Rich Mironov and Jesse James Garrett, Veterans in Product and UX, to Keynote 2nd Annual Event
As producer of ITX’s Product Momentum Podcast, I was only too excited to learn that past guests Jesse James Garrett and Rich Mironov had accepted our invitation to speak at the 2nd annual Product + Design Conference 2023, on June 22-23, 2023.
Rich Mironov – Product Track
By the time the conference opens, it will have been almost exactly 3 years since Rich and I met (virtually) when he guested on the pod. He won’t recall the interaction as I still do; “absolutely spinning gold” was how co-host Paul Gebel described it, peppering the conversation with a self-deprecating wit and a careers-worth of hard-earned wisdom.
Rich portrayed the product manager role “as the one who nobody works for, but who seems to work for everyone else.”
He followed that by drawing an analogy between forest-fire-fighting ‘smoke jumpers’ and his role as temporary CPO or head of product, stepping in to ‘put out fires’ until company leaders can make the right hire to carry them forward.
So there’s plenty for everyone regardless of whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a freshly minted PM looking for guidance.
The product manager is the one who nobody works for, but who seems to work for everyone else.
The world of Product + Design has evolved exponentially since those early days, Rich says, citing the sheer volume of information currently available to product leaders as one of the most significant changes.
“Now, we can actually find out what users are using, which features are catching on, and where folks are getting in trouble in their clickstreams,” he says. “So instead of going on gut instinct, product managers now can unpack the data and really look at what it’s telling us. That’s a huge change.”
The other, he adds, is the tremendous social network that’s developed. There were product managers back in the 80s and 90s, he says. He was one.
“Most of us didn’t know what we were doing,” Rich says. “But one thing we learned – quickly – was that everybody’s battling the same issue as you. That’s why today, it’s a lot less lonely to be a product manager.”
Jesse James Garrett – UX + Product In Collaboration
When he joined the Product Momentum Podcast team to help us celebrate our 100th episode, Jesse echoed Rich’s sentiments as to the evolution of product management and UX as refined disciplines in the software development space.
The field as a whole, especially for product managers and designers, has professionalized so much over the last 20 years, he offered.
UX Design was still in its infancy when Jesse authored the first edition of Elements and created the scaled model of his 5 elements: Strategy, Scope, Structure, Skeleton, and Surface.
Though Jesse won’t be conducting a Day 1 workshop at the conference, he will be on site throughout the event, kicking off the Day 2 keynotes with a talk directed at both product + design leaders.
Look for Jesse to help us imagine a world in which Product + Design come together to identify best practices for working collaboratively, and to describe the transformative outcomes we can realize when they do.
“There are whole careers in this space that didn’t exist before,” Jesse said. “We’re a much more professional bunch than we used to be, never mind the notion that it could be as formalized and standardized to the extent that it is today.”
But even as they have matured as a profession, UX leaders want to do even more, he adds. He hears regularly about their desire to contribute even greater value to their users, but also about the organizational and cultural obstacles that frustrate their desire.
“This is where the real potential exists for cultural change of a type that we haven’t seen before,” Jesse explained.
The collaboration of Product + UX, “brings a level of institutional knowledge that hasn’t been possible before,” he added. “Which means you now have an organization that operates culturally in different ways; product and design are making different decisions because they have fresh, new awareness of different factors in their decisions.”
The collaboration of Product + UX, brings a level of institutional knowledge that hasn’t been possible before.
Foundational Works from Product + UX Veterans
Rich (The Art of Product Management, 2008)and Jesse (The Elements of User Experience, 2002; 2nd ed., 2011) each authored seminal works in their respective fields just as product management and UX design were finding their footing as formal disciplines in the software space.
Join keynote speakers Jesse James Garrett and Rich Mironov (more speakers coming soon!) at ITX Product + Design Conference 2023. June 22-23, in Rochester, NY. Early-bird tickets available until April 21. Learn more!
Peter Sullivan is Producer of ITX’s Product Momentum podcast and a student of Product and Design processes that work. As ITX’s Marketing Content Lead, he spearheads our efforts to deliver thought leadership that helps Product makers and UX designers understand and shape the future.