April11: Onboarding Product Managers w/Larry McKeogh
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April11: Onboarding Product Managers w/Larry McKeogh

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Larry McKeogh discusses effective interviewing techniques for hiring Product Managers with the Twitter participants at the Global Product Management Talk on Twitter

Larry McKeogh discusses effective interviewing techniques for hiring Product Managers with the Twitter participants at the Global Product Management Talk on Twitter

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April11: Onboarding Product Managers w/Larry McKeogh Document Transcript

  • 1. Transcript from April 11/12, 2011 Best practices for on boarding new Product Managers Global Product Management Talk with Larry McKeogh http://www.prodmgmttalk Subscribe: http://bit.ly/gHIWcO FB: http://on.fb.me/fcNFn8ProdMgmtTalk Check out the questions for todays talk:http://on.fb.me/hmt3jJProdMgmtTalk Thank you to this weeks sponsor @Accept360Innovation ManagementResource Library http://bit.ly/fxB7b3Our speaker, Larry McKeogh is a product manager with firsthand experience of both goodand bad company interview techniques.Larry McKeogh started Rocky Mountain Product Camp, scheduled for April 26, 2011.Macmyday Seasoned product manager here from Sydney, working to develop products for the legalprofession.This is @cindyfsolomon your tweeting co-host from San Francisco bay areaAnd we are started! Welcome everyone to todays talk about on boarding product managerswith @lmckeoghLarry has over 10 years of software and hardware product management experienceLarry also has an electrical engineering degree that was applied to HDTV and advancedimaging system design.Larry has a background in nuclear power plant instruction and operationLarry participates in triathlon and outdoor activities year round in Boulder, Colorado.Hello there, @lisaw1 from San Francisco Bay AreaTodays Questions for both sides of the interview table: http://on.fb.me/hmt3jJQ1: Starting at the beginning, is product management well understood at your company?Why do you say that?(The format is to post the question and please answer with A1)lmckeogh A1: No, not when I interview & both eng. that I interview w/ ask/state they don’tknow what a Product Manager really doesbrainmates We see a wide variety of flavours of #prodmgmt in our work. It makes it hard tohire A Product Manager role.lmckeogh A1: Looks like an education opportunityMacmyday A1: Yes and no. For some ppl PM is "all the tech stuff", while others see a morebroad picture of it. Thank you to our Sponsor 1 Sponsor ProdMgmtTalk: http://bit.ly/gF0Tt3
  • 2. Transcript from April 11/12, 2011 Best practices for on boarding new Product Managers Global Product Management Talk with Larry McKeogh http://www.prodmgmttalk Subscribe: http://bit.ly/gHIWcO FB: http://on.fb.me/fcNFn8sunita_ferrao A1 Yes. Bridged the gap bet competing reqts, quality releases & eng.Time+collaboration+mgmt support=successful PM deptlisaw1 Not well understood or respected; things are changing slowly. PMs need to work onbuilding relationships w/engProdMgmtTalk I find that each company defines it according to their needs, or weaknesses inthe organizationbrainmates re Q1) Better to hire for a role within a #prodmgmtteam. ie Prod-marketing, prod-operations, prod-development, etc.lmckeogh Is #productmgmt a profession or a job description?Macmyday A1: Some ppl see diff things when talking about products: It could beentitlements to subscription or a platform.ProdMgmtTalk skype discussion on who defines what PM is - shouldnt we band together anddefine it for otherslisaw1 re Q1) PMs need to straddle difficult line between being a Business person & a techie;need a mix of both, IMHOMacmyday A1: Challenge for PMs is to evangelise their product and to give org the broadervision and state of product.lmckeogh While there is a physical diff betwn products / services, froma #prodmgmt standpoint does it matter?piplzchoice RT @lmckeogh: While there is a physical diff betwn products /services #prodmgmttalk that begs for definition of productbrainmates @lmckeogh we look at the combination and interaction good and services as the"product" that people exchange value for.Macmyday @lmckeogh "Products" can be broad in their meaning. Can be service, but needs tobe well defined.lisaw1 Could you define services? Sometimes Ive seen ppl define products as a suite ofservices, depends on co., ofcourselmckeogh @piplzchoice : yes it does. IMO (and simple terms), a product is something thatultimately generates revenueMacmyday @lmckeogh PM profession vs. JD: PM is a mission and call. Thank you to our Sponsor 2 Sponsor ProdMgmtTalk: http://bit.ly/gF0Tt3
  • 3. Transcript from April 11/12, 2011 Best practices for on boarding new Product Managers Global Product Management Talk with Larry McKeogh http://www.prodmgmttalk Subscribe: http://bit.ly/gHIWcO FB: http://on.fb.me/fcNFn8piplzchoice @lmckeogh I was trained to define it from POV of customers job they hire my"product" to doProdMgmtTalk Moving on: Q2: How does a company decide the type of product managementskill level needed?brainmates This sounds like a fundamental challenge in describing#prodmgmt. If we cantagree on a defn of product what about#prodmgmt?Macmyday Can products also be processes? -- I would think soProdMgmtTalk @Macmyday whatever is produced and sold is the product -including businessprocesses, services, intangibleslmckeogh RT @Macmyday: Can products also be processes? -- I would think so. [tend to notthink so at 1st glance]cindyfsolomon A2: company looks at what is needed to get the product out the door orwhatever else isnt being done by engineering...lisaw1 A2) Maybe I havent been lucky, but have not seen much in terms of decision criteriain terms of Prodmgmt skill level neededErikaLAndersen I agree. But depends on company. RT @Macmyday: Can products also beprocesses? -- I would think so.lmckeogh A2: Based upon existing skill set and the need to fill in the gapsMacmyday A2: Entirely depends on the companys view of#prodmgmt AND their hiringqualities.brainmates A2) The skill level depends on the outcomes that are required. Are the desiredoutcomes strategic or tactical?lmckeogh @ProdMgmtTalk : So are you implying #prodmgmt should be used to fill engineeringgaps?lisaw1 Agreed RT @ProdMgmtTalk A2: co. looks at what is needed to get product out the door orwhatever else isnt being done by engProdMgmtTalk @lisaw1 that is exactly the point @lmckeogh is making today! "not muchdecision criteria in terms of Prodmgmt skill level reqKirstenLester A2: budget vs how much Sr Mgmt can fill gaps - at least thats one view Iveseen Thank you to our Sponsor 3 Sponsor ProdMgmtTalk: http://bit.ly/gF0Tt3
  • 4. Transcript from April 11/12, 2011 Best practices for on boarding new Product Managers Global Product Management Talk with Larry McKeogh http://www.prodmgmttalk Subscribe: http://bit.ly/gHIWcO FB: http://on.fb.me/fcNFn8@ProdMgmtTalk @lmckeogh NO - prodmgmt should NOT just fill in engineering gaps - that is amistake & limits prodmgmt impactMacmyday A2: Some companies get agents to hire, but if agents dont understand PM its afutile activity. Waiting for right pays offProdMgmtTalk @lisaw1 all statements contribute to the conversation!brainmates @Macmyday Repeatable process is what binds together a great product experience.ErikaLAndersen re Q2: Take it no widely-recognized minimum requirements to become pmlisaw1 @brainmates the best outcomes require both strategy & the tactics to get them done,IMHOlmckeogh A2: Looking for particular domain knowledge to help the product outProdMgmtTalk @brainmates Nick Coster just explained what he meant by repeatable processverbally...ProdMgmtTalk Nice segue Q3. Are you looking for domain expertise? Are others e.g. HR,engineering?Macmyday Any experiences how "true product organisations" hire?ProdMgmtTalk Q3: They think that domain experience is essential - speeds the process to hitthe ground running. we think PM foundation morebrainmates @lisaw1 @brainmates overall #prodmgmt requires Tactical and Strategy, however itis difficult to excel at both in one role.ProdMgmtTalk @Macmyday Im adding your excellent questions to thelist http://on.fb.me/fblbK8ErikaLAndersen Related to @Macmyday: Any examples of "true product organisations"?lisaw1 A3 I find reqs involving must-haves for domain experience a bit frustrating; a good PMshould be able to figure it outpiplzchoice @Macmyday 1. tech background, 2. Project Management skills, inbound marketingunderstanding, anything above is huge plus Thank you to our Sponsor 4 Sponsor ProdMgmtTalk: http://bit.ly/gF0Tt3
  • 5. Transcript from April 11/12, 2011 Best practices for on boarding new Product Managers Global Product Management Talk with Larry McKeogh lmckeog http://www.prodmgmttalk Subscribe: http://bit.ly/gHIWcO FB: http://on.fb.me/fcNFn8 h A3: domainexpertise != good #prodmgmt. If you can get all in 1 great, but should be open to quicklearning abilitylisaw1 @brainmates totally agree! Need more time in a day, thats for sure:)ProdMgmtTalk I always think that personality traits are important as well: flexibility,charm...., humor....lmckeogh @lisaw1 : have to show transferable skills & how you will overcome the lack ofdomain expertise todayrickwatson A3: In my experience domain expertise is less importance than super-quicklearning.brainmates @ProdMgmtTalk re repeatable processes: built in to the product, is sales process,support process, etc need to be designed in.Macmyday A3: Domain expertise is important/essential, but skills are also transferable.ProdMgmtTalk And seriously, ability to negotiate, deligate, inspire others to agree, stand firmwith dataMacmyday @lmckeogh Sorry. R u asking for the to-be-state or the is-state?ErikaLAndersen See PM as ultimate in contrasts: tactical & strategic, detail & big picture,knows everything & quick to learn...lmckeogh @ProdMgmtTalk : Ive found data to be the great equalizer. With it you can ask anyquestion. Without it you are powerlessaussiegoldy A3: I look for editorial, engineering understanding, monetisation, P&L exp, salesstrategy and good at working w/ other teamsbrainmates A3) Domain experience is handy but #prodmgmtexpertise can be the differencebetween success and failure.lmckeogh @Macmyday : I think it has to be the to-be state if I am following youKirstenLester A3: try taking from other dept 2 build PM team. Domain exp = good, PM exp=gr8... Personality 4 stratgic thinking helps Thank you to our Sponsor 5 Sponsor ProdMgmtTalk: http://bit.ly/gF0Tt3
  • 6. Transcript from April 11/12, 2011 Best practices for on boarding new Product Managers Global Product Management Talk with Larry McKeogh lisaw1 I http://www.prodmgmttalk Subscribe: http://bit.ly/gHIWcO FB: http://on.fb.me/fcNFn8 started out asa developer; became a Project Manager, & now do a mix of both Proj & ProdMgmt; so bothtactical & strategicMacmyday @lmckeogh @ProdMgmtTalk What sort of data do you mean? Demographics? Stats?ProdMgmtTalk Were skipping to Q5: What question(s) have you used to truly assess acandidates qualifications?ProdMgmtTalk @lisaw1 please lead a twitter talk on your evolution in Product Management!lmckeogh @Macmyday : All the above. IMO, It depends on the topic at hand the decision to bemadeMacmyday @lmckeogh Not so sure domain exp is not good. I wouldnt want to be PM for anuclear plant (obviously you have the exp not I)aussiegoldy A3: PMs need to be able to rationalise their own jobs and products. They need toknow enough from each team they work with.lisaw1 Im way not that interesting! But Ill consider it:) Thx for askingrickwatson A5: Tell me about a project youre proud of starts a great conversation which cankick off an hour of questions.piplzchoice @Macmyday MRX is not limited to Demographics. Data that shows how a productmeets customer expectations and needslisaw1 A5: & ask about project failure, and what they have learned; thats very tellingrickwatson A5: Its important to dive into details of decisions to learn about their personality,drive, and thinking.aussiegoldy A5: When a candidate states sthing in their CV, I ask for at least 1 example toillustrate.lmckeogh @Macmyday : my comment= broad generalization.There are limits of course. Shouldhave a tech aptitude to understand & catch onbrainmates A5) We ask potential team members show an example oftheir #prodmgmt writing, eg a biz case, or PRD or even a blog post.Macmyday A5: What is your approach to get a good product/service/process to market?lmckeogh @rickwatson : how does that assess the qualifications vs. being a good story teller Thank you to our Sponsor 6 Sponsor ProdMgmtTalk: http://bit.ly/gF0Tt3
  • 7. Transcript from April 11/12, 2011 Best practices for on boarding new Product Managers Global Product Management Talk with Larry McKeogh paulalex http://www.prodmgmttalk Subscribe: http://bit.ly/gHIWcO FB: http://on.fb.me/fcNFn8 gray A5 :Iexpect to hear STAR - Situation, Task, Action, Result for experience/capability questionsbrainmates A5) (cont) Writing shows thinking process and communication ability. Both arevital skills.lisaw1 A5) Sometimes that stuff (biz case, etc...) is proprietary, so need to change the corpnames to protect the innocentMacmyday RT @brainmates We ask potential team members show an exmpl oftheir #prodmgmt writing, eg a biz case, PRD or even a blog post.rickwatson @lmckeogh its the questions you ask about "why" the candidate did something.every candidate answer drives 5 more questions.rickwatson @lmckeogh its most important to know what kind of thinker you are dealing with.ProdMgmtTalk Moving on to Q6: How, as a candidate, do you convey your value in a shortperiod of time?lmckeogh @lisaw1 : you could ask hypothetical questions w/ hypothetical data to be usedlisaw1 RT @rickwatson @lmckeogh its the questions you ask about "why" the candidate didsomething. every answer drives 5 more qsMacmyday A5: One thing you cant ask, but will find out in interview is personality.lmckeogh RT @rickwatson: @lmckeogh its most important to know what kind of thinker you aredealing with. [agreed]lisaw1 @lmckeogh youre absolutely right! Ive done that, actuallyaussiegoldy A6: Need to create a pic that you have broad understanding of prod areas, butspecifically can increase audience and revenuelisaw1 One question Ive been asked a lot is: How do you deal w/difficult ppl & situations? &give example; tell a storylmckeogh I use a portfolio of examples. Dont show proprietary information but show base PMprinciples in actionlmckeogh @aussiegoldy : used cost-benefit analysis to show the valuebrainmates A6) deliver output. Whatever it is just make sure that it is communicated. Thishighlights you as the leader of the product.lisaw1 Agreed @aussiegoldy If you as PM dont have an understanding of the market &customer, youre sunk:( Thank you to our Sponsor 7 Sponsor ProdMgmtTalk: http://bit.ly/gF0Tt3
  • 8. Transcript from April 11/12, 2011 Best practices for on boarding new Product Managers Global Product Management Talk with Larry McKeogh Macmyd http://www.prodmgmttalk Subscribe: http://bit.ly/gHIWcO FB: http://on.fb.me/fcNFn8 ay A6: Giveexamples of your experience and show where and how you were leading it.aussiegoldy A6: Storytelling is a great way to demonstrate what you can do. Ppl rememberstories about what you did, not what you did.brainmates A6) Ask questions about the market and distill this into you own insights. Thentest them with others and the market.ProdMgmtTalk Moving on: Q7. How important is culture and fit to your group?lmckeogh A7: Very important, IMO. A little grit in the gears can ruin the whole machinerickwatson A7: Culture and fit are a dealbreaker in any hire. People are people. PMs need tobe great at working with people.brainmates A7) It doesnt hurt to be a bit different but you still have to be able to get along toget the job done.lisaw1 A7) Culture & fit is very important, but especially critical in a startup where there areless ppl, w/multiple hatsProdMgmtTalk Thank you to this weeks sponsor @Accept360Innovation ManagementResource Library http://bit.ly/fxB7b3aussiegoldy Q7: Culture fit is the most imp. You cant work together properly as team unlessyou understand each other and can bond.lmckeogh A7: make sure to get outside of the normal interview confines to assess theindividuals personality. e.g. dinner, lunch, etc.KirstenLester @ProdMgmtTalk A7: culture not as important as ability to achieve, influence, growco. But its personal choice.paulalexgray A7. Aptitude can be learnt. Attitude is something more innate. Screen out thosew/o skills, then select on attitudeMacmyday A7: Personality & ability to learn quickly are important. Both part of culture and fit.lisaw1 A7) Ppl skills will take you a long way as a PM; Being a PM is much more ppl-centric asopposed to being an eng, I thinkProdMgmtTalk RT @aussiegoldy: A6: Storytelling is a great way to demonstrate what you cando. (Next week Josh Duncan discusses this!)aussiegoldy @lmckeogh Totally agree with you. When I interview ppl I get a feeling from themquite quickly whether theyll fit the team. Thank you to our Sponsor 8 Sponsor ProdMgmtTalk: http://bit.ly/gF0Tt3
  • 9. Transcript from April 11/12, 2011 Best practices for on boarding new Product Managers Global Product Management Talk with Larry McKeogh http://www.prodmgmttalk Subscribe: http://bit.ly/gHIWcO FB: http://on.fb.me/fcNFn8lmckeogh @KirstenLester : is it a personal choice meaning hiring mgr, or a corporate choice orboth?joshua_d RT @Macmyday: A7: Personality & ability to learn quickly are important. Both part ofculture and fit.equintanilla RT @KirstenLester @ProdMgmtTalk A7: culture not as important as ability to achieve,influence, grow co. pers. choice.Macmyday @lisaw1 PMs need to get along with many ppl. Engineers will pick up if you bullshitthem.ProdMgmtTalk BTW - all questions raised available to answer via blog posting! reposted atwww.prodmgmttalk.com http://on.fb.me/hljxboProdMgmtTalk Moving on to Q8: Now that you’ve made the decision, how do you position yournew PM for success?lmckeogh A8: have a good on boarding process where you introduce them to the companypower brokersaussiegoldy A8: Give the PM enough rope, yet enough support to allow them to develop theproduct.Macmyday A8: PDPs, objectives, give ppl the prospect of career development.lmckeogh A8: provide means to get in front of customers quicklyaussiegoldy @ProdMgmtTalk Thats great! Was on webinar w@peterguber talking aboutstorytelling recently. He is a master.brainmates A8) Make it clear what outputs are required and by when. Just saying "go for it"isnt very helpful.Macmyday A8 Introduce new hire to company and ensure role & responsibilities are clearlmckeogh A8: provide a crash course in company processes and expected deliverables forproductbrainmates A8) Communicate to the rest of the org that the new PM will be making thedecisions for the product then back them up.SteveKoss Q8 the PM must be positioned with the org/product vision to establish rhythm oryou will have ongoing theological wars Thank you to our Sponsor 9 Sponsor ProdMgmtTalk: http://bit.ly/gF0Tt3
  • 10. Transcript from April 11/12, 2011 Best practices for on boarding new Product Managers Global Product Management Talk with Larry McKeogh http://www.prodmgmttalk Subscribe: http://bit.ly/gHIWcO FB: http://on.fb.me/fcNFn8ProdMgmtTalk Thank you to this weeks sponsor @Accept360Innovation ManagementResource Library for product managershttp://bit.ly/fxB7ProdMgmtTalk Join us next week "Why Being relevant (starting with the story) isnt enough"with @joshua_d Josh Duncanhttp://bit.ly/dLHNQrProdMgmtTalk Todays transcript & twitter list will be posted within 48 hours for yourblogging responses! www.prodmgmttalk.comaussiegoldy Thanks everyone - was another great hour!lisaw1 Thx for a great discussion! Hope to see yall next weekProdMgmtTalk Thank you to Nick Coster co-host tweeting as@brainmates today!brainmates @ProdMgmtTalk @brainmates It has been fun. Glad I could help this week while Adrienne isoffsite. @nickcosterProdMgmtTalk Thank you to our speaker, @lmckeogh Background info for todays talk postedon site prodmgmttalk.combrainmates Great discussion today! New insights and some common themes. what is a product, whatare PM skills, domain vs pm skills.Macmyday So long, back to work ;-) Thx everyone.ProdMgmtTalk Thankyou @lmckeogh @lisaw1 @joshua_d@Macmyday @aussiegoldy @cindyfsolomon @brainmates@SteveKoss @sunita_ferrao @piplzchoicAppreciatedparticipation! @equintanilla@KirstenLester @paulalexgray @sabinagargiulo @rickwatson@ErikaLAndersen @Accept360 Thank you to our Sponsor 10 Sponsor ProdMgmtTalk: http://bit.ly/gF0Tt3