Keynote: Organisational agility + product alignment to drive innovation – Craig Rees

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Craig Rees has been in digital product management since early 2000. Working across retail, media, technology and financial services sectors in both Europe and Asia. Originally from the UK but now based in Australia he has been involved with organisations such as BBC, Sensis, Atlassian, SKY, Vodafone and BCG Digital Ventures (A division of the Boston Consulting Group) where he has built up and led teams that have been at the forefront of modern product development and innovation practices including agile, lean and design thinking.

His belief is that organisational agility will be the difference between the companies that succeed and those that don’t. His driving passion is that there has to be a better way, to bring new products to market, to build software platforms and to innovate beyond the constraints of your organisation whoever they may be or what they may do.

Craig has recently taken on the role of Chief Product Officer at Unlockd a startup in the adtech space based in Melbourne, New York and London.

Keynote: Influencing with Stories – Shawn Callahan

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We’re excited to announce Shawn Callahan as a Product Camp keynote this August!

Shawn will talk about how to build your ability to share stories to influence your stakeholders. This will be a practical session where you will learn some new skills to find and tell effective oral stories.

Shawn Callahan is the author of Putting Stories to Work and founder of Anecdote, a global company that helps leaders with influencing and inspiring action with oral stories.

He helps leaders find and tell the story of their strategy, change, their company & values – and also the story of their product or service.

Anecdote works with companies such as Mars, Danone, Allianz, SAP, Tesco and Shell and delivers training for leaders in 20 countries and in 6 languages. Shawn has been working with organisational stories for close on 20 years and is regarded as a world leader in his field.

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If you want to do some reading before Product Camp, grab Shawn’s book here.

Camp Wrap-up: Transformation is just scaled up product management

We started the day with a keynote from Megan Fisher from Sensis talking about her move from product management to corporate transformation.

Megan wasn’t sure this role was for her when she was approached about it. She was product, not transformation! It’s only after she started getting into it that she realised transformation is just a big scale product management role.

Megan FisherMegan kicking off..

  • Develop your Principles
  • Sponsorship & Ownership
  • Test & Learn
  • Create the right decision making framework
  • Do Showcases

Develop your Principles

Megan presented the principles they have been using in their transformation project. These need to be appropriate to your business so develop your own list for your transformation or product management area. These agreed principles will help not only yourself guide what should end up on your roadmap or backlog, but will assist others in knowing what to focus on when you aren’t able to be in every discussion. In their case, along with test & learn, easy upgrade path, success milestones, and DIY focus, being able to simplify the product, process and technology were key.

Sponsorship & Ownership

Have a sponsor that suits the change. You need someone who’s advocating the change. As a product manager you are always a change advocate, but you need support beyond just yourself. Your line manager might not be the right person for doing this. Make sure your stakeholders are involved early and involved in creating the requirements. They should also have accountability.

Test and Learn

While you should take the time to try to get it right – be aware that won’t always be the case – especially the first time. Building a test & learn approach from the beginning is a great way to approach this. Having a user group (internal or external) so you can talk with users is recommended. This might seem obvious when using agile practices in the product development world, however we often forget to plan time to go back and apply the learnings! If every iteration, next release plan is booked up before you’ve gotten feedback from the previous release then you aren’t really using a test and learn approach.

Enjoy the transformation. Don’t run away because as a product person, this is where you really get to learn

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Decision Making

Understand when your company is comfortable with making decisions – including how much analysis is needed and how much discussion is required. Understanding how to make better decisions is also something to consider and that can include who needs to be involved as well as how to get the information out there that a decision has been made (Yammer? Forums?).

Showcases

Showcases are great for many reasons – they show what you already delivered, they create buy-in & engagement and help everyone be transparent with both mistakes and success. Showcases can also help people get accustomed to change. Megan found this was a great way of getting involvement. Their showcases involved up to 100 people for 3-5 hours. They would start in a big group & then have smaller break out sessions. Remember – we product people can see the future for our product but not everyone can. Some of our audience isn’t used to looking into the future so showcases can help them begin to see & make adjustments. In Megan’s case the showcase would start with an intro to the whole forum & then breakout into small groups. The key strategy in creating engagement was to get the business owner stream leads and the future users of the new functionality to do the talking. Not just the “product” people. These smaller sessions were no more than 30m for each topic demo and no more than 20 people in the group so that people could see and felt able to ask questions.

 

Q&A

Division btwn decision makers and those providing info. Comittee decision never good. Understand the escalation path.

Camp Wrap-up: Product Management Finance (& a Tardis)

Amanda Ralph, Head of Product at Kinetic Super, gave our 2nd keynote of the day – If only I’d had a tardis: Why you shouldn’t rely on time travel to manage your product financials

Amanda said product managers need to be comfortable with finance and in her product roles, she has always owned the P&L or was directly responsible for the numbers trending the right way.

The core role of the product manager is to create value for both the customer and the business – including financial value. In order to do this, you need to predict and measure. Being the voice of the customer is not enough.

Understanding your product’s financials will help you identify value as well as threats and problems. You’ll be able to see what you need to fix and which good things you can possibly push harder.

There are many things you can measure:  

  • Revenue
  • Costs – like costs to acquire, serve, retain
  • Market share
  • Channel Effectiveness
  • See Amanda’s slides below for more

Metrics

Amanda also talked about metrics. When defining your metrics, make sure they are:

  • Measurable
  • Align to your product & business objectives
  • Actionable

Always ask yourself – what is the business driver for that metric? Amanda expects her team to know where their product is according to 5 metrics.

The communication of metrics is also important. You can create a snapshot dashboard with the ability to drill down and use traffic light colors to indicate status. How frequently you communicate depends on what makes sense for your product. Later during Q&A, someone asked whether one metric (i.e. the ‘lean’ one metric to focus on) could suffice. Amanda does not believe 1 metric gives you what you need.

Value Driver Trees

Amanda recommends using value driver trees.

She said they’re really difficult to do but the great thing is they really make you think about the value you should focus on. Amanda recommended this this Slideshare from Chris Doran to learn more.

Product Camp Melbourne 2015

We want to thank Amanda for the great talk and for spending part of her birthday with us!

If only I’d had a tardis: Why you shouldn’t rely on time travel to manage your product financials

amanda profile pic circle bwThere’s lots of conversation about product management and technology. Interested in learning about agile and product management? Or how tech & product management need to work together? Or maybe you’re in the ‘everyone, including product managers, should code’ camp?

But these conversations rarely touch on another important side of product management – money! This is why one of our camp themes this year is finance & why we’re excited to announce Amanda’s keynote!

Amanda Ralph, Head of Product at Kinetic Super, will talk us through why understanding your product financials is so fundamental to driving your product in both its strategic and tactical direction. Amanda will cover:

  • Understanding product value drivers
  • Translating value drivers into actionable portfolio metrics
  • Managing your BAU financials
  • Why good financial management will “buy” you influence and the ability to release value for innovation
  • It’s not just about shipping your product – why you need to understand P & L Basics

Amanda Ralph is an experienced product management leader with over 18 years of experience in product portfolio management and innovation, generating significant revenue and market share growth. In a career spanning a range of corporate and not for profit sectors within Australia and the Pacific Islands, Amanda has championed organisations to embrace product and service innovation opportunities. Over the past 2 years Amanda spearheaded the direction and execution of the product and pricing strategy for the Corporate and Overseas portfolios for Australia’s largest health insurer, Medibank, managing an $860m+ product portfolio. Most recently, Amanda has taken on the role of Head of Product at Kinetic Super, a challenger super brand with $3B funds under management.

Amanda is passionate about customer led product design to deliver best in market products and customer outcomes but also understands the need and value of strong product portfolio financial management.

Amanda has a Bachelor of Economics and a Master of Arts (Asian Studies) from Monash University and is a University of Melbourne Asialink Leadership Fellow and Asia Education Foundation Literacy Ambassador. Amanda lives in Melbourne with her family and in her spare time likes to explore all things cooking related (with a dose of the gym thrown in to try and work it all off!)

Announcing our first keynote speaker for Product Camp Melbourne

Brainmates We are pleased to announce our keynote speaker Megan Fisher – Director: Sensis Digital Foundation will talk about Transforming with product management. For the past two years, Megan has been leading a large transformation program at Sensis. To Megan’s surprise, she found product management tools, skills and experience have been super relevant in managing the corporate transformation.

Running the transformation like a scaled up product development program, Megan will talk about the transformation, how they use key product management skills and knowledge plus how they use product management tools.

Megan has been in the world of product management for the last 20 years with experience in portfolio management, pricing, bundling, product development, UX and much more.

Keynote summary: Scaling Product Management

Our keynote this year was Ben Ross, GM of User Experience & Design, at MYOB who spoke about Scaling Product Management.

Ben talked about how MYOB has doubled their development team but kept the product management team the same size. To handle this, they need to be strategic with their decision making & where they invested their time.

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Ben shared some insights, tools and learnings he developed/borrowed. He’s a fan of ‘stealing’ aka trying ideas you read or hear about and adapting them to your needs.

There are many ways people have tried to describe product management… the CEO of the product, the conductor of the orchestra but Ben has a different analogy – the product manager as the central nervous system, not the brain. As a PM, you are a core part of the system, linked to every part of the business. You need to know what is happening in each part – but you are not driving each part as the brain would.

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Some of the learnings from Ben’s talk:

    • Research, borrow, copy or adjust other peoples’ ideas or tools for road mapping, planning, UX docs, assigning work etc. Use what you can get access to and continue to adopt it and change it to make sense for your business and needs.
    • Don’t change your roadmap too often – you (& your sales folks) need to remain focused.
    • Hire great people! Recruit for agility and the capability, rather than skills. The team needs to continuously improve and develop. Build up a set of capabilities you see fit for your Product Management team and when hiring, choose people based on this.
    • The team is incredibly important. Like a good film crew, the production is better if people have a understanding and appreciation of what everyone else is doing and how this contributes to the final product. Use the whole team…everyone does a bit of everything (big letter vs small letter). They realised BAs could be utalised better by letting them do more which helps the product managers. To scale the product team, was important to work better with the project managers.
    • Document and codify processes: Have clear tools and structures for communication, information distribution and decision making. #RoadMaps #LeanBusinessCanvas #RAPID decision making
    • Work out exactly where the Product Manager needs to be involved in the workflow of product development and ensure the whole team understands responsibilities. Ben recommends Bain’s – Who has the ‘D’ which enables teams to plan and understand who needs to make the decision.
    • Enable all members of the wider team to contribute to product related ideas, where it makes sense. For example, everyone should understand how to complete a lean canvas, so when the idea gets to the Product Manager it has been fleshed out.
    • Create great physical environment that fosters ongoing interaction and collaboration between teams and within teams. MYOB moved offices so they could have an open space with everyone together on 1 floor. They’re big enough that they needed to use an entire floor of a shopping centre!
    • Try and keep a startup mentality in your every day work. No matter how large the organisation.

     

    Ben’s recommended reads & follows:

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    Thanks to Janet Horwell, Liz Blink and Roz (& anyone else I may have missed!) for helping pull together this post.

Keynote announcement: Ben Ross from MYOB

General Manager/User Experience & Design at MYOB, Ben Ross is one of our keynotes on Saturday 4th.

Ben’s talk:

How MYOB scaled product management

Product management is a role that covers an end to end process for creating and maintaining complex digital products and services.

Product managers are at the heart of defining and managing this end to end process – if your PM’s are the centre of your organisational universe (which they should be), and are very very busy, then you need to find a way to efficiently scale them.

In his keynote presentation, Ben will explain how MYOB has created a playbook to scale product management to enable PMs to sustainably manage offerings from concept to production and beyond.

RSVP now!

The second keynote announcement – “Do what you do best and partner for the rest”

Coming up first time slot this Saturday…

Inspiration, Re-Invention, Hackathons & Mashups

“Do what you do best, and partner for the rest.”

Jason Cormier from @SensisAPI will be discussing how combining your things with other people’s things can fast track innovation, increase productivity and deliver elegant solutions for your customers. Drawing on his experiences working with innovation teams at Lonely Planet and Sensis, Jason will discuss how the ‘mashup’ mentality has evolved and exploded with the rise of digital tools like APIs, open platforms, and hackathons.

This will be an interactive session – a key theme of the weekend.  Getting involved is more fun and rewarding than just sitting back and listening.

As a speaker Jason Cormier will be very informative to listen to as an experienced content syndication strategist and a strong advocate for open data and services. As a Partnerships Development Manager for the Sensis API, Jason is responsible for product strategy, marketing, and partner acquisition for one of Australia’s most prominent syndication platforms.