Trending Articles

Why We Should All Be Wearing (and Making) Face Masks Right Now

Nir Eyal

The post Why We Should All Be Wearing (and Making) Face Masks Right Now appeared first on Nir and Far. Decision Making


Dealing with Difficult Emotions in Product Management

Roman Pichler

Why Difficult Emotions Matter Particularly for Product People. We may not like difficult emotions like confusion, frustration, anger, envy, sadness, and worry, but we all experience them.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

AMA: How to Excel as a Product Manager in Extraordinary Times

280 Group

Yesterday we enjoyed hosting an Ask Me Anything session on Facebook Live with five of our Product Management expert instructors. In this very serious time, we really wanted to be available to answer questions and help the Product Management community adapt and rise to the challenges we’re all facing.

So long stakeholder problems – Priscilla Nu and Tamara Moona share their advice

Mind the Product

In this blog post, we revisit an episode of Mindset in which Singapore-based Tamara Moona, Associate Director of Product at Pivotal Labs , and Priscilla Nu, Head of Digital Experience and Design at SP Group , share their advice on developing organisational alignment and tackling issues with stakeholders. Product practice is relatively new in many regions around the world, leading to misunderstandings and a failure to understand the value a product manager can contribute to an organisation. As a result, it can be challenging for those with product management roles to achieve alignment with stakeholders on goals and outcomes. Even in organisations where product practice is well established, organisational alignment and stakeholder management are considered two of the most common challenges faced by product managers today. In fact, preliminary data from our ongoing Mind the Product survey – The State of Product Management , shows that people in product management roles around the world face the following principal challenges: Organisational alignment – 23%. The business understanding the value of product – 20%. Stakeholder management – 12%. Achieve Alignment. So, what’s the best course of action if you work in an organisation where product management is still finding its place and these issues are prevalent? For Tamara, it’s all about education. “A lot of organisations know that they have to work in new ways, but aren’t sure what those new ways really are,” she says. “Inspired product managers will go out and try to educate themselves independently – thinking in terms of the objectives and outcomes.” The challenge, she explains, is then to communicate those learnings back to your team. You can do this even if your leadership is not aligned. “As a product manager, you can make sure that it’s clear to the designers, the engineers, and the stakeholders by explaining – here are the problems we want to solve and here are the types of outcomes that we want to see.” Even if leadership is not aligned, communication with your team is key (Photo: Shutterstock). Vet your Company. For Priscilla, organisational alignment is an issue you can start to understand before you join a company. She recommends digging into objectives during the hiring process by asking different people what the business objectives at the company are. “For me, this is a good indicator that they’re all aligned,” she says. “If, for example, you’re talking to a lead engineer and they’re not telling you something different to the CEO, this gives you a good indication that they’re clear about an objective. “You can also think about getting into the mindset of an investor, asking the questions they would ask to evaluate whether this company is set for success or not.” This, she says, is a great way to think as a prospective employee in order to check for organisational alignment and to ensure you’re not walking into a team or organisation that’s unclear about its direction. Maintaining Alignment. Once alignment is established you’ll want to ensure that you can maintain it as time goes on. One way to achieve this is through regular discussions, perhaps once a quarter, even in the form of a goals alignment workshop, to ensure there’s the opportunity to have free, open, and transparent discussions about goals. “The key to this is making sure that you have the right stakeholders in the room at the time,” says Priscilla, “the people who can actually influence decisions.” This, she explains, helps to maintain the right engagement throughout the product development lifecycle. At the same time, Priscilla says it’s important to consider this process as an opportunity to engage your team and stakeholders early in the product lifecycle, enabling them to support the vision they’ve helped to create, and ensuring that the product gets out the door. Alignment sessions will help people to understand the issues and their respective roles better. They require questions to be asked, answers to be listened to, and feedback to be given, both from the internal team and other stakeholders. If this process is new to your organisation, be aware that it may take some time for stakeholders to adapt. Initially, you might notice that people worry about having the right answers or feel that their work is exposed. As a product manager, it’s your responsibility to facilitate these meetings or workshops in a safe space so that everyone feels comfortable and confident to participate. You’re likely to get more buy-in once stakeholders start to see the value such meetings can bring. Stakeholder 121s. Another way to check-in and manage alignment is via one-on-one meetings. “By meeting with individual stakeholders one-on-one you can get a sense of the problems they are facing and what objectives they are meeting for that year,” says Priscilla. “Then it comes down to empathy. You need to know who you’re talking to and how to approach that relationship.” To make these conversations a success, Priscilla recommends you think about the person you’re talking to and to consider the best approach for them. For example, if you’re talking to someone very task-oriented you can perhaps get straight to business, discussing the relevant objectives from the get-go. However, if you’re talking to someone who’s more people-oriented – it’s not a bad idea to approach that conversation with a more personal touch. This can be as simple as asking, “how’s your day going?” “Mirror the person that you’re talking to,” she says. “Find out what problems they’re trying to solve and try to get a real understanding. That way you can ensure the alignment is there right from the beginning.” Recognising the fears of the people you’re talking to is important too. “The way that teams work now means we’re often decentralising decision making,” adds Tamara, who explains that this can make stakeholders feel as though they no longer have the power that they once had. By conducting stakeholder interviews you can help your team to understand what’s important, as well as bringing their concerns to light. Fear of Stakeholder Anger. Conversations with stakeholders can be challenging, even downright terrifying, at times. If your relationship with your stakeholders is tricky then there are simple things you can do to reduce conflict. “We like to use generic terms like, ‘stakeholder management’ and ‘my boss’, but your boss is an individual, a human being,” says Priscilla. Empathising with what your boss is trying to solve, she explains, and understanding the position that they are in is all user experience. “It will help to drive the conversation further if you come from a place of empathy.” Often, tension with stakeholders can be boiled down to miscommunication and misunderstanding (Photo: Shutterstock). Try to recognise that your manager is on a journey of their own. They might be new to management or, like you, figuring out how to deal with the situation in the best way. Nine times out of 10, if a manager is applying pressure it’s usually because they’re experiencing pressure from above. In situations of heightened tension or conflict, showing empathy can ensure that both people in the conversation can achieve common ground. Always try to understand where the other person is coming from and the position they’re in. Priscilla recommends thinking about the following things: What working style does your manager have? What kind of information do they need to make a decision? What’s the best way to present that information to them? How can you tailor your working style to work more harmoniously with them? “With my team, I find it’s helpful to write a ”Manager Read Me'”, says Priscilla, “a simple document outlining how best to work with me. I publish it for my whole team.” This, she explains, forms part of a two-way conversation about working style and is supported by meeting with team members in-person to build a strong relationship. Create Your ‘Manual of Me’ Tamara also agrees with the idea of a ‘ Manual of Me ‘ It’s an easy way, she says, to say, “this is who I am, here’s how I want to be spoken to, or here’s how I feel comfortable.” In yours, you might include statements such as: The environments in which I thrive have… The best way to give me feedback is… People might misunderstand me when…. I do my best work when…. Providing feedback is important too, as Tamara explains. “As an employee, you have a voice. Giving feedback to leaders or to anyone who puts you in a difficult situation is important because they may not really realise how they’re making you feel.” Sometimes, she explains we might assume that this behaviour is intentional or even personal. However, the reality is often that there are things going on behind the scenes that you don’t see. The behaviour isn’t intentional at all, and in most cases, they won’t even realise how they’ve come across. “Try not to ignite the situation,” recommends Tamara, “then, remember the values that are important to you and your company. Be kind, be empathetic, and try to respond in that way,” she says. “If the situation becomes particularly difficult, try to pause it and then resume it at a better time.” Managing Micromanagement. In product management, there tend to be two types of micromanagers. The first is those who are rarely seen but who like to “swoop and poop”. These stakeholders will simply drop by, poop all over everything, and then leave again for several weeks or months at a time. The polar opposite is the micromanager you can’t escape from. The one pawing through your backlog and picking through every feature. If you’re experiencing either one of these stakeholders ask this question – ”what are they missing?”. Perhaps it’s an issue of trust or a lack of information. If it’s the latter, consider what it is they’re trying to find that they don’t feel that they have access to. Their behaviour might be due to a lack of visibility that you can provide to give them confidence. You might need to ask them what information it is they would like to see to feel confident or even to politely ask for more responsibility in order for them to let go. “I’ve been told by someone to say, ‘Hey, I want to take on more responsibility. I know you play this role typically, but I want to learn more and do more’,” says Tamara. Verbalising this intention can help to flip the script and create space to be able to build trust. When it’s Just bad Management. Of course, not everyone is a great manager, and there may come a time where you feel you’ve tried everything but are still experiencing all the same problems. Priscilla suggests that if you’re meeting your manager’s objectives and they’re still micromanaging you, the issue might be one of working style. “You should ask yourself if you can adapt to their style if they’re not going to change,” she says. If the answer to this question is no, you have a decision to make. Do you stick around and make do, or do you move on? Of course, not everyone can move from company to company, but it is important to have an intention about your own career. Think about the growth you want, the types of responsibility you want to have, how you want to work, and how you want the organisation you work for to respond to that. Ensure that you’re in a space where you can grow and develop. “Treat your career as a product. If you tried so many things and it’s not changing, just move on. Move to a better company, move to a better manager,” says Priscilla. “Sometimes, people get so stuck in the role and on working on relationships that are simply not working. The time is wasted.” Further reading. Stuck in the Middle: Mastering Stakeholder Management by Emily Tate. Collaborative Alignment – the ‘Auftragsklärung’ framework. Justify Your Product Decisions and Get Stakeholder Buy-in by Teresa Torres. Stakeholders, let ‘em in – Rosemary King. Top Tips for Negotiating With Stakeholders. Keeping Your Stakeholder Relationships in CREDiT. The post So long stakeholder problems – Priscilla Nu and Tamara Moona share their advice appeared first on Mind the Product. Stakeholder Management Alignment Communication organisational alignment

Build vs Buy: 10 Hidden Costs of Building Analytics with UI Components

Many teams, as a logical first step, choose to build their own analytics with the help of UI components. But eventually you’ll find that doing it yourself and at scale has hidden costs. Consider these 10 factors when deciding whether you should build analytics features with UI components.

How AI is influencing product management jobs

Product Management Unpacked

According to a Brookings Institution report , “Automation and Artificial Intelligence: How machines are affecting people and places,” roughly 25 percent of U.S. jobs are at a high risk of automation.

More Trending

TEI 276: How to have more influence by designing conversations to maximize meaning

Product Innovation Educators

Excellent communication gives product managers power, even superpowers.

280 Group Proudly Announces Online OPM

280 Group

New online version of our flagship Optimal Product Management and Product Marketing course supports continued training and career advancement for Product Managers everywhere.

Travel 156

Scaling the Product and the Team by Rachael Shah

Mind the Product

In this talk from MTP Engage Manchester , Rachael Shah, Delivery Lead at the Co-op , challenges us to think holistically about scaling our products, and that means including our teams in our thinking.

A simple template for writing usability tasks


How to prepare for a simple usability study. Crafting tasks and scenarios for a usability study is a balancing act between feast and famine.

Building Healthy Innovation Ecosystems for Your Projects

Speaker: Nick Noreña, Innovation Coach and Advisor, Kromatic

In this webinar, Nick Noreña will walk through an Innovation Ecosystem Model that he and his team at Kromatic have developed to help investors, heads of product, teachers, and executives understand how they can best support innovation in their own ecosystem. He'll also go over metrics we can use to measure the health of our ecosystems as we build more resources for innovators.

Five Meeting Tips for Newly-Remote Teams

Johanna Rothman

You probably went from the office to remote so fast, you're still recovering from the whiplash of working from home. I found the biggest change when I started to work remotely was how meetings changed. I've learned these tips over the years. You might find them helpful. Tip 1: Start With Cameras On.

Supporting the fight against COVID-19

Inside Intercom

On behalf of everyone at Intercom, I want to share our sincere and deep appreciation for all those fighting so hard against this outbreak all over the world. There are countless heroes putting their lives at risk to support the sick and keep the rest of us safe.

How Do You Know If Your Business Is At Risk From Disruption?


Over the last weeks the coronavirus disrupted the entire global economy and almost every business on the face of the planet. Yet, Covid-19 is a black swan and a once in a century event.

Building Products in AsiaPac – Colin Pal and Adrienne Tan on The Product Experience

Mind the Product

When you want to learn about the state of product management across Asia, there are two people who come to mind: Adrienne Tan (CEO and co-founder of Brianmates in Sydney) and Colin Pal (Chief Product Officer, Caterspot in Kuala Lumpur).

Design Thinking for Product Teams: Leverage Human Insight Throughout Development

Product teams must increase their exposure hours with customers—seeing and hearing them. Human insights and the design thinking framework can be applied to your development cycle to help you build better products and experiences for your customers.

Midlife Career Exploration

Sachin Rekhi

Over the years Ada and I have both enjoyed being informal career mentors to countless of our friends and colleagues. We were recently reflecting on how dramatically those career conversations have changed as our friends and colleagues have aged from early in their career to mid-career.

Five Tips for Managers of Newly Dispersed Teams

Johanna Rothman

Are you a manager accustomed to Management by Walking Around and Listening (MBWAL) ? You can use MBWAL with collocated teams. MBWAL doesn't work for distributed or dispersed teams. Remember, working remote is Not Business as Usual. And won't be for a while.).

Demo 70

5 Tips To Do More With Less In Customer Success During Covid-19


If you’ve been following customer success blogs recently, a lot has been said and written about how to communicate better and consistently in times of crisis like the one we’re all going through. In these uncertain times, companies (rightly so!) are keeping close tabs on their expenses and cash.

Introducing the Modus Create 2020 Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Modus Create

Introducing Larelle Clarke, our first Entrepreneur-in-Residence! Announcing the Modus Create EIR Program. The goal of this program is to provide a deserving startup founder and CEO one year of mentorship and support from the Modus Create team.

A New Segmentation Model for Customer Onboarding

In this eBook, we will show you a new framework for building a customer onboarding program, including how to segment users and drive long-term value and retention through education.

How YouTube can be Used as a Servant to Your Product By Lei Shei

Mind the Product

In this ProductTank Singapore talk, Lei Shei of Elephant Media explains the value that can be found on YouTube and how a YouTube channel can be used as a servant to your product. Lei’s YouTube channel, Curious Elephant , has over 126K Subscribers and 11.5M views.

Standing together: How Intercom customers are providing relief during COVID-19

Inside Intercom

In the midst of the global crisis, we’ve been inspired by how so many companies have stepped in to help. We’re fortunate to work with a broad range of customers, many of whom have put their products and platforms to use to fight against COVID-19.

‘Product vs Design vs Tech’: A Partnership, not a Battlefield

The Product Coalition

What high performing Product Teams actually look like This is something that comes up often for me?—?I I get questions like: “What’s the difference between a Product Designer and Product Manager?” There seems to be a lot of overlap between Design and Product Management? Who does what?” “But

#workfromhome – How does our software development work together now?

CONTACT Software

At CONTACT we believe that personal and informal interaction of people is an important success factor in complex technical projects – and without doubt this includes the development of our own software products.


More Effective Agile Leadership

Speaker: Steve McConnell, CEO, Construx Software

In this talk, Steve McConnell, CEO of Construx Software, distills hundreds of companies’-worth of real-world experience into the proven Agile leadership practices that work best. Steve will seamlessly thread together traditional approaches, early Agile approaches, modern Agile approaches, and the principles and context that underlie them all—creating an invaluable resource for Agile leaders, their teams, and their organizations.

Modus Joins the COVID-19 Fight with Folding@Home and Rosetta@Home Distributed Computing

Modus Create

Humanity’s ingenuity is often best demonstrated at times of crisis, and the 2020 SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – pandemic is a clear example of this. Creativity has proven to be our greatest asset, and in these times, this has proven more true than ever.

Product Management in AsiaPac

Mind the Product

Since #mtpcon Singapore 2019 Mind the Product has been on a mission to support the continuing growth of the AsiaPac tech community. Throughout this week our content will be shining a light on product communities in the region, highlighting new voices, sharing untold product stories and learnings.

Real-World Personalization

AB Tasty

Ryan Jordan of User Conversion explains why many companies just aren't asking the right questions when it comes to personalization. This article was originally posted on AB Tasty as Real-World Personalization. Personalization

How to Provide a High-Touch Product Experience While Social Distancing


With the global shift to remote work, our customers have experienced a 50% increase in Monthly Active Users. All of us are spending more time in our day-to-day products in an effort to stay connected and collaborate with coworkers.

BI Buyers Guide: Embedding Analytics in Your Software

The business intelligence market has exploded. And as the number of vendors grows, it gets harder to make sense of it all. Learn how to decide what features you need and get an evaluation framework for every technical and non-technical requirement you could imagine.