Randy Silver, who will be speaking at #mtpcon London on 20 October, helps leaders and companies to supercharge their products, people, teams and culture. Additionally, he enjoys interviewing some amazing product people as the co-host of The Product Experience podcast! This week, we caught up with him to find out what he’ll be speaking about at #mtpcon London in just a few weeks time.
From editorial to product
Randy explains how he’s been doing product for his whole career. Coming from a background in music journalism, he spent many years collaborating with writers, developers, and designers to create content. After ten years of working in this sector, he looked around and realised the range of transferable skills that the industry had taught him.
“When I was working in New York, the role of a Product Manager didn’t exist; it was more of an interactive producer role.” When he headed to the UK, he started his first product management role that consisted of more structure, more concepts such as Agile, Lean, and Scrum, along with the official ‘product manager’ job title.
There are several transferable skills that those in journalism can take into product roles. “That storytelling element and communication skills are key,” Randy explains, “The process of researching and producing new things can be useful experience to set you up for a transition into product,” he adds.
People management and product management go hand in hand
In product, we often talk about symptoms, things that are poking us in the arm. Still, we don’t discuss the underlying systemic diagnosis that often affects a product’s performance, Randy explains. Past experiences have inspired him to delve into this topic on the main stage — dealing with systematic change and introducing effective communication and people management methods to solve these rooted business issues.
The danger of burnout is high amongst product leaders. Randy adds, “The fundamental problem is that product people, by definition, are change agents.” They’re brought in to introduce new changes, and the reality is that most companies don’t want to change much. As a product manager, there’s only so much you can do. From Randy’s experience, the product managers who become the most successful can build bridges, manage perception, and deal with constant change.
“That’s what I want to encourage people to recognise in my talk. You can have all the product skills in the world, but it’s the people management skills that are just as, if not more, important.”
Transforming organisations to becoming product-led is a challenging task, Randy explains. Building an environment where organisations collaborate with product effectively can take time.
Some tips for navigating systematic change
We didn’t want to give too much away before Randy takes to the main stage at #mtpcon London. However… as a teaser, he left us with a few words of wisdom to embark on connecting and working with teams:
Firstly, he advises understanding the impact of your role on the business and gaining insight into the workflow of systems such as projects, timelines, and budgets. “Figure out what system works best for your company, and realise that things may not change overnight”, Randy adds.
“In product management, we sometimes fall into the danger of looking too inward and being specialists, when in reality, we’re meant to be generalists — we’re connectors. Anything you can do to ensure that you’re consuming information from other people’s perspectives and accepting feedback from other disciplines is really useful.
If you want to elevate your product management game and witness inspiring and actionable keynotes at our flagship #mtpcon conference in London, then you can secure your place to #mtpcon London today! Happening on 20 October, additionally the day before (19 Oct) choose from 7, in-person workshops or our half day Leadership Forum. We hope to see you there!