Diving Deep into Product Management as a Team-based Effort – with Dan Olsen

Dan Olsen has been involved with product management for his whole career – starting at Intuit and continuing through startups. Now he helps other with private and public workshops based on his popular book, The Lean Product Playbook.

Dan’s feature presentation is How Product Management Plus Design Leads to Product Success. He likes to talk about the relationship between UX and product management. He believes that if you a fully-staffed, and skilled, product management and UX team, that’s a nice place to be. Not everybody has that. If you don’t, it is important to understand how to how to partner effectively. Know what are the unique contributions that each discipline can make. Where should they be overlapping? Where should they be dividing and conquering? Dan talks about, “how it takes a village. No one person can really conceive, design, develop, and launch today’s complex software products. It takes a village of product management, front-end development, back-end development, UX design, UI design, just to name a few roles. Not to mention QA, DevOps, and everybody else that’s required.” One person may be really good in one area, but probably not the best in all those areas.” Dan believes that PM and UX can set the product team up for success by defining the product, defining the customer, the customer problems, and exploring the solution space.

Dan’s feature presentation is supplemented by a two-hour workshop entitled How to Achieve Product Market Fit. That goes into a six-step process on how to achieve product market fit. How to go from an idea for a product, to forming your hypotheses, and testing those hypotheses. It is an interactive session relevant for everyone – people working on new products and also those who want to improve the existing product and features that they have. Dan mentions that, “a lot of teams realize that they jump into solutions right away. We start designing things. We start coding things before we’re really clear on the problems. The challenge is how to think about and prioritize the problem space. A lot of the workshop is providing those frameworks in a structured approach.