11 / Validating Products Through Design Sprints

Description

The design sprint process introduces experimentation and the scientific method to the world of digital product development. Like experimentation, the process is not about success or failure. It’s really about validation, getting quickly to the point of success or failure with considerably less investment of time, resources, and money.

In this episode, hosts Sean and Joe catch up with Jonathan Courtney, co-founder and CEO of AJ&Smart, a 21-person product studio in Berlin, Germany. A product designer by training and trade, Jonathan commands attention not only because AJ&Smart has facilitated more than 200 design sprints since 2016 – and he about 100 – but because of the engaging, humorous, and impassioned way he talks about using the design sprint process to help companies that struggle with defining their product goals.

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Recommended Resources

Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies, by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh. 


About Jonathan

Jonathan Courtney is a Product Designer who helps some of the biggest companies in the world bring new products to the market, faster. He’s also the founder and CEO of AJ&Smart, an award-winning product design studio based in Berlin, Germany.

Catch Jonathan on The Product Breakfast Club, a podcast by Jake Knapp and Jonathan Courtney.

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10 / Evolution of the Product Manager Role

Description

The product manager role has been around for decades, but its contributions have been generally overlooked and misunderstood.  No longer is that the case, according to the 2019 State of Product Leadership report, prepared by Pendo + Product Collective.

In this episode, hosts Sean and Joe speak with Pendo chief marketing officer Jake Sorofman about the recent reports and the continuing evolution of the product manager role. “It’s a role on the rise,” Jake says, “but also one in a state of transition. It’s only in the last 10 years that product management has really come into focus as a very strategic part of the business.”

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About Jake

Jake Sorofman is CMO of Pendo, a Raleigh, NC SaaS company that provides insights, guidance, and communication for digital product teams. Before Pendo, Jake was VP and chief of research at Gartner, Inc., where he focused on CMO topics and marketing trends. Prior to that, he spent 16 years in marketing leadership roles with venture-backed software companies.

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09 / Finding the Right Metrics

Description

How do we know our work is working? How do product designers know their work product is solving the problem it was intended to solve? That’s the kind of question that keeps us up at night.

“It’s an insidious question,” says Kate Rutter, designer, tech junkie, artist, and Principal at Intelleto. In this episode, hosts Sean and Joe chat with Kate about Metrics, but not just any metrics and not just those that only measure performance. Kate says the true power comes from our alignment around metrics as a very tangible element that people can get behind. “It gets really exciting when you…start to see metrics as human behaviors with your products stated in numerical terms.”

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About Kate

Kate is an entrepreneur+designer and Principal at Intelleto, where she creates visual explanations that make complex ideas simple, memorable and shareable. Kate pioneered the UX learning track at Tradecraft, co-founded Luxr.co, and was Senior Practitioner at UX consultancy Adaptive Path. She co-hosts the NSFW podcast What Is Wrong With UX with Laura Klein, tweets at @katerutter and blogs at intelleto.com.

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08 / Planning & Prioritizing Product Roadmaps

Description

Have you ever wondered what exactly it takes to create great software products? Those who spend even a little time in this space learn quickly that there is no wizard behind the curtain.

In this episode, hosts Sean and Joe speak with Rohini Pandhi, currently on the product team at Square, about her experiences developing and implementing a product roadmap – the path that connects a customer’s problems with a solution that drives their business forward. It’s not magic, Rohini says. There is no special sauce or magic potion. It’s a combination of talented, creative, hard-working people grinding through priorities, making sure they never lose sight of the customers’ destination along the journey.

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About Rohini

Rohini Pandhi is currently on the product team at Square. She has experiences building new products for startups, developing existing product lines for growth stage companies, and creating new innovation strategies for larger corporations. In her free time, Rohini also advises, invests, and advocates for tech startups, especially those with underrepresented entrepreneurs through a nonprofit she co-founded called Transparent Collective.

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07 / Resisting Experience Rot

Description

“Why, daddy,” says the curious toddler. “Why?”

No parent has yet found a way to escape this exasperating line of questioning. We should be grateful. For as frustrating as the interrogation becomes, its purity of purpose cannot be denied. Focus on the why. The honest, unrelenting desire to understand requires us to rethink, reconsider, and clarify motives. In a similar way, UX designers and product managers can employ this technique to resist the impacts of “experience rot.”

In this episode, hosts Sean and Joe speak with UX design authority Jared M. Spool about the experience rot paradox, a phenomenon that arises when product owners perceive new features in a way that reinforces the “if one is good, more is better” philosophy.

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About Jared

Jared M. Spool is a Maker of Awesomeness at Center Centre/UIE. Center Centre is the school he started with Leslie Jensen-Inman to create industry-ready User Experience Designers. UIE is Center Centre’s professional development arm, dedicated to understanding what it takes for organizations to produce competitively great products and services. In the 39 years he’s been in the tech field, he’s worked with hundreds of organizations, written two books, published hundreds of articles and podcasts, and tours the world speaking to audiences everywhere. When he can, he does his laundry in Andover, Massachusetts.

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06 / Launching a Healthcare Product

Description

Time, technology, and innovative thinkers have revolutionized what the healthcare system stands for today. Regardless of these achievements, though, the entire system remains very health-centric, focusing only on what happens when something goes wrong and a patient must seek out help. Imagine a framework that flipped this concept on its head, putting the patient at the center versus the health event. Imagine a system that gives users the tools and resources they need to create a healthy lifestyle that’s based on their wellness needs, motivations, and interests. Ultimately, a healthcare system that’s not just approachable, but promotes a better, more healthy existence for the entire population.

In this episode, we sit down with University of Rochester’s School of Nursing team, Renu Singh and Brian Harrington to get a behind-the-scenes look at a cutting-edge healthcare product they brought to market for University of Rochester employees, YoURHealth. Our hosts Sean and Joe not only look at how this power team brought this beautiful concept to life but also their process for continuously innovating the framework to provide care to the ever-changing needs of the different organizations it now serves.

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About Renu

Renu Singh is the CEO at the University of Rochester Medicine’s Center for Employee Wellness, as well as the Senior Associate Dean of Finance and Operations at the School of Nursing. Renu Singh spearheaded the development and implementation of the Center for Employee Wellness for U of R. As Associate Dean of Operations, Singh oversees the school’s technology, personnel, and facilities management. This year, Singh was bestowed the Women of Excellence Award by the Rochester Business Journal due to her career accomplishments, community involvement, leadership, and commitment to mentoring.

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About Brian

Brian is the director of Information Technology Services and Building Operations for the University of Rochester School of Nursing where he leads teams and projects to deliver high-quality integration of technology with the School’s academic, research, and practice missions. With over 20 years of technical expertise in healthcare environments, including leading the technical efforts of the flagship UR Medicine Employee Wellness program, he has also contributed to technical success with the University, Kodak, and Xerox. Brian has an MBA from the Simon Business School currently is an executive board member for Goodwill of the Finger Lakes and ABVI.

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05 / Human Experience in Products

Description

As companies implement more technology and automation into their products and services, it’s all too common for them to forget that customers and users are human beings. We should always be thinking of the human side of technology and software, considering how our users feel, think, and how to best communicate with them, to give us an advantage in how to better serve them. In the end, what we’re really selling is experiences.

In this episode, Sean and Joe talk with Kate O’Neill about her experiences with the internet and how she uses human-centered design to improve an individual’s experiences with products. We look at tactics for introducing more human-focused experiences and how to measure their success.

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About Kate

Kate O’Neill, “tech humanist” is founder and CEO of KO Insights, an award-winning thought leadership and advisory firm helping companies, organizations, and cities make future-aligned meaningful decisions based on human behavior and data. Author of 3 books including PIXELS AND PLACE: Connecting Human Experience Across Physical and Digital Spaces, Kate speaks regularly at industry conferences and private events, providing keynotes, participating in panel discussions, and leading creative brainstorming workshops for groups of all sizes. Her expertise has been featured in CNN Money, TIME, Forbes. USA Today, Men’s Journal, the BBC, and other national and international media.

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04 / Creativity in Technology

Description

The best way to solve a problem is to first examine the people who have encountered it instead of looking at the problem itself. Doing so, allows you to get a different point of view. Through creativity, in-depth research of the people using your product, and technology, teams can exponentially improve the way software products provide value for users.

In this episode, Joe and Sean talk with renowned artist, Sebastian ErraZuriz, about how he’s shaking up the art world and training minds to be creative in technology.

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About Sebastian

Sebastian ErraZuriz is a Chilean born, New York based Artist, Designer, and Activist who has received international acclaim for his original and provocative works on a variety of disciplines, blurring the boundaries between contemporary art, tech, design, and craft. His exclusive masterpieces are avidly acquired by art collectors and museums. His work is always surprising and compelling, inviting the viewer to look again at realities that were often hidden in plain sight.

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03 / Using Gamification to Build User Experiences

Description

Gamification is a means for eliciting specific behaviors from your users by depending on the premise that humans are naturally competitive. Some more than others, but competition is the basis for our economy and drives many of our behaviors whether we admit it or not.

In this episode, Sean and Joe discuss gamification as an important part of the system design process, and then have a great conversation with Gregg Gordon from SSRN.com about how they use gamification within the SSRN.com environment to both foster friendly competition and encourage users to increase their usage of the system by making it a pleasure to use.

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About Gregg

Gregg Gordon was the President and CEO of the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) for many years before transitioning to Managing Director of SRRN when the company was acquired by the Netherlands-based publishing company, Elsevier. SSRN is devoted to the rapid worldwide distribution of scholarly research in the social sciences and humanities fields. Thanks to their continued growth under Gregg Gordon’s leadership, SSRN now has a collaborative of more than 1.7 million users, nearly a quarter-million authors, and a database of over 682,100 articles contributed by scholars.

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