Melissa Perri is the CEO of Produx Labs, a product management consultancy, and the author of “Escaping the Build Trap” which is one of my favorite books on product.
She’s the creator of the online school Product Institute, where she has shared her scientific approach to Product Management with over 3500 students and since 2019, she’s taught on the faculty of Harvard Business School.
In this conversation, we discuss the “missing middle” layer in organizations, how to create and maintain a product strategy, how to assess whether you want to work with a company, product operations, and much more.
After you listen to this, check out Melissa’s new podcast, Product Thinking, which launched after we recorded (link in show notes below).
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- Melissa Perri: Twitter, website
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Transcripts may contain some typos. With some episodes lasting ~2 hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors. Enjoy!
Andrew Skotzko 00:01:04 Melissa, welcome to the show. How are you doing today? Good, thanks for having me. Absolutely. It’s my pleasure. As I was getting ready for this conversation, I discovered there’s a word that I think is very important to both of us that we may share, and that word is thriving. And I was curious, you know, you’re someone who, if I understand right, is very obsessed with how do you create not only thriving product managers, but really thriving product teams and environments. And I think that’s fantastic, but I’m just really curious, like how did that come about for you? Like that’s such a specific thing.
Melissa Perri 00:01:47 That’s a good word. Thriving. I don’t think it’s just about creating a product management organization, but creating one that actually allows people to do their jobs well and be happy and create great products. So yeah, I like that word. I like that word thriving, especially as it relates to product management. Ooh, how did I get into this? So I guess it was a product manager. I was thriving in my organization. And when I left, I went to an organization where product management was not thriving. And I found out that that was pretty common. A lot of places did not have, uh, the organizations set up to really implement product management well or to give people the support that they needed to do their jobs. So I guess I started off when I started off consulting, I was really driven by giving people the tools to do product management better.
Melissa Perri 00:02:34 So I started with a lot of training, doing a lot of workshops, getting product managers to understand that you could experiment and use statistics and really try to quantify value. And I love that. And as I kept training more and more people, I kept getting responses to that from them going, Hey, you know, this is great, but I can’t do it at my organization. Like we were not allowed to do this here. And that’s really where I started taking a more of a holistic look at product management and trying to out, how do you set it up systemically throughout an organization so that people can do their jobs and they can create great products and everything works together really well.
Andrew Skotzko 00:03:07 Yeah, absolutely. So I think that’s a wonderful pivot point into what if I understand, based on your experience is what you see is kind of the missing link, which is, I think you’d like to call it the missing middle. Yeah. That’s it. So talk to me about the missing middle. What is the missing middle and why is it missing?
Melissa Perri 00:03:24 You know, it’s, it’s funny cause it’s talk about how do people approach product management transformation. So what typically happens, and this is usually what happens in all these organizations is that they go, Hey, we need to create better products, ship things faster, do all this stuff, Hey, let’s do agile. So then they implement agile and then they go, okay, I guess we need this thing called a product manager. And then they implement this product manager, product owner role. And then they train them just to like manage backlogs. And then they go one day up. That’s not enough, let’s train them in product management. And then that’s usually where I would come in. And then the next step for them to look at is like, okay, well let’s set up the systems or the data around it so that they can get the information they need. And the thing that everybody almost always neglect is product strategy. And that to me is the most important thing you can do to create a robust product management organization. But the problem with product strategy is it takes a lot of leadership work and juniors usually see this as like a, Oh, okay. That’s like a team thing. Not a me thing when I implement product strategy or product, sorry, product management. It certainly say strategy is their thing, but they see product management is like, Oh, that happens on teams. That’s not me.
Andrew Skotzko 00:04:30 Yeah. That’s sort of like tactical thing down in the weeds.
Melissa Perri 00:04:33 Exactly, exactly. So they’re like, that’s not my job. So what happens is we usually have like a big vision for the company where we want to go. The product managers have a roadmap and a backlog of all the things they’re going to build and there’s nothing to connect. It. There’s nothing that says, Hey, we believe that by doing these big things, solving these really big problems, going this direction, entering this market, we believe that that will get us to the vision. And then that’s what this means, tactically for the teams. So that’s what the missing middle is. It’s this glue that kind of connects the really lofty vision and business outcomes back to what the team should be doing. And it’s not just these small little projects of build this feature or fix onboarding it’s it’s what connects all those projects back to a higher level goal that produces a significant outcome.
Andrew Skotzko 00:05:18 Yeah, absolutely. It’s it seems to be, it’s like the, it’s the link. It’s like a strategic link between that pie in the sky vision. And also what are we doing day to day? I’m sure this is what you’ve seen. It’s certainly what I’ve seen in some of the, some of the folks that I’ve, uh, I’ve mentored in, in other organizations it’s like everyone’s running around. Everyone’s super busy, but no, one’s exactly sure where they’re going and why
Melissa Perri 00:05:40 Exactly. And this is what you see, like everybody’s in motion. It’s it’s like, how do we get fingers going faster and keyboards, how do we get more products out the door? How do we get more features out there? And then when you look at it from a business level, you’re like, cool, what did we do last year? Like everybody was so busy. They were working 80 hours week, but like, what does that mean? What would that produce? And it’s hard to draw those outcomes. And when I see that, when I see so much motion and so many deadlines and everybody freaking out, what I typically do is like go up the ladder and start asking, okay, was this supposed to achieve? What’s that supposed to achieve and all the way up to the CEO. And it’s really interesting because sometimes you don’t get an answer on that. Or sometimes you get answers that are very different from what the teams are saying to what the leaders are saying. And it’s not that they’re talking in different words or getting to a bigger, why it’s that they’re completely disconnected. And that usually is what’s causing so much swirl at the team level and everybody running around, but nothing actually getting done.
Andrew Skotzko 00:06:35 Absolutely. As I was thinking about this the other day, getting, getting ready for this conversation, it occurred to me and this in retrospect to me, feels like one of those really obvious things. But at the same time, it was an aha when I was listening to one of your talks. And it’s this idea that I think you’re getting at, which is that strategic clarity is actually seems to actually be the missing key to unlocking all of the autonomy and the creative experimentation, like all the stuff that frankly everybody wants. And we all, we all have some sense of what it looks like down at the team level, the tactical level. And it seems like maybe what’s really missing is the enabling strategic context that sets up that kind of, that kind of work.
Melissa Perri 00:07:12 Yeah. I think that’s really it. You can’t just have people experiment without any bounds around what they’re experimenting around. But I do see that I see organizations that are like, Hey, let’s, let’s put in experimental teams and then they just give direction to teams to experiment. And then they go, Oh, well that didn’t work. We shouldn’t use experimentation. We shouldn’t do MVPs. And you’re like, no, but you give them no context. Like you didn’t give them a direction on what you wanted them to achieve. And that’s important. Like if you’re, if you just have everybody moving in different directions or trying different things, there’s no alignment to actually reach your goals. So I believe that having a good strategic framework and I’ve seen it in practice, you as an executive, if you want something, if you want somebody to achieve a goal, you have to point them in the right direction towards that goal.
Melissa Perri 00:07:57 And also tell them what it is otherwise you’re going to get just a hodgepodge of things and it takes a while to figure out what that goal is. And that’s the work that we really need to do at the leadership level is figure out all right. It, you know, it’s like asking a series of questions where you go, all right, what is my vision? How is it differentiated from competitors? I think that’s a big one too. I hear a lot of, a lot of visions that are like, Hey, I want to be the best company. So does everybody else? Exactly, exactly you and everybody else, so great. But how’s it different? Where are you going to concentrate be the best company for who be the best company? How, right. Like what’s the things that actually differentiate either from the vision. And then the next question is, okay, what are the big business challenges standing in the way of us getting there?
Melissa Perri 00:08:41 If we want to grow or are we going to tackle new markets that have the same problem? Are we going to turn our company into a platform and open it up and allow people to transact on it? You know, what’s, what’s the big push that’s going to get you to that next level of company vision. And then you ask, all right, what are the problems I can solve for my customer to help us reach those business objectives? What are the big things that they need that will produce value? And then finally, that’s what your teams can go experiment around, but they all have to be aligned, you know, up and down towards that. Like there should be a whole, every time you like say something like, okay, we’re experimenting why that should be the next layer of strategy all the way up the chain. So they can go up and down and across and everything actually makes sense.
Andrew Skotzko 00:09:22 Anybody should deal with, to look at what they’re doing and see like the breadcrumbs up to the North star, basically. Yes, exactly. Once you’ve got these four things, right. You know, the vision, the challenge, the, the target condition for the customers. And then, you know, the reality of where we are today, it seems like that’s kind of, I think what you’re saying is like, that’s sort of the table stakes now that really sets teams up to be able to experiment in a really creative way to use the product kata, for example, am I getting that right? Yes. Yes.
Melissa Perri 00:09:47 We define like four levels of product strategy and it’s built off of what you were mentioning, which is the Toyota kata framework. Toyota kata was implemented by Toyota, obviously for their continuous improvement cycles and do really figure out how do we reach our next goals. And what it does is it starts by figuring out, okay, where are we going? What’s the vision of what we want to achieve. Then understanding what are the challenges standing in our way of achieving that vision and then setting a next school to tackle that challenge and then experimenting your way into that. And we apply this, this product strategy because it’s very similar to how businesses need to approach what they’re building and why. So it’s a framework that sets it up and we call it the business level challenge, a strategic intent. So the leaders are responsible for setting that.
Melissa Perri 00:10:30 And what that really is, is a business challenge. That’s lofty that really affects everybody in the company to set the terms of how you’re going to reach that vision. So that might look like, you know, if you’re a SAS company and you are building, let’s say software for doctors, you’re like, okay, maybe I was looking at primary care doctors, but I want to expand into hospitals like that. That’s an expansion thing that affects your products that affects your sales. It affects your marketing, everything. So you’re aligning around like, where do we want to go as a company to grow? How do we want to be there? And then you’re breaking that down into what does that mean for product, product development and product management. All right. So if we want to go into hospitals, what do we have to build? Or what do we have to do to our current products to be able to serve as hospitals, right? What are the problems that hospitals have? It’s like, Oh, well they have to do cardiology. So doctors don’t have cardiology segments on their platform. Like how do we, how do we build that? Well, like, what’s the problem with the current cardiology stuff? Is it hard to use is easy to use what’s going on there. So we’re asking ourselves these questions and filling in those gaps and then aligning the teams around actually getting there.
Andrew Skotzko 00:11:31 So I want to talk a little bit now about how you actually do this, right? Because this is one of those things that we can see. I think most people could probably see how important it is, but I think you probably deal with this question a lot, but it’s a question that has honestly stumped me. Why don’t people do the things that are good for them, right? And by the same extent, like why don’t companies do the things that are good for them. And I’m curious, like you’ve been in swimming in those waters. What do you see there?
Melissa Perri 00:11:56 Yeah. This is hard. And I think that’s why, because it do the work to create a strategy is not easy. And it takes a lot of time. And especially, it takes a lot of time from leaders. And if they’re spending their time on that, then sometimes, you know, they’re not as visible in the organization because they’re doing research. They are sometimes not micromanaging people as much. And they see that as their job. Right. It’s it’s like, so I think there’s two reasons why you see people not do this work, even though they should, right. This is critical to companies. One is that sometimes organizations have leaders that don’t know how to do this work. And you see that happen a lot. You see this work happen in companies all the time who have experienced chief product officers have a team that knows what they’re doing.
Melissa Perri 00:12:39 Like they are setting these strategies like that work is happening. So if you look at companies that have a lot of people who know how to do product management, there’s some of these strategies. So they’re, they’re not the, they’re not the cases where this isn’t happening or what we saw with a lot of growth stage companies that we worked with is that you could be a CEO who’s really, really good at launching your product, growing it to the first stage of growth. So you’ve got a single product line. Now you’re starting to really differentiate yourself into multiple product lines. You have to figure out what’s my next phase of growth. And that might not be your expertise as a CEO. And also as a CEO at that phase of your company, you’re probably making a lot of money. You scaled, you got to do a lot more things. Okay? So you were probably not doing the work because you don’t have time to do that work. And now it’s time to hire a product leader. So that happens a lot in smaller companies. They’re not doing that work because they just don’t have time. Or it’s not the expertise of the CEO. They need to hire a product leader. That’s a really good indication that, okay, it’s time to get my chief product officer and VP of product, whatever phase you’re at.
Andrew Skotzko 00:13:36 That probably happens. Right. As a, is it as maybe a start? It’s going from like a startup to a scale up where it’s like, all of a sudden the wheels are coming off the bus. We’re what’s, what’s the phrase like you’re out skiing. You’re outlining your skis or I don’t know the phrase, there’s a phrase about from skiing like this.
Melissa Perri 00:13:52 Yeah. I’m like thinking I got too long of skis going on down the Hill, going really fast. Um,
Melissa Perri 00:13:59 It’s, it’s definitely that it’s and you start to characterize those companies by different traits, right? Where you’re expanding from one product line into two product lines, or you’re expanding geographically, or have significant churn. And you have to reevaluate your product because you know, you hit this growth point. So something major is happening where you have to reevaluate your strategy or figure out how to grow more. And that’s when, usually you’re transitioning from startup to scale up and you need a product leader in there to help. Now, then there’s all these big companies where you’re going, okay, why aren’t they doing it? They have a million people. They have a whole product team set up. That situation is usually those companies haven’t done product management before. So they don’t actually know how to do this work. They don’t know how to do the product strategy work that it takes. And there’s a lot of leaders who don’t know that that’s their job, right? They’re like, Oh, my job is to do strategy, but they don’t understand what that means. And they haven’t been trained on it before. And a lot of companies that go through product management transformations, right? Especially your, your banks or your people who are not digitally native, they’re usually bringing transformation, transformation, people,
Andrew Skotzko 00:15:02 Air quotes. There’s a lot of air quotes happening here, listening.
Melissa Perri 00:15:05 So those, those places you’re bringing leaders in from other parts of the organization, but they’ve never done this role before, like being a VP of product when you’ve been like a VP of deposit accounts for like the longest time, it’s very, very different. Like that’s not, that’s not the same role. And yet a lot of companies just take the managers and they go, okay, cool. You, you were on product now. So they don’t know how to do it. They don’t, they’ve never learned
Andrew Skotzko 00:15:29 To like a CIO who thinks about stuff purely as a cost-based framework, like a cost-based mindset and minimizing that as opposed to like, Oh, this is the fundamental investment that’s going to drive. Well kind of everything.
Melissa Perri 00:15:41 And in product is a growth function at the end of the day. Like that’s why you’re, you’re really getting into it. And a lot of those companies see product more as a way to save money or cost function. Definitely get that. That’s, that’s one reason to implement software, but it’s not the only reason. You know, if you look at, I was just doing a training for a bank and I was, we were thinking through product strategies and how do they help differentiate it? And if you look at the software strategies and the way that product management helps people who really grok it, you can see interesting ways that it adds value. So for example, I really like what capital one did with some of their product stuff that you’ve seen. If you’ve like, I’ve been a capital and credit card holder forever. And it seemed to come out over the ways.
Melissa Perri 00:16:22 And I think what they do in their credit card division is amazing. But one of the things that they did saved costs and what they did is they implemented a way to get smart on whether people travel or not. So you never had to notify them if you’re traveling, right? So these costs, you don’t have to call up customer service. You don’t have to put it in manually, but also there’s so much customer value because you’re like now I have peace of mind where I don’t have to worry about my credit card being shut off on me. And I travel all the time to go to like workshops and stuff. So this is a huge issue, but now I’ve got peace of mind, right? So there’s so much customer value on the side. That’s like a huge growth opportunity. Like why wouldn’t I go with a credit card company that allows me to do things so seamlessly that allows me to just, you know, exist and not worry about being cut off. And yet still saves them probably a lot of money at the end of the day. So we tend to always be like, Oh, it’s just, you know, product just has to make things easier. And it’s just gotta be like a, you know, a cost factor where we streamlined it, we can automate things and it’s like, that’s not it at the end of the day, there’s opportunities to, to learn from your customers to use that data and then help surface up better opportunities for them better ways to actually increase value.
Andrew Skotzko 00:17:27 Yeah. No, that’s, that’s so interesting. And you know, for the listener we were doing the air quotes thing or the digital transformation, cause it’s so common, it’s kind of trite at this point. And honestly, the thing I often I find myself and I don’t like this, but it’s just what I noticed happening is I find myself getting more and more skeptical whenever I hear that. And sort of, unfortunately now my default has shifted to like, when I hear that I kind of don’t believe it. How do you know, can, you know, from the outside, like whether this desire to become a product led organization is sincere, how do you, how do you tell, so you don’t waste your time?
Melissa Perri 00:18:03 It’s a really good question. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I’m working on it. I think I’m learning, but I can’t tell immediately. I think my biggest, my biggest thing that I look for is, is the CEO invested enough in this, where they see it as their job to do it. And that’s a big one because I see a lot of CEOs. I talk to CEOs all day and they bring me in and they go, okay, I want this digital transformation. I’m going to do it, but this is this person’s job over here. And they don’t contribute to the strategy. They don’t work on setting the vision. They don’t work on setting like those things. They don’t work on wrangling the team together and pulling them all in on it. And I don’t think you can have a successful transformation of any company in any way without having the top leader bought into it.
Melissa Perri 00:18:49 And I think that’s it. Everybody sees the digital transformation as somebody else’s job and they don’t see it as, this is a different way of working for our entire company. And we all have to be, and we all have to participate in the strategy and we all have to get it. Sometimes everybody’s just like, Hey, that is happening in it. And that’s it. But I do work with some leadership teams where everybody shows up to the product strategy workshop and they look through it and they go, okay. Yeah, we’re all going to do this. And to me, those are the best ones, right? When I, when I do a product strategy workshop workshop with an executive team and the CEO doesn’t show up, like that’s signaling to me that this is important to them.
Andrew Skotzko 00:19:25 Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. The other, the other most common answer, I’ve asked a few people this question now, and the other most common answer is they just say pain. I just looked for pain. Like they gotta be hurting and hurting pretty bad usually. Yeah.
Melissa Perri 00:19:37 And you know what? I have also seen people hurt really bad and organizations hurt really bad and I’ve invested in a lot of time and trying to fix it. And it still comes down to CEO because the CEO wasn’t bought in, they will let the pain go. I’ve seen, like I’ve worked with companies that were on the brink of failure, trying to use digital transformation as like a last stitch effort, you know, get there. And, uh, you know, by then it’s too late, honestly. Like it’s really hard to come back from there. So that’s one thing and say like, it’s not going to be the thing that saves you. I think, I think also if you don’t see it as your job, it’s definitely not going to save you as a CEO of this organization. So that’s the only fail-proof way I have, I’ve come to be able to determine it.
Melissa Perri 00:20:20 Cause I I’ve actually come into organizations. I’ve met with the CEO, like a million times. They bring me in and then as soon as I’m in, never see them again. And they’re like, Oh, this your job to go fix it. And that is when I know it’s not really going to work. It’s not really going to take hold. But the ones that I have worked with, with a CEO, like I’ve worked with some really great companies where the CEO is on the, on the phone every day or, you know, at least once a week, just like what’s going on? How are we working on that? What do I to do? What do you need from me? Do you need me to write a memo? Do you need me to do this? And when they do it, it works beautifully. Like everything comes together and when they’re not in touch with it, it does not work. So that to me is a big thing. Like how invested is the, the leadership team and especially the top leader in making this happen? Do they see it as a priority for themselves? Or do they see it as somebody else’s problem?
Andrew Skotzko 00:21:09 Yeah. Yeah. A hundred percent, you know, related to that, when we’re talking a little bit about this basically about buyer’s remorse. So I’ve actually had quite a few folks, uh, quite a few product folks in the audience privately messaged me with questions that basically all come down to this, this idea of buyer’s remorse of, you know, they, they took a job somewhere in a product role and it looked good. It sounded good, all these things. And they got in and it was exactly what you described a few minutes ago where they’re like, wait a minute. Like I, I’m not allowed to work the way that we as a product community in a, in a global sense have basically figured out as best we know we should be working. And I’m curious, do you have any advice for people, uh, for, you know, let’s say someone is taking, is interviewing for a role. How can they figure out before taking the job that it actually, that they’re going to be allowed to work in? You know, they’re going to be empowered to work the ways we know that they should, that they’re going to have the context they need, that it’s not going to be window dressing.
Melissa Perri 00:22:04 Yeah. That has actually happened to me. So I will say like, I get it. I’ve been there. It’s happened to me. It’s happened to me. Full-time like, yeah, that’s the thing I feel like when you go through the interviews, they’ll sell you on whatever just to get you in the door. So what I advise and what I do when I, before I take on clients as well is ask some very tactical questions to evaluate if they’re actually doing the behaviors or if they’re just paying lip service to what they would like to do. So my suggestion would be to start with questions like, Oh, can you tell me about like the last product that you built? Like, how did everybody work together? Did you talk to customers? Who were they, you know, what’d you do to actually build it, like try to dive into those so that you can say, I really want to understand what my, you know, my day-to-day my week to week is going to look like, can you tell me about the last features and products that you shipped?
Melissa Perri 00:22:50 Like, how’d you start? Where did the idea come from? All that stuff? And that’s good because you’re showing interest in the products and services that those people are building. And you’re trying to just get an understanding of how you work as a team. I’ve also asked questions, like, what are your goals or KPIs? What do they look like? What’s your goals? So write to the interviewers, ask everybody about that. I would ask the other product managers what it’s like as well. So even if people who might not be in the interviewing, if you can ask them to say like, can I talk to another product manager on the team? I just want to like, kind of, if I’m going to have lunch with them or something, just ask them about how they build things. So a lot of people, I feel like in the interviews spend time being like, what’s the culture?
Melissa Perri 00:23:27 Like, do you get vacation days and stuff like that? Or like ask them about what their projects are. So what are you working on right now? How did that start? How’d you get given that project? What are the goals for that project? Who do you work with on a daily basis? How’d you get matched with a team? What was the last time you talked to customers? What kind of customers, how do you get in touch with those customers? By the way, like, just try to try to dig into what are they actually doing because people will be truthful and they’ll tell you exactly what they’re doing. But if you ask them theoretically, like, Hey, do you experiment? Do you talk to customers? They’re going to be like, Oh, of course.
Andrew Skotzko 00:23:56 Yeah, of course. Yeah. It’s funny. It’s, it’s actually a, it just occurs to me listening to you. It’s the same thing that we do with customer interviews. Right? We don’t ask them to speculate about their future selves. We ask them to tell us about their actual past behavior. And it’s just applying this exact same tool to our own job interviews, basically. Exactly, exactly. Another one that I’ve heard is, is, you know, understanding that, like I just had Marty Cagan on the show and we were talking about his new book, you know, he has a huge section in there about like coaching and the importance of that. And one of the things he said, I asked him a similar question. He’s like, yeah, you should find out what’s it like to work for that manager? Like, how do you get coaching? How often do you get coaching? What kind of coaching? Like, what’s that like, you know, all those things like that, or how was the, um, another one I I’ve, I’ve heard that I like is similar to your point about KPIs and goals. Like, how did you know, how did your current goals get set? Right. And then you can find out like, Oh, are these just being like dictated from on high or what’s going on here? So that makes a lot
Melissa Perri 00:24:52 Asking people who report into that manager, not necessarily the manager themselves. Right. Cause the manager might be like, yeah, I coach people all the time then. Yeah. Deportes and they’re like, Oh, I have a meeting once a month with my manager. Okay. That doesn’t sound like coaching.
Andrew Skotzko 00:25:05 Yeah. How long is that meeting? What do you do? Okay. So yeah. It’s almost like exactly. It’s like, what are you talking about? So yeah. No, it’s super helpful. I know there’s, there’s few people in the audience, you know who you are. There, there you go. That’s that? One’s just for you all. So let’s pop back up a level to talking about strategy because I think that’s really, as you said, that’s my own explorations have also led me there to thinking a lot more about that, of like, Oh, that’s this missing critical piece. And there’s a book I’ve heard you talk about that. I think I have to go read now, which I believe is called the art of action. Yeah. Talk to me about that. What influence did that have on you? Cause I think it’s actually from a military base.
Melissa Perri 00:25:41 It is. So it was written by Stephen Bungay and it’s really about deploying strategy and he uses the example of the military in there, but I thought it was fascinating. Like I am reading this book, just nodding at all the things you said are like signs of bad strategy. And I was like, yep. Going through this, going through this, going through this. Right. Like as that’s why I became slightly obsessed with that book. Um, and it’s funny because I gave it to the CEO. One of the companies I was at while I was reading it, being like, Hey yeah, I kept telling him, I was like, you need a strategy, but couldn’t figure out how to convince them to do the work. And then he likes books. So I gave him the book and I was like, see all of these things that it talks about.
Melissa Perri 00:26:17 Like it does, it talks about when there’s like lack of information or there’s lack of data. It causes leaders to react in certain ways. So like if there’s lack of information, the leaders are going to demand more information and then they demand more information and then people think you’re micromanaging them. And it turns into this flywheel. Right. And it’s usually because there is no system set up to get that information, to deploy that strategy, to communicate what people are working on. There’s no robust framework set up for it. So it attributes to bad behaviors in leaders, especially in an organizations to really react that way. I’m pulling up the flywheels. I remember exactly what it looks like as I talk about it. So like they talk about these, these different gaps. So there’s like the knowledge gap where there’s a disconnect between the outcomes and the plans. Right. And that’s specific to what strategy is. So what, you know, what is the plan to actually build? What are we trying to achieve if they’re disconnected or if people don’t understand it, what happens is leaders demand more detailed information. And that means that, you know, they’re requesting, they’re like, tell me what you’re going to do. Tell me where you’re going to do. And they’re trying to connect
Andrew Skotzko 00:27:19 To me the roadmap. Tell me what’s in the roadmap for two to three years from now.
Melissa Perri 00:27:22 Yeah, exactly. And then, um, there’s a disconnect between, uh, plans and actions. There’s an alignment gap. So what do they do? They give you more detailed instructions. So they’re like, go do this. And it becomes very micromanagy. And then if there’s a gap between actions and outcomes, it’s the effects gap. Right. Okay. You did all these things, but I can’t actually measure it, which is what we were talking about with product strategy before, you know, if it’s not aligned, you’re not going to see the outcomes. And then what do they do when they see the effects gap they do, they ask for more detailed information and they get tighter control. So they get very prescriptive about what people should be doing and that’s where you get into micromanagement. So it’s all about like alignment. So if you don’t have alignment between the outcomes and the plans to achieve those outcomes and the actions of the teams that can produce those outcomes, that’s when you get a bunch of managers who are like on your back going, okay, build this feature tomorrow.
Melissa Perri 00:28:11 And that’s the part that made me so excited about this when I was thinking about strategy. Cause I was watching it happen in an organization where the CEO was literally like, I want to read everybody’s tickets in JIRA. And I was like, you have 5,000 people entering tickets in JIRA into the system. You’re going to read how many tickets. And also you’re not going to understand what they mean. So like great. But she was asking for more information, right? Like that wasn’t the information he needed, but he didn’t know where to go to get the information. So what he did was asked for the only thing he knew about which was JIRA tickets, but that’s not going to help him. Right. And so, yeah, so we, we went, he went through JIRA tickets for like four hours. He came back in and he was like, yeah, I don’t understand what’s going on.
Melissa Perri 00:28:57 And I’m like, yeah, because that’s not the thing that you need. So like let’s work on, let’s work on your strategy so that, uh, we can bubble up what’s happening there. And then we went to all the teams and we said like, okay, we have to define the initiative that you’re actually working towards in a way that talks about the outcomes. And then we rewrote everything there. We mapped that out and he was like, Oh, okay, now it’s going to get me more revenue or entering this market or whatnot. And it connected it. And you know, then he stopped asking. So we had to implement that cadence and that way of communicating about the strategy so that he got the information he needed so that he knew people were aligned to what he was trying to achieve. And they were working towards the right thing,
Andrew Skotzko 00:29:35 A real product strategy, especially for the first time it’s a significant undertaking, right? This can take months to do this. Well, my chair, my question is that if someone can get themselves signed up for doing it the first time, does it get easier over time? Like, is it easier once you have one
Melissa Perri 00:29:49 Because you don’t have to do it from scratch. Like imagine it’s going to take a company like what six months to actually implement a great product strategy top to bottom. Let’s say that six, six months. If you’re smaller, maybe a year, if you’re big and slow and not really doing stuff well, or don’t have the right data. Now, if you build the infrastructure to keep refreshing that data, the systems, to get that data, to get the different information from users kind of strategy should take you like a couple of weeks to do, because you’ll have the information that you need, right? So it’s not just about setting the strategy. It’s about setting the, the governance, the product operations and stuff around getting you information that you need to do strategy. So one of the biggest things that we used to do with clients consulting is putting together like the dashboards for product operations, especially for the C-level executives that were things like looking at the revenue and cost per product or the segment of the market per product or the turn per product and things that like really broke it down in a way where you can look at it as you evaluate the strategy and be like, wow, why are we investing 90% more in product, a versus product B when product B has much more revenue potential than product day, right?
Melissa Perri 00:30:54 Like if you came into those decisions, you can’t set strategy is going to take a longer, longer to do so once you get one also you shouldn’t be changing it immediately. So you’re going to have that for a while, but you should be reflecting on it and updating it and gathering the information for the next steps.
Andrew Skotzko 00:31:09 Got it. Perfect. It just seems to me that like, Oh wow. What you’re describing seems to be sort of maybe the actual root cause of everyone’s favorite word to hate, which is roadmaps, right? Every, like all the frustrations and the fact that everybody is seemingly in the enterprise, everybody confuses roadmaps and plans. Right? One is a communications document of strategic intent. And one is like, what are we doing in X amount of time? And it seems like what you’re describing might actually be what’s at the root of that.
Melissa Perri 00:31:37 Yes. Yeah. So the, when we think about, you know, aligning these different pieces, we’re maps really connect like, so to re go over again, the four layers that I was talking about, right? We’ve got product visions. Then we got strategic intents that are business level. Then we got product initiatives, which are about how do we manifest this product portfolio to solve bigger problems. And then we’ve got options which are solutions that the teams go after roadmaps should. First of all, there’s not there. Shouldn’t just be one roadmap for a company there’s usually different levels of roadmaps. So in an executive team, what I want to be seeing is how do my strategic intents map to the initiatives. So that’s what the CEO can understand. That’s what a CPO could understand. That’s the higher level. Here’s the big things that we’re doing that will get me to my big goals.
Melissa Perri 00:32:19 So you need a roadmap for that. And then at a team level or product level, you need the, to map the initiatives back to the options, right? The solutions that you’re actually building, the projects, you break down for that. So that’s a roadmap on the team level. So you have to make sure you’re communicating the right level of information for the different team members. And that is something where I see struggle. Sometimes they’re giving too detailed information to CEOs and they check out, you know, a lot of them say, Oh, I want to see a roadmap. But if you started talking to them at a level where it’s like, Hey, we’re going to implement this API tomorrow. And here’s where we’re getting held up. There’s some bugs on this area. We have to replatform. It’s like snooze Fest for them. They’re like, I don’t know what any of that means.
Melissa Perri 00:32:59 I don’t care. Like cool. And that’s why, yeah. That’s why they were like tuning out because you’re not talking to them in the right way. But if you stay in instead, like, okay, you know, one of our strategic intents is to open up our platform in order to do that, we have to really figure out how to build this bundle of APIs that can target this customer subset. That’s what we’re working on here. We believe that we will have a first version of market in three months. Okay. Now I understand what you’re saying now. Okay. In three months, I believe we can go target our first people and be on the first step to opening up our platform.
Andrew Skotzko 00:33:30 Yeah. Let’s talk to me a little bit about product ops, product operations, which seems to be, as I understand it now, just from the stuff you sent me before we talked kind of the missing or the key enabling piece, that makes a good, a real strategy possible.
Melissa Perri 00:33:42 Yeah. So I kind of stumbled into product operations. When I was scaling product management across an organization of 5,000 people, we had 365 product teams, something like that. And it came to a point where we were like, we had 365 product managers, about 360 team, something like that. And you know, everybody was doing a roadmap difference. The information was really hard to get to inform strategy. We didn’t really have a strategy when I started. And we started to see that even training the teams and the tactics, getting a strategy in place, if you didn’t have a way to constantly get the data, to refresh it, have a way for the product managers to concentrate on product management and not like infrastructure problems or anything like that. It wasn’t really scalable. You couldn’t scale your teams. So, uh, we introduced there a concept of product operations.
Melissa Perri 00:34:30 And what we did was we had, we, we had them in charge of cadences for meetings to review things like roadmaps demos, strategy review with exec teams. So we implemented these different cadences for, Hey, when this is the meeting that happens quarterly between the executives and the product leaders to understand the initiatives to strategic intents. And we make decisions there on a high level, this is a meetings that happen between the product managers and their product leaders to communicate their roadmaps and what’s happening more tactically so that they can start to anticipate with bring to the executive leadership meeting. This is where we set strategy. We had people in place that helped pull together data and insights for the product managers so that they didn’t have to do the legwork to get it all out of databases. So they were in charge of monitoring things like amplitude and creating dashboards and, um, synthesizing customer information that was coming in from a customer support or sales or anything like that.
Melissa Perri 00:35:23 And making sure those got back to the team in a way, not that prescriptive, like here’s what you have to go build, but just useful, like, okay, here’s theme around stuff that you’re interested in and here’s the customer so that you can go contact them if you have to. So we had like the data we had reporting, we had the cadence people, and then we had the, Oh, we also streamlined customer research and like experimentation and product ops. So a lot of B2B companies or large enterprises have issues with trying to get the right people in to test or find the right customers to show things to. And what we did was set up like a cadence, that one we defined, like what stages of products were. So things like experimental products that may not, may not go live. We told Sam was like, you cannot sell that.
Melissa Perri 00:36:07 But we had like a user research group that had people opted in to do experiments with us, that we contact and do experiments with. We have beta testers as well. So we like, um, had a group of people that we had contact. And we had a database of those people. We also said when we contacted them so that we didn’t hound them all the time, but then the software put into place a system for sales to not understand like what not to sell and what was ready to be sold. And like what was coming down the pipeline in a way where we didn’t have to be like, you can’t talk about that yet because they understood what the framework was.
Andrew Skotzko 00:36:37 Gotcha. Yeah. It seems like it’s to put it in kind of a meta way, it seems like it’s almost like this SU this engine you’re creating, that’s an engine for insight. Yeah. And then that those insights become your sort of raw material for actually doing a real strategy.
Melissa Perri 00:36:51 Exactly. It feeds the insights and it also provides governance so that everybody’s working in a standardized way, but not necessarily like the exact same way. What I think about is you should standardize things that are important across teams. So like roadmaps, you want a common way to do that, but you know, running a meeting with your development team on a day-to-day basis that doesn’t really affect other people. So run it the way you want. Like you don’t have to standardize everything, but you should standardize things that make it possible for people to move team, the team or the other people in the organization have to understand for you to do your job well.
Andrew Skotzko 00:37:22 Hmm. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. So I want to talk a little bit now, you know, you sent me a great talk and we’re going to link to this in the show, all the stuff in the show notes for the listener, but there’s a fantastic talk. You, you sent me called or that you did recently called the product view and you talked a lot about sort of the trajectory or the career path for, for product people that I think for many people actually hasn’t was never spelled out before. Like when I saw that, I was like, Oh, wow, okay, this makes sense. I can see how these sort of, I can see the different rungs on the ladder, so to speak. And, um, you know, one of the things I really appreciated about it was you kind of described some of the different foundational skills that people need to get really good at if they want to, you know, depending on where they want to go, you’ve identified some goals. And now I’m thinking about, okay, cool. How do we use the best of what you’ve identified with the best of like learning theory to help people actually level up in these ways?
Melissa Perri 00:38:11 Yeah. I get a lot of questions about how do I move from my individual contributor role into a leader role. And they’re always segwayed with, I don’t have time to do all the things that I’m capable of. And I don’t have time to do the strategy work. My answer honestly, is like, you gotta find time and make it, like, I don’t care what’s on your plate. And it kinda sounds terrible to say that, but if you can’t practice it, the first role of being a leader is figuring out like how to get stuff off your plate and getting out to other people’s plates or, or figuring out what you can streamline or automate. So you can free up your time to see the most important work. And I mean, you know, things I deal with every day where I’m like, I could respond to all of our customer support emails, or I could have somebody else respond to the customer support emails, right.
Melissa Perri 00:38:54 Cause I have to figure out what the strategy is and where we’re going to go or what we’re going to do. And I think a lot of times we get bogged down by the day-to-day busy-ness of things. And we don’t set a time set aside that time for the delivery practice of doing the work that we need to do to get better. So you have to try it, right? Like you have to try things. And even if you’re not specifically even the opportunity in your organization, there is so much room. I see where leaders, there’s this waiting for product managers to step up and own something. So I get all these product managers who are like, Hey, I don’t have the time to do strategy. And all these leaders who are like, I don’t have the time to do strategy. Why can’t my team do it?
Melissa Perri 00:39:36 And you’re like, cool. So if you set apart some of that time to actually work through it, get something and put it in front of them. It would probably blow their minds. Like you don’t have to be. I try to say like, don’t wait for permission to do things. And I know a lot of people get uncomfortable with that, but I’ve, I think I’ve lived my, my entire life by not waiting for permission for somebody to say like, Hey, you’re allowed to do that. What’s gotten me to where I am. So in, in specifically in places, like I was told, I couldn’t talk to customers. I was told like, I couldn’t experiment. And I did it anyway. Like I just went around and I apologize for it later. I feel like I’ve lived most of my career by not waiting for permission for people to tell me I could do things, right.
Melissa Perri 00:40:15 Like I could end up in specific organizations where I was told I’m not allowed to experiment. I’m not allowed to do Mbps. I’m not allowed to talk to customers, figuring out ways to get the information I need and do that anyway. So like one company that I was at was like, you can’t talk to customers. So I went to the sales team and I was like, can I come with you to talk to customers? And they were like, okay. Um, I rode along with them. And then they were like, Oh, she’s chill. She can go talk to people afterwards. Right? Like, like you just have to kind of figure out how to get your job done. And it’s annoying. It’s not comfortable. And I say, if you don’t want to do that, then go to another place where you can do your job. But if you do want to get ahead, especially into leadership roles and do strategic work and stuff like that, you have to take the opportunity in some places to just do it and show people what you can do and try to get the other stuff off your plate by either enabling your team.
Melissa Perri 00:41:02 One of the biggest things I see from product managers who complain that they don’t have enough time is that they’re not setting the context with their team, that they need to, to make sure that they know how to make strategic decisions when they’re not around like magic my way for two weeks, is your team not going to do anything? No. So like, how do you lay the picture out for them about where you want to go build that context so that they can make decisions and then you put some of that work onto them. And then how do you get out of some of the busy work that you don’t really need to do? Like, do you have to respond to like every single email that you possibly get? Can some things, wait, how do you create space? It’s that type of discipline that you need in order to free yourself up to do what you’re actually capable of.
Melissa Perri 00:41:39 But if you can’t make that space, it doesn’t matter because you’ll never make that space at a leadership level. Either you will find that you can keep yourself busy. So that’s my big thing is like, just figure out like there’s, there’s all these tips and tricks about like how to free up space to do things. And I think the biggest thing is looking at what’s important for you to do versus what can you give to other people or enable your team to do not micromanage everything and then free up yourself to go and just try something and put it in front of your boss.
Andrew Skotzko 00:42:07 Yeah. It’s funny. It brings it back around that concept. You, you mentioned in your book, the cost of delay, right? And it’s like, this is one of those, you know, important, but not that urgent things that is so easy to ignore. So talk to me really quick about that, about what does that look like? And there’s sort of two pieces. I’d love you to address first. We’ve got to get stuff off her plate and it seems like the key thing there is setting that context. So how does a product manager who’s trying to free up some time, do a good job, setting that context for the team so they can actually get a little space back to go do some forward-looking work.
Melissa Perri 00:42:36 Yeah, it’s really interesting. So this is something that I saw as I was training product managers, product managers who adopt agile and learn product management through a product owner framework. And don’t go to like Jeff Patton’s workshop or anything. Don’t learn this concept of building a vision for the product and what you’re actually going to build ahead of time. So they just focus on like a backlog of a list of requests. They take it off. So there is nothing wrapping that backlog around a meaningful goal. So you need to take a step back first at that lowest level and just say, what are we trying to produce here? Like, what’s the option? What’s the solution? How do I, how do I build context for my team about that? And you can do story mapping. You can write a little memo about it. You can put together at organizations where we did big parts of this.
Melissa Perri 00:43:17 We put together like this North star document about where we’re going and some UX, wire frames and stuff, and design and product would work on it together to build the context about what you’re doing. And then when the developers see it, and I also would include, include them in some of the working sessions along the way, when they see it, they’re like, okay, I understand what we’re building now. I don’t need to bug you every single day with 7,000 questions. Cause it’s not reactive. It’s like I get it’s strategic. It’s going that way. So I think that’s the biggest thing that you can do also as a leader. I think building that context for your teams, your product managers is huge. So the best directors and VP of products, I’ve seen, they build teams around themselves to help get that done. So they’ll, they’ll pull in product managers, uh, pull in data. Scientists will pull in a bunch of people to help them build context about the direction that they’re going in, the strategy that they’re setting the vision for the product. And they spent a lot of time communicating it to their teams when it’s new and when it’s fresh and it’s just over and over repetition, repetition until everybody internalizes it and then they never have to worry about it again.
Andrew Skotzko 00:44:16 Hmm. Yeah. I love that. So let’s talk then about, let’s say you have a product manager, who’s just did that good job product manager. And now they’re saying, okay, I want to actually take Melissa’s advice and practice doing some of that higher level strategy. I’m sure you see this a lot, especially in your work as like an interim CPO of, you know, going from no strategy to a strategy. So what would you, how would you advise them to start doing that if they really don’t have a background in it?
Melissa Perri 00:44:40 Yeah. The first thing I would do is talk to your boss about if there is a strategy. So I have situations where there is a strategy it’s stuck in somebody’s head and they’re not clearly communicating it. And in that case, you can go try to understand what success looks like for them. Try to fill in the pieces. You probably not gonna get all of the pieces and then your next step would be to fill them in yourself, right. Go do the work to help fill it in. But the first thing is to gather as much information as you can from your boss or from your executives and figure out what is it that we’re trying to achieve here and start to map that out. If you can’t get all the pieces, that’s your opportunity to go fill them in. So that’s what I would say was the first part of strategy.
Melissa Perri 00:45:16 Second part is if there is no strategy, if there are no pieces in it, that’s your opportunity to start thinking differentiated, be like, well, what’s our goal as a company, are we trying to increase revenue? Are we reducing costs? Like what’s our biggest business challenges right now. And that’s your opportunity to figure out how do you differentiate against customers? How do you, um, solve some of those problems through your own product? And I wouldn’t go crazy. Like I wouldn’t build a strategy for the entire company, but you can build a strategy for your product or your surrounding areas. And then just be like, Hey, you know, I want to, I want to talk to you about this concept to your boss and be like, I was playing around with it. I wouldn’t super Polish it. I would like keep it rough. Right. And just be like, I’m just trying to figure out where there is potential for my product.
Melissa Perri 00:45:58 And this is what I put together. Can I discuss it with you? And maybe we can see if I’m on the right track or if you have any inputs for me and I keep it at that level. And then these, the reaction rate is the reaction like sweet. Yes. This is a lot of stuff that we’ve been missing or a lot of research has been missing. This is fantastic. Let’s flush it out together. Or are they like, Oh no, this is completely off base. This is a different direction. And in that case, you go, okay, how, how is it a different direction? What am I missing here? I probably just don’t have all the information. Can you, can you help fill me in? And maybe that’s an ego thing, or maybe you are missing information, but either way, it’s going to let you see some of the reaction, but you also had the opportunity to build some of the strategy, whether you want to be there or not.
Andrew Skotzko 00:46:37 Yeah. You’ll, you’ll learn a lot of those reactions about, Hmm. What do I think about this place for real? So I’m curious as people take that on and, and I know a lot of folks in the audience are going to accept that challenge, which is great. I think for a lot of people there, they are lacking an example of what good looks like. Is there an example you would point people to is as you know, Hey, if you’re taking a crack at your first strategy, just for your product line, not for the whole business, right? Like you just talked about, is there an example you would point people to, to say, Hey, here’s, here’s a pretty good example that shows you what good looks like.
Melissa Perri 00:47:05 Yeah. I think give Biddle has written a lot on strategy that gives you some good frameworks to start thinking through it. I think like the way that I was thinking through this the other day, but like, I think the way that give a purchase strategy is he’s got different frameworks that have worked at previous companies that you can implement and take and start to use yourself. And I think that’s pretty good place to start. If you, if you don’t know where to go. My strategic framework top to bottom is less prescriptive about like, here’s the different ways companies do strategy. Like it’s not going to tell you like how Netflix strategies, this is just more about aligning it and the types of things that should be at each level, but you’d have to pick one of those strategies to fill in. So I think if you’re starting, there’s a lot of stuff out there like by give or some other people about the different ways that companies do strategy.
Melissa Perri 00:47:49 And I would look at that because there’s patterns like the way that one company expands into new markets, it’s a strategy pattern that you can pick up and try to implement yourself on our blog. We have a bunch of stuff about different strategies that SAS companies can do. Products, labs.com. That’s where the blog is. And we have 16 strategies for growth. So if I want to increase my Tam, I could expand geographically. I could expand into different, different market lines with different problems or different persona lines. So there’s all these different strategies and I’d encourage you to like, look at those and say what could actually work for my company and what are my goals in our organization. And can I start to think through how this would actually manifest?
Andrew Skotzko 00:48:29 Yeah. Fantastic. And I love highly, highly want to second, the recommendation for Gibbs strategy series. He’s got some great models in there from DHM to glee, to Jim and we’ll link to all this stuff in the show notes. It’s excellent. So I want to go ahead and start to close out now with a couple of rapid fire questions, short questions, your answers don’t have to be just, they’re just fun. Terrific. And the first one is what is a quote or a saying that’s important to you, you know, that you returned to often. And what about it speaks to you?
Melissa Perri 00:48:55 Ooh, does it have to be like product management?
Andrew Skotzko 00:48:58 Really?
Melissa Perri 00:49:00 I guess like, I don’t know, this year killed me and there’s one quote that I just keep playing in my mind, which is like, I don’t know how to convince you that you should care about other people. That’s like a really big one. And I think as we go into organizations and we’re working, I’m working geographic like internationally and working with people who are going through a lot of stuff, I would encourage people to remember that like you should care about the people that you work with and the other people in your life or the people that you don’t even know and make sure that they’re all right, because we’re all in this together.
Andrew Skotzko 00:49:29 That’s beautiful. Yeah. Thank you for that. And this is a bit of an odd one, but, and again, that doesn’t have to just be product. What would you say is the thing, you know, best?
Melissa Perri 00:49:38 Ooh, the thing that I know best fortunately it’s product. I think my life is boring. My boyfriend keeps telling me that I need to get hobbies that don’t relate to work. And I’m just like, well, who has time for that? Try to be a more well-rounded person. So when I think about this question, it’s like, what’s your secret sauce? What are you like really, really good at? What’s your, what’s your like spidey sense? I think I’m really good at maybe not even just product, but like breaking down product and teaching it. So I have spent a lot of time thinking about this for the last couple of years, because I think you want to do things that you’re really good at. And I think the one thing that I’m really good at or really know about is, is the actual teaching component of it too. I don’t know why I have no idea where that came from, but I will say that I, I know how to break these things down and teach for some reason you don’t, you, you certainly have,
Andrew Skotzko 00:50:28 Uh, I was going to say a skill, but you have both a talent and a skill. You have a talent that you’ve built on and honed into a skill of taking that, which is complex and making it sort of simple, relatable, actionable. Yeah. Yeah.
Melissa Perri 00:50:39 That’s the thing. That’s the thing that I just keep coming back to and I that’s the thing I like doing so great. I think that it’s pretty good. I spent a lot of time thinking about that over the past year and I’m like, Oh, that was one thing that I can do.
Andrew Skotzko 00:50:53 Yeah, for sure. For sure. And it’s, what’s nice is I found this in my own explorations is getting, spending the time to get more clear about those things I find to be so freeing, because we can figure out like when you understand something like what you just said, you can apply that in any situation, any context, it doesn’t, you know, that isn’t just related to product. You can do that anywhere. What they find to be is like, Oh cool. I have a superpower. What is a small change you’ve made in recent memory that has had an outsized impact for you? It can be about anything like personal life could just be some hobby. Anything
Melissa Perri 00:51:23 I have started to stop my Workday a little bit earlier or like find some breathing time. So even when I have a million things to do, it’s kind of terrible, but I think it’s also because I’m like checked out at the end of the year, but I’ve been like, I’m just going to stop now. And I’m going to walk away and having that space, which I also don’t feel like I’ve decompressed totally from this year. I mean, who has, but like having that space to think, and to have clarity, I think is really important. I just remember when, what I was starting off in product management, I had a, I had a boss, his name was Chris and I was like fighting with this. I was also a UX designer. So it was like fighting with the screen and I couldn’t figure out what to do.
Melissa Perri 00:52:02 And he came over and he was like, you’ve been like staring at the thing for five hours, go home. Just like, just go. I was like, it’s two o’clock. And he’s like, leave, come back tomorrow, look at it. Then go watch TV, take a walk, do something. He’s like, you are in a creative industry and you’re in a creative endeavor. And if you don’t give yourself space to be bored or not think about it, you will never solve that problem. And that is something that I’m trying to take into 2021. But I feel like I’ve spent a lot of my last couple of years just being busy and overpacking my agendas with to-dos instead of space to think. And I’m trying to give myself more space to think and really like religiously blocking my calendar.
Andrew Skotzko 00:52:41 Yeah, no, I hear you. I hear you on that. So, Melissa, first of all, thank you so much for being here today. I am such a fan of your work from your book to your talks, all of it. So really appreciate you spending some time and absolutely. It’s my pleasure. So just in closing out, what would you like to leave the listener with?
Melissa Perri 00:52:58 Cause we talk about in product management, taking risks and trying things and experimenting, I would encourage you to do that with, with your own stuff. Right? I, I try to treat everything I do as a little bit of an experiment to see if it works or not, and then keep what sticks and get rid of what doesn’t. And you can try that you don’t have to wait for product to try that, try that in the way that you present to your leadership leaders, try that in the way that you interact with customers. Try that in a way that you, um, create space for yourself to do things like maybe just take an experimental mindset, the, take a little bit of some calculated risks to put yourself out there and see what comes. I think taking a chance on a lot of stuff is, is a good way to approach, approach, getting better at things.
Andrew Skotzko 00:53:41 Awesome. Roll those dice people. Awesome. Well, Melissa, thanks again for being here. Really, really appreciate having you.
Melissa Perri 00:54:01 Thanks for having me. This was great.