Rerun: Perfection is the enemy of progress – Matt LeMay on The Product Experience "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs April 04 2022 False Career, Podcasts, Product Management Skills, The Product Experience, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 7203 Product Management 28.812

Rerun: Perfection is the enemy of progress – Matt LeMay on The Product Experience

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If a product manager is doing their job really well, they will be invisible and the results will speak for themselves. In this rebroadcasted podcast episode, product coach, consultant, and author speaks with Lily and Randy about the product management craft and how the best product managers do their job really well.

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Featured Links: Follow Matt on LinkedIn and Twitter | Matt’s Website | One Page / One Hour | Sudden Compass | Matt’s book ‘Product Management in Practise’

Episode transcript

Randy Silver: 

Hey, Lily. So it’s Easter Week. And we’re going to do a rerun this week because we don’t have time to do a new episode. But I’ve got a question. I’m really confused about something. Can you help me with it? Yeah, I

Lily Smith: 

can try and help. I’m always happy to give you my advice or help.

Randy Silver: 

So there’s something I’ve never understood about Easter. And it’s that there’s a bunny that delivers eggs. Bunnies don’t lay eggs, we’re just the Easter Bunny, get the damn X.

Lily Smith: 

Okay. I see why you’re confused. But clearly, the money gets the eggs from the chocolate chickens.

Randy Silver: 

So why isn’t the chicken doing the delivery? Why isn’t there the greedy stir chip and watch the bunnies stealing all the glory?

Lily Smith: 

I have a theory about this. I think the bunny and the chicken, they just didn’t have very much time. So they they quickly drafted. This is what we’re gonna do for Easter. And then, you know, they didn’t like think it all the way through maybe. And. And then they just went for it. And like everyone fell in love with it, and then it was too late to change it. So that’s what they ended up with. But this is my very, very bad segue into the topic of our free one rerun, which is all about spending one hour to write one page, and why you should do that. And I’m not going to give any more away because matla May, our guest explains it way better than I can.

Randy Silver: 

So what you’re basically saying is I’m overthinking it, I shouldn’t spend nearly as much time on this whole conundrum, we should just do a quick, simple version, and take it to everyone and get the feedback. I like it. Let’s go straight into hearing what Matt has to say so that I can be better about this in the future.

Lily Smith: 

The product experience is brought to you by mind the product.

Randy Silver: 

Every week, we talk to the best product people from around the globe about how we can improve our practice and build products that people love.

Lily Smith: 

Because it mind the product.com to catch up on past episodes and to discover an extensive library of great content and videos.

Randy Silver: 

Browse for free, or become a minor product member to unlock premium articles, unseen videos, AMA’s roundtables, discount store conferences around the world training opportunities

Lily Smith: 

for mine the product also offers free product tank meetups in more than 200 cities. And there’s probably one near you.

Randy Silver: 

Map thank you so much for coming on to the podcast this week. For anyone who doesn’t know you and I can’t believe there are too many people after your talk at the last MTP con, can you just give us a bit of an introduction? Who are you? How did you get into product and all? Sure.

Matt LeMay: 

Thank you so much for having me. My name is Matt LeMay. I’m a product coach and consultant working within a collective called Southern compass. I got into product by accident, as did so many of us. I was I was a musician and a freelance web developer back when that was kind of a thing. And found my way into product by accident I started working at Bitly, about 10 years ago, was head of consumer product that didn’t lead and went on to work at Songza. So long as I got acquired by Google had a lot of thoughts and feelings about product management as a discipline, wrote some of those out in a book called product management in practice, followed that up with another book called Agile for everybody. And when people asked me what I do now I say I mostly sit in front of computers and talk to people about what they do while they’re sitting in front of computers.

Randy Silver: 

My wife used to ask me what I did or used to describe what I did, as Randy puts on a suit goes to an office and talks to people and they hung up that suit a long time ago.

Matt LeMay: 

That’s that yeah, it is a pretty accurate description of what what this kind of work look like in the in the before times.

Randy Silver: 

Okay, so you got into being a product manager and Head of Product consultant. But how do you actually define the role of a product manager because I think you might have a different take than some other people do? Yeah, so

Matt LeMay: 

this was one of the main pain points I experienced when I got into product management. I had read a lot about how product management was this visionary role. You were the CEO of the product. There were a lot of Steve Jobs quotes being bandied about. I was told that I would own the roadmap and I would be this important strategic decision maker. But in the day to day work of product management, I find that product management is a much more connective and facilitative role than it is a visionary role, which is to say I have never and I’ve consulted and coached a number of organisations. I have never worked with a company where there is a lack of ideas for what to do. The real day to day challenge of product management is not to swoop in and get everyone excited about a vision, people have visions, people have ideas, those ideas are much more likely to be executed faithfully when everybody’s had an opportunity to shape them, and to help craft them. One of my favourite ideas comes from a guy named Jared Dicker who works at the Washington Post, who said that the most likely ideas succeed within an organisation are the ones where nobody can even remember whose idea that was in the first place. Because everybody’s had a chance to shape it and provide their input. And I think of Product Management in practice, as that work of opening up those ideas of getting people on the same page, getting input, really doing that connective work of making sure that people are speaking the same language, and working together to close those pesky gaps and misalignments between our idea of what we’re going to do and what we actually do.

Lily Smith: 

So do you think in the experience that you’ve had in working with different businesses, do you see that as one of the misconceptions of the role that, you know, the product manager ends up trying to be visionary or trying to be a kind of, I know the direction everyone can follow? Or an Are you trying to adjust that balance? Or do you see it as as something else?

Matt LeMay: 

Yeah, I mean, I think what it manifests the way it manifests in a lot of the conversations I’ve had is that product managers who are taking that more connected and facilitative approach feel like they’re doing something wrong. They feel like they’re not doing the real work. One of the conversations I have the most often with working product managers is when do I get to own the roadmap? When do I get to be the CEO of the product, all I’m doing is putting out fires, and talking to people all day, it feels like I’m not doing the work that I’m supposed to do. And I think the main reason I’ve been so vociferous and passionate about changing the conversation, is that in a lot of cases, those are the product managers who are actually doing the best work for their organisations, who are building trust on their teams who are seeking out and, and working against that misalignment. So I think the most immediate way I see it manifest is that people who are doing the right things, fear that they’re doing the wrong things. There are also cases where people who are doing the wrong things feel like they’re doing the right things. I feel like in most real world organisations, those people who walk in thinking that they are the Steve Jobs, visionary of the product, usually get humbled pretty quickly. When you actually have to work with a team. You know, one of the defining things about product management is that the work you’re accountable for is work that you cannot do yourself, you are not actually building the product yourself. You are working with a team of people who are building the product, working to get those people communicating well and aligned on what they’re delivering. So if you alienate your team, if you make everyone hate you, if you walk in and acting like you are the Saviour and the person who will solve every problem for everybody, and your team fails to deliver, you’re going to find out pretty quickly that that approach might not be the best approach within the real world context of organisations

Randy Silver: 

step brings up a really interesting question, which is, if you as a coach or an external observer, can tell someone they’re doing a good job. What did How can the product manager working day to day, get that validation get an understand if they’re doing a good job if they always feel like they’re kind of invisible?

Matt LeMay: 

Yeah, so this is a really tough one. And I do often tell product managers that there is no guarantee that if you are doing your job well you will be recognised for this is part of what I seek to do when I work with organisations is to help train leadership on understanding that if a product manager is doing their job really well, they will be invisible. Their team’s work will speak for itself and it will reflect their team’s work, then one of the most dangerous things a company can do is reward product managers for their individual outputs rather than for the collective outcomes delivered by their team. So I think one of the things that’s tricky is that if you do the right thing for your team, there is no guarantee that that will reflect on you personally. I have worked with product managers who have found that their current organisation is not a fit because they have been doing this work invisibly and collaboratively and company leadership says What does that person even do? I you know, I see other people advocating for what their team is doing all the time, but they’re not out there advocating for it and taking the lead and being the CEO of the product. That is that is a risk but it is a risk that I am doing my best to do mitigate.

Lily Smith: 

And we mentioned earlier about the product manager, sort of getting everyone on the same page and aligning and, you know, some of the tools that we use for that alignment are things like roadmaps and stories and prototypes or whatever. So, how much work should we be putting into these before we share them with the rest of the business

Matt LeMay: 

as little as possible? I mean, this is one of those things that we’re again, in theory, I feel like we’ve all agreed to this, right? It’s right there in the Agile Manifesto working software over comprehensive documentation. In theory, it is easy enough to say, look, what we’re here to do is to deliver some kind of working software, something that is valuable to our users or our customers. So the less time we spend on anything, which does not deliver value to our users or our customers, the better. Again, we can all agree to that. I think, in theory, where it gets tricky is, as I mentioned, as a product manager, you are not the person who crafts by hand, that proofing software, which means that there is this intrinsic, perverse incentive in product management, which I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about, where for product managers, the only things we produce ourselves is comprehensive documentation. If we are left to our own devices, if we prioritise the things that we can do ourselves, we are going to spend a lot of time in documents in roadmaps in things that do not deliver a lot of value to our customers. And I think one thing that gets lost in this, you know, one, one thing I often say to people who I’m coaching is that work begets work, which is to say, the time and energy you spend on those deliverables, creates work for other people, the people on your team need to read and process and synthesise those deliverables, ideally, towards some finished working software type deliverable, which does deliver value to our users or our customers. So I think there’s a tension at the heart of product management, where the only thing we can do that we can do ourselves is often not the right thing for us to do. And that’s a really tough thing to deal with day in and day

Randy Silver: 

out. If I deliver things to my team, to my boss, that aren’t complete if I do as little work as possible, and the idea is to get them to work with me on it. How do I avoid the impression that I’m workshop that I’m just asking them to do the to do my work?

Matt LeMay: 

Right, but you show up, you show up to a meeting with leadership? And you say, we know that we would like to build something? What how might we do it? Yeah, that’s a great question. There are two things I think about in relation to this. Number one, there is a marked difference between going in with a little bit of structured thought as a conversation starter, and going in with nothing. So going before leadership and saying, I have no idea what we’re doing you decide for me is yes, unlikely to be well received, going in and saying, We’ve spent a little time we’ve identified a few things we could do. But we’ve also identified some questions we have. And we could really use your help answering these questions to make sure that we don’t have any assumptions that might come back to bite us later on, is generally something I’ve seen be more well received. The other dimension of this, which kind of gets into my my passion project of the moment, is that if you just go to somebody and say, Hey, I spent a little bit of time on this thing, what do you think they might think that you are not taking them seriously, or that you are not taking the task at hand seriously. But there’s also this interesting little hack. And I give massive credit to my business partner, Tricia Huang for helping me understand these kinds of rhetorical or cognitive hacks. If you go in and say we try, we’re trying something called one page one hour, it’s a new approach to documents and deliverables that’s been signed on to by people from companies like Amazon, Disney and Walmart. So we spent no more than one page one hour on this initial draft so that we could get your valuable feedback. What do you think about this, it is much more likely to be well received. In my book, product management and practice. There’s a chapter called The worst thing about best practices, which talks about how it’s very dangerous to take an abstract best practice and just port it thoughtlessly from one organisation to another. But there’s a sub chapter in that chapter called The best thing about best practices, which says that the best thing about best practices is that if something is named, if it’s something we can all buy into and discuss, especially if it has that halo of adoption for I’m a well respected technology company, we can actually get people to try something that might be challenging or counterintuitive. Otherwise, you know, I think a lot about things like OKRs, in that context, that if you were to explain to somebody, let’s write out our goals in a list of qualitative things, and then some qualitative things that we might think measure up to those qualitative things. People are like, What are you talking about? If you say, much like the brilliant geniuses at Google, I suggest we adopt the well trodden best practice objectives and key results. And you’re much more likely to get people saying, yes, objectives and key results, that is a very serious, thoughtful, important thing that we do much like those geniuses at Google. So my one page one hour project, which I’ve been spending some time on recently haven’t been advocating for again, somewhat relentlessly, is largely an attempt to take this idea of making your deliverables clearly clearly bounded and incomplete by design, and putting a little bit of pzazz around it, so that it’s easier for people to embrace and accept the concept that it might be if we just showed up with something that looked half baked.

Lily Smith: 

And where did the inspiration for this come from? Was it a light bulb moment of, oh, I just need to spend one hour writing one page? Or is it something that you’ve kind of always just intuitively done or kind of developed over the year?

Matt LeMay: 

That’s a great question. It’s, it’s funny, because it is not intuitive to me at all. I am that nightmare person who will write a 30 page email, who if you say, oh, take a quick draft of this, I will come back with 100 meticulously formatted pages. What really was the kind of breaking point for me? You know, in my coaching work, I started advising teams to not spend too much time making finished and polished decks and deliverables. For the very reasons we discussed, that for our product managers in particular, these aren’t necessarily things that are delivering customer value, something is too finished and too polished, you might actually kill collaboration, be inadvertently sending a message to your colleagues that you don’t want them to change this thing you’ve already worked so hard on. And I was having this conversation with my business partners. And they were kind of smirking back at me. And I said, What, why? Why this smirk? And they said, Yeah, you tell our clients that, but every time we’re designing a workshop, anytime we’re doing work together, you always show up with like 10, super dense pages of everything you want to do. And honestly, you’re not great at taking feedback when we give you feedback on those 10 pages, especially if that feedback in any way suggests that you might need to fundamentally re approach the purpose, or overall kind of gist of this document. After this moment of talking to my business partners. I kind of went through a fit of well earned self recrimination. I said to myself, Okay, how do I just stop myself from doing this? Like, how do I, because like a lot of product managers, I’m a good negotiator, I can negotiate myself out of any squishy constraint. So I just wrote up a document that says, I pledge to spend no more than one page in one hour on anything before I share it with my colleagues, I printed it out, I slapped it on the back of my laptop computer, I shared it with my business partner, and I said, hold me accountable to this. If I show up with something that is more than the product of one page and one hour, then, like, get on my case about it, because it’s not. And sure enough, since then, there have been times when I have said, Oh, we’re probably aligned on this, I’m just going to put together this six page work plan. I’m just going to put together this more finished and polished document. I have regretted it every single time. There has never been a time I have violated my one page one hour pledge and not regretted it immediately and immensely.

Randy Silver: 

Is that just because they make fun of you to no end or

Matt LeMay: 

no, I’m used to being made to know. I mean, to give you an example, we you know, we were publishing some content through a partnership a while ago. And I said, You know what, this is stuff we’ve done forever. I know exactly what we’re trying to accomplish with this. I’m just going to finish up the content, share it with my business partner, and then, you know, we’ll send it along. So I spent probably two days and finished polished everything, shared it and they said, Yeah, I don’t I don’t think this is exactly getting out what the purpose, or the intent of this partnership was. And I just kind of kind of you can’t see me right now but I’ve just class class to the arms have my chair. Because it was really tough. I had spent all this time and energy on something. And I’m a human person, I want recognition, I want acknowledgement, I want to be told that I did a good job. And part of what I found really powerful about one page one hour, is that it kind of short circuits that mechanism a little bit. It changes the way I seek approval and validation, because it explicitly shifts the goalposts, which are often implicitly set at make something impressive, make something that people like on their first glance, you know, I think a lot of us who were overachievers in school have that dream of, we present a first draft and we hear back no notes. But in the real world of collaboration, especially collaboration towards product development, no notes or looks fine, is the most dangerous thing you can possibly hear. Because it means there is a high likelihood that whatever you said, is not being engaged with deeply, and that there might be assumptions baked into that which will prove disastrous for what you’re actually trying to accomplish.

Randy Silver: 

If 2022 is the year you’re looking to advance your career, expand your network, get inspired, and bring the best products to market, then join mind the product for their next conference this May

Lily Smith: 

at MTP con, San Francisco plus Americas, you’ll soak up invaluable insights from an epic lineup of the best in product, covering a range of topics that will challenge and inspire you to step up as a product manager, you’ve got

Randy Silver: 

the option to go fully digital for both days, or get the best of both worlds with a hybrid ticket. Digital on day one and in person at the SF jazz in San Francisco on day two. I was at the most recent edition of this event in London last year, and it was just awesome.

Lily Smith: 

Get tickets now at mine the product.com. I’m just I’m laughing because when we drafted the questions for this interview, I didn’t have any criticisms. But I did have one comment. I was engaged. I was engaged in the question.

Randy Silver: 

Promise really? I didn’t spend more than one hour on it.

Lily Smith: 

Yeah. So so with the one page one hour then is it kind of exclusive as then? Is it either one page or one hour? Or is it both one page and one hour?

Matt LeMay: 

That’s a great question. And it is both it is one page at one hour. Which is to say if you get to one page, don’t spend more than an hour on it. If you run out of time in an hour, and you’ve only written three sentences, you’re done. Part of the reason that I landed on one page one hour, is that I’ve found that if I only have a time based constraint, I will often try to over deliver within that time based constraint. And if I only have a format based constraint, I will also try to over deliver against that format based constraint. So if you tell me to write a one pager, I will spend a week trying to write the perfect one pager, if you give me just one hour, I will dump out 10 pages of a fairly convincing text in one hour. So the idea behind one page one hour is that you’re combining those constraints. It’s a constraint of format and a constraint of time to again stop you from using a lack of constraint in one dimension to negotiate yourself out of the intent of another type of constraint.

Randy Silver: 

That’s great. But does it mean that I have to share it at the end of the hours? You know, so if I write three sentences, I realise, you know, maybe there’s nothing here yet. Or maybe I just need to stew on this and let this go in the back of my mind a bit more until there’s actually something worth sharing. And, you know, am I fooling myself kind of thing? Is that, is that valid?

Matt LeMay: 

You absolutely do share it at the end. And here’s why you if you could only come up with three sentences in an hour, there is something you’re missing. And it is very unlikely that you are going to solve that riddle on your own. So this has happened to me where I sit down to write one page one hour, I write a sentence, I leave it, I write a sentence, I delete it. And I realised that there’s some context I don’t have or something I’m missing. And part of the value of this approach is that then I can go to my team and say, I couldn’t get unblocked on this. I’m totally stuck. What am I missing? What is the context I don’t have here. Is there some fundamental thing I’m wrong about? You’re always better off if you get stuck, asking for the help and input of your colleagues to get unstuck, then you are making the cascade of exponential assumptions that you generally need to make in order to get yourself unstuck on your own.

Randy Silver: 

Okay, but when do I even start with this? I mean, if we just go with this, there’s eight hours today, I could do eight of these a day, share them with all my colleagues that could be doing the same back at me. So when’s the appropriate time to do this?

Matt LeMay: 

That’s a good question. I think it’s one of those things, you know, the way I’ve seen it play out is usually when a team has something to do, somebody will say, I’m gonna take the first stab at this, I’m gonna spend one page one hour, I’m gonna bring it back on this date. So it’s, it’s not that different from the way a lot of teams operate already, you know, if there’s a deliverable to be created or a problem to solve. It’s likely that what I’ve seen most teams do by default is they will say, who will take the first stab at this, who wants to write the first draft, and what teams will often do as one person writes a draft, and then everyone else if Visser eights it via comments, and then everybody is mad at each other. And people give up and say, well, we didn’t resolve all the comments. So let’s just pretend that none of this happened. So part of the idea behind one page one hour, is that you are explicitly putting constraints around that first draft, or nobody would mistake it for something finished and polished, then the team becomes much less precious about how they work through that document together. And you’re much more likely for that, to go from being a first draft to a truly collaborative co owned document, than to fall into that cycle of a first draft, where you have your first draft, your team is trying to coerce you into making changes to that first draft, and you are resisting that. Because any changes, they suggest are an implicit threat to the quality and integrity of that draft, you create it.

Lily Smith: 

I think that’s really interesting. And it reminds me of, you know, previously, when I’ve written documents, and I’ve kind of started the document, and then people make comments, and I’m just like, yeah, resolve resolve results. And you have that wonderful power of, I’m going to ignore that one. But that one’s quite important. So I’ll respond to that. Or I agree with it, or whatever. So I like I really like the idea of changing that dynamic into it being a very collaborative document creation process, rather than like one owner, and then just people kind of inputting. So with this, then what kind of documents have you used it for? And are there some documents that it just doesn’t work for at all, like, if you’re doing a, you know, a kind of executive update that requires substantial information and more than one page and a lot of consideration on how it’s kind of presented? Like, where are the boundaries?

Matt LeMay: 

So I’m gonna, I’m gonna throw a somewhat controversial statement out there. And say that the longer and more serious you think a document needs to be, the more important it is that you start with a one page one hour approach. And I say this based on experience, if you’re doing something like a one page product spec that your team produces, or like a one page update that you do every week, or every sprint, like, yeah, one page one hour is helpful, you might already be kind of working in that way people might not have that sense of this is some precious sacred document, where I’ve seen it the most powerful is with things like working models for an entire organisation, Agile transformation plans, things where you would say, if there’s no way we could get this down to one page in one hour, this is too important. And part of the reason for that, you know, we’ve seen this, my business partners and I have done a lot of transformation, adjacent work with organisations. And what we see happening a lot is rather than actually focusing and getting to the heart of what they’re trying to accomplish consultancies and executives will make these 100 slide decks, which just have so much nonsense in that everybody agrees to them, because they don’t say anything. I went through this with an executive team I was working with where they have put together a 70 slide deck saying this is our operating model and how we’re going to transform our operating model. Five slides into this my eyes glazed over perhaps like Okay, nope, nobody is going to actually process this because it’s not intended to be processed. It’s intended to placate a group of stakeholders who have different opinions, until nobody can tell what opinion is being expressed in this thing anymore because it is too long and confusing. So I said, Do you mind if I take a stab at reading this and making a one page one hour version of it and they said, short, knock yourself out? It’s just one hour, like, what’s the worst that can happen? And I came back and presented this to them. And suddenly everyone was full of fiery opinions. We can’t say this. This is totally wrong. This is not what we meant at all. All, I said, Okay, well, this is what I got out of your 70 page deck. So now we’re actually having a conversation. Now we’re actually talking about the ideas what this communicates what we’re actually trying to accomplish. Again, if you think about a transformation document, the working software is behaviour change, it’s changes in the way people work together, the deck itself is not working software. And if I take the absolute wrong behavioural ideas and incentives away from this deck, then it is a massive failure to deliver what it’s actually attempting to deliver. So I think that the more heavy, important complex and deliverable seems, the more important it is that you start in this tightly constrained way. So that you’re actually having a conversation about what you think is important. You’re prioritising your due up doing what product managers are supposed to do.

Randy Silver: 

So I’m going to use a terrible, terrible phrase now. And I apologise in advance, because it sounds like what you’re doing is creating the minimum viable document version of something. But at the that’s not what that that one hour one, one page version of this 70 Slide transformation deck. That wasn’t the finished product. That was a conversation starter was a vehicle to get to work there. I think. How do you know when you’re actually done with the plan? Because you don’t necessarily give that a one pager abs to whole organisation? It may be a little more complex than that.

Matt LeMay: 

Yeah, that’s a great, great, great, great question. And, you know, this is where again, the the entirety of the one page one hour pledge is just that first hour, right that first hour on that first page. But what you actually do with that afterwards, gets more complicated because there are times when, for example, an organisation needs a finished, polished impressive deck for town hall or for some other, you know, Hallowed ceremony that requires that degree of finish and polish. Ideally, much like a minimum viable product, what one page one hour is doing is helping you get those, those assumptions and those misalignments out to the fore earlier. What is interesting to me, though, is with the organisations I’ve been working with for a long time, the more widespread this becomes, the more likely they are to say, Yeah, we’re done after that first page, that first hour and that first conversation, but after time, just by kind of separating these things out and looking at, okay, well, we have this one page one hour playing, there’s always a moment that happens with teams that practice this, where once they compare the amount and texture of that first collaboration with the steps to finish and polish something, almost every team I’ve gone through this with at some point says, the way we’re spending our time is pretty badly out of whack with what we’re actually trying to do. So over time, as this idea spreads, I’ve seen directionally a shift where, again, that definition of Done goes from Is this the most finished, polished, impressive thing we’ve made to well, did this accomplish what it set out to do in the first place. And most of my one page one our documents, the very first thing I put at the top of them is why? Why are we writing this? What does success look like? And if we can agree on that, then in a lot of cases, we can get there quickly. I was one product manager and coach a while ago, I had coached her to put up just like do a one page one hour version of what her team was working on just one page one hour. She did that. The next day, another product manager came to her and said, Hey, what’s your team working on? She said, Oh, this, and he looked at it and said, gives me what I need. That is the beauty of one page one hour is that what could have been, oh, I have to go do all these things. And I can’t just share something I’m finished with them because there was this common language because there was this shift. Again, the goalposts shifted from I’m trying to impress other people do, we are actively committed and trying to spend less time in these intermediate stages on documents and deliverables. People get more comfortable sharing those things in an unfinished state. Because that’s fine. Things shouldn’t be living documents, something that’s intended to be a conversation starter. If it starts the conversation, then you’re done.

Lily Smith: 

And the one page one, our website allows you to take the pledge and become one page one our worship what have you seen happen with this, like, you know, has people taken it a step further or have you know, have people kind of played around with the format at all? What feedback have you got since it’s been launched?

Matt LeMay: 

Yeah, I’ve heard from a few people who have said that one hour proved to be way too long. Those are my favourite messages I get from people and they usually do I’m in the form of sort of a gotcha, where it’s like you said one page one hour, but one hour is too long, my team is doing 15 minutes. Fantastic. That’s great. If you make the time box smaller, that’s not like a gotcha one page one hour, snappy and easy to remember. But if you find that a half hours better, 20 minutes is better, great, that is totally living up to the spirit of the law, which is much more important than the letter of the law in this case. I’ve also heard from folks who brought this into a marketing context, which is interesting to me. If you use this for marketing plans, I think whenever you’re trying to communicate between or across functions, or silos, in an organisation, it’s particularly powerful, because it’s just harder to get away with like cramming a tonne of jargon into something when you have to be mindful of like, how much time and space you’re spending. And when, you know, if you’re actually asking for feedback on something, and it’s not finished and polished, I think people are much more likely to say, I have no idea what any of these words mean, can you please define these words to me in a way that I can understand? So yeah, I think a lot of the feedback I’ve gotten, you know, it’s either like, Haha, I found a better way to do this, which is great. Or, I found another another application for this, which I hadn’t thought about. You know, I’ve also gotten word back from people that say like, it’s, it’s really hard to do this, like this is really, really, really challenging. And people are asking me like, why I’m not doing things that are more finished and more polished. You know, I think the other thing that’s tricky here is one page one hour is the beginning, right? You then have to do this process of, of working together, getting feedback collaboratively. And that takes time and practice. facilitation skills are the most underappreciated product management skills. I do not think there’s nearly enough conversation about how much of product management is facilitation. Sure enough, you know, if you don’t have those facilitation skills, and you bring something unfinished to your team, and you’re not equipped to handle that feedback, and to really manage that process, yes, it’s going to be difficult. But I like to think that that one page, one hour approach forces you to develop those skills, even if you have been disinclined to develop those skills because they are so challenging.

Lily Smith: 

I think that’s a really great point. And it’s been really great speaking to you, Matt. There. I just have one more question. Where’s that talking to you and you’re sat in your beautiful studio full of guitars and a lovely drum kit. And it’s all set up ready with overhead mics, you know, just to paint the picture even further. So is there going to be a one page one our jingle

Matt LeMay: 

vone page one more than those amounts? One? My one, page one, our version of the one page one our jingle and all feedback. Okay, and

Randy Silver: 

throw a challenge out to all of our listeners. If you’re musical. I want to hear your one hour remixed version of

Matt LeMay: 

you up on that

Randy Silver: 

if anyone’s listening this along into the interview

Matt LeMay: 

one jingle approximately one half hour

Randy Silver: 

fantastic back thank you so much. Thank you This was such

Matt LeMay: 

a such a delight. Thank you

Lily Smith: 

Wow, that’s such a dude. I can’t believe he came up with a theme to just like that there and then

Randy Silver: 

do you know Billy it’s not that hard if you’re from a musical background.

Lily Smith: 

Oh, really? Well, come on them. Randy. What should our theme tune be?

Randy Silver: 

God? Probably something like it’s literally in brandy in the evening talking about product stuff and drinking gin and bourbon. I can’t say I’m terrible at this. I’m sorry. I get

Lily Smith: 

us. Yeah, I think that wins. I’m very sorry. Made you all listen to that, folks. Please don’t give us a bad review. In fact, a good review might mean we get enough budget to get Matt to write us a real theme to that would be

Randy Silver: 

amazing. Come on and make it happen.

Lily Smith: 

The product experience is the first and the best podcast from mine the product. Our hosts are me Lily Smith. and me Randy silver. Louron Pratt is our producer and Luke Smith is our editor.

Randy Silver: 

Our theme music is from humbard baseband power. That’s P AU. Thanks to RNA killer who curates both product tank and MTP engage in Hamburg and who also plays bass in the band for letting us use their music. You can connect with your local product community via product tank, regular free meetups and over 200 cities worldwide.

Lily Smith: 

If there’s not one near you, maybe you should think about starting one. To find out more go to mind the product.com forward slash product Thank you

If a product manager is doing their job really well, they will be invisible and the results will speak for themselves. In this rebroadcasted podcast episode, product coach, consultant, and author speaks with Lily and Randy about the product management craft and how the best product managers do their job really well. Listener of The Product Experience? We need your help! Fill out this short survey to help us improve the overall experience of our community-led podcast.  Featured Links: Follow Matt on LinkedIn and Twitter | Matt's Website | One Page / One Hour | Sudden Compass | Matt's book 'Product Management in Practise'

Episode transcript

Randy Silver:  Hey, Lily. So it's Easter Week. And we're going to do a rerun this week because we don't have time to do a new episode. But I've got a question. I'm really confused about something. Can you help me with it? Yeah, I Lily Smith:  can try and help. I'm always happy to give you my advice or help. Randy Silver:  So there's something I've never understood about Easter. And it's that there's a bunny that delivers eggs. Bunnies don't lay eggs, we're just the Easter Bunny, get the damn X. Lily Smith:  Okay. I see why you're confused. But clearly, the money gets the eggs from the chocolate chickens. Randy Silver:  So why isn't the chicken doing the delivery? Why isn't there the greedy stir chip and watch the bunnies stealing all the glory? Lily Smith:  I have a theory about this. I think the bunny and the chicken, they just didn't have very much time. So they they quickly drafted. This is what we're gonna do for Easter. And then, you know, they didn't like think it all the way through maybe. And. And then they just went for it. And like everyone fell in love with it, and then it was too late to change it. So that's what they ended up with. But this is my very, very bad segue into the topic of our free one rerun, which is all about spending one hour to write one page, and why you should do that. And I'm not going to give any more away because matla May, our guest explains it way better than I can. Randy Silver:  So what you're basically saying is I'm overthinking it, I shouldn't spend nearly as much time on this whole conundrum, we should just do a quick, simple version, and take it to everyone and get the feedback. I like it. Let's go straight into hearing what Matt has to say so that I can be better about this in the future. Lily Smith:  The product experience is brought to you by mind the product. Randy Silver:  Every week, we talk to the best product people from around the globe about how we can improve our practice and build products that people love. Lily Smith:  Because it mind the product.com to catch up on past episodes and to discover an extensive library of great content and videos. Randy Silver:  Browse for free, or become a minor product member to unlock premium articles, unseen videos, AMA's roundtables, discount store conferences around the world training opportunities Lily Smith:  for mine the product also offers free product tank meetups in more than 200 cities. And there's probably one near you. Randy Silver:  Map thank you so much for coming on to the podcast this week. For anyone who doesn't know you and I can't believe there are too many people after your talk at the last MTP con, can you just give us a bit of an introduction? Who are you? How did you get into product and all? Sure. Matt LeMay:  Thank you so much for having me. My name is Matt LeMay. I'm a product coach and consultant working within a collective called Southern compass. I got into product by accident, as did so many of us. I was I was a musician and a freelance web developer back when that was kind of a thing. And found my way into product by accident I started working at Bitly, about 10 years ago, was head of consumer product that didn't lead and went on to work at Songza. So long as I got acquired by Google had a lot of thoughts and feelings about product management as a discipline, wrote some of those out in a book called product management in practice, followed that up with another book called Agile for everybody. And when people asked me what I do now I say I mostly sit in front of computers and talk to people about what they do while they're sitting in front of computers. Randy Silver:  My wife used to ask me what I did or used to describe what I did, as Randy puts on a suit goes to an office and talks to people and they hung up that suit a long time ago. Matt LeMay:  That's that yeah, it is a pretty accurate description of what what this kind of work look like in the in the before times. Randy Silver:  Okay, so you got into being a product manager and Head of Product consultant. But how do you actually define the role of a product manager because I think you might have a different take than some other people do? Yeah, so Matt LeMay:  this was one of the main pain points I experienced when I got into product management. I had read a lot about how product management was this visionary role. You were the CEO of the product. There were a lot of Steve Jobs quotes being bandied about. I was told that I would own the roadmap and I would be this important strategic decision maker. But in the day to day work of product management, I find that product management is a much more connective and facilitative role than it is a visionary role, which is to say I have never and I've consulted and coached a number of organisations. I have never worked with a company where there is a lack of ideas for what to do. The real day to day challenge of product management is not to swoop in and get everyone excited about a vision, people have visions, people have ideas, those ideas are much more likely to be executed faithfully when everybody's had an opportunity to shape them, and to help craft them. One of my favourite ideas comes from a guy named Jared Dicker who works at the Washington Post, who said that the most likely ideas succeed within an organisation are the ones where nobody can even remember whose idea that was in the first place. Because everybody's had a chance to shape it and provide their input. And I think of Product Management in practice, as that work of opening up those ideas of getting people on the same page, getting input, really doing that connective work of making sure that people are speaking the same language, and working together to close those pesky gaps and misalignments between our idea of what we're going to do and what we actually do. Lily Smith:  So do you think in the experience that you've had in working with different businesses, do you see that as one of the misconceptions of the role that, you know, the product manager ends up trying to be visionary or trying to be a kind of, I know the direction everyone can follow? Or an Are you trying to adjust that balance? Or do you see it as as something else? Matt LeMay:  Yeah, I mean, I think what it manifests the way it manifests in a lot of the conversations I've had is that product managers who are taking that more connected and facilitative approach feel like they're doing something wrong. They feel like they're not doing the real work. One of the conversations I have the most often with working product managers is when do I get to own the roadmap? When do I get to be the CEO of the product, all I'm doing is putting out fires, and talking to people all day, it feels like I'm not doing the work that I'm supposed to do. And I think the main reason I've been so vociferous and passionate about changing the conversation, is that in a lot of cases, those are the product managers who are actually doing the best work for their organisations, who are building trust on their teams who are seeking out and, and working against that misalignment. So I think the most immediate way I see it manifest is that people who are doing the right things, fear that they're doing the wrong things. There are also cases where people who are doing the wrong things feel like they're doing the right things. I feel like in most real world organisations, those people who walk in thinking that they are the Steve Jobs, visionary of the product, usually get humbled pretty quickly. When you actually have to work with a team. You know, one of the defining things about product management is that the work you're accountable for is work that you cannot do yourself, you are not actually building the product yourself. You are working with a team of people who are building the product, working to get those people communicating well and aligned on what they're delivering. So if you alienate your team, if you make everyone hate you, if you walk in and acting like you are the Saviour and the person who will solve every problem for everybody, and your team fails to deliver, you're going to find out pretty quickly that that approach might not be the best approach within the real world context of organisations Randy Silver:  step brings up a really interesting question, which is, if you as a coach or an external observer, can tell someone they're doing a good job. What did How can the product manager working day to day, get that validation get an understand if they're doing a good job if they always feel like they're kind of invisible? Matt LeMay:  Yeah, so this is a really tough one. And I do often tell product managers that there is no guarantee that if you are doing your job well you will be recognised for this is part of what I seek to do when I work with organisations is to help train leadership on understanding that if a product manager is doing their job really well, they will be invisible. Their team's work will speak for itself and it will reflect their team's work, then one of the most dangerous things a company can do is reward product managers for their individual outputs rather than for the collective outcomes delivered by their team. So I think one of the things that's tricky is that if you do the right thing for your team, there is no guarantee that that will reflect on you personally. I have worked with product managers who have found that their current organisation is not a fit because they have been doing this work invisibly and collaboratively and company leadership says What does that person even do? I you know, I see other people advocating for what their team is doing all the time, but they're not out there advocating for it and taking the lead and being the CEO of the product. That is that is a risk but it is a risk that I am doing my best to do mitigate. Lily Smith:  And we mentioned earlier about the product manager, sort of getting everyone on the same page and aligning and, you know, some of the tools that we use for that alignment are things like roadmaps and stories and prototypes or whatever. So, how much work should we be putting into these before we share them with the rest of the business Matt LeMay:  as little as possible? I mean, this is one of those things that we're again, in theory, I feel like we've all agreed to this, right? It's right there in the Agile Manifesto working software over comprehensive documentation. In theory, it is easy enough to say, look, what we're here to do is to deliver some kind of working software, something that is valuable to our users or our customers. So the less time we spend on anything, which does not deliver value to our users or our customers, the better. Again, we can all agree to that. I think, in theory, where it gets tricky is, as I mentioned, as a product manager, you are not the person who crafts by hand, that proofing software, which means that there is this intrinsic, perverse incentive in product management, which I've been spending a lot of time thinking about, where for product managers, the only things we produce ourselves is comprehensive documentation. If we are left to our own devices, if we prioritise the things that we can do ourselves, we are going to spend a lot of time in documents in roadmaps in things that do not deliver a lot of value to our customers. And I think one thing that gets lost in this, you know, one, one thing I often say to people who I'm coaching is that work begets work, which is to say, the time and energy you spend on those deliverables, creates work for other people, the people on your team need to read and process and synthesise those deliverables, ideally, towards some finished working software type deliverable, which does deliver value to our users or our customers. So I think there's a tension at the heart of product management, where the only thing we can do that we can do ourselves is often not the right thing for us to do. And that's a really tough thing to deal with day in and day Randy Silver:  out. If I deliver things to my team, to my boss, that aren't complete if I do as little work as possible, and the idea is to get them to work with me on it. How do I avoid the impression that I'm workshop that I'm just asking them to do the to do my work? Matt LeMay:  Right, but you show up, you show up to a meeting with leadership? And you say, we know that we would like to build something? What how might we do it? Yeah, that's a great question. There are two things I think about in relation to this. Number one, there is a marked difference between going in with a little bit of structured thought as a conversation starter, and going in with nothing. So going before leadership and saying, I have no idea what we're doing you decide for me is yes, unlikely to be well received, going in and saying, We've spent a little time we've identified a few things we could do. But we've also identified some questions we have. And we could really use your help answering these questions to make sure that we don't have any assumptions that might come back to bite us later on, is generally something I've seen be more well received. The other dimension of this, which kind of gets into my my passion project of the moment, is that if you just go to somebody and say, Hey, I spent a little bit of time on this thing, what do you think they might think that you are not taking them seriously, or that you are not taking the task at hand seriously. But there's also this interesting little hack. And I give massive credit to my business partner, Tricia Huang for helping me understand these kinds of rhetorical or cognitive hacks. If you go in and say we try, we're trying something called one page one hour, it's a new approach to documents and deliverables that's been signed on to by people from companies like Amazon, Disney and Walmart. So we spent no more than one page one hour on this initial draft so that we could get your valuable feedback. What do you think about this, it is much more likely to be well received. In my book, product management and practice. There's a chapter called The worst thing about best practices, which talks about how it's very dangerous to take an abstract best practice and just port it thoughtlessly from one organisation to another. But there's a sub chapter in that chapter called The best thing about best practices, which says that the best thing about best practices is that if something is named, if it's something we can all buy into and discuss, especially if it has that halo of adoption for I'm a well respected technology company, we can actually get people to try something that might be challenging or counterintuitive. Otherwise, you know, I think a lot about things like OKRs, in that context, that if you were to explain to somebody, let's write out our goals in a list of qualitative things, and then some qualitative things that we might think measure up to those qualitative things. People are like, What are you talking about? If you say, much like the brilliant geniuses at Google, I suggest we adopt the well trodden best practice objectives and key results. And you're much more likely to get people saying, yes, objectives and key results, that is a very serious, thoughtful, important thing that we do much like those geniuses at Google. So my one page one hour project, which I've been spending some time on recently haven't been advocating for again, somewhat relentlessly, is largely an attempt to take this idea of making your deliverables clearly clearly bounded and incomplete by design, and putting a little bit of pzazz around it, so that it's easier for people to embrace and accept the concept that it might be if we just showed up with something that looked half baked. Lily Smith:  And where did the inspiration for this come from? Was it a light bulb moment of, oh, I just need to spend one hour writing one page? Or is it something that you've kind of always just intuitively done or kind of developed over the year? Matt LeMay:  That's a great question. It's, it's funny, because it is not intuitive to me at all. I am that nightmare person who will write a 30 page email, who if you say, oh, take a quick draft of this, I will come back with 100 meticulously formatted pages. What really was the kind of breaking point for me? You know, in my coaching work, I started advising teams to not spend too much time making finished and polished decks and deliverables. For the very reasons we discussed, that for our product managers in particular, these aren't necessarily things that are delivering customer value, something is too finished and too polished, you might actually kill collaboration, be inadvertently sending a message to your colleagues that you don't want them to change this thing you've already worked so hard on. And I was having this conversation with my business partners. And they were kind of smirking back at me. And I said, What, why? Why this smirk? And they said, Yeah, you tell our clients that, but every time we're designing a workshop, anytime we're doing work together, you always show up with like 10, super dense pages of everything you want to do. And honestly, you're not great at taking feedback when we give you feedback on those 10 pages, especially if that feedback in any way suggests that you might need to fundamentally re approach the purpose, or overall kind of gist of this document. After this moment of talking to my business partners. I kind of went through a fit of well earned self recrimination. I said to myself, Okay, how do I just stop myself from doing this? Like, how do I, because like a lot of product managers, I'm a good negotiator, I can negotiate myself out of any squishy constraint. So I just wrote up a document that says, I pledge to spend no more than one page in one hour on anything before I share it with my colleagues, I printed it out, I slapped it on the back of my laptop computer, I shared it with my business partner, and I said, hold me accountable to this. If I show up with something that is more than the product of one page and one hour, then, like, get on my case about it, because it's not. And sure enough, since then, there have been times when I have said, Oh, we're probably aligned on this, I'm just going to put together this six page work plan. I'm just going to put together this more finished and polished document. I have regretted it every single time. There has never been a time I have violated my one page one hour pledge and not regretted it immediately and immensely. Randy Silver:  Is that just because they make fun of you to no end or Matt LeMay:  no, I'm used to being made to know. I mean, to give you an example, we you know, we were publishing some content through a partnership a while ago. And I said, You know what, this is stuff we've done forever. I know exactly what we're trying to accomplish with this. I'm just going to finish up the content, share it with my business partner, and then, you know, we'll send it along. So I spent probably two days and finished polished everything, shared it and they said, Yeah, I don't I don't think this is exactly getting out what the purpose, or the intent of this partnership was. And I just kind of kind of you can't see me right now but I've just class class to the arms have my chair. Because it was really tough. I had spent all this time and energy on something. And I'm a human person, I want recognition, I want acknowledgement, I want to be told that I did a good job. And part of what I found really powerful about one page one hour, is that it kind of short circuits that mechanism a little bit. It changes the way I seek approval and validation, because it explicitly shifts the goalposts, which are often implicitly set at make something impressive, make something that people like on their first glance, you know, I think a lot of us who were overachievers in school have that dream of, we present a first draft and we hear back no notes. But in the real world of collaboration, especially collaboration towards product development, no notes or looks fine, is the most dangerous thing you can possibly hear. Because it means there is a high likelihood that whatever you said, is not being engaged with deeply, and that there might be assumptions baked into that which will prove disastrous for what you're actually trying to accomplish. Randy Silver:  If 2022 is the year you're looking to advance your career, expand your network, get inspired, and bring the best products to market, then join mind the product for their next conference this May Lily Smith:  at MTP con, San Francisco plus Americas, you'll soak up invaluable insights from an epic lineup of the best in product, covering a range of topics that will challenge and inspire you to step up as a product manager, you've got Randy Silver:  the option to go fully digital for both days, or get the best of both worlds with a hybrid ticket. Digital on day one and in person at the SF jazz in San Francisco on day two. I was at the most recent edition of this event in London last year, and it was just awesome. Lily Smith:  Get tickets now at mine the product.com. I'm just I'm laughing because when we drafted the questions for this interview, I didn't have any criticisms. But I did have one comment. I was engaged. I was engaged in the question. Randy Silver:  Promise really? I didn't spend more than one hour on it. Lily Smith:  Yeah. So so with the one page one hour then is it kind of exclusive as then? Is it either one page or one hour? Or is it both one page and one hour? Matt LeMay:  That's a great question. And it is both it is one page at one hour. Which is to say if you get to one page, don't spend more than an hour on it. If you run out of time in an hour, and you've only written three sentences, you're done. Part of the reason that I landed on one page one hour, is that I've found that if I only have a time based constraint, I will often try to over deliver within that time based constraint. And if I only have a format based constraint, I will also try to over deliver against that format based constraint. So if you tell me to write a one pager, I will spend a week trying to write the perfect one pager, if you give me just one hour, I will dump out 10 pages of a fairly convincing text in one hour. So the idea behind one page one hour is that you're combining those constraints. It's a constraint of format and a constraint of time to again stop you from using a lack of constraint in one dimension to negotiate yourself out of the intent of another type of constraint. Randy Silver:  That's great. But does it mean that I have to share it at the end of the hours? You know, so if I write three sentences, I realise, you know, maybe there's nothing here yet. Or maybe I just need to stew on this and let this go in the back of my mind a bit more until there's actually something worth sharing. And, you know, am I fooling myself kind of thing? Is that, is that valid? Matt LeMay:  You absolutely do share it at the end. And here's why you if you could only come up with three sentences in an hour, there is something you're missing. And it is very unlikely that you are going to solve that riddle on your own. So this has happened to me where I sit down to write one page one hour, I write a sentence, I leave it, I write a sentence, I delete it. And I realised that there's some context I don't have or something I'm missing. And part of the value of this approach is that then I can go to my team and say, I couldn't get unblocked on this. I'm totally stuck. What am I missing? What is the context I don't have here. Is there some fundamental thing I'm wrong about? You're always better off if you get stuck, asking for the help and input of your colleagues to get unstuck, then you are making the cascade of exponential assumptions that you generally need to make in order to get yourself unstuck on your own. Randy Silver:  Okay, but when do I even start with this? I mean, if we just go with this, there's eight hours today, I could do eight of these a day, share them with all my colleagues that could be doing the same back at me. So when's the appropriate time to do this? Matt LeMay:  That's a good question. I think it's one of those things, you know, the way I've seen it play out is usually when a team has something to do, somebody will say, I'm gonna take the first stab at this, I'm gonna spend one page one hour, I'm gonna bring it back on this date. So it's, it's not that different from the way a lot of teams operate already, you know, if there's a deliverable to be created or a problem to solve. It's likely that what I've seen most teams do by default is they will say, who will take the first stab at this, who wants to write the first draft, and what teams will often do as one person writes a draft, and then everyone else if Visser eights it via comments, and then everybody is mad at each other. And people give up and say, well, we didn't resolve all the comments. So let's just pretend that none of this happened. So part of the idea behind one page one hour, is that you are explicitly putting constraints around that first draft, or nobody would mistake it for something finished and polished, then the team becomes much less precious about how they work through that document together. And you're much more likely for that, to go from being a first draft to a truly collaborative co owned document, than to fall into that cycle of a first draft, where you have your first draft, your team is trying to coerce you into making changes to that first draft, and you are resisting that. Because any changes, they suggest are an implicit threat to the quality and integrity of that draft, you create it. Lily Smith:  I think that's really interesting. And it reminds me of, you know, previously, when I've written documents, and I've kind of started the document, and then people make comments, and I'm just like, yeah, resolve resolve results. And you have that wonderful power of, I'm going to ignore that one. But that one's quite important. So I'll respond to that. Or I agree with it, or whatever. So I like I really like the idea of changing that dynamic into it being a very collaborative document creation process, rather than like one owner, and then just people kind of inputting. So with this, then what kind of documents have you used it for? And are there some documents that it just doesn't work for at all, like, if you're doing a, you know, a kind of executive update that requires substantial information and more than one page and a lot of consideration on how it's kind of presented? Like, where are the boundaries? Matt LeMay:  So I'm gonna, I'm gonna throw a somewhat controversial statement out there. And say that the longer and more serious you think a document needs to be, the more important it is that you start with a one page one hour approach. And I say this based on experience, if you're doing something like a one page product spec that your team produces, or like a one page update that you do every week, or every sprint, like, yeah, one page one hour is helpful, you might already be kind of working in that way people might not have that sense of this is some precious sacred document, where I've seen it the most powerful is with things like working models for an entire organisation, Agile transformation plans, things where you would say, if there's no way we could get this down to one page in one hour, this is too important. And part of the reason for that, you know, we've seen this, my business partners and I have done a lot of transformation, adjacent work with organisations. And what we see happening a lot is rather than actually focusing and getting to the heart of what they're trying to accomplish consultancies and executives will make these 100 slide decks, which just have so much nonsense in that everybody agrees to them, because they don't say anything. I went through this with an executive team I was working with where they have put together a 70 slide deck saying this is our operating model and how we're going to transform our operating model. Five slides into this my eyes glazed over perhaps like Okay, nope, nobody is going to actually process this because it's not intended to be processed. It's intended to placate a group of stakeholders who have different opinions, until nobody can tell what opinion is being expressed in this thing anymore because it is too long and confusing. So I said, Do you mind if I take a stab at reading this and making a one page one hour version of it and they said, short, knock yourself out? It's just one hour, like, what's the worst that can happen? And I came back and presented this to them. And suddenly everyone was full of fiery opinions. We can't say this. This is totally wrong. This is not what we meant at all. All, I said, Okay, well, this is what I got out of your 70 page deck. So now we're actually having a conversation. Now we're actually talking about the ideas what this communicates what we're actually trying to accomplish. Again, if you think about a transformation document, the working software is behaviour change, it's changes in the way people work together, the deck itself is not working software. And if I take the absolute wrong behavioural ideas and incentives away from this deck, then it is a massive failure to deliver what it's actually attempting to deliver. So I think that the more heavy, important complex and deliverable seems, the more important it is that you start in this tightly constrained way. So that you're actually having a conversation about what you think is important. You're prioritising your due up doing what product managers are supposed to do. Randy Silver:  So I'm going to use a terrible, terrible phrase now. And I apologise in advance, because it sounds like what you're doing is creating the minimum viable document version of something. But at the that's not what that that one hour one, one page version of this 70 Slide transformation deck. That wasn't the finished product. That was a conversation starter was a vehicle to get to work there. I think. How do you know when you're actually done with the plan? Because you don't necessarily give that a one pager abs to whole organisation? It may be a little more complex than that. Matt LeMay:  Yeah, that's a great, great, great, great question. And, you know, this is where again, the the entirety of the one page one hour pledge is just that first hour, right that first hour on that first page. But what you actually do with that afterwards, gets more complicated because there are times when, for example, an organisation needs a finished, polished impressive deck for town hall or for some other, you know, Hallowed ceremony that requires that degree of finish and polish. Ideally, much like a minimum viable product, what one page one hour is doing is helping you get those, those assumptions and those misalignments out to the fore earlier. What is interesting to me, though, is with the organisations I've been working with for a long time, the more widespread this becomes, the more likely they are to say, Yeah, we're done after that first page, that first hour and that first conversation, but after time, just by kind of separating these things out and looking at, okay, well, we have this one page one hour playing, there's always a moment that happens with teams that practice this, where once they compare the amount and texture of that first collaboration with the steps to finish and polish something, almost every team I've gone through this with at some point says, the way we're spending our time is pretty badly out of whack with what we're actually trying to do. So over time, as this idea spreads, I've seen directionally a shift where, again, that definition of Done goes from Is this the most finished, polished, impressive thing we've made to well, did this accomplish what it set out to do in the first place. And most of my one page one our documents, the very first thing I put at the top of them is why? Why are we writing this? What does success look like? And if we can agree on that, then in a lot of cases, we can get there quickly. I was one product manager and coach a while ago, I had coached her to put up just like do a one page one hour version of what her team was working on just one page one hour. She did that. The next day, another product manager came to her and said, Hey, what's your team working on? She said, Oh, this, and he looked at it and said, gives me what I need. That is the beauty of one page one hour is that what could have been, oh, I have to go do all these things. And I can't just share something I'm finished with them because there was this common language because there was this shift. Again, the goalposts shifted from I'm trying to impress other people do, we are actively committed and trying to spend less time in these intermediate stages on documents and deliverables. People get more comfortable sharing those things in an unfinished state. Because that's fine. Things shouldn't be living documents, something that's intended to be a conversation starter. If it starts the conversation, then you're done. Lily Smith:  And the one page one, our website allows you to take the pledge and become one page one our worship what have you seen happen with this, like, you know, has people taken it a step further or have you know, have people kind of played around with the format at all? What feedback have you got since it's been launched? Matt LeMay:  Yeah, I've heard from a few people who have said that one hour proved to be way too long. Those are my favourite messages I get from people and they usually do I'm in the form of sort of a gotcha, where it's like you said one page one hour, but one hour is too long, my team is doing 15 minutes. Fantastic. That's great. If you make the time box smaller, that's not like a gotcha one page one hour, snappy and easy to remember. But if you find that a half hours better, 20 minutes is better, great, that is totally living up to the spirit of the law, which is much more important than the letter of the law in this case. I've also heard from folks who brought this into a marketing context, which is interesting to me. If you use this for marketing plans, I think whenever you're trying to communicate between or across functions, or silos, in an organisation, it's particularly powerful, because it's just harder to get away with like cramming a tonne of jargon into something when you have to be mindful of like, how much time and space you're spending. And when, you know, if you're actually asking for feedback on something, and it's not finished and polished, I think people are much more likely to say, I have no idea what any of these words mean, can you please define these words to me in a way that I can understand? So yeah, I think a lot of the feedback I've gotten, you know, it's either like, Haha, I found a better way to do this, which is great. Or, I found another another application for this, which I hadn't thought about. You know, I've also gotten word back from people that say like, it's, it's really hard to do this, like this is really, really, really challenging. And people are asking me like, why I'm not doing things that are more finished and more polished. You know, I think the other thing that's tricky here is one page one hour is the beginning, right? You then have to do this process of, of working together, getting feedback collaboratively. And that takes time and practice. facilitation skills are the most underappreciated product management skills. I do not think there's nearly enough conversation about how much of product management is facilitation. Sure enough, you know, if you don't have those facilitation skills, and you bring something unfinished to your team, and you're not equipped to handle that feedback, and to really manage that process, yes, it's going to be difficult. But I like to think that that one page, one hour approach forces you to develop those skills, even if you have been disinclined to develop those skills because they are so challenging. Lily Smith:  I think that's a really great point. And it's been really great speaking to you, Matt. There. I just have one more question. Where's that talking to you and you're sat in your beautiful studio full of guitars and a lovely drum kit. And it's all set up ready with overhead mics, you know, just to paint the picture even further. So is there going to be a one page one our jingle Matt LeMay:  vone page one more than those amounts? One? My one, page one, our version of the one page one our jingle and all feedback. Okay, and Randy Silver:  throw a challenge out to all of our listeners. If you're musical. I want to hear your one hour remixed version of Matt LeMay:  you up on that Randy Silver:  if anyone's listening this along into the interview Matt LeMay:  one jingle approximately one half hour Randy Silver:  fantastic back thank you so much. Thank you This was such Matt LeMay:  a such a delight. Thank you Lily Smith:  Wow, that's such a dude. I can't believe he came up with a theme to just like that there and then Randy Silver:  do you know Billy it's not that hard if you're from a musical background. Lily Smith:  Oh, really? Well, come on them. Randy. What should our theme tune be? Randy Silver:  God? Probably something like it's literally in brandy in the evening talking about product stuff and drinking gin and bourbon. I can't say I'm terrible at this. I'm sorry. I get Lily Smith:  us. Yeah, I think that wins. I'm very sorry. Made you all listen to that, folks. Please don't give us a bad review. In fact, a good review might mean we get enough budget to get Matt to write us a real theme to that would be Randy Silver:  amazing. Come on and make it happen. Lily Smith:  The product experience is the first and the best podcast from mine the product. Our hosts are me Lily Smith. and me Randy silver. Louron Pratt is our producer and Luke Smith is our editor. Randy Silver:  Our theme music is from humbard baseband power. That's P AU. Thanks to RNA killer who curates both product tank and MTP engage in Hamburg and who also plays bass in the band for letting us use their music. You can connect with your local product community via product tank, regular free meetups and over 200 cities worldwide. Lily Smith:  If there's not one near you, maybe you should think about starting one. To find out more go to mind the product.com forward slash product Thank you