This week, the productboard team gathered at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco for Mind the Product, the largest product conference in the world. It was our first time sponsoring what one Product Manager described as “product management Christmas,” and we were excited to engage with over 1600 product enthusiasts hailing from 34 different countries.

The global product community weighs in on Product Excellence

At the productboard booth, our sales team powered through personalized demos and visitors stopped to spin the Product Excellence question wheel we brought along. If you’ve a regular reader of our blog, you know that Product Excellence is the methodology that our product is built on. It consists of three core pillars of mastery that excellent product teams share, and the questions on the Product Excellence wheel all pertained to these three pillars.

mind the product demo

So what thoughts did the global product community have about 1. gathering deep user insight, 2. setting a clear product strategy, and 3. rallying their teams around an inspiring roadmap? Here are some of the answers we collected throughout the day:

How do you align your team?

“We distill customer needs, focus on their emotions, and communicate them to teams across the company.” — Adam Rubin, Business Manager at Capital One

“We have a big leadership team on the product and technology side that is spread out globally. We meet in-person twice a year and get together every 2 ½ months to chat about strategy and major decisions that need to be made. During these meetings, we do a roadmap alignment and go through everything everyone wants to accomplish. We then score, prioritize, and execute from there.” — James Overling, Director of Business Strategy Execution at American Express

What’s more important? Design or functionality.

“Visual design is the cherry on top.” — Ben McMaster, Product Strategist at Philosophie

“Design is functionality. You design for an outcome, and the design should complement functionality.” — Aaron Skinner, Sr. Product Manager, The Home Depot

mind the product excellence wheel

How do you define product strategy?

“Product strategy is the connection between what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and whom you’re doing it for.”
— Betina Evancha, Director of Product at Peloton Interactive

How do you process user insights?

“We do UX prototyping and user research, then gather the data and validate our assumptions. We pay close attention to feedback and use feedback to iterate.”
— Steven Ho, PM at Jobvite

How do you earn buy-in?

“Our team is highly data-driven. We earn buy-in using support from core metrics.” — Chris Barning, Product Manager MT&T Bank

“We continuously collect insights from end users and stakeholders, then implement that feedback. We give teams a sense of responsibility and ownership over product.”
— Matthew Thanner, Product Manager at Comcast

How do you test feature ideas?

“A/B testing, experimentation, going through concepts directly with customers.”
— Farrukh Zaman, Director of Product Management at Salesforce

A diverse panel of speakers

This year, Mind the Product attendees were thrilled by the event’s diverse 10-speaker panel which included 5 women, 6 minorities, and a variety of backgrounds and expertise.

Martin Eriksson, a Mind the Product founder, presented a quote by Peter Drucker that summarizes why productboard exists as a company…

Brandon Chu, VP of Product, Platform, at Shopify and author of the Black Box of Product Management discussed what the rise of platforms means for your product strategy…

User research expert Steve Portigal dove into how Product Managers can better understand user behaviors, needs, usability, and experience…

Denise Jacobs offered advice on silencing your inner critic and explained why self-compassion correlates with achieving mastery in your field…

Teresa Torres, product discovery coach, preached about the importance of including stakeholders in decision-making…

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Check out the #mtpcon hashtag on Twitter to see what the Mind the Product community is buzzing about. To learn more about Product Excellence, check out the kickoff post of our Age of Product Excellence series and our interview with Rian van der Merwe, Product Manager at Postmark.

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productboard is a product management system that enables teams to get the right products to market faster. Built on top of the Product Excellence framework, productboard serves as the dedicated system of record for product managers and aligns everyone on the right features to build next. Access a free trial of productboard today

Dottie Schrock Jul 17, 2019