In this ProductTank London talk, Alison Hickson, head of product at Linktree, talks about the changes she made as she moved from being an external product manager to becoming an internal product manager. She shares some tips to help product managers understand and thrive in an internal product manager role.
Watch the video to see Alison’s talk in full, or read on for an overview of her key points:
- Define your PM goals
- Be the expert in your problem area
- Influence without authority
- Grow products with little bets
Define your product manager goals
Once Alison became an internal product manager, the first thing she discovered was that for many externally facing products, customers are external, and user reach is only limited by your company’s reach. When she became an internal product manager, she discovered that her reach shifted from thousands to hundreds of internal team members.
Be the expert in your problem space
As an internal product manager, it’s important to remember that your users are on your team. This allows you to refine and grow your research skills as you test out different options and discover what works for you.
Another thing to note is that captive users are a fallacy. While some may think that your users don’t have a choice but to use your products, this is incorrect. However, you can take advantage of the fact that users are internal and shadow their experience to get a first-hand view of their product experience. Product managers need to monitor adoption rates. While external product managers may rely on Google Analytics and other tools, internal product managers need to get creative with the metrics.
Alison suggests monitoring channels like Slack to get customer feedback and discover when things aren’t working so that you can iterate and continue growing adoption rates.
Influence without authority
To influence as an internal product manager, you need to build social capital. To do this, start by identifying a representative for each user group. Empathize with users but don’t make promises and finally create aligned measures of success so that everyone knows what you are trying to achieve.
Grow products with little bets
Rather than building a product that you think everyone might like and then discovering that they don’t, it’s better to release little bets iteratively. Make the most of lower-stakes releases and do things so you can think about what to do next by building fast feedback loops.
The key takeaways are to become the expert in your problem space, find ways to influence without authority, and use feedback loops to grow with little bets to achieve success as an internal product manager.
Enjoy more from ProductTank
ProductTanks are informal meetups, created by Mind the Product, to bring local product people together and to enable speakers to share amazing product insights. Today we have ProductTanks in more than 200 cities across the globe and there’s probably one near you.