ProdAnon birthday talks!

Yes! November is our birthday!

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?

  1. Mull over your idea and submit it by EOD Saturday, October 26th
  2. Those chosen will be contacted on Friday, October 30th (yes, this is encouraging you to spend Melbourne Cup wknd working on your preso!)

Submit your talk idea!

How will talks be selected?

  1. Appeal of the topic to ProdAnon people
  2. Your sworn ability to be able to use google slides and deliver the slides the week before the event

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Our sponsor: A big thanks to A Cloud Guru for sponsoring! Our mission is to teach the world to cloud. Find your place at ACG.

Product Anon Dumplings

Our next dumpling session is Tuesday September 8th. RSVP here.

What is this dumpling thing?

Back in the day when we could squeeze 10 people onto a small table, occasionally we’d gather to eat dumplings and talk.

Since March 2020, we’ve been running monthly dumpling sessions online. Bring your dinner, hang out, meet some folks and chat.

Warning: sometimes these turn into weird cooking shows. It started with the frothy Dalgona coffee thing then mug cake and there’s rumours of sticky date pudding one day.

Photo by Abhishek Sanwa Limbu on Unsplash

All the events this August!

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:

Klaas Raaijmakers, Head of Product, Stan (Promotion)
Caitlin Blackwell, Head of Product, Seek (Problem)
Jeremiah Lee, Engineering Manager, Invision (Practice)

Each speaker will be tackling one of the Ps during the Conference and will give us a sneak peek at the key insights from their upcoming talk as well as their overall take on the 7 Ps.

Details here (follow the LTP link to register) and grab your conference tickets here.

Marketing Does USP. Product Does Not

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?

Our speakers: Ellias Appel and Carleen Harawira and a big thanks to A Cloud Guru for sponsoring.

See you on Thursday, August 27th RSVP

Dumplings!

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.

Leading the Product Pitchfest

While Leading the Product is going online this year, they are still continuing the tradition of short lightning talks and once again, ProdAnon is involved with the LTP Pitchfest.

What’s pitchfest? Pitchfest gives you the opportunity to pitch for one of the conference lightning talks. Pitches are voted on by both the audience & conference judges.

RSVP for Thursday June 25th

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.

Add your name here and send your video to the LTP team by Monday 15th June.

I’d like to vote & support folks! RSVP and you’ll receive a Zoom link prior to the event. You’ll be able to watch the pitches & vote for who you’d like to hear at LTP!

The judging panel in addition to you!
– Liz Blink and Jen Leibhart – Co-Founders, Product Anonymous
– Adrienne Tan – CEO, Brainmates
– Christopher Rolik – Director of Digital Product Experience, IAG

Product Leadership

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).

Our Speakers:

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.

RSVP for Thursday June 18th

March Wrap – Working remotely

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?

  • no commuting
  • flexibility of the time as in being able to adjust hours
  • home cooked meals
  • ability to do chores at home during breaks
  • pets!

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!
  • Plant competition
  • 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

Tools mentioned

  • Krisp for filtering out background noise during your calls
  • Mural & Jamboard (part of GSuite) for collaboration
  • Milanote
  • Miro (aka Real Time Board)
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Freehand by Invision
  • Funretro.io
  • Pomodoro technique
  • For whiteboarding – Zoom & Teams
  • BlueJeans – video conferencing

BYO Dumplings Evening

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…..)

Join the ProdAnon slack for more details and session login details.
http://bit.ly/2vXZ4mS

FYI, there is a meetup in the calendar but we’re not using it for RSVPs.

AND .. we’ll be announcing the usual April event soon.

February Wrap – Transitioning to a Product Led Company

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
Credit: Neha Jaiswal

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
  • Under attack
  • 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.

Thank you to our Host: UniSuper

At UniSuper, our mission is simple—helping our members enjoy exceptional retirement outcomes underpins everything we do. 

UniSuper logo

Transitioning to a Product Led Company

Product transformation is easy and everyone in our organisation is both excited and happy to be on the journey….

This sounds far fetched but is the reality of what’s happened at PageUp. Josh Centner, Head of Product will walk through the journey of PageUp – a successful Melbourne based software company and how they went from a custom software house to a fast paced, customer focused product company.

Josh will cover their approach to introducing organisational transformation and how the organisation has combined the best of Design Thinking and Lean Startup to revolutionise the structure, process and mindset that drives our strategy, operations and product development practices.

Structure, culture & process will be covered with a ‘what we did’ approach and how you can learn from their experience.

Our Speaker:
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.

Our Host:
UniSuper

At UniSuper, our mission is simple—helping our members enjoy exceptional retirement outcomes underpins everything we do. 

https://twitter.com/UniSuperNews
https://www.linkedin.com/company/unisuper

UniSuper logo

Using Mental Models for Product Success

Lately ‘outcome, not outputs’ is the subject of lots of conversation within product & agile circles. How do you know what those outcomes should be and what will truly support your customers?

RSVP for ProdAnon’s November session on Thursday November 21st to find out.

No single methodology will help you create the perfect product, but you can increase your odds by understanding people’s deep, messy thinking and reasons for doing things. Mental Models gives you the tools to uncover and design for those reasons. 

Developed by Indi Young, this framework helps you curb assumptions & cognitive bias through a bottom-up approach to data analysis. With less bias and greater clarity of opportunities, this approach will help you more closely align design possibilities to your customer’s needs and your organisation’s capabilities.

Our speaker, Tafida Negm will walk us through some of the important concepts within Mental Models after introducing what it is and why you should incorporate it into your toolkit. There will be a few activities to aid you in having a go and gaining some confidence in trying it yourself when you get back to the office.

About the Speaker

Tafida Negm is an independent Human-Centred Researcher and Designer coming from a Marketing and Psychology background. As a consultant, she has gained a wide variety of experience across for purpose and commercial contexts helping lead teams from discovery through to launch. Witnessing the value research has delivered in shaping products and services, she has been on a mission to continually hone her research skills. Having spent the past year learning from Indi Young she is passionate about spreading her love of problem space research.  

RSVP now. Doors open at 6:00 pm. Talk starts 6:30 pm