Kicking off #mtpcon London 2019, Martin Eriksson reflects on how much the product community has grown and why we build better products together. Here’s a quick recap of his opening speech.
ProductTank started nearly 10 years ago because product can be a little bit lonely. Martin wanted to meet other people to work out how to navigate this challenging job, and so it began – with 25 people in the back room of a bar in London.
Since then, the community has grown and grown, and it’s incredible just how many product people there are today.
There are now 185 regular ProductTank meet-ups across the world, and it’s a community made possible by the dedication of our many ProductTank organisers. Mind the Product now hosts five conferences a year and #mtpcon London 2019 plays host to nearly 1,800 product people from 53 countries.
As a result, product is a lot less lonely than it used to be. However, the challenges we face haven’t changed. Whether you’re working on a consumer app in Singapore, a Challenger bank in London, or SaaS startup in San Francisco, the challenges are the same and we can only tackle these challenges by coming together as a community.
Are we Building the Right Thing?
In order to discover products that are feasible, useful, and valuable, we need to combine design, business, and technology disciplines.
However, in trying to build excellent products, we’ve become obsessed with frameworks like Kanban, Agile and Lean, which largely come from manufacturing industries. They’re great if you know what you want to build, and want to build it as cheaply and quickly as possible. They don’t help if you haven’t worked out what to build.
Building the right thing is about getting to know and understand your customer. It’s also understanding the context of a product, the market opportunity, and the wider impact of the product decisions you make. We need to forget about moving fast and breaking things and make sure that our products help people, society and the most vulnerable among us.
It’s up to us to Make Sure we are
This responsibility can be daunting – but it means that we get to shape the future. And this is why our roles as product people are so difficult – because we have all this responsibility but very little authority.
But that’s why we’re here – to work out how to do build better things together.