For our last session in 2020, we are throwing open the doors (virtually) and getting our community more involved in giving talks. We love giving people the opportunity to talk and Thursday, November 26th, you’ll get to hear short talks from 7 people.
This is a good time to remind everyone that we are always looking for speakers so if there’s someone you think we should approach or you are interested in giving a talk, reach out to Liz or me (or both).
Over the years, we’ve mixed it up with purely social birthday drinks to give you more time to get to know each other (& Liz and I are not adverse to a lovely cocktail or wine) or the usual speaker topic session – this year we have a new plan.
One of the big reasons Product Anonymous exists is to share knowledge. Another reason we exist is to grow the local talent which includes giving people the opportunity to gain experience in front of a crowd & crafting a talk. We’re super proud that several ProdAnon speakers have gone on talk at large conferences.
So for November.. it’s time to dip your toe in the water. Yes, you!
We want you to present – for 5 minutes. It’s not a long talk, you won’t have to answer 15 questions after, nor do you need to create earth-shattering beautiful slides.
What you need to do is know what you want to express, to teach, to explain, to get ProdAnon folks excited about.
You need to be able to communicate that in FIVE minutes (warning: Liz will have her whistle). And you need to be available to do this on Thursday evening November 26th.
This is not a ‘lightning talk’. You do not have to change slides every 15 seconds and have only 20 slides. It’s your 5 minutes. It can be fun. It can be serious. It could be an insight you want to share.
What to do next?
Mull over your idea and submit it by EOD Saturday, October 24th
Those chosen will be contacted on Friday, October 30th (yes, this is encouraging you to spend Melbourne Cup wknd working on your preso!)
Product Anonymous has 3 events this month! Call us crazy but maybe it’s because we’re suffering from no Product Camp (which is normally this month).
What Are The 7Ps of Product?
Up next is a special event with Leading the Product Thursday on August 13th. What are the 7Ps of Product is a preview of what’s to come at the September 2nd conference.
Brainmates CEO and Co-Founder, Adrienne Tan, will introduce the 7 Ps of Product and then be joined by three speakers from the Conference for a panel discussion on the 7 Ps and their relevance and importance to Product Management today. Adrienne will be joined by:
Earlier this year, there was a request on the ProdAnon Slack to explore Marketing 101. This session will explore marketing, the relationship between our two groups and what this means for folk in Product.
Some of the things we hope you will learn from the session:
– How do marketing & product work well together? – What are the different skill sets/strengths that each bring to the team which help the outcomes? – If Product doesn’t have a great relationship with marketing now, how can that be improved? Actions to take? Conversations to have? – Even if the relationship is good, how can they work better together?
And the third event… that was last night! Back in the day, we occasionally had dumpling sessions where we’d get together to share a meal. During COVID, we’ve been doing this virtually. What has started as BYO dumplings and chat once a month has morphed to include making of mug cakes, coffee and a range of household consumable convos (yes.. never quite sure where it’s going!) Join the dumplings channel on Slack to keep up to date on next event.
I’d like to pitch! Well then… get onto this NOW! 😉
LTP is requesting video submissions so pick your favourite Product Management topic (loves and hates) and create a 90-second video of your idea and submit it. The Brainmates team will pick our top videos and then present these to the audience on the night for their vote. No slides… just you sharing with the crowd & judges.
You do not need to give the talk via video or on the 25th… this is a short pitch.
This Thursday June 18th, we have 2 fantastic speakers who have experienced product in companies at different stages. RSVP now
What does product leadership entail at various sizes of organisations? How do you transition to 1st product person at a startup? What’s the same and what’s different at various sized companies in different stages?
We’ll kick off at 6:30pm with the Zoom open at 6:20pm. After the talks, we’ll utalise breakout rooms so you can say hello to folks! We hope you can stay & meet (or catchup with people you haven’t seen in a while).
Claire Sawyers Claire has an amazing background with product management in startups – having been the 1st product manager at a startup through to chief product officer building a team PLUS she has founded 2 startups.
Claire will talk about what it’s like to work at a startup – especially how to get the job – and how to survive it!
Steve Bladeni After years of product & strategy at large corporates (including in an innovation space), Steve went to a startup as the head of product/COO.
Steve will share how different – yet how things are the same – when you’re working in and scaling these various types of business.
Our Sponsor: A Cloud Guru We’re on a mission to teach the WORLD to cloud. A Cloud Guru is the largest online cloud school on the planet. Our training feels more like logging into Netflix or Spotify – it’s entertaining and playful. The people are the #1 reason employees say they stay at ACG. We’re a quirky, tight-knit crew that cares about our customers and each other. No egos here. Our leaders encourage thoughtfulness, compassion, being humble, and we have a bit of fun along the way.
We were super excited about our March event so it broke our hearts to reschedule Becoming (more) Brilliant with Impro. With things changing so quickly re: Covid-19 and new advice, it was most definitely the right answer. We will reschedule this session in the future.
So… we quickly decided to change the session into a roundtable discussion about our new reality of full-on remote working. A quick summary…
What were people enjoying about WFH?
flexibility of the time as in being able to adjust hours
home cooked meals
ability to do chores at home during breaks
What is challenging?
Lack of whiteboard solutions
Overhearing conversations in the office (bc often it’s very valuable customer feedback or something related to what you work on)
Less time to focus because there are more meetings/catch-ups to make up for not being f2f
Being paranoid about being seen as ‘online’ and thus available all the time aka PEN syndrome (please everyone now)
Hard to see micro-expressions and the body language
The distraction of text chat happening in the meeting room at the same time as the meeting (yes, this happens F2F also but easier to get distracted when virtual)
If you didn’t have a remote team or WFH folks with a standard set of tools already, people have been receiving multiple invitations. This might feel like overload and could result in documents all over the place.
While many of us thought we’d have MORE time to focus, we find there’s even LESS focused time now because you need to increase your communication and there’s so many channels to reach you that you get interrupted more. They can’t see you’re busy or focused so you need to better manage this. Which leads to maybe needing better expectations around work hours & response times.
What we are missing
Spontaneous idea sharing
Having an expert within earshot
Water cooler conversations
Random social interactions
For those with kids at home… missing adult conversation
Reduction in drinking water
The commute – gives you time to think! To walk! To see people!
How to keep that social thing happening
Virtual lunch with your team
Friday pub drinks over Zoom
Host a trivia quiz
3 minutes of squats every day virtually!
Leave a Zoom room running all day (ie water cooler chat)
Acknowledge pets & kids joining calls
Contests of best virtual background
Making a conscious effort to reach out to individuals
Krisp for filtering out background noise during your calls
Mural & Jamboard (part of GSuite) for collaboration
Last year in April, we decided to have a social event instead of a talk – because with all the holidays and school holidays, people were away. We decided to do a dumplings evening at a place on Lt Bourke instead.
This year …it’s looking like we have the beginnings of an April tradition. 😉
This Monday April 6th, we’ll virtually host a BYO Dumplings (& bevvy) evening. No speaker… we’ll chat, catch up & get to know each other.
If you’re on the ProdAnon slack, details will be posted in the dumplings channel (yes, we have had a dumplings channel for almost 3 years…..)
The other Thursday we heard from Josh Centner, Head of Product & Delivery at PageUp about their journey to being a product-led company.
Josh started with a bit of background. PageUp began in 1997 as a custom software house building various things which translates into a very sales led company. Over time they realised companies often had the same issues and even the same requests which is when they decided to focus on building recruitment software. For years, the company grew – people, teams, features, products, revenue – though still was quite sales led.
They realised they needed to make a change if they were going to continue to grow and move faster. They had previously been the fast mover in the industry but the industry had changed with lots of big and small players making a difference. Shifting to a focus on product-market fit rather than custom features for clients which only work for that client was a key part of the change to stay ahead.
Josh outlined the pillars to work.
Starts with people – Ensure everyone is well prepared and supported from a skills, mindset and culture perspective
Process – Put metrics in place so you can understand if time is being lost and if improvements are working
Strategy – Your strategy needs a story
Culture – the culture at PageUp is amazing. Everyone is really nice, so it’s fun but people don’t hold each other accountable because they are worried about hurting someone’s feelings
As part of the people change and bringing teams together they focussed on creating cross-functional teams – which INCLUDED the sales crew. (In other words, sales needed to write their own Jira tickets!!)
In order to improve the process & start to shift culture, a couple of actons were taken. The company did a values assessment. This assessment was an important step to define where the company wanted to be and brought people together to define it. Turning the output of those sessions into statements was critical because it was the beginning of behaviour changes.
PageUp also ran innovation workshops and in-depth training on design thinking, jobs to be done and lean startup with the exec team. The goal was to make sure people at the top knew what was going on & could speak the same language as their team. While everyone across the company went through the training, some were not able to implement it right away. They were focused on business-critical work. This ended up being a mistake because, by the time those folk had a chance to put their training into practice, it was very much forgotten.
With all this change, you want to show progress. Josh used delivery metrics at first because they change quickly – you can see speed improving, output, costs going down, and begin to see predictability come into the work. The product metrics Josh used were the HEART framework to help link to the lagging indicators of retention, growth & costs. This brought comfort to the organisation and allowed room to invest in risk & new areas of product innovation.
In terms of building out the product strategy ensure you’ve covered your compelling boundaries –
Story so far
Purpose of this approach right now
Markets and customers
Deepening the competitive advantage
What would Josh do better next time:
Have metrics ready before starting the transformation. Start tracking as soon as possible!
Baseline the needed skills and have a long-term plan
Have a strong product strategy ready to go as you roll-out to ensure alignment & enable autonomy
Josh Centner, Head of Product at PageUp
Josh has spent the last 10 years knee-deep in the world of startups and innovation. Attempting his own startups and consulting to both small and large organisations intent on creating disruption for themselves and their industries. After working with over 20 different organisations, Josh has deep insight into what does and doesn’t work when it comes to organisational transformation and product management.
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