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Ken Sandy - Ten tips to lead as a PM through influence


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Product managers are under pressure to drive results, but cannot wield direct power or authority to achieve their objectives. If you don't know how to influence people at all levels of the organization, how will you create the best possible product? In this talk, Ken Sandy shares ten techniques from The Influential Product Manager that product managers can immediately apply at each stage of the product life cycle to achieve the best outcome for the customer and their organization.

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Ken Sandy - Ten tips to lead as a PM through influence

  1. 1. T O N I G H T ’ S S P E A K E R Ken Sandy
  2. 2. What is influence? How do you influence your organization?
  4. 4. 1. Own the Ideas “Build the right product” not “Build the product right”. Encourage and embrace ideas from everywhere Relentlessly collect data and challenge assumptions Ruthlessly prioritize and evangelize the best ideas
  5. 5. 2. Build Relationships Before You Need Them Trust is frequency of quality interaction plus follow-through… minus self-interest. Identify stakeholders. Get out and talk to them. Seek buy-in and practice a no-surprises policy Come with recommendations and options
  6. 6. 3. Focus on the Problem, not the Solution Don’t rush into defining solutions – you don’t understand the problem well enough yet. Define and validate from your customers’ viewpoint Set hypotheses and seek to test possible solutions Context is clarity; it motivates and empowers teams
  7. 7. 4. Collaborate to Set Priorities Prioritization: the processes is the easy bit; the people are the hard bit. Saying “no” is unpleasant – but “yes” can be worse Align on user and business goals/criteria first Use available best-data, and revisit periodically
  8. 8. 5. Understand Customers, First-hand Don’t outsource the most important part of your role. Build empathy and discover new opportunities Frequent, informal and lightweight engagement Partner with research and insight teams
  9. 9. 6. Context over PRDs Much upfront requirements documentation goes unread & holds little resemblance to what’s delivered. Lightweight goal-driven, hypothesis-led specifications Collaborate on solutions – allow them to emerge Not an excuse to abandon process & documentation
  10. 10. 7. Partner with Engineering Engineering Doesn’t Work For You. Focus on why – encourage ownership of what & how Involve Engineering early during discovery Hold kick-offs to share context and retrospectives to improve process and ways of working
  11. 11. 8. Proactively, Decisively Manage Trade-offs Be ready to make tough calls early and throughout execution to keep the team on-track. No nice-to-haves – do the hard work to scope tightly Sensitively navigate estimation and date-setting Respect quality lest you set off a techdebt timebomb
  12. 12. 9. Own Outcomes, Not Projects A product release is not the finish-line, it’s the start of the marathon. Communicate and engage across stakeholder group Disciplined management of post-launch issues Iterate and optimize until delivery of outcomes
  13. 13. 10. Measure What Matters Vanity metrics are distractions, irrelevant to your product – and can mask severe fundamental issues. What demonstrates customers value your product? Viability: Customer-lifetime value > Revenue Your responsibility to define, gather, analyze, report
  14. 14. 10 STEPS TO LEADING THROUGH INFLUENCE 1. Own the Ideas 2. Build Relationships Before You Need Them 3. Focus on the Problem, not the Solution 4. Collaborate to Set Priorities 5. Understand Customers, First-hand 6. Context over PRDs 7. Partner with Engineering 8. Proactively, Decisively Manage Trade-offs 9. Own Outcomes, Not Projects 10. Measure What Matters
  15. 15. linkedin/in/kensandy eBOOK DEAL 40% discount