PRODUCTHEAD: Understanding the user’s perspective

PRODUCTHEAD: Understanding the user’s perspective

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

street spirit (product out) #


A common language about research is vital for building a team’s capability

Customers are only reliable sources about their own experiences

The way we think about product is determined by the language we use

a favour: please share this with other product people

every PRODUCTHEAD edition is online for you to refer back to


This week’s PRODUCTHEAD encourages you to think more about things from the user’s perspective. I write about this topic often, so I’ll avoid any needless repetition here.

Three recent talks at Mind The Product’s other conference, MTP Engage Hamburg, looked at the theme of user centricity. As a good starting point, I would recommend you read Tobias Freudenreich’s helpful summary of the talks. I’ve also linked the individual talks below if you’d like to jump straight in.

Speak to you soon,


what to think about this week

Being user minded — MTP Engage Hamburg 2022

This session On Being User Minded was one of the themed sessions during MTP Engage Hamburg 2022 (the others were On Being Responsible, On Giving Direction and On Being Human). Moderated by Product coach Shaun Russell, three high-profile speakers shared their perspectives on user-centricity:

Aras Bilgen, design consultant, trainer and co-author of Product Research Rules

Michele Hansen, co-founder of Geocodio, co-host of the Software Social podcast and author of Deploy Empathy: A Practical Guide to Interviewing Customers

Dr. Andy Polaine, service design & innovation consultant, founder of the “Doctor’s Note” newsletter and co-author of Service Design

“Products are vehicles for value”

[Tobias Freudenreich / Mind The Product]

When research hurts

In his talk, Aras aims to raise our awareness that in many organizations, research is employed in a very questionable way and misused as a political instrument.

User research is not a referee in a conflict

[Aras Bilgen / Mind The Product]

Destroying every product person’s least favorite quote

Which product person hasn’t despaired the famous Henry Ford quote, which is popularly used to discredit user research in general?

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

In her talk, Michele gives several reasons why this quote is problematic: First, Henry Ford never said this.

See things from that person’s angle

[Michele Hansen / Mind The Product]

Mind your product language

Language determines how we think about the world, which Andy illustrates with powerful examples: A “prisoner of war” might be framed as an “enemy combatant.” An “asylum seeker” might be called an “illegal immigrant.” When do we speak of “activists” and when do we call them “terrorists”? Is the Russian war an “invasion” or a “special operation”?

“Words create worlds”

[Andy Polaine / Mind The Product]

recent posts

Billion-dollar platforms — how they did it

I was asked recently whether platforms will conquer the world. My view? They already have. In this article I share how they’ve done it, and how you can successfully bring your own platform to market.

The ingredients for success

[I Manage Products]

An exercise in stakeholder alignment

When your stakeholders each have their own interpretations of the product strategy, this lack of stakeholder alignment will cause you no end of problems. Here’s what you can do about it.

A practical exercise you can run

[I Manage Products]

The 4 unintended side-effects of risk aversion and what to do about them

When we become more worried about risk, four unintended things also tend to happen: bottlenecking, erosion of trust, ossification of process, and a risk appetite that tends towards zero. Here’s what you can do about them.

It’s all about the safety net

[I Manage Products]

can we help you?

Product People is a product management services company. We can help you through consultancy, training and coaching. Just contact us if you need our help!

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Helping people build better products, more successfully, since 2012.

PRODUCTHEAD is a newsletter for product people of all varieties, and is lovingly crafted from really spooky things. WhoooOOOOoooo.

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 Busuttil is a product management and leadership coach, product leader and author. He has spent over two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy, coaching and training. Its clients include BBC, University of Cambridge, Ometria, Prolific and the UK’s Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). Jock holds a master’s degree in Classics from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the popular book The Practitioner’s Guide To Product Management, which was published in January 2015 by Grand Central Publishing in the US and Piatkus in the UK. He writes the blog I Manage Products and weekly product management newsletter PRODUCTHEAD. You can find him on Mastodon, X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn.

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