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Matt LeMay - YOU DON'T "GET" ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING

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Matt LeMay - YOU DON'T "GET" ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING

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“How do we get product managers to value user research?”

“How do we get executives to think in an Agile way?”

“How do we get UX researchers to prioritize our work?”

“How do we get our sales team to stop making promises we can’t deliver?”

For the last twelve years, I have heard these questions on a weekly basis. And the answer to all of them is exactly the same: you don’t “get” anyone to do anything. In this talk, product leader and author of Product Management in Practice Matt LeMay shares his experience working across product, UX, marketing, and leadership teams at companies like Google, Audible, Mailchimp, and Spotify. You’ll learn how the path to success in cross-functional product development means embracing ego death and recognizing that you have very little direct control over anyone or anything. No, seriously.

About Matt
Matt LeMay is an internationally recognized product leader, author, and consultant who has worked with companies like Spotify, Audible, Mailchimp, and Google. He is the author of Agile for Everybody (O’Reilly Media, 2018) and Product Management in Practice (Second Edition O’Reilly Media, 2022), and has helped build and scale product management practices at companies ranging from early-stage startups to Fortune 500 enterprises. Matt is the creator of the One Page / One Hour Pledge, a commitment to minimize busywork and maximize collaboration that has been adopted by over 100 individuals and teams at Amazon, Walmart, CNN, BBVA, and more. Previously, Matt worked as Senior Product Manager at music startup Songza (acquired by Google), and Head of Consumer Product at Bitly. Matt is also a musician, recording engineer, and the author of a book about singer-songwriter Elliott Smith.

“How do we get product managers to value user research?”

“How do we get executives to think in an Agile way?”

“How do we get UX researchers to prioritize our work?”

“How do we get our sales team to stop making promises we can’t deliver?”

For the last twelve years, I have heard these questions on a weekly basis. And the answer to all of them is exactly the same: you don’t “get” anyone to do anything. In this talk, product leader and author of Product Management in Practice Matt LeMay shares his experience working across product, UX, marketing, and leadership teams at companies like Google, Audible, Mailchimp, and Spotify. You’ll learn how the path to success in cross-functional product development means embracing ego death and recognizing that you have very little direct control over anyone or anything. No, seriously.

About Matt
Matt LeMay is an internationally recognized product leader, author, and consultant who has worked with companies like Spotify, Audible, Mailchimp, and Google. He is the author of Agile for Everybody (O’Reilly Media, 2018) and Product Management in Practice (Second Edition O’Reilly Media, 2022), and has helped build and scale product management practices at companies ranging from early-stage startups to Fortune 500 enterprises. Matt is the creator of the One Page / One Hour Pledge, a commitment to minimize busywork and maximize collaboration that has been adopted by over 100 individuals and teams at Amazon, Walmart, CNN, BBVA, and more. Previously, Matt worked as Senior Product Manager at music startup Songza (acquired by Google), and Head of Consumer Product at Bitly. Matt is also a musician, recording engineer, and the author of a book about singer-songwriter Elliott Smith.

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Matt LeMay - YOU DON'T "GET" ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING

  1. 1. YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING Matt LeMay / matt@mattlemay.com / @mattlemay UX Brighton Nov 4 2022
  2. 2. Hi! It is great to be here with y’all today. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  3. 3. (Gratuitous fancy slide) @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  4. 4. I do a lot of these talks, and get a lot of questions. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  5. 5. … and a lot of them are more or less the same thing. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  6. 6. How do we get product managers to value user research? @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  7. 7. How do we get user researchers to prioritize the work we actually need? @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  8. 8. How do we get sales to stop promising things we can’t deliver? @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  9. 9. How do we get executives to stop handing us lists of things to build? @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  10. 10. Great news! All of these questions have exact the same answer…. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  11. 11. YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  12. 12. Say it with me now…. “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  13. 13. Say it with me now…. “get” anyone to do anything @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  14. 14. Say it with me now…. “get” anyone to do anything @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  15. 15. YOU. DON’T. “GET”. ANYONE. TO. DO. ANYTHING. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  16. 16. You might be thinking…. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  17. 17. … but really @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  18. 18. “When we attempt to exercise power or control over someone else, we cannot avoid giving that person the very same power or control over us.” - Alan Watts @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  19. 19. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  20. 20. We have the power to ask di ff erent questions. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  21. 21. How do we get executives to stop handing us lists of things to build? @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  22. 22. How do we get help executives to stop handing us lists of things to build? @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  23. 23. How do we get help executives to stop handing us lists of things to build understand the trade-o ff s that will best achieve their goals? @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  24. 24. How do we get help executives to stop handing us lists of things to build understand the trade-o ff s that will best achieve their goals? @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  25. 25. Executives don’t always know exactly what their goals are to begin with. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  26. 26. If you’re given a list of 10 things to build, try to understand which of them is most important, and to whom. See if you can help rank or prioritize them. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  27. 27. Explaining trade-o ff s helps to clarify goals. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  28. 28. The best product people stay in optionality. Which means they never have to say “yes” or “no”. Which means they are less likely to be defensive and ego driven. Which means they are less likely to give up their power to people who they can’t “get” to do things. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  29. 29. BONUS: UX folks are often particularly good at putting people, communities, and ecosystems at the heart of these decisions. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  30. 30. “Which of these do you think would help our users the most?” “Which of these do you think will get us closest to achieving our vision for a better world?” @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  31. 31. Fun fact: executives are confused, scared, weird humans just like you are. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  32. 32. Who is one person who you are afraid will sabotage or undermine your work? Reach out to them and approach them with curiosity to better understand their goals. You might be surprised. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  33. 33. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  34. 34. How do we get product managers to value user research? How do we get user researchers to prioritize the work we actually need? @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  35. 35. For starters, most of what we just discussed about executives is also true of product managers. (Though they are de fi nitely NOT “mini-CEOs”) @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  36. 36. How do we get product managers to value user research? How do we get user researchers to prioritize the work we actually need? @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  37. 37. How do we get product managers to value user research? How do we get user researchers to prioritize the work we actually need? How do we work together to achieve our goals? @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  38. 38. Most questions of role clarity are actually best resolved by goal clarity. [Football GIF omitted because I’m new to the UK and don’t want to get myself in trouble] @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  39. 39. “… the prevalent sensation of oneself as a separate ego enclosed in a bag of skin is a hallucination which accords neither with Western science nor with the experimental philosophy-religions of the East.” - Alan Watts, cat daddy @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  40. 40. High performing cross-functional teams naturally self- organise around shared goals. (Even teams with redundant or ambiguous roles!) @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  41. 41. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING The problem, again, is that many teams don’t actually know what their goals are, and certainly not at a high enough altitude to naturally coalesce around them.
  42. 42. Speci fi city Altitude Fluffy mission statements and the like Vague user stories Fiddly product-level KPIs and metrics What goals are we working towards? @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  43. 43. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING *Check out Adam Thomas / @TheHonorableAT for more on “Survival Metrics”!
  44. 44. Aligning your team around high-speci fi city, high- altitude goals requires deliberate and thoughtful facilitation. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  45. 45. How do we get product managers to facilitate a conversation about high- altitude, high-speci fi city goals? @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  46. 46. How do we get product managers help our team to facilitate a conversation about understand and articulate our high-altitude, high-speci fi city goals? @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING •Ask folks on your team what they’re working towards and why. •Do prioritisation and stack- ranking exercises as a friendly thought experiment. •Invite folks from your team into discovery and research sessions.
  47. 47. BONUS: UX folks are often really good facilitators!! @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  48. 48. “Facilitation is undervalued because it is femme-coded.” -Saielle DaSilva / @intentionaut @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  49. 49. Remember to be patient! These things take time. You can’t solve everything all at once—and neither could the people you wish you could “get” to do something. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  50. 50. To summarize. Saying or thinking that “IF ONLY SO-AND-SO WOULD DO SUCH-AND-SUCH” means we are living in an ego-driven fantasy and giving SO-AND-SO more power than they probably have in reality. @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING
  51. 51. Matt LeMay @mattlemay tw (mostly product stu ff ) @mttlmy ig (mostly fashion stu ff ) matt@mattlemay.com @mattlemay | YOU DON’T “GET” ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING

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