In the fast-paced world of business and product development, gaining fresh perspectives and valuable insights can make all the difference. Recently, at an extraordinary ACCELERATE virtual event (now available on demand), a gathering of product and business executives took place, sharing their experiences and wisdom on how to accelerate not just products and businesses, but personal growth as well. What emerged from this event was a collection of insights that defied conventional thinking and had the potential to reshape the way we approach various aspects of our professional lives. Here, we’re excited to share these surprising gems that were unearthed:
1. The Core of Business
Melissa Perri (CEO and Founder, Produx Labs), a prominent figure in the product management world, emphasized the critical role products play in business. But she went a step further, stressing that having great product management skills isn’t enough. To truly succeed, businesses need to align their vision with their product strategy, and ensure their product operations are impeccable.
2. Velocity vs. Speed
Osama Bedier (President, GoDaddy Commerce), an expert on Product Velocity, challenged the notion that speed alone equates to progress. He explained that true velocity means moving fast towards a specific outcome, not merely spinning in circles at breakneck speed. From his experience, he revealed that a substantial 80% of work is often unnecessary. The key is to identify this unnecessary work early in the process to avoid wasted efforts.
3. Prioritization and Empowerment
At the CPO roundtable, several thought leaders shared their insights:
- Carmen Palmer (CPO, Women in Product) advised to “slow down to speed up.” She emphasized the importance of investing in planning and communication, and how prioritization should account for both customer outcomes and business outcomes.
- Scott Williamson (Product Advisor and Former CPO, GitLab) highlighted how dependencies can hinder empowered teams. Effectively managing these dependencies is crucial to fostering empowered product teams.
- Cory Gaines (CPO, Blackhawk Network) shed light on the daily struggles of a product manager. He stressed the importance of alignment with stakeholders on outcomes, as this paves the way for handling the constant influx of ideas and requests.
- Ryan Polk (CPO, Stack Overflow) introduced the concept of the “You are not your product” team typology, which guides when to adjust portfolio levels, emphasizing the need to divest from some product areas while investing more in others.
4. Effective Transformation
John Roy (VP Digital Assets, Strategy & Planning, Fidelity) shared a powerful perspective on transformation. He stated that “effective transformation will achieve both alignment and autonomy.” Transformation, he emphasized, goes beyond theory and presentation decks. With the right culture, processes, and tools, companies can achieve both alignment and autonomy, thereby driving true transformation.
5. Beyond Roadmaps
In the realm of Product Transformation and Product Operations (PDLC), Lou Ponticas (Former COO, MuleSoft) urged attendees to think beyond roadmaps. He underscored the importance of investing in product operations practices and tooling, as the result is a remarkable 10x launch velocity, a 35% reduction in overhead, and a 4x increase in agility.
6. Building Relationships for Personal Growth
Lastly, Deborah Liu (CEO, Ancestry) offered a thought-provoking question: “You’ve built products, but have you built relationships?” She highlighted how product managers can become so absorbed in day-to-day tasks that they miss opportunities to build relationships that can significantly impact their careers.
These surprising insights serve as a reminder that in the ever-evolving landscape of product management and business, there’s always room for fresh perspectives and unconventional wisdom. By adopting these novel approaches and embracing change, you can accelerate your journey towards success in the world of products, businesses, and personal growth.
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