Why product thinking is so hard (and what you can do about it)
We all know what a product is. We buy and use them all the time. But, what does it mean where you work? Are the things you build or make really products or not? Are you creating a successful product, or just doing a job? We’ll talk about what product thinking really means and why you and your company may not actually be using it. And, if you’d like to be more product-centric, some specific principles for doing that.
Product Managers, Product Owners, Org. Leaders
schedule Submitted 9 months ago
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This product thinking, leadership, and process workshop combines contemporary tech product thinking with agile development and Scrum.
Stop! Don’t bother taking this course if your only concern is learning Scrum and mastering the product ownership role. Because:
This is not just a product ownership class
This online workshop is about product thinking and how to apply it in your organization.
A strong product-centric approach places emphasis on customers and users and creating successful outcomes and, ultimately, a big impact on your business. All that sounds good, maybe obvious, right? But, in your organization you may be focused more on happy business stakeholders and on-time delivery than successful products. It’s not that those things aren’t important. It’s just that focusing mostly on those things can distract you and your team from really focusing on the outcomes that benefit your organization.
One of the first things you’ll learn is that, while “product owner” may be a Scrum role, product ownership is a whole team responsibility. If you’re a product owner or product manager you likely already know that you’ll be the most successful if you’re collaborating effectively with your whole team, and if your whole team understands product thinking.
This workshop will help you build a deeper understanding of product thinking and the ways of working that support it. We’ll build on agile principles and Scrum practice and add back the product thinking you don’t get with agile development alone. You’ll leave with a mindset that will help you help others in your organization, along with the practices that’ll help you do your job on a daily basis.
21st century tech product development concepts and practice
You may have noticed that technology products are different today than they were 10 or 20 years ago. They work more like services. They continuously evolve and improve. And, not surprisingly, the way we design and build them has evolved and improved. In this workshop we’ll talk about approaches we layer on top of agile development and the Scrum framework. Things like:
- Lean Startup and Lean UX practice
- Design Thinking
- Dual-Track Development
- User Stories and Story Mapping
8 Reasons why taking this live online workshop is better
I’ll be honest with you. I used to hate online workshops. I always thought they were second best. But, thanks to living during a pandemic, I’ve started to realize all the advantages to them. Here’s a few:
- Low daily time commitment: I can participate a few hours a day and still have time to get other work done, or have a life outside of work.
- No travel: No time in a plane or car, just a short walk from one room to another.
- You’ve got a mute button: There are always interruptions in life, and they seem to stress me less in an online class. I can mute a mic, turn off video, and answer a question, or put the dog out.
- No pants: Speaking of less stress, it’s nice to sit down in shorts and a t-shirt to work. Some of you may already get to do that. In an online workshop, you can come as you are. But, if you’re not wearing pants (or trousers for the UK people) please avoid standing while on camera.
- More time to ask questions: When I teach an in-person workshop, there are usually too many people, and never enough time to speak with everyone. Participants often go home sad they didn’t get to ask the questions they wanted or have the conversation they wanted. Now, online, I can follow every class with an office-hours session. No agenda. Come, talk, dig into the tough questions you didn’t want to bring up with the whole group.
- More time to think: Since we’ll be meeting and working only a few hours a day, you'll have the rest of your day and your night to “sleep on it”. For me, I’ve loved having more time to think deeply about what I’ve learned. The best questions come to me hours after I’ve processed the concept and not while I’m learning it. How about you?
- More interaction with other participants: Personally, I’m a bit of an introvert. So talking to more people isn’t usually a benefit for me. But, online it’s become one. Zoom breakout rooms help keep conversations small and quiet. During this workshop you’ll work with a couple different groups and have several one-on-one conversations with individual participants. I find talking with someone about a concept, and getting their perspective, deepens my understanding.
- A chance to sharpen online collaboration skills: Sadly, online collaboration is part of the new normal for people working in technology. During this workshop you’ll get more comfortable with Zoom and collaborating with online tools like Mural. That’s going to help you in your everyday job.
You’ll use Zoom to connect with the class and your teammates. You’ll get good at muting and unmuting yourself and staging your background to impress other participants.
You’ll use Mural to support online collaborative work. You’ll get hands-on practice every day.
After every workshop day you’ll have time for deep-dive discussions during optional “office hours” sessions with me, your instructor.
Not just for product managers and owners
While one person in a team may hold a product manager or product ownership role, it takes a cross-functional team with strong product thinking to design and build the product. That’s why this class isn’t just for product owners.
- If you’re a product manager or product owner, this workshop is for you.
- One thing you likely already know is that best product decisions balance business, user experience and technology concerns. If you’re a UX practitioner or senior engineer, this workshop is for you.
- If you’re a Scrum master or agile coach, have you seen your organization struggle to apply product thinking using a Scrum and agile approach? If you’d like to better understand how to help your organization become a strong product organization, this workshop is for you.
- If you’re a business stakeholder, manager, or leader in your organization, do you understand how product thinking changes the way you’ll need to work with teams? If you’d like to better understand how to motivate teams and keep them focused on successful outcomes while being self-directed, this workshop is for you.
4 days, 4 hours per day
We’ve got a lot to cover, and it’ll take 4 half-days to do it.
We’ll meet daily via Zoom: 5:30 pm IST to 9:30 pm IST
We’ll take frequent short breaks every 60-90 minutes so you can stay hydrated and caffeinated.
We’ll keep the class size small: 30 people max. You’ll do teamwork in smaller groups of 4 or 5 people. You’ll work with two different groups during the class, and have several one-on-one conversations with other participants. Ideally, you’ll get to meet and speak with everyone in the workshop.
What you’ll get
Scrum Alliance Certification: This is a certified scrum product ownership course, so at the conclusion of the class you’ll receive certification with the Scrum Alliance along with 2 years membership in the Scrum Alliance.
Worksheets, articles, and a 120-page course guide: Supporting material will help you recall and practice everything we discuss in the workshop.