Wrap-Up: The Shape Shifting Product Manager

Daniel Kinal is a long haul product manager having been in the industry for awhile. Over the years, Daniel realised one of his strengths was being able to shape-shift.

Daniel talked about the various ways product managers are asked to shape shift. We might need to do some copy writing or sketch out a UI or develop a GTM plan or do a sales demo or create some reporting and do data analysis or manage a team or be the scrum master or even CODE (?!??!!!!!!!!).

The list of what we might end up doing goes on & on! There’s always gaps to fill and as a product person, we often feel like we need to help out to make sure our product becomes successful.

But then Daniel realised this might not be a strength. Our jobs are already hard without adding additional work. Shape shifting isn’t the best thing for him – nor the company he works for.

Why? Because we product folks need to focus on the ‘kernal’ – what Daniel calls the true product work. This includes

  • building trust & alignment
  • maximising value in a sustainable way
  • doing course correction
  • and more! (watch the video)

The thing about the ‘kernal’ is, it’s our job. While all these other shape shifting tasks can be done by others (others who hopefully exist at your company), doing the kernal isn’t done by others.

To help us, Daniel has a few meditations on our shape shifting nature…

Product Anonymous would like to thank Daniel for a great talk & convo after. No matter where you are in your product career, you should consider his insight and questions to ponder.


Daniel Kinal – The Shape Shifting PM – (had a baffling zoom thing happen & DK’s video isn’t appearing)

Our Speaker

Daniel Kinal has been in product management for over 18 years, chiefly working in IT, focusing on B2B products & services.

He began his marketing, communications, and consulting career but soon learned that the aspect of marketing he loved most was working out what to build, for whom, and why.
He gets excited about helping businesses become more effective in decision-making, more efficient in their processes and more engaged with their customers.

Daniel is at his happiest when waving his arms about in front of a whiteboard with a bunch of smart people, exploring problems and weighing up solutions.

Our Sponsor

Cogent – cogent.co – If you need great people to help build your product, we do that and a whole lot more. Over the years, we’ve worked on more 100 digital products loved by millions of users, from small startups through to tech giants like Square, Xero and REA.

So whether you’re leading a small product team or the CPO of a growing tech company, our focus is on supporting you to design and develop products that your users love.

Next Up

Kate Edwards-Davis will be talking about saving your team (or rather, not saving them) from villians on September 30th. Details & RSVP links here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *