Yes, this whole episode is about slides. Here’s why you should care (and listen). Being able to communicate ideas, information, plans, product decisions effectively is absolutely critical to being a good PM. That communication often happens in the form of a presentation, so this is Maggie’s method for how to put together a fail-proof presentation every single time. Need to present a choice to your executive team? Have a conference talk coming up? Want to get people on board with your ideas? This system will help you do that faster and better. But making slides doesn't have to be such a pain if you follow this five-step process.
What does good look like for a product veteran? In this episode, Maggie taps Lesley Mottla (former product leader at Microsoft, Zipcar, M.Gemi, and others) to find out. Lesley talks about how to get the mix right between qualitative and quantitative data, the importance of building relationships, the path that's now opened up to product pros, and what she's learned along the way in her product career.
A lot of companies treat onboarding as something that they set and forget (or they treat as a project instead of a team). Slack? Not so much. From the day the company launched, Slack put a big investment into onboarding to help their customers get into the product and understand it quickly. So in this episode of Build, Maggie talks to Fareed Mosavat (Director of Product at Slack) to learn about Slack's approach to onboarding and how it's evolved over time.
Maggie is not a fan of backlogs. So in this episode, she talks about what's wrong with working off backlog and feature-based roadmaps. Not convinced? Don’t worry. Maggie walks you through the top five most common objections to this approach – and tells you what it’s really like to work without a traditional backlog.
You get product, engineering, and design into a room to go through your one pager. Then you develop a list of open questions as a team. But as a PM, what comes next? In this episode, Maggie is joined by Tim O'Brien, Director of Product Design at Drift, to talk about what happens after story time and what each team owns in the build process. Because let's get one thing straight. It's not the kind of thing where the design team goes off into a dark corner to come up with a prototype all on their own. It's a whole team effort. Want to know what Tim says is the number one reason why most design projects fail? Listen to the full episode.
In product, you always want to do more discovery, be more customer-centric, and talk to the people who are on the front lines using your product every day. But it’s easier said than done. And it’s also pretty tough to find real-life examples of what the relationship between a PM and the customer should look like. So on this episode of Build, Maggie talks to a customer she’s been working closely with for nearly a year. Rob Stevenson (Product Growth Leader at Keap) joins Maggie live at HYPERGROWTH Boston to talk about what it takes to build a partnership with a customer, how not to ask for feedback, and what it really means to build with your customers in mind.
Struggling with prioritization? Want to know how the experts pick projects and scope work? Find out in this episode of Build, where Maggie talks to Ryan Singer, the Head of Strategy at Basecamp. Ryan has been shaping and building at Basecamp for over 16 years, and recently wrote a book on how they work called Shape Up. Maggie and Ryan dig into what it means to shape work, prioritization theater, how product decisions are really bets, and what happens when your product scope gets out of control.
There’s 10,000 different ways to do it. But when it comes to setting goals (and prioritizing and measuring them) which way is best? Find out in this episode of Build, where Maggie talks to Rachel Neasham, VP of Product at Lola.com. Before joining the startup world, Rachel was an officer in the U.S. Army. But after four years at West Point, two deployments, and five years in the Army, Rachel was ready for a new challenge and eventually found her way into product management. Maggie and Rachel talk about the things they say are really top of mind for product leaders – like how to go from strategy to individual team goals, how to navigate the balance between being super quantitative with just shipping what makes sense, and how to develop roadmaps. Want to know what Maggie and Rachel say is the the real job of product leaders? Listen to the full episode.
It’s underused, underrated, and often seen as a “soft” thing to focus on. But guess what? Product discovery is also critical in making sure you’re building the right thing – and the more thorough your discovery is, the more effective your delivery will be. So on this episode of Build, Maggie meets with Jocelyn Mangan, someone who has a ton of operational experience in product discovery. Before she was the co-founder & CEO Him for Her (an organization helping to get more women on for-profit boards) Jocelyn was the COO at Snag and the SVP of Product at OpenTable. Tune in to find out how much time product discovery really takes, what “good” discovery looks like, how to overcome challenges to getting your team to do more discovery, and how to establish discovery metrics to keep improving as a team.
You could have a field day researching the tactics, frameworks, mental models, and processes and then apply them to building better products. But David Cancel says most of us are doing this wrong. When you're picking a role model for your product, you can't cherry-pick the best parts – because then you end up with a Frankenstein product. So on this episode of Build, Maggie and DC talk about the importance of stepping back and using first principles. Want to know how DC says product managers should approach systems thinking? Listen to the full episode.
What works for some product leaders is often so company and culture-specific that it’s hard to see how you can take those best practices and make them work at your own company. So on this episode of Build, Maggie talks to Scott Williamson who is the VP of Product Management at GitLab. Before joining GitLab in 2019, Scott ran product management at SendGrid and CA Technologies, so he’s got first-hand experience developing a product philosophy at one company and then bringing it over to another company. Want to learn how Scott shifted from focusing on features to focusing on problems? Listen to the full episode.
On this episode of Build, Maggie sits down with Melissa Perri, product management and UX expert and author of Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value. Maggie and Melissa dive deep and explore what the build trap is and what it means for product managers, plus how product management teams can get out of the build trap and drive real business value – not feature factories. Want to hear Melissa's two best pieces of advice for PMs? Listen to the full episode.
On today's episode of Build, Maggie sits down with FYI co-founder Marie Prokopets to talk through how to run seriously effective project post-mortems. Marie explains what they are, why you should be doing them, what you can hope to learn and much more. You'll leave this episode (and your first post-mortem) with tangible takeaways you can use to improve your processes. And hey, they're not just for product people. Post-mortems apply to everyone and everything. So be sure to tune in for more from Maggie and Marie.
Marty Cagan is often referred to as the most influential person in the product space. He got his start building products for eBay, AOL and Netscape Communications, and Hewlett-Packard. Now he's a partner at Silicon Valley Product Group where he helps companies create winning product strategies and grow their product organization. Oh, and it just so happens that Marty has been a longtime role model for Build’s host, Maggie Crowley. So in this episode, Maggie and Marty sit down for an epic discussion of all things product management. Some of the topics they cover are: how to really build cross-functional teams, why companies don’t actually operate like their role models, and the real difference between discovery and delivery. And that barely scratches the surface. Want to hear the one piece of advice Marty gives to product managers? Listen to the full episode.
On this episode of Build, Maggie and special guest Alexa Nguyen from the Drift product team talk about what happens after you write a one pager. At Drift, 'story time' is the next step in the product development cycle. It's where product managers, engineers, and designers get together in one room to outline the problem they're solving and identify any open questions. So the goal of the meeting isn't about coming up with a solution to the problem – it's about empathizing with the user and then creating a list of questions you want to answer afterwards. Want to know Maggie and Alexa's three steps to a successful story time? Listen to the full episode.
On this episode of Build, Maggie sits down with Brittany Davis and Bryan Landers from Backstage Capital. Maggie's been in product for a while, and one thing she hears over and over from her peers is that they want to start their own project. So she decided to bring in Brittany and Bryan – two VC pros who are actually out there evaluating and funding startups – to see what their advice is on what makes for a good startup.
On this episode of Build, Maggie sits down with Tomer London – the co-founder and head of product at Gusto. Maggie and Tomer talk about how to build products that delight customers and how to track and measure delight in a world where metrics reign supreme. Tomer also shares the four pillars of product development that guide his team’s work at Gusto. This one is a must-listen for product managers who want to reduce friction and create more delightful moments for customers.
On this episode of Build, Maggie and special guest Daphne Funston from the Drift product team tackle the number one question from listeners: what's a one pager and how can I use it to build better products? Maggie and Daphne talk about how one pagers are deceptively simple, yet when done well, they can be a powerful tool for PMs to frame, scope, and communicate a customer problem to engineering and leadership teams. Tune into learn about the six sections that make up a one pager and how Maggie and Daphne use the one pager in their roles at Drift.
Today on Build, Maggie sits down with Ellen Chisa, CEO and co-founder of Dark, which is making it possible to build an app in a single afternoon. Maggie and Ellen talk through her journey from PM to product leader to founder & CEO. Plus her years of experience at Microsoft, Kickstarter, Lola.com and now her latest venture, Dark. Also on Build, learn how to set up a product team and listen to what Ellen’s reading now, from fiction to the best reads for product leaders.
Today on Build, Maggie sits down with Justin Dilley, Head of Product at FullStory, a customer experience data platform. Before he joined FullStory, Justin jumped into the world of product management after business school first at Amazon where he worked on their payments and Kindle teams. Then it was back to the east coast where he joined Home Depot’s mobile team before making the move to FullStory. Together Maggie and Justin discuss the “why” behind what we build as product people and how to organize your product team for success. Tune in to the full episode.
Today on Build, host Maggie Crowley chats live in the Seeking Wisdom studio with Acquia’s SVP Products, Matt Kaplan. Matt was previously CPO and GM, Emerging Products at LogMeIn. Now at Acquia, he heads up product strategy, management and design across their digital experience platform. And, fun fact, he was on MIT’s gymnastic team back in the day. Together Maggie and Matt chat through how great products are like great stories. Specifically, what makes a great story, untangling the relationship between stories and products and how to help your team get better at storytelling.
On this episode of Build, host Maggie Crowley chats with Rahul Vohra, founder & CEO of Superhuman. Rahul is also the founder of beloved Gmail plugin Rapportive. Shortly after its founding, the company was acquired by LinkedIn where Rahul ran email integrations. During those years, he developed an intimate perspective of the email space – and its many problems. Enter Superhuman, Rahul's current company, built to be the fastest email experience ever made. Together they discuss how to measure product market fit, the problem with email today and much more. Be sure to tune in to hear from Maggie and Rahul.
On this episode of Build, host Maggie Crowley dives deep into conversation design with Google's Head of Conversation Design Outreach, Cathy Pearl. So what is conversation design exactly? Think teaching computers to communicate like humans (not robots) across voice interfaces and via typing, swiping and tapping. Cathy shares why now is the time to invest in conversation design and where and how to get started. Tune in for more from Maggie and Cathy. Before you go leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and share the pod with your friends! Be sure to check out more insights on the Drift blog at drift.com/blog and find us on Twitter @maggiecrowley, @drift, @seekingwisdomio and @cpearl42. You can get more details on this episode at drift.com/blog/conversation-design/
On today’s episode of Build, Maggie sits down with Drift’s VP of Product, Craig Daniel, to discuss how to ship product – what it takes to hit your dates (and the importance of committing to them publicly), using tracer bullets to de-risk features, “good / better / best” tiering to scope features and the importance of naming conventions. Also in this episode, how Product Managers can progress in their careers and how to get features built by your team if you’re not on product. Hint: Talk to customers! Before you go leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and share the pod with your friends! Be sure to check out more insights on the Drift blog at drift.com/blog and find us on Twitter @maggiecrowley, @drift, @seekingwisdomio and @craigdaniel.
Today on Build, host Maggie Crowley sits down with Christina Wodtke, author of the legendary book Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results, which Maggie describes as the best book on goal setting – ever. In the episode, Maggie and Christina, dive deep into Christina’s experience in product roles at MySpace, Zynga and Linkedin, her transition out of industry and into academia as a lecturer at Standford, and of course using Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) as a framework for achieving your team and company-wide goals. So if you’re looking to start 2019 off on the right foot, this episode is for you. Before you go leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and share the pod with your friends! Be sure to check out more insights on the Drift blog at drift.com/blog and find us on Twitter @maggiecrowley, @drift, @seekingwisdomio and @cwodtke.