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 5 quick tips from the content published this month.
1. It’s ok if you’re not the smartest person in the room
In Interpreting the product Venn Diagram (a Fireside chat) Matt LeMay, sits down with Martin Eriksson to discuss Martin’s now-famous Venn diagram describing product management. They speak about building a team around the Venn diagram and solving product decisions through collaboration, as well as communication as a product manager.
Here’s the tip — if you’re worrying that you’re not the smarter person in the room, you can stop. You don’t need to be. Furthermore, you definitely don’t need to have all of the answers. “We as product managers are more likely to be susceptible to imposter syndrome because we’re not the experts in the design or engineering,” Martin says, “However we should embrace having the opportunity to connect all of the dots and ask all of the right questions.”
2. Metrics are great, but only if you communicate them well
In The dos and don’ts of product analytics we touch on some of the challenges around implementing metrics successfully. For example, say our experts, it’s all good having your North Star and other key metrics defined but if you’re not communicating the results in the right way they’re really no good to anyone. Alex Kulbei, co-founder of data collection and analytics company Probe, explains the importance of communicating metrics efficiently and with relevant context. He says it’s the product manager’s job to define what success means for a product and provide this context: “Adoption of my product dropped by 10% this month tells you nothing without some context. Did you release a new feature? Were there any outages? We often find people just look at a spreadsheet or dashboard — it’s just numbers with no context around them.” Next time you report on your metrics, take a step back and consider if you’re giving the complete picture.
In this deep dive we also provide some handy dos and don’ts and share some key insights from a new report from Mixpanel investigating how product teams are using metrics to analyse user behaviour. Read the report in full.
3. Customer input? You should aspire to get it on a weekly basis
In Getting to a team-based approach to continuous discovery, Teresa Torres explains how we make product decisions every day and while some of them are big and strategic, and some pedestrian, all would benefit from customer input so that we can make decisions that work for them. This, she says, helps us to avoid a validation mindset, means we don’t miss out on early feedback, and can move to more of a co-creation mindset with customers and therefore better products. Weekly input may sound overwhelming, so Teresa suggests adopting a continuous improvement mindset, looking at the incremental improvements you can make each week. “Think of this as a benchmark to aspire to,” she says, “I’ve worked with hundreds of teams that have successfully found this cadence.”
4. When it comes to diversity in product, empathetic leadership is not enough
In Diversity in product: Are we nearly there? Annette Joseph and Jossie Haines comment that diversity has to move beyond HR and recruitment because there are so many areas to consider in building a diverse and inclusive business: it means reducing bias in hiring, ensuring all managers have effective and fair management practices and principles, building a culture of psychological safety. Jossie says: “It needs to be part of your day-to-day, not just an hour-long D&I training once a year. If you are going to sign up for training, sign up for something that’s more interactive and actionable that drips content out to your employees on a regular basis, because that’s how humans learn.” It can be a daunting prospect. Jossie adds: “Start by doing an overview of your strengths and weaknesses in each of the areas. Then pick a couple that you want to target and define metrics.” Also, they add, talk about the why before you roll out any initiatives. You’ll get less resistance and staff will buy in more if they understand how it helps both them and the business.
5. There are 3 stages of data maturity you need to understand
In Data scaling for startups by Crystal Widjaja, Executive-In-Residence at Reforge, explains how understanding the different stages of data maturity can help you to implement a sensible data strategy and ultimately drive product improvement, create great customer experiences, and achieve defensibility. There are three stages to learn, Crystal breaks them down for us:
- Survival: The priority is finding product/market fit, establishing business, and securing stable user retention rates. At this stage, data is required for operational visibility only. You don’t need anything fancy because you might not survive to leverage it later on.
- Functionality: After achieving product/market fit, focus turns to optimising specific user behaviour. Data now has a greater role and is used to track insights and influence some decisions, though there’s still a lot of hypotheses in place.
- Form: Finally the strategy changes and we see “data as the form, beyond just functionality”. Products become data-dependent, users are consuming and, in turn, leveraging data. The productisation of data services continuously unlocks the product as it matures, and operational decision making becomes more automated as do user product experiences.