Most Inspiring Talks of the Productized 2017 Conference

Even though I didn’t visit last year’s product management conference Productized in Lisbon, I watched the whole 9 hours long official re-live video two times for picking out these cherries for me and for you:

Rian van der Merwe “How to build successful products by prioritizing team happiness above everything else“


Rian van der Merwe is product manager at Wildbit, a small software company and creator of Postmark, a transactional email app. His talk was sympathic, courageous (he called it “weird”) and for me very inspiring!

Focus on your team first

His hypothesis was: “Focus on your team first! Then they can focus on your customer!” In the first place, this seems to be really “weird”. But I can confirm him, because if you, as a product manager, work day by day for a perfect team collaboration, you continuously reflect and try to improve the skillsets and processes. And this will lead sooner or later to succesful products!

Who am I?

A worthful hint from Rian was, to write down all the tasks and things you are currently doing as a product manager and structure them via a mindmap tool. This will lead to 3 focus areas:Team, Customers and Product. In exactly this order. I will try this for my own the next few days.

Direct Link

Rushil Dave „Creation, Maintenance & Destruction: A Product Lifecycle Philosophy”

#ProductLifeCycle #BuildMeasureLearn

Rushil, who is senior product manager at Zalando, introduced the audience to his Lean Product Lifecycle:

Lean Product Lifecycle by Rushil Dave

Lean Product Lifecycle by Rushil Dave

Sure, the initially shown Build – Measure- Learn cycle is well known. The interesting part was, that he postulated, that you always should validate the customer need of a new topic before you build something and let your team jump into code! So you always should implement a validate phase. Additionally, you, as a product manager, should always check, in what stage your product is and decide different approaches of validation:

  • Stage 1: Slip into the role of a creator and validate
  • Stage 2: Slip into the role of a preserver and iterate & experiment
  • Stage 3: Slip into the role of a transformer and re-build

Direct Link

Tim Herbig „MVPs are too expensive – How waste-less validation generates lean insights“

#MVP #Validation #Discovery

Tim, who I know personally and really appreciate his great blog articles and awesome podcast episodes, told us about the misconceptions of MVPs and why they’re often too expensive.

I really love his definition of a MVP:

A MVP is about building the most critical value proposition to further prove your product idea’s potential and product market fit and shipping it in the best possible quality. It is not about building slimmed down or extremely compromised versions of all your features.

Common misconceptions are:

  1. They’re crappy features of all planned features…
  2. …but are good to live on after launch anyway.
  3. They’re the cheapest way to validate critical hypotheses

The most valuable takeaway for me of his talk were his list of the four biggest validation (discovery) mistakes:

  1. Failing for confirmation bias
  2. Setting up only one hypothesis
  3. Only validating indirectly
  4. Picking the wrong method for the right questions

Direct Link

Jordan Brown “No Obstacles: Building Your Product-Centered Delivery Culture“

#Design #Culture #SharedOwnership #Holistic #ProductCentricity #Playbook

Working as a senior consultant at ThoughtWorks in New York, Jordan gave an enthuastic and high-energy talk about his approach of shifting a company to a product-centered culture. One of my favourite subjects!

See presentation on SlideShare

Culture of Design

He presented the crowd a playbook for implementing product centricity as the culture of design.  The key for that is, that you need to give your team in the first place a greater understanding of product centricity. He you have to create new thought leaders and interlink your daily product work with all the other departments to make sure that marketing, engineering and product are working much closer with each other. The sad news is: This is a long-term endeavour!

Behaviors, Values and Norms

Very interested I listened to his explanations to behaviors, values and norms, which are subject of culture:


  1. Why > What + How: Start always in the problem space – and NOT in the solution space!
  2. Outcomes > Outputs: Business values outscores velocity!
  3. Boundaries > Constraints: Are we working effectively?
  4. Better > Perfect: Will we validate this with real users?


In the organizational behavior patterns, we go through the process of discovery (researching customer needs), prioritization ( selecting the best place to invest), prototyping through validation, measurement of the results of gained experience, and scaling the successful ones to the higher and greater successes.


Everything is negotiable

Iterative design is hypothesis driven —we discover new truth, things, change, and so we do. We try new things. If some things stops being useful, it’s gone. Everything in service of the outcomes. Nothing for it’s own sake.

Everyone is a Product Owner/Designer

Everyone should be an active part in the whole product design process. Everyone can sketch, prototype or even write some lines of code!

Design with the user

As much as is reasonable and possible, the continuous design of the product will be a collaborative endeavour. As much as is reasonable + possible the user is involved — or the best proxy we can muster. Everyone takes part in “How might we…”

Measure everything

Are your retros valuable? How much impact has this feature?

Autonomous & Accountable

Autonomity only works, if it goes hand in hand with accountability!

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