June 20th event: Art of Decision Making for Product Managers

The Art of Decision Making for Product Managers

Nothing happens without a decision being made but sometimes (often!) getting to a decision is hard work.   We’ll explore the art of decision making for product managers  – both strategic and daily tactical decisions.   Learn how to improve your influence through decisions,  including tools to assist with better decision making.    Check out this article to get you thinking.

Join us on Thursday June 20th at the Mail Exchange Hotel at the corner of Bourke & Spencer.  Full RSVP info on eventbrite.

Bio: Steve Bauer is a Product Guy.  He is passionate about product management; the vision, the product and the team that brings it to life.  He is currently the Product Development Manager for Mobile at Telstra Wholesale, and has a background in mobile; including with Nokia, Symbian and Samsung.


Guest Post: Product Camp Sydney

In our first guest post,  Nicolas Strybosch talks about his experience at Product Camp Sydney earlier this month. With Product Camp Melbourne set for July 20th, it’s a bit of a preview of how camp works & what you’ll be missing out on if we don’t see you on the 20th.  

I hit Sydney ProductCamp with the sleep-deprived intensity and hunger that only a 7am weekend flight induces. Thankfully croissants and coffee were supplied, and I had the chance to cruise around the Atlassian offices and strike up a few conversations before the morning keynote.

The first keynote compared startups to the enterprise from a player who’s been in both worlds. Paul Gray (@paulalexgray) kicked off with a tongue-in-cheek ripping apart of a formal product management framework and rephrasing it into the startup world, before going into a list of lessons that startups can learn from enterprise and vice-versa. The entire list is actually a great guide to product management in general – worth framing for the mantle piece.

Next up: the unconference part.

30-second pitches from people interested in presenting or facilitating discussions. While this was impromptu, everyone was in fine form and voting was tough. The organisers split the talks into 3 streams (to facilitate a manageable group size rather than theme), and I took a punt on Aaron from Lexer and his talk on “Employing Social Data for Passive Insights“. The punt paid off, as Aaron was engaging and his examples – ranging from PayTV to Yoghurt – were used to good effect in explaining how social data is just waiting to be trawled for insights. You just need the tools to mine it and know how to analyse it (catch!). Great for consumer facing products, though I’m going to try using social to build out personas for a B2B product.

After lunch Matthew Hodgson had the whole room to explain the “New New Product Development Game“. If you’re familiar with lean and agile already, it was a good history lesson that starts pre-internet in the manufacturing industry. If you’re not so familiar and are sick of the hype-without-substance, then this was the evidence based case for adopting it.

The last few talks I attended focussed on the Build-Measure-Learn directive: David Neale explaining Cohort Analysis and Shaun Clowes on Growth Hacking.

David’s simple charts and images illustrated his points well, highlighting a few metrics which should be measured on every product. If you’re interested in more, check out the excellent Lean Analytics book and start measuring. Shaun (who won the best speaker prize) is an energised presenter who clearly loves his day job. As a growth hacker, he’s charged with optimising…well, everything. Experimentation is the name of the game, and if you’re getting success from 5% of all your experiments, then you’re doing well.

Between sessions I met a great variety of friendly people, all passionate about product management and marketing. Unfortunately I missed some great sessions, though the one at the bar afterwards did round out a great day.

More slides from Product Camp Sydney can be found on their slideshare.

Find out more about Product Camp Melbourne, RSVP or suggest a topic.


Overview of our topic: Reflection & learnings of a newbie product manager – May 30th

Our presenter this month, Vaughn Harber, from PageUp People started out in Product management a little bit over a year ago, although at the time, his official title wasn’t product manager but Product Analyst.  In that time his learning curve was steep and fast and with another colleague about to step into the role of Product manager, he felt he was finally in a good place to share the things he wished he had known at the start of the journey.  The format of the session allowed some of our more seasoned PM’s to concur or offer additional advice at certain key points of learning, but Vaughn shaped it all around three key themes that would have helped him greatly if he had known these ahead of time.  As his Product Management presentation highlighted, when he started he was completely a blank slate!

Vaughn’s first comment was one of the most enlightening – “Nothing on the position description matches what I do in my day to day job!”.  His three key areas that he could tie all he did do day to day was: Vision, Design and Execution.  The vision area was one of the hardest to understand without guidance or mentoring, so if you are taking a new product manager under your wing, this is definitely one area to take some time on.  Some of the insights Vaughn shared with us that without this it was very hard to ensure his product was delivering.  Comments from the group endorsed this view, and called out that it was a helpful part of the product management role to make this clear, continue to share it so that the Design stage is so much more effective.

Design was a large topic as well, but in terms of the esoteric easier for most to grasp how to get on track with this one.  There are still things you wish you had known before you start out, but unlike the Vision discussion, less time needed to understand what it is before you set about “solving” it.  In this area there was some good input from those more experienced, that this the toughest one for a product manager to embrace.  In other words, to let go of some of the ego or the control freak side, and include and encourage involvement from others to get the best designs and outcome for your product.

So all of these first two stages can be done brilliantly only to see it fall apart at the Execution phase.  A fabulous comment made here was around checking in with the correct audience – in other words, if you have only ever asked similar minded people whether they like this product and then wish to launch to a much wider group – you might find the execution phase a tough one!  Never mistake yourself for the end user:-)

The last of the call-outs were the Do’s and the Don’ts!  Vaughn’s lists were well received and endorsed by the group, unfortunately as we started to add to these, a fire alarm went off and we reconvened to another location.  The scribe at this point lost track of comments here, but the group was in fine form and continued with great enthusiasm at the next venue where we went round the table and got a top piece of advice from everyone.

Another great session of knowledge sharing and experiences, kicked off brilliantly by Vaughn, and hearty contributions from our Prod Anon-ers.

See you on the 20th of June, when Steve Bauer takes us on the topic of Decision making, and don’t forget Product Camp is on the 20th of July, which will mean no dedicated Product Anonymous session.