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Makers, Movers and Shakers at Mind the Product 2019

2-minute read

Hasani Jess

Hasani Jess

18 December 2019

At the Mind the Product Conference London, October 2019, Simply Business joined around 1,700 product leaders to talk trends in product development, technology and business. Here's a snapshot of what we learned.


Bridging the gap between makers and users

The product method espoused by Marty Cagan, founder of Silicon Valley Product Group (SVPG), and others, is in my view the natural evolution of the Agile philosophy when applied to software delivery. As an organisation that has invested in Agile ways of working, the product teams at Simply Business are encouraged to stay on top of the latest trends and best practices.

The Mind the Product Conference (MTPCON) came highly recommended - therefore a large delegation of Simply Business technical leads and product managers rocked up at the Mind the Product Conference London, October 2019, to learn more.

The conference was well-attended and started with a simple but timely reminder of the basics of product development, led by keynote speaker Henrik Kniberg - Agile & Lean Coach at Crisp.

mind the product

There then followed a number of presentations that covered topics about how research should be conducted, how to recruit good people (but applicable to people in general) and the responsibility of product practitioners to society in general. All really interesting, but not yet hitting the spot.

Cultivating the right conditions for product teams

Then what should have been the keynote happened as the penultimate presentation.

mind the product article

In her presentation, Ezinne Udezue, VP Product at BazaarVoice, did a great job in articulating what areas a team needs to focus on to be successful. Understanding that technology teams are a significant investment for businesses and that creating the right environment, tools and insight are crucial to that investment being utilised successfully.

Speaking with other delegates at the conference was a real benefit. Some are flourishing and seeing really good results, others are struggling, and the rest fall somewhere in between. The acceptance that there is no 'one size fits all' approach can only be liberating for this community of product managers and technologists. It's also important to recognise that the failure of an initiative does not necessarily equate to a failed approach (nor does a success!); this is often the case with any approach to innovation or delivery.

What also came across at the conference was the burden that this community seems to place on itself, even though the proponents teach that a product manager or product designer are only roles to be played in the dance of product delivery. Maybe the name needs to be changed to enable team members to excel without all the perceived pressure.

In general, the conference was a fair use of time, but probably geared squarely (and fairly) at the product management community rather than at the other constituents of a product team.

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