15
Dec 15

Interview With Hubert Palan, CEO of ProductBoard, Part 2 – Podcast Season 2, Episode 2

This second part of our interview with Hubert Palan is the third episode of our new podcast season of All The Responsibility, None Of The Authority, crossposted from alltheresponsibility.com. I will be crossposting the new episodes from the new site to this feed as they are published (I’m a little behind now but will catch up!).

This is part two of our interview with Hubert Palan, found and CEO of ProductBoard, and long time product management leader and executive.

Part 1 of the interview is here.

Three things you can start doing today

As always, we like to give you actionable takeaways from our podcast episodes. The three ideas below come directly from our interview with Hubert.

  1. Create a central repository, not just about the features you’re building, but about the market inputs you gather to help you find and validate the business problems you are solving. You can use a tool like Hubert’s ProductBoard, or you can try to roll your own (Nils had a podcast about this last year). This information comes from Support, Design, Product, Sales, Marketing, and your own conversations with customers and prospects. A central store of this input, and the relationships between this information and the product decisions it supports, helps mitigate some of the cognitive biases Hubert mentioned. And by gathering all this information together, you are better able to detect market signals in all the noise, and make better holistic decisions about the product.
  2. As Hubert pointed out many times in the interview, Context is King. Make sure your team, and your whole organization, knows not just what features you’re delivering, but what problems those features solve, and for whom. This not only simplifies many of the issues of prioritization, it also serves as a basis for communicating across segments of your organization.
  3. Clarity and communication are the heart of the Product Leader’s role. The better we get at clearly communicating about prioritization, context, and decisions made in the product team across the organization, the better the organization can execute on creating and selling solutions to customers.

Thanks to Hubert!

Rob and I want to reiterate our thanks to Hubert for participating in our new podcast as our first interview! If you want to learn more about ProductBoard, you can visit productboard.com. You can follow Hubert on Twitter at @hpalan, and ProductBoard tweets at @productboard.

As always, we’d love to ask two small favors from you:

  • First, please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can access the podcast directly on this feed.
  • Second, please rate the podcast on iTunes or “recommend” it on your podcast app.

Finally, we really appreciate getting your opinion, so we’d love to hear from you in the comments, or via Twitter (@atrnota) and our Medium publication, All The Responsibility.


15
Dec 15

Interview With Hubert Palan, CEO of ProductBoard – Podcast Season 2, Episode 2

Here is the second episode of our new podcast season of All The Responsibility, None Of The Authority, crossposted from alltheresponsibility.com. I will be crossposting the new episodes from the new site to this feed as they are published (I’m a little behind now but will catch up!).

Introducing Hubert Palan

Nils first met Hubert Palan in November 2014 at the Product Management Summit in San Francisco. Nils was presenting some ideas on a “roll your own product management system of record,” while Hubert was there to talk about the product he was building – a real product management system of record. This product, ProductBoard, is now available, and it’s definitely worth checking out. Hubert is a serial entrepreneur, with innovative and incisive ideas about how product management as a discipline can be improved.

In this wide-ranging interview, we discuss Hubert’s background, how he moved into product management, his career at Good Data, where he was the VP of Product, and his decision to leave Good and start ProductBoard.

This post is Part 1 of our interview, Part 2 is here.

Three things you can do today

As always, we like to give you actionable takeaways from our podcast episodes. The three ideas below come directly from the first part of our interview with Hubert.

  1. Get in the problem space, not the solution space. Immerse yourself and your team in the problem that needs to be solved. Then, don’t devote so much of your time to the design and the solution – that’s a job for designers and engineers. Your advice and review is valuable, but your focus should be articulating the problem, then giving the rest of your team space to solve it.
  2. Turn your company or tribal knowledge into a system. It’s valuable even before it’s perfect. Think about team knowledge, the captured information you have, as something that deserves a system of record. Hubert described how difficult it is to simply use your memory for this, especially when it’s more than just you on the team. Of course, you can take a look at Product Board, but as Hubert pointed out: the system matters less than simply getting something in place.
  3. Finding the problem is orders of magnitude more important than how efficiently you can create a solution. Although it’s hard and not very well-defined, the process and results of focusing on the problem first will save time and frustration for many cycles to come, and often result in better product performance. So spend time distilling the problem from every angle, and share that with the entire product team. It will act as a beacon of light to follow.

Thanks to Hubert!

Rob and I want to reiterate our thanks to Hubert for participating in our new podcast as our first interview! If you want to learn more about ProductBoard, you can visit productboard.com. You can follow Hubert on Twitter at @hpalan, and ProductBoard tweets at @productboard.

As always, we’d love to ask two small favors from you:

  • First, please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can find the podcast directly on this feed.
  • Second, please rate the podcast on iTunes or “recommend” it on your podcast app.

Finally, we really appreciate getting your opinion, so we’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or via Twitter (@atrnota) and our Medium publication, All The Responsibility.


11
Dec 15

All The Responsibility None Of The Authority Podcast – Season 2 Is Here!

2015-10-06-14.09.42

My ATR-2100 Mic and Mac laptop – where the magic happens!

It’s been just over a year since I started All The Responsibility, None Of The Authority, the podcast for product managers, product marketers, innovators, and entrepreneurs who want to be more effective and more successful creating and selling products.

I published a total of eight podcast episodes – not terrible, considering that most podcasts end on or before their seventh episode. So I beat the point spread!

And those were pretty meaty episodes – about product management systems of record, about the business value of product management, about a new way to think about product “requirements.” But for the second year of the podcast we’ll be a little more ambitious and get a lot more content out than the first year. Of course, still with the meatiness, the immediate applicability, and the powerful new ideas. So we’ve relaunched the podcast for Season 2. I say “we” because I’m joined by a new host! Rob McGrorty, product guy at Webgility in San Francisco, and an all around cool dude.

The other big change is a new website to host the podcast, along with a new podcast feed. The first three episodes are now up on our new site, http://alltheresponsibility.com. You’re reading this because I will crosspost new episodes to this site – and this feed which you’re listening to – as well. If you’re an existing subscriber you don’t need to do anything to get the new season with me and Rob. So you can keep your subscription here, or if you like, get the new feed from alltheresponsibility.com.

As always, we have our “three things you can start doing today to put these ideas into practice.” We want to give you concrete actions you can take from each of our episodes, which is a great savings in your cognitive capacity. (We’ll be doing a podcast on cognitive capacity and its implications for product managers later in the season.)

Let’s get on with the new season! This is the short introductory episode, introducing Rob. And there are two more episodes following that, a very interesting two-part interview with someone I think is solving a very big problem for us product managers, as you’ll hear.

And since today’s episode is “introduce the new season,” and this podcast help you become a better, more effective product person, the three things are focused on making sure you get every episode, and that every episode is as full of actionable content as possible.

  1. Sign up for our mailing list on http://alltheresponsibility.com. You can also easily subscribe to the podcast at alltheresponsibility.com/itunes, which definitely will give you insights on how to be a better product manager
  2. Write us a note in the comments, a tweet (@atrnota), an email, or leave us a voice message on the website with your ideas for what we should cover and whose insights you want to hear (that is, people we can interview). Let us know, good or bad, what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong.
  3. Give us a rating on iTunes, tweet about the podcast, or otherwise share your thoughts and – hopefully – recommendation on this podcast with your tribe. The better everyone gets as product managers, the better off we all are.

19
Jun 15

What’s the Business Value of PM? Podcast Episode 7

In this podcast I go into a bit more detail about a topic I covered a few weeks ago in The Astonishing Financial Benefits of Improving PM Effectiveness, namely, the “business value” of product management. (By the way, I was happy to see this concept mentioned in Janna Bastow’s post on ProdPad this week – How Much is a Product Manager Worth? Setting Product Management KPIs.)

There’s a very big number involved – $41,000 per day. Or $10 million per year. In the podcast I talk about the implications of that number. If you can improve your performance against this number, the results go almost straight to the bottom line. ([tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#prodmgmt”]When u improve your performance as a #prodmgr the results go straight to the bottom line -[/tweetthis])

And I set out some guidance on how to use the number to assess your product management organization and analyze your performance. I describe an action plan to hit that giant number, some of the key steps of which are:

  1. Find big market problems by doing constant discovery.
  2. Dozens or hundreds of conversations yield a handful of insights.
  3. You need a “market problem” pipeline – just like the sales pipeline.

(By the way, you’re not going to have time to write a lot of user stories.)

Once you’ve found and validated important market problems to solve, and selected the best one or few to focus on, then you need to guide the creation of excellent solutions to those problems. And you need to prepare sales and marketing to go out and find and close the people who have those problems.

Summary

  • Product managers have a number.
  • You can use the number for assessment, analysis, and guidance.
  • Becoming more effective goes straight to the bottom line.
  • Being more effective is mostly about the problem, not the solution.
  • Better problem leads to more revenue.

A PM’s stock in trade is important market problems that people will pay to solve. If that’s not what we’re working on, we’re probably not going to hit that big number.

Solves-a-Market-Problem-vs-Doesn’tAnd to whet your appetite for some upcoming topics, here’s a chart I created recently. Not all market problems are the same. The ones you come up with on your own are worth, generally, a lot less than the ones you discover. But discovering real big market problems requires a lot of listening for very “weak signals” – that will be a topic for an upcoming podcast.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe via iTunes (search for “responsibility authority” to find the listing) or your favorite subscription method via this feed. And please consider rating and reviewing the podcast on iTunes. The feedback is very helpful for me.


24
Nov 14

Why “CEO of the Product” Is So Last Year – Podcast Episode #3

How do you describe product management? Do you find yourself saying “I’m the CEO of the product?” Do you think anyone understands what you mean when you say that?

This week’s podcast talks about a better way to answer that question, one that puts the fundamental job of product management – solving problems for people who will pay for the solutions – front and center.

Missing from the podcast is this image (for obvious reasons):

podcast-image-orig

The Product Management Framework

At the end of the podcast I mention three things you can do immediately to start putting this information to use:

  1. Clearly articulate the problem your product is solving for your customer, and write that down so it becomes a corporate asset
  2. Make sure you validate that this really is a problem that customers in the market will pay for a solution for
  3. Start explaining how your product is better than its competitors at solving that problem – which is why customers should buy yours rather than theirs

I hope this framework will be helpful for you in thinking about what you do as a product manager. Let me know in the comments if you have additional thoughts or questions. You can subscribe the podcast via this feed, or via iTunes.


17
Nov 14

All The Responsibility, None Of The Authority Podcast – A Roll-Your-Own Product Management System of Record

I’ve posted the latest episode from the All The Responsibility, None Of The Authority podcast on how to be an effective product manager. The topic for this episode is something I’ve written about a few times – the product management system of record.

We do a lot of stuff in the course of being product managers, but most of our output – customer interview notes, value propositions, sales support materials – has no defined place to live. This means it’s difficult to collaborate around the information, and it’s difficult to get evergreen value out of it. In this episode I outline a system of record for all this product management output that your product management organization can create out of existing tools, like a wiki. (At least until someone builds a commercial system for us.)

Episode Topics

  • Why we need a system of record
  • What to put in it
  • How doing a little extra manual work will pay off in making us much more effective
  • How to start creating a system of record for customer interactions using a wiki
  • Potential risks and disadvantages of my proposed wiki-based, “baling wire and chewing gum” system of record

Please let me know what you think in the comments on this post.

Show Notes

  • There are no special notes or links for this episode, but when I get videos and further instructions up, I’ll update this article to link to them.

The feed for the podcast is http://nilsdavis.com/feed/podcast. It should be available on iTunes in a few days, and I will update this article when that happens.

I hope you enjoy this episode! Please let me know what you think, and if you’d like me to cover any particular topics. Feedback is really motivating!


10
Nov 14

“All The Responsibility, None of The Authority” – A New Podcast

I’d like to welcome you to the first episode of my new podcast – “All The Responsibility, None of The Authority!”

I been a product manager for a long time, and for six years I ran a product for product managers. My big goal in life is to help product managers make better products, both because I love it, and because I benefit when there are better products out there.

I’ll be covering a lot of topics over the course of this podcast but some highlights include:

  • The business value of product management
  • What makes product management different from other business processes
  • The prospects for automating product management effectively
  • And a truly meaningful framework for both understanding product management and for doing product management

I invite you along on this journey to explore this profession, the best job if you’re like me, and most important business activity no matter who you are.

Show Notes

Some of the topics I mention in the podcast are also covered in these essays from the site:

Feed

The feed for the podcast is http://pmhardcore.com/feed/podcast/, and it will be available from iTunes in a few days. I’ll update this post with the iTunes information when I get it from Apple.

I hope you enjoy the podcast! Please let me know what you think, and if you’d like me to cover any particular topics. Feedback is really motivating!