Share this post

🔑 Key Takeaways

  1. Encouraging a culture of play and psychological safety within teams promotes open discussions, diverse perspectives, and bold ideas, leading to greater innovation and success.
  2. Creating smaller peer feedback groups and organizing periodic onsite meetups can enhance trust, collaboration, and innovation among product managers, while embracing failure as a learning opportunity promotes growth and experimentation.
  3. Taking bold steps in learning and development can lead to personal growth, knowledge-sharing, collaboration, improved skills, and a culture of learning and innovation. Atlassian's approach showcases the importance of continuous improvement and adapting to remote work challenges.
  4. Prioritizing flexibility and intentional work boosts productivity and connection in the workplace, creating a flow state and improving overall performance.
  5. Effective remote work for PMs requires blocking out deep work time, having quick one-on-ones for immediate issues, goal-oriented meetings, organized documentation, and securing buy-in from executives.
  6. Involving key stakeholders from the start, seeking their feedback, and maintaining an open mindset are essential steps in gaining buy-in for your ideas. Actively listening and being receptive to feedback is crucial.
  7. Approach meetings with a clear understanding, present solutions as hypotheses, gain insights by being open, and effectively communicate goals for better decision-making.
  8. By understanding the core problem, involving key stakeholders, setting clear expectations, and prioritizing customer satisfaction, effective solutions can be developed and success can be achieved.
  9. By understanding the impact of usability on customer satisfaction and implementing cost-effective changes collaboratively, businesses can achieve positive outcomes and drive growth.
  10. Taking action, starting small, making experiences visual, and showcasing data are essential steps to empower yourself and create meaningful change.
  11. Atlassian's success can be attributed to their ability to adapt to user needs, recognizing the changing industry landscape, and fostering a culture of innovation and experimentation.
  12. Atlassian's step-by-step process, Jira Product Discovery, enables quick iterations and validation of ideas, leading to product-market fit and increased investment.
  13. When launching a new product within a large company, prioritize starting small, empowering the team to innovate, and obsessing over customer feedback to drive sustained success.
  14. Atlassian prioritizes customer feedback, encourages innovation, and adapts quickly to stay ahead of the competition, ultimately driving growth and success.
  15. Consider the scalability and impact of ideas from the start to maximize potential and avoid missed opportunities.
  16. Addressing conflicts and difficult conversations early on, with a proactive mindset, prevents escalation and promotes open communication, leading to a healthier work environment and better problem-solving.
  17. Hiring candidates who have learned from big failures and prioritize playfulness in product experiences can provide valuable insights into their problem-solving abilities and create joyful and satisfying interactions.
  18. Surfing is a sport that requires hands-on experience and practice. By spending time in the water and learning from mistakes, you can gradually improve and notice new things. Having friends for motivation and support can also be helpful.

📝 Podcast Summary

Cultivating Playfulness and Psychological Safety for Innovation

Creating a culture of play and psychological safety is crucial for fostering innovation and bold ideas within teams. Megan Cook, head of product for Jira, recognized the importance of psychological safety after noticing that her team wasn't comfortable speaking up and feedback was overly polished. She learned from speaker Ben Crowe that a sense of play is necessary for achieving a state of flow and creativity. By addressing the fear and lack of psychological safety within her team, Megan was able to encourage open discussions, diverse perspectives, and bigger, bolder ideas. This highlights the significance of fostering an environment where individuals feel safe to take risks, share their thoughts, and embrace a playful mindset, ultimately leading to greater innovation and success.

Fostering Trust and Collaboration through Peer Feedback Groups and Onsite Meetups

Creating smaller peer feedback groups can foster trust and collaboration within a team of product managers. By giving each member the opportunity to receive feedback on their work in a supportive environment, it encourages openness and allows for personal and professional growth. This approach not only promotes stronger relationships among team members but also enables the sharing of diverse perspectives and ideas, ultimately leading to more innovative solutions. Additionally, organizing periodic onsite meetups for all product managers further strengthens these connections and provides a platform for strategic discussions and skill-building workshops. Embracing failure as a learning opportunity is also emphasized, promoting a culture that celebrates growth and experimentation.

The Power of Big Swings in Learning and Development

Taking big swings in terms of learning and development can be incredibly powerful. Atlassian's approach of bringing together their product team, along with other product managers, every six months for a training session in Sydney showcases this idea. Not only does this opportunity help individuals level up in various skills like communication and writing, but it also creates a platform for knowledge-sharing and collaboration. The training sessions involve a mix of internal experts and external professionals who teach different skills. This process not only enhances the skills of the attendees but also provides a chance for them to teach, present, and develop public speaking abilities. Moreover, it promotes the importance of leadership modeling by showcasing vulnerability and discussing failures. This approach fosters an open culture of learning, innovation, and continuous improvement. Additionally, Atlassian's recent introduction of the $10 game for priorities further emphasizes the value of time management and aligning individual efforts with business goals. Remote work, which became prevalent due to COVID-19, has brought its own challenges. However, Atlassian has found success in this transition by adopting effective strategies. While the specific tips and tricks for remote work were not mentioned, it highlights the need for companies and individuals to adapt and find innovative ways to stay productive and connected in a remote work environment.

Flexibility and intentional work: the key to productivity and connection in the workplace.

Flexibility in the workplace doesn't have to be just a perk, but a fundamental aspect that can improve productivity and change people's lives. Atlassian, a company that believes in building world-class products without the need for physically being in the office, emphasizes the importance of human connection and intentional work. They found that bringing people together intentionally around three times a year boosts both connection and productivity by about 30%, with the effects lasting for months. Additionally, they prioritize deep work by syncing up calendars and creating long stretches of uninterrupted time for creative tasks. This allows for a flow state and ensures that unexpected collaborative work can be handled with ease.

Time management and communication strategies for remote PMs and their teams.

Remote work for PMs and their teams requires intentional time management and communication strategies. Blocking out deep work time helps ensure focused productivity, but also necessitates effective communication methods. Quick punchy one-on-ones with reports can address immediate issues, while maintaining flexibility for longer discussions or strategy problems. Meeting time becomes precious, so it's important to make meetings goal-oriented and problem-solving focused, rather than just for status updates. Utilizing tools like Atlas for status updates and Confluence for documentation keeps information organized and readily accessible. Additionally, audio and video recordings have become a valuable form of communication, serving as a new document type and enhancing understanding in remote work settings. Getting buy-in for ideas and projects from executives is also crucial in a fully remote environment.

The Journey of Gaining Buy-In for Your Ideas

Getting buy-in for your ideas is not a one-time event, but rather a journey. It requires forming partnerships with cross-functional teams and stakeholders. Megan Cook suggests involving key stakeholders early on and regularly seeking their feedback throughout the process. This helps create a broader view and ensures their concerns are addressed. Additionally, having an open mindset is crucial. It means being open to different solutions and being willing to pivot if necessary. It's important to focus on solving the problem or capitalizing on the opportunity rather than pushing for a predetermined solution. To come across as more open-minded, it's crucial to demonstrate genuine receptiveness to feedback and actively listen to others' perspectives.

The importance of listening and being open to feedback in decision-making and idea presentation.

When it comes to decision-making and presenting ideas, it's important to truly listen and be open to feedback. Many people may think they are listening, but they are actually focused on convincing others of their own ideas. To combat this, it's crucial to approach meetings with a clear understanding of the hypotheses and facts involved. Instead of presenting solutions as absolute truths, it's better to approach them as hypotheses that need to be proven or disproven. By being open and exposing our ideas to others, we can gain valuable insights and build credibility. Additionally, setting up meetings effectively, clearly communicating our goals and inviting feedback, can greatly contribute to the decision-making process.

Prioritizing Understanding for Effective Problem Solving and Solution Development

It is crucial to prioritize understanding the core problem or value that needs to be delivered. By partnering with those affected and being open to various perspectives, a clearer solution can be developed. Additionally, setting clear expectations in meetings and providing supporting data helps build credibility and confidence in the plan. This aligns with the cliche question of "what problem are we trying to solve?" which is essential for avoiding disagreements stemming from different interpretations. Megan Cook's example of investing in CSAT at Atlassian highlights the importance of prioritizing customer satisfaction and usability, rather than solely focusing on adding value to a product. Ultimately, by addressing the core problem effectively, success can be achieved.

Prioritizing Customer Satisfaction through Usability Improvements

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a valuable metric for businesses to consider. By actively gathering feedback and analyzing customer ratings and comments, companies can identify areas of improvement and prioritize investments. Usability emerged as a key aspect impacting CSAT, as products that are difficult to use can hinder onboarding, slow down users, and affect new customer acquisition and expansion. However, implementing necessary changes may require collaboration with multiple teams and navigating different roadmaps. To address this challenge, a low-cost approach was adopted, where teams worked together as shepherds to ensure the smooth implementation of changes without bearing the full development costs. Ultimately, prioritizing CSAT and making impactful changes early on can yield positive outcomes for businesses.

Harnessing Your Influence for Impactful Outcomes

Empowering yourself to take action and make a difference can lead to impactful outcomes. Many individuals underestimate their own power and agency, assuming they lack the ability to tackle important projects or bring about change. However, this story highlights the importance of recognizing and utilizing your own influence. Another key takeaway is the value of starting small and staying scrappy. By beginning with a manageable scope and demonstrating success, you can build momentum and secure the necessary resources and investment. Additionally, making experiences visual, visceral, and easy for others to adopt can generate excitement and support. Lastly, showcasing data and results is crucial in gaining buy-in and illustrating the potential impact of your initiatives.

Atlassian's Success: Adapting to User Needs and Continuous Innovation.

Atlassian's success with their 15 individual products can be attributed to their ability to adapt and respond to the changing needs of their users. They started with humble beginnings, such as Jira software, which initially served as a bug tracker. However, over time, they recognized the shift in the software industry and the diverse roles involved in project management. They realized that other teams, like finance, marketing, and design, were also in need of effective collaboration tools. This led them to develop Jira work management, which catered to these specific use cases. Additionally, Atlassian's internal innovation program allowed anyone to pitch new product ideas, fostering a culture of experimentation and continuous improvement. Ultimately, their success lies in their willingness to listen to their users and evolve their products accordingly.

Atlassian's Successful Product Development Process: Jira Product Discovery

Atlassian has implemented a step-by-step gated process called Jira product discovery to develop new products. They recognized that their existing processes and checks were geared towards the success of larger products like Jira software, making it difficult for new ideas to thrive. To overcome this, they formed small groups with stage gates, including wonder, explore, make, impact, and scale. At each stage, the idea was assessed and validated, allowing for quick iterations and determining if it could be a viable business. By partnering heavily with customers and gradually expanding to more customers, Atlassian found product-market fit and increased investment. This approach has proved successful for Atlassian, setting them apart from other companies.

Scaling Success: Starting Small, Staying Agile, and Putting Customers First

Success in launching a second product within a large company requires starting small and protecting the team from excessive pressure and processes. It's important not to add too many people initially and instead focus on proving the idea and its market fit. By giving the team freedom to move quickly and solve problems in their own innovative way, they can drive the product forward without the constraints of larger corporate processes. This approach not only allows for faster progress but also opens up opportunities for new and inventive solutions that can be brought back into the company's existing products. Additionally, continuously listening to and obsessing over customers is crucial for sustained success. Without an arrogance but with a healthy dose of paranoia, a company can strive to consistently improve and meet customer needs.

Embracing Feedback, Innovation, and Adaptability for Growth and Success

Atlassian prioritizes customer feedback and actively seeks it out through various channels like emails, in-product feedback, and social media. This practice helps the company stay ahead of the competition and continuously improve its products. Additionally, Atlassian fosters a culture of innovation by organizing hackathons and encouraging employees to pitch new ideas. They invest not only in the core business but also seed future businesses and make acquisitions based on interesting ideas or technologies. The company's agility is also notable, as demonstrated by their swift movement towards delivering a world-class cloud experience in 2020. Furthermore, Atlassian is not afraid to make tough decisions, such as killing off products that don't meet expectations. Overall, Atlassian embraces feedback, innovation, and adaptability to drive growth and success.

Expanding the Scope of Products for Enhanced Opportunities

Thinking bigger with products can lead to huge opportunities and avoid costly mistakes. Megan Cook's experience with building automation in Jira taught her the importance of pushing ideas further and considering broader applications. She realized that automation could be a powerful tool not just for developers, but for all users and products. This realization came too late, as Atlassian had already acquired a company that offered advanced automation for all their products. Megan now asks herself how she can 10X ideas and apply them more broadly. The lesson learned is to think about the potential of an idea from the beginning and consider its scalability and impact in the long run.

Promoting constructive conflict resolution for better relationships and problem-solving.

Addressing conflicts and difficult conversations early on improves relationships and problem-solving. By setting aside specific time to tackle these issues, individuals can approach them with a proactive mindset and a willingness to solve hard problems. This approach helps prevent conflicts from escalating and allows for open communication about concerns and desired changes. It's akin to couples therapy, where issues are openly discussed and worked through. Moreover, creating a culture of constructive conflict resolution promotes a healthier work environment. Additionally, the interview question about failure provides insights into a candidate's introspection and ability to learn from mistakes, making it a valuable tool in assessing their suitability for a role.

Importance of Failure and Playfulness in Hiring and Product Experiences

When hiring, it's important to look for candidates who have experienced and learned from big failures. This shows their vulnerability and their ability to grow from setbacks. By understanding their definition of failure and their approach to learning and improvement, we gain insight into their values and problem-solving strategies. Additionally, this can indicate whether they prefer to tackle challenges solo or collaborate with others. Another key point is that product experiences that prioritize playfulness and delight can make a significant impact. The example of the Traeger smoker demonstrates how the unboxing experience, unexpected surprises, and seamless integration with technology can enhance joy and satisfaction. Lastly, the motto of maximizing joy emphasizes the importance of finding what brings us happiness and turning annoyances into enjoyable experiences, as well as making time for meaningful relationships.

The Importance of Experience and Practice in Surfing

Surfing is a humbling sport that requires a strong connection with the waves. It's not something you can simply learn from a book or a lesson. Megan Cook highlights the importance of feeling the sport and learning through experience. You have to paddle, catch waves, and make mistakes before you can truly understand how to surf. The key tip for improvement is to keep getting out there and practicing. As you spend more time in the water, you'll start to notice things you never noticed before, and you'll gradually improve. Additionally, having friends as surfing accountability buddies can provide motivation and support. So, don't give up, keep trying, and you'll see progress over time.