PRODUCTHEAD: 3 product leaders share what they’ve learned

PRODUCTHEAD: 3 product leaders share what they’ve learned

PRODUCTHEAD is a regular newsletter of product management goodness,
curated by Jock Busuttil.

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tl;dr

Over time, communities of practice risk themselves becoming new silos

Be intentional about what you want to learn, and about your own behaviour to others

Delivery by itself is worthless — deliver value


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hello

I love it when great product people pause, take stock of what they’ve learned and share it with everyone. Over the last couple of weeks, a few lovely people I’ve known and followed for years have been doing just that.

Scott Colfer #

The first author I’d like to share with you is Scott Colfer, who’s spent the last six years building up the product management community of practice (about 80 people) at the UK’s Ministry of Justice. It’s easy to underestimate the challenge of doing this in an organisation that’s really several separate entities federated together.

Scott writes thoughtfully — enjoy the read.

Lucy Spence #

The next author is Lucy Spence. She had already been head of product at LOVEFiLM (a DVD-by-post rental company) for a good while before I first met her at one of the early ProductTank London gatherings. She then spent several years in Amazon after it acquired LOVEFiLM. Right now she’s product director at Appvia, which was a shift from B2C into B2B, and deeper into the tech stack (container orchestration).

Her perspectives on product leadership, decision-making and structured thinking are always worth a read or watch.

Marc Abraham #

The third person I’d like to introduce is Marc Abraham. Marc has the kind of prolific work ethic that puts most people (okay, me) to shame. Even with a series of demanding senior product roles in his day jobs over the last decade, he also found time to coordinate and grow the global network of Mind The Product’s city-based ProductTank meetups. And write two well-received books. And update his blog regularly with whatever he’s currently learning about.

Definitely worth your time to read more from Marc.

Speak to you soon,

Jock



what to think about this week

Lessons learned from six-years leading a community of practice

I re-launched the Ministry Of Justice’s product management community of practice in 2016. It started with 10-12 people and, six-years later, it’s approaching 80 people. The same number of people have come and gone during that time. In 2021 I picked-up leadership across the user-centred, product and delivery professions, increasing my scope to 350+ people across 6 specialisms. Now’s a good time to reflect on what I’ve learned.

“I learned some things the hard way”

[SCOTT COLFER]

Modern working practices

I’ve often seen a number non-technical teams wanting agile training to modernise their work practices. While there’s usually a legitimate opportunity for more effective ways of working, agile frameworks usually take a lot of mental leaps to apply to non-technical functions. So I wanted to propose a few concepts stolen from elsewhere as alternatives (although there are overlaps).

“Everything is moving faster so you need to as well”

[LUCY SPENCE / MEDIUM]

Taking stock: my 10 years in product management

Last month marked my 10 year anniversary of being a product manager. This milestone did two things for me. Firstly, it made me nostalgic 🙂 Secondly, it made me reflect and ponder the things I’ve observed and learned over the past 10 years. From outcome over output to product management certification, I’ll share my reflections with you and would love to hear what you think (irrespective of whether you’ve been in product management for 10 days or 10 years).

“I’ve learned so much, made tons of mistakes and improved to try again”

[MARC ABRAHAM]


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recent posts

What’s the difference between a growth hacker and a growth product manager?

Hi Jock,

I was reading your article about growth product managers. What is the difference between ‘growth hacker’ and ‘growth product manager’?

E

The dark and light sides of the Force

[I MANAGE PRODUCTS]

Start building a community of practice with the 3 minute challenge

When you start out as a head of product (or product director or VP product), you’ll probably need to create a community of product people. In this latest entry for my series of 100 things I’ve learned about product management, I share my advice to help you get the ball rolling with your own community of practice.

The first step is to turn up

[I MANAGE PRODUCTS]

Should a growth product manager even be a thing?

There’s an ongoing debate about generalist product managers versus emerging product manager specialisms (such as ‘growth product manager’). I think there is room in our profession for both. Let me explain.

“No one wants to get rich slow”

[I MANAGE PRODUCTS]

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Read more from Jock

The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner's Guide To Product Management

by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock is a freelance head of product, author and conference speaker. He has spent nearly two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. His clients include the BBC, University of Cambridge, and the UK's Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, a product management consultancy and training company. He is also the author of the popular book The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management and the blog I Manage Products.

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