• Saying No to Good Ideas


    Welcome to 2019 everyone! Hope you all had a good break over summer and have started the year with some fresh thinking and perspective. To help you ease into things, we have a great international speaker this month. I first met Bruce McCarthy last year and immediately warmed to his attitude, approach and experience across a range of product leadership topics. This one should be good... _ How awesome would it be if you could cut through politics, opinions, and circular arguments and have a clear way to prioritise? Bruce McCarthy will arm you with his battle-tested approach to prioritising your most critical initiatives that will increase your organisation’s focus by increasing confidence in your prioritisation decisions. He'll cover: - Why prioritisation is crucial to growth - Bad (but common) ways to prioritise - The most important things to prioritise - How objectives drive priorities - Outcomes vs. outputs - Tapping the collective wisdom of your tribe Bruce is a serial entrepreneur, prolific writer, organiser, and sought-after speaker at product management, agile, UX, and innovation events around the world. He helps companies like Vistaprint, Localytics, Huawei, Nuance, and Zipcar achieve their product visions through workshops, mentoring, and team coaching. Bruce founded Product Culture (http://productculture.com/) to help communicate the key principles underlying consistently successful product-focused organisations. He leads the Boston Product Management Association and is a head judge at the annual Harvard Business School New Venture Competition. Bruce's new best seller, Product Roadmapping Relaunched: How to Set Direction While Embracing Uncertainty is now available from O’Reilly (http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920055983.do).

  • How to Talk (and Listen!) to Customers

    Xero HQ

    Ania, User Researcher for Optimal Workshop, has kindly offered to help us all get the most out of conversations we have with our customers. Harder than it seems and something most of us know we should be doing more of. Thanks Ania! From Ania herself... There are two things we all know: - great products are built upon a solid understanding of the problem they are trying to solve. - listening to users is a great way to uncover the right problems to solve But getting to the heart of what our users need isn’t just about finding the time to talk to them. It’s about having the skills to build rapport, ask the right questions and know what to do with the information. Bad research leads to poor quality insights. Good research gives us the confidence we need to make the right decisions. And like any skill, it takes practice to get right. I'll share a few tips and tricks to make sure you’re getting the most out of interviewing your users. I’ll run through: - the essential skills you need to talk to customers effectively - ways of asking the right questions - biases we need to be aware of - and tips for getting the best quality information we can to drive our understanding, and in turn, build the best products we possibly can. Ania is a User Researcher at Optimal Workshop where she spends her days researching researchers and designers from all over the world, helping to build one of the world’s leading UX research platforms. It’s all very meta. Previously Ania has worked as a Questionnaire Designer at Stats NZ. Needless to say, she knows how to ask a good question, and she’d love to see you do the same.

  • How Experimentation at TradeMe Jobs Improved Results By 596%

    Optimal Workshop - New offices

    Jono Elkin, Product Manager at Trade Me, has a challenge for you... can you guess which experiment resulted in the best results? When building a Product, we all reckon we know how to make it the best it can be. In fact, we are usually convinced we know what will work the best. Unfortunately (or maybe it's a good thing), experiments are a great way to prove that what logically should work, often doesn't. Over 5 months we conducted experiments across 5 different parts of Trade Me Jobs, including 16 variations, while ensuring we didn't damage our key metrics. Come and guess which variants performed best, how we increased our base measurement by 596%, and some of the lessons we learnt along the way.

  • Failing Fast, Failing Safe


    Being able to innovate, fail fast, and discover new customer value is a critical part of creating great products. But when you're in the middle of a business that holds sensitive data and has serious (and necessary) risk, legal and brand overheads - how to do make sure "fast" is actually cheap & fast, and fail doesn't mean a full blown forest fire. Tim will share how they're building this capability in Kiwibank, through their "Kiwibank Labs" framework. It's a work in progress, but it's already helping them get richer insights from their customers sooner, while keeping bank lawyers relaxed. Expect a mix of stories and practical tools that you can try yourself. Tim D'Shea arrived at Kiwibank after a random journey through video editing, investment banking, being the CFO for NZ's largest video game publisher, and a couple of startups. He's part of the team at "Kiwibank Labs" - which is all about discovering and proving brand new stuff that will make Kiwis better off. He spends his days talking to customers, building prototypes badly, and causing headaches for the property and purchasing card teams.

  • Fireside Chat With Zheng Li

    Trade Me Level 5

    Hearing the stories and experiences of people in our community is what we're all about and so I am stoked to announce a fireside chat with Zheng Li, VP of Product at Wellington and Seattle-based software intelligence company, Raygun. Zheng’s journey into Product began 11 years ago, as a UI designer for Trade Me’s newly established Product Team. It was at Trade Me that she first discovered her passion for great UX and making data driven product decisions. Zheng then went on to form her own digital UX and design company, Zing Design. The company primarily focused on transforming traditional product experiences into great online experiences, as well as helping tech startups differentiate themselves through better product experiences. As the founder of a startup, she particularly enjoyed helping other startup founders lay the foundation for proper product roadmapping and prioritisation. One such founder (from Raygun) approached her and acquired the business in 2015, to bolster its UX and Product capabilities. As Raygun’s VP of Product, Zheng currently leads 3 teams and splits much of her time between Seattle and Wellington. Zheng is an ambassador for FutureinTech, Co-Founder of Women Founders NZ, a Women of Influence Awards double finalist and was named as one of the top 50 Women in Tech in Australasia by the Startup Daily.

  • The good, the bad, and the 'let's never do that again'

    Optimal Workshop - New offices

    You've read the theory, and you know how it works at your company, but how are other teams implementing Product Management and what can you learn from their mistakes? Come along and hear Luke walk us through a new feature from concept to delivery, and then onwards through analytics and optimisation. Luke will candidly share the lessons that arose, including what worked well, and what failed miserably. He will cover things such as: how Dual Track Agile works; the superpower of customer sessions; the joys of stakeholder engagement; why you should run A/B tests; how analytics bring the team together and much more, using a recent example at BNZ. A bit about Luke... Luke Brown has worked as a Product Owner in BNZ Digital for the last 7 years. His most memorable work includes YouMoney, a new take on Internet Banking that included goals, images on accounts, and drag & drop transfers; Credit card improvements, which halved the % of customers not meeting minimum payments; and Change home loan repayments, which has saved 90,000 years off customers' home loans. He's recently become a Marty Cagan fanboy.

  • World Product Day

    Westpac - Level 8 , 318 Lambton Quay

    Come along to the first Meetup in the world (if we can beat Auckland!) to greet the first ever World Product Day (http://worldproductday.com)! We'll be hosting our very first panel, having a cameo video link from a mystery guest and, stars aligning, putting on something a little better than pizza :-) Our panel is made up of interesting people from across Business, Tech and UX, but not Product Management. We'll dig in to their relationship with Product, the Good, Bad and the Ugly! Our panel includes, Jessica Venning-Bryan - CMO at Flick Philip Fierlinger - designer, entrepreneur, advisor, podcast producer Hannah Gray - Technical Group Lead at Xero Tana Isaac - Head of Technology at PartsTrader No more group thinking amongst our peers, folks, let's talk to the other side and hear from some of our key stakeholders. What could go wrong?!

  • Guerrilla User Testing - Sharing Observations

    “Guerilla user testing” is a recurrent theme in Lean Startup and Lean UX. The idea is that user tests are more efficient and less costly with direct contact on the field, with little preparation, rather than in usability labs. Indeed, only a bit of courage, openness and strong observation abilities are needed to discuss a value proposition, evaluate prototypes and iterate over wireframes. With those and a little imagination, a train station, a bar, a conference can all become excellent testing contexts. However, this approach usually shows its limits when the time comes to share observations between team members. Most often, the time saved in preparing is spent in synchronising… We used this approach to design web applications targeting young and isolated people, with teams of 6 people meeting more than 40 people in sessions of 3 to 5 days. We found representations and schedules that greatly improve collaboration on making the observations actionable. I will present these artefacts and their usage through two examples and will generalise the learnings we took away from them. Matti Schneider is a trans-disciplinary engineer designing digital products that have a positive impact on the world. After three years running the French State incubator (beta.gouv.fr), he is travelling the world to meet, study and help other self-organised collaborative product teams.

  • Selling Smoke


    Life's too short to build something nobody wants. But when you're working on something super duper brand new, how do you test demand when you have nothing to test with? Tim will share some techniques and stories from the last couple of years of discovering and proving totally new stuff at Kiwibank. Expect a mix of success and failure, and some hilariously bad prototypes. Seriously, if you're a developer, designer, or building inspector, you'll want to come for the comedy value alone. And if you've got stories of launching brand new stuff, bring them along too. Tim D'Shea arrived at Kiwibank after a random journey through video editing, investment banking, being the CFO for NZ's largest video game publisher, and a couple of startups. He's part of the team at "Kiwibank Labs" - which is all about discovering and proving brand new stuff that will make Kiwis better off. He spends his days talking to customers, building prototypes badly, and causing headaches for the property and purchasing card teams.