact and be most appreciated by people […] it’s one of the most important things that all of us can do as Product,” says Bruce.
5. Startups need a product generalist
In his keynote, The 3 stages of product development at a high growth tech company, at #mtpcon Digital APAC, Cameron Adams, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Canva shares the strategic tools needed to understand and manage products through the various phases of an organisation’s growth. As he focuses on the ‘starting up’ phase, he shares his two lessons for success:
- Short Circuit: Startups require a product generalist — someone to bridge the gap between ideas and the reality “without needing an entire team of people around them.”
- The MVP: Delivering an MVP, says Cameron, is a balancing act between engineering design and business. “The game is to see how well you can use your resources to figure out all the questions you have”. Building a startup with a diverse and skilled minimum viable personnel will allow you to leapfrog to the important answers.
Whatever the phase you’re in, he says, “you’ll need different tools at different times in different places.”