This Week in Product – Sep. 7, 2018

Published Sep 7, 2018

Summer’s over, kids are back in school, no more out of office emails, and this week in product is all about change.

Cha, Cha, Cha, Changes

Chances are you’ve already listened to this phenomenal interview the inimitable Kara Swisher did with April Underwood of Slack, a paragon of product leadership. If you’re not a regular listener, Recode/Decode is a must-listen, and the host loves asking really deep questions about product management (we also love this interview she did with Megan Quinn).

Underwood discussed (at around 7:30) the ways in which product management has changed, and how as a role it changes every five years. When she got into it, an MBA was a requirement, but she thinks it has gone from a business role to a technical one, to now being all about design. It’s a joy to listen to.

Another product person I love on Twitter is Bo Ren, who also just tweeted about the changes in the role:

Perspectives on the changes abound, of course. This topic never gets old – I love hearing how people ended up in product.

A Thread of Gold

“The most important thing in customer service is not meeting deadlines, it’s keeping promises. If we never promise to meet their deadline we are fine.”

Expectation management, not just on this deadline but on how we handle out-of-contract requests. It’s a nuanced thing.

— Stephanie Hurlburt @ PAX West (@sehurlburt) September 5, 2018

This whole thread by entrepreneur Stephanie Hulbert made me think about changing our perspective and reconsidering our relationship with customers and users. The whole thread is very much worth reading, but if you focus on one thing, just remember this: so much of product management is expectation management. Learn to say no.

Changing jobs?

This post popped up on my LinkedIn because Wade Shearer commented on it, and it’s an interesting example of how job titles are evolving in product (or product-adjacent) roles. Worth following the lively discussion in the comments to this job seeker’s question.

If you are, in fact looking to change jobs, may we recommend this one:

You’ll get to work with our friend Maria Thomas who recently joined Bitly after a rich tenure at Insightly. You can get a sense of the kind of leader she is in this interview we did with her earlier this year.