When AJ&Smart CEO Jonathan Courtney roasted us on our own show about our podcast release cadence, we took the good-natured jab to heart.
Now, in welcoming SVPG’s Christian Idiodi as the 50th guest of the Product Momentum Podcast, we not only recognize an important milestone. We celebrate our connection with you – a growing community of seasoned product leaders, industry newcomers, and product specialists committed to improving the lives of others.
Since shaking those first episode jitters with guest Jeremy Durham, Sean and Paul have been an extension of the ITX mission: learning together, growing our knowledge, and delivering technology that solves complex business problems so our clients can move, touch, and inspire the world.
Product Work Is People Work
At every step along the way, we’re reminded that product work is people work. We cannot build the right product without first knowing who we’re building it for, and who we’re building it with. The who is our end users, but also includes the team members who join us on this journey.
From those early days, we’ve learned together from some of the brightest lights in our space. Each in their own way, based on their unique experiences, our guests have freely shared their learnings, their failings, and their continued search for knowledge.
Let’s recall some of the memorable moments, the useful tools, and the major themes we’ve taken to heart over our first 50 episodes.
We’ve had some pretty incredible memorable moments.
- When we welcomed Stephen M. R. Covey to the pod, Sean was like a kid in a candy store. Stephen’s message resonates because he reminds us that Trust is “the ultimate collaboration tool;” it inspires the innovation we need to stay current and relevant with our product offerings.
- Paul was just as excited when Jake Knapp walked us through the Design Sprint framework he crafted years before, while also urging us to Make Time for what matters most.
- Lesley Betts nudged us beyond our comfort zone to see the parallels between digital and physical products. We get into trouble, she said, when we stop challenging ourselves to listen to what our users are telling us.
Some guests offered a peek into their product manager toolkit.
- Kate Rutter and Christina Wodtke reaffirmed the importance of measuring performance against KPIs and OKRs that matter.
- Nir Eyal shared his Hooked model, helping designers build the kinds of products that drive positive, habit-forming behaviors.
- Jared Spool introduced us to the concept of experience rot, which is what happens when designers indiscriminately add features to products and define roadmaps in terms of features.
- Rohini Pandhi took the concept a step further, describing the product roadmap as the path that connects a customer’s problems with a solution that drives their business forward.
- Fin Goulding and Jeff Gothelf asked us to think about what it is to be agile and to move beyond Agile’s prescribed step-by-step manifesto to embrace an organizational agility.
No one theme can adequately summarize the product manager role.
- But Rich Mironov may have come closest when he said: “The product manager is the person nobody works for and who, it seems, works for everybody else. They carry all the responsibility but none of the authority.”
- In their unique ways, Saleema Vellani and Roman Pichler taught us about the role of empathy in tech.
- Through Bruce McCarthy we learned the hard truth that we cannot meet our product goals without first embracing the cultural aspects that explain our place in the world.
- Dan Olsen encouraged us to get comfortable with the idea that our assumptions are wrong; that once we cross that mental hurdle, we can embrace the uncertainty and engage our anxiety to find product-market fit.
- April Dunford argued that there’s no such thing as product-market fit; in fact, she called it “a myth.” April told us that “product positioning is foundation of everything that follows.”
- No discussion of product management is complete without assessing the key question posed by Kasia Chmielinski: Is what I am building ethical? It’s a question that Miguel Cardona and Kim Goodwin examine through the lens of human-centered design, while Kasia addresses it through the quality of inputs we feed into existing tools and processes.
What is the future of product?
- InVision’s Richard Banfield asked point blank whether we had gotten better at product leadership.
- Thankfully, Marty Cagan stepped in to answer, “Yes, and here’s how.” We listened and we learned.
So, if you find it humbling that you don’t know everything, relax. You’re in good company. Being part of this product community means we’re forever seeking knowledge. The realization shouldn’t squelch our pursuit of mastery. It should ignite it, feed it, and inspire it to burn even hotter.
“Product leaders change the world,” Adrienne Tan told us. “We’re the engine that drives the business forward.”
And through it all, we have to remember the human story attached to our work, Christopher O’Donnell added. “It doesn’t matter what we build. Every day and every interaction involve real people, with real people problems.”
Contact: Kyle Psaty, VP of Marketing at ITX | [email protected] | 585-899-4895