Product Love Podcast: Melissa Perri, CEO and Founder of Produx Labs

Published Aug 7, 2019

Product has many different facets, and Melissa Perri has had a stint in quite a few of them, including UX design, engineering, and development. By working in these different areas, Melissa believes that you get a holistic systems approach to product management. And this means you can evaluate the product on its feasibility, usability, pricing, and more. 

She has over a decade of product experience and is now the CEO and Founder of ProduxLabs, which helps companies grow and transform their product management organizations. In addition, Melissa is the founder of the online school The Product Institute.

This week on Product Love, Melissa and I discuss how companies are undergoing product transformations, and how PMs can better scale their careers. 

Digital Transformation Brings Revenue

We’ve written a lot about the rise of the product manager at modern companies, especially tech startups. However, at older companies like financial institutions, that role is buried in the shadows of IT, business, or project management. In fact, PMs often have a difficult time thriving in these organizations because they don’t have the infrastructure to instrument data or assign it to an outcome.

Many of these companies don’t see software as a product they can sell, so they aren’t connecting it to revenue. Nowadays, the reality is that your business is software. It’s essential to tie it back to revenue in order to thrive. 

As an example, Melissa brings up a financial institution that offers loans. Getting the loan out and curating an experience around a consumer securing the loan are now key business components. If these financial institutions have a software product, they need product managers to make user-focused decisions. 

As digital transformation makes its way through these established institutions, keep in mind that product managers are the ones driving forward that change. 

Scaling Your Career

For senior product managers struggling to make the leap to the C-suite, Melissa has a few ideas on how to get there. Senior product managers are usually excellent practitioners. Most likely, they’re amazing at execution, can make great decisions, and facilitate product launches. But that doesn’t mean they’re good at strategy.

In the PM field, your job changes as you scale. VPs of product or CPOs aren’t as focused on execution as product managers. They’re not doing the day-to-day work of writing user stories or conducting customer interviews. Instead, they’re leading teams and empowering them to execute. 

As you scale from practitioner to executive, start thinking about the different strategic frameworks that can aid you in managing teams. Also, think beyond hiring just product managers. Product executives should build comprehensive teams of researchers and data analysts as well. It’s about ramping up to get a holistic view of what product management should be. 

Want to learn how Melissa approaches building features, or how junior PMs can become more seasoned within their own company? Listen to the episode above, and remember to subscribe!