Product Manager or Product Owners have to wear different hats at different times. Here are some mindsets that connect well with the work they do.
Works 1/3rd time each working alone, 1/3rd time with stakeholders and 1/3rd time with developers.
LinkedIn Collaborative best practices
Problem: When teams rapidly grow (over 50 people), communication and collaboration between them fail.
- The Product Leader, Sachin Rekhi observed multiple teams’ practices and found that Growth team’s A/B Tests (a form of split comparison testing) were not being adequately shared with the other Product Teams.
- He decided to share these findings through all-hands and community meetings, so all teams would be able to adopt the most efficient practices.
Conducts detailed competitive analysis and employs strategies to envision a premier product
Apple’s competitive hold on product strategy.
Problem: Competing in an overcrowded market.
- Apple personalizes their product experience by differentiating itself from other brands in two ways
- a proprietary operating system (iOS) vs. an open source operating system (Android).
- proprietary app store vs a 3rd party app store.
- There are many brands that make Android phones and software, therefore it is difficult for Samsung to differentiate their Android phones from the competitors’.
- Apple sells fewer smartphones and has less market share than Samsung; But Apple makes 90% of the profits in the market.
Focuses on market segementation and techniques to measure economic outcomes
Maggi Noodles relaunch business strategy
Problem: Rebranding after negative backlash.
- After the banning of Maggi Noodles in India, the relaunch was aggressive with “#missyoumaggi” and “#healthyisenjoyable” awareness campaigns across multiple marketing channels.
- The packaging strategy highlighted safe and healthy on each pack.
- The pricing strategy focused on reducing the inventory while maintaining the price level.
Shift perspective to customer’s pains to capture needs
Facebook’s Empathy Lab
Problem: Solving for accessibility.
- A Product Leader led the strategy efforts to build an empathy lab in which the designers could understand the users’ experience.
- More diverse and accessible solutions. The empathy driven approach helped increase the user base exponentially while setting great examples for more accessible and diverse solutions.
Leads ideation, prototyping, customer validation at multiple levels to make effective decisions
Airbnb, Etsy, and Uber two sided platforms.
Problem: Acquiring their first thousand customers meant addressing challenges at multiple levels.
- Airbnb’s site is aesthetic and very accessible.
- Airbnb’s integration with Craigslist gave them access to consumers who did not want hotel experience.
- Etsy’s team would single out influential artists, crafters, and vintage collectors in art and craft shows all across the US and Canada, and use their notoriety to draw customers to Etsy.
- Uber’s Word of Mouth Marketing helped Uber grow.
- Uber also made the taxi ride experience easier and more pleasant.
Integrates aspects and constraints of market needs, technical feasibility and customer demands
Calloway Golf’s adaptive marketing strategy to woo their audience.
Problem: A drop in sales growth after great success.
- Calloway achieved product differentiation by continuously updating their technology.
- Calloway’s marketing focused on helping consumers understand the game better.
- Calloway revamped the way retail sales people deliver effective sales pitches.
- To reach their target audience, Calloway used golf magazines, trade publications, content marketing, word of mouth, and pro tour endorsements.
Excellent at: big picture thinking, inventing what’s next and predicting direction
Fledgling Nike shoots into the stratosphere with their vision.
Problem: Nike was known for their running shoes and apparel, but lacked the athletic prestige or cool factor of companies like Converse and Adidas.
Solution: Rather than signing many players, they put all their resources towards signing Michael Jordan, banking on him becoming an NBA star.
Manages, refines and prioritizes the product backlog based on value and size
Oral B and Smalt prioritization woes.
Problem: Oral B and Smalt odd feature selection.
- Oral B perfect 16 degree angle toothbrush, Pro Expert was a clear case of listening to customers for solutions instead of needs and solving the wrong problems. Most reviews were complaints from users about replacing the battery.
- Smalt – Listening to music with the meal, color changing mood lights are all good. The internet of things for dispensing salt is not a problem most customers have.
Makes decisions and create things with limited resources, information and support
Mom’s Bakery in Bandung, Indonesia.
Problem: Entrepreneurship in a crowded market.
- The bakery wanted to launch healthy bread products in a crowded market, which was a risk.
- Leadership believed that establishing a healthy line of bread products would set the bakery’s sales apart for customers interested in their health.
- This made Mom’s Bakery to be the only culinary business that fulfilled consumer needs for healthy living.
Makes group decisions easy for stakeholders and developers for effective planning and execution
Facilitate to amplify the team’s capacity to solve hard problems and have a safe place for stakeholders to have healthy debates.
Problem: Sanctuary Computer builds web applications for early stage startups. They had too many open ended requests flowing in from freelancers.
- Sanctuary hired a product strategist to facilitate those open ended requests into a concrete product backlog that could be prioritized and worked on in a seamless manner.
Delivers product solutions that delight customers and users
Chase Sapphire – Delighting millennials.
Problem: American Express had all the affluent customers while Chase cards had credit cards with relationships like Marriott, Amazon, etc. Chase was losing market share.
- Millennials take an Uber to a hole in the wall restaurant in Chinatown, then take the subway to karaoke, then take a taxi home. As a reward, Chase offers accelerated travel points.
- Chase created a dark blue plastic card with a metal piece inside. An Amex card says you’re rich, but a chase sapphire card says you’re interesting.
Influences, inspires , support and empower people to set the conditions for the team to thrive.
Leaders taking the role of a coach.
Problem: Product owner prioritizing for velocity goals.
- Sabin (product leader at Potato) realized that the product owner was prioritizing lower priority items to help meet the team’s sprint deliverable and velocity goals so that the team’s performance is not questioned.
- He took on the role of a coach, helping them realize it’s ok to slow down the sprint velocity and deliver higher product values.
How to Cultivate Adaptive Product Leadership, by Jenn Kim & Sabin Sadeh