In celebration of International Women’s Day, we look at some of the awesome women who have taken to the #mtpcon stage over the past few years. Sadly, we can’t feature them all because, believe me when I say, there are A LOT of awesome women doing amazing things for the community of product management. With our content paywall being no more, these keynote talks are free for all to consume!
We showcase some of the women who have time and again inspired our community with their brilliance and commitment to their craft.
In no particular order (they’re all as brilliant as each other), here goes…
The importance of EQ for product development teams by Nikkia Reveillac
Nikkia Reveillac is Director, Consumer Insights at Netflix, and a former Head of Research at Twitter. In this engaging talk from #mtpcon Digital Americas 2021,She offers words of wisdom on why EQ is the key ingredient in the highest-performing product development teams.
Modelling the right behaviour is very important for ensuring emotional intelligence is a core competency for a team, says Nikkia. She explains the seven qualities that are indicative of emotional intelligence in teams: self-awareness, empathy, humility, a growth mindset, relationship building, effective communication, and personal influence.
The key message from her talk is that product development is a team sport. However, a collection of superstars does not make an exceptional team. Exceptional teams are made of stars who understand how to work well together.
3 myths that get in the way of product adoption by Martina Lauchengo
At #mtpcon SF+Americas 2022, Martina Lauchengco, Partner at SVPG and author of Loved: How to rethink marketing for tech products, unpicks three myths of product that get in the way of driving product adoption.
Myth 1: Build a great product
Martina says there are 5.5 million apps in the App Store, and apps in the same category all do and say a lot of the same things. She says: “People will look at the pictures to try and understand from the screenshots how it’s really different and they’re not going to be able to tell. We’re putting all this cognitive load onto people and into Product.” It’s why you need to pay attention to the perception of the product as you build, and it will affect what you build.
Myth 2: Improve your product’s NPS
The go-to-market truth is, says Martina, for it to be noticed and make a difference in how a product is adopted and its future success, you must massively improve NPS for what matters most – and not all areas of the product are equal. It’s very difficult to raise the game of an entire product, so you need to pay close attention to what will really make a difference in your marketing.
Myth 3: Good marketing requires good marketers
Martina says that the go-to-market truth is that anyone can do great product marketing. She adds: “It is absolutely essential that everyone in product learns to bend their mind in this direction – because to do great marketing requires a really good product marketing foundation.”
Mastering the art of the big bet by Alice Newton Rex
In the midst of pandemic uncertainty and an impending lockdown in the UK, Alice Newton, Director of Product at WhatsApp, gave us some tips on mastering the art of big bets in product at #mtpcon London 2021.
Alice reminds us that all bets are unique, and involve some luck, however, we can “make sure that if it fails, it fails for the right reasons, and not because of your own oversights and execution”. Those who have led on big bets have found accelerated careers and the winners are not “just the companies or the users, but also the individuals involved who are taking the bets. I hope that hearing these stories have inspired some of you to go out and take a chance on your own big bet.”
Building successful communities of practice by Emily Webber
People are often put in situations where they’re empowered, but they don’t know how to move forward. Sink or swim is often used as the management justification for this. At #mtpcon London 2018, Emily Webber, Agile delivery and digital transformation consultant, coach and trainer, said that although this situation is seen as a rite of passage, it doesn’t work for the majority of people. Communities can be the way to bring support to those in this situation. People are better together.
Here are Emily’s top tips for building successful communities of practice:
- Clarify who the community is for.
- Get those people together regularly.
- Start by sharing stories.
- Create opportunities for learning, building trust, adding value, and supporting each other.
- See what works and turn up the good.
Escaping the build trap by Melissa Perri
In this insightful talk from #mtpcon San Francisco 2017, Melissa shared insights on how to identify whether you are in the build trap – and more importantly what product leaders and product managers can do to escape it.
What we can control, and where we need to focus our efforts just as hard, is internal influences – the ones inside our businesses. Melissa argues that the three main internal factors boil down to process, strategy, and culture.
From PO to CPO: How to drive your product career by Namrata Sarmah
Next is Namrata Sarmah, Chief Product Officer at INTO University Partnerships and former Senior Director of Digital Product Management at Paramount. At #mtpcon London 2022, she looked back at lessons learned from her wide-ranging product career, sharing tips and techniques to help product people at any level to grow and develop.
For product people looking to management roles, Namrata emphasises the importance of understanding how ‘there are managers, bosses, and leaders’, and recommends that people should focus on leadership and “ensure that they build high-performance teams that are judged by the impact and not by their size”. Good leadership, she says, can “truly galvanise product teams” and result in superior products.
When mapping out your product management career, Namrata’s advice is to dream big: “I have this feeling: if you dare to dream, you can actually get there.” She references a Venn diagram that integrates and emphasises the importance of work, family, health, wellness and giving back to and connecting with the community.
Cognitive biases and the questions you shouldn’t be asking by Cindy Alvarez
At #mtpcon San Francisco 2018, Cindy Alvarez, Director of UX at Powerpoint, Microsoft and Author of Lean Customer Development wanted us to recognise the fact that no one is immune to cognitive bias. Because while we can’t avoid bias altogether, she offered some advice for us on how to work around bias and reduce the impact it has.
Cindy talks the audience through an example of asking questions in the right way to avoid common biases. She gives us some key questions that will help us understand if our customers truly need what they are asking for:
- “Just to be sure I’m clear – if you had that already, how would it make your job/life easier?”
- “Since you don’t have it today, what is your current workaround?”
- “In the last 6 months, how often has that happened?”
- “You’re right, (our competitor) does offer this feature. I’d love to hear your impression of the solution.”
- “You mentioned it might come in handy in the future. How are you anticipating your needs changing?”
- “If you could wave a magic wand and change anything about (a situation), it doesn’t have to be possible, what would it be?”
The art of saying no by Mina Radhakrishnan
We end with a golden oldie. Mina Radhakrishnan, Co-Founder of Different explained how to move away from simply saying no at #mtpcon San Francisco 2015.
Things haven’t changed much since 2015—product managers still must practise the art of saying no every day. As much as product is about building and shipping great products, invariably in order to launch some things we have to not launch others. It’s a big part of the job, but it’s never fun and can take its toll.
For product managers, prioritisation is the main reason we say no. Mina explains that once your prioritisation is aligned with company goals, that conversation with someone who’s asking for a new feature changes from simply being you saying no to a conversation about how the request fits with the company goals.
To do this, it’s important to just listen. Be quiet, listen, and take in what people are saying – it’s never a waste of time. Don’t assume you know what people are doing – they won’t come to you with problems, they’ll come to you with solutions and there could be other ways to solve their problem.
Did we miss an engaging talk that springs to mind? Let us know in the comments!
If you want to elevate your product management game and witness inspiring and actionable keynotes at one of our #mtpcon conferences then you can secure your place to #mtpcon San Francisco today! Happening on June 14 – join us in-person or online.