Product Management Truths and Trends

Adrienne Tan

This blog is about a couple of Product Management truths and trends.

In November 2018, Brainmates hosted eight Product Management leaders for a round table discussion to tease out their insights and beliefs on the state of Product Management in Australia.

Here are the highlights…

Product Management Truth: People pleasers aren’t good Product Managers

This first gem comes from Sara Goepel, VP of Product at Karbon.

She says Product Management is leadership and that means dealing with a range of tough situations and sometimes tough stakeholders.

“It’s being able to not react,” she says. “You’ve gotta wait for your time to react in an appropriate way, otherwise you’re going to lose it.”

“You’re going to be in a day with thousands and thousands and thousands of requests. You need to be comfortable with that and not everyone is. If you’re a people pleaser, it’s not the right job for you,” Sara said.

Product Management Trends: Kent Weathers and Sandeep Gondekar
Kent Weathers and Sandeep Gondekar


Product Management Trend: Full Stack Product Managers

Kent Weathers is Head of Product at Leadbolt and he’s identified a trend around Product Managers with broad skills.

“I think one of the biggest shifts I’m seeing is what we’re calling full stack product managers,” Kent said.

“Used to be, there’s a business analyst writing requirements. There might be a product owner… And the product manager was the person that looked at that market,” he said.

But now, according to Kent, those roles and tasks are often being absorbed by one person. A trend he’s witnessed in the United States.

Product Management Truth: You Need Time for Discovery

Adrienne Tan is co-founder and Principal Consultant at Brainmates and she says you can’t have a Product culture, without dedicating time for discovery.

“We’re very good at building things quickly. We’re so well versed at doing that, it’s just we’re not quite sure whether we’re building the right things,” she said.

“Product culture is synonymous with having time to do product discovery,” she added.

“We’re very good now at moving fast in that agile space… but we don’t know yet that we need a bit more time up front, so the time has to shift up front for us to figure out what to build.”

Product Management Trends: Nick Coster and Asha Oberoi
Nick Coster and Asha Oberoi


Product Management Trend: You can get a Product Management job as a grad

Megan Cook is Head of Product Software Teams at Atlassian and shared a recruitment trend she’s seeing there.

“We hire graduates to come and be Product Managers at Atlassian, so for us, you don’t have to have had a tonne of experience as long as you’re willing … and you have the soft skills and attitude,” she says.

And that’s a big change according to Brainmates co-founder and Head of Training, Nick Coster.

He said for a long time now if you wanted “to make that jump into Product Management, the chicken before the egg was, unless you had a job as a Product Manager, you couldn’t get a job as Product Manager.”

Thanks to everyone who joined the discussion:

Sara Goepel, VP Product at Karbon
Kent Weathers, Head of Product at Leadbolt
Jayson Bricknell, Director Product and Service Development at Westpac
Megan Cook, Head of Product Software Teams at Atlassian
Chris Bennetts, Executive Director Digital Product and Services at Transport for NSW
Asha Oberoi, Product Director Daily Briefings at iSentia
Bruce Carney, Principal Product Manager Ecosystem Platform at Atlassian
Ben Slater, CPO at Instaclustr
Adrienne Tan, Founder and Principal Consultant at Brainmates
Nick Coster, Founder and Head of Training at Brainmates
Sandeep Gondekar, Senior Product Management Coach and Consultant at Brainmates
Jen Marshall, CEO at Brainmates

Adrienne Tan

Adrienne Tan | Author

Adrienne is Co-Founder and CEO of Brainmates and Co-Founder of Leading the Product. She has been championing Product Management since 2000, earning international recognition for raising the profile of the Product Management profession. In this capacity she regularly consults to the Asia-Pacific's top businesses and speaks at business and Product events around the world.

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