We attended INDUSTRY: The Product Conference & here's what we learned

Bain Public’s associate product managers, Abigail Ramirez Villarroel and Tudor Gafiuc, attended the INDUSTRY: The Product Conference in Cleveland on September 20-21st, 2022.

Product Collective’s INDUSTRY: The Product Conference was created in Ohio by product people Paul McAvinchey, Mike Belsito, and Rebecca Feliciano with the goal of bringing the best software product management professionals together. At INDUSTRY, you can learn the latest methods, tools, and frameworks used to build, launch and scale world-class software products through webinars, interviews, and scheduled conferences throughout the year.

About INDUSTRY's Fireside Chat
On August 3rd, 2022, Paul Ortchanian was interviewed on INDUSTRY's Interview Series, a 30-minute virtual fireside chat where he talked about how AI is a lifecycle that requires the integration of data, machine learning models, and the software around it. Paul spoke as an expert on how product managers need to ensure that data scientists are delivering results in efficient ways so business counterparts can understand, interpret, and use it to learn from. This includes everything from the definition of the problem, the coverage and quality of the data set and its analysis, to the presentation of results and the follow-up.

As a trial run of a new segment we are experimenting with, we interviewed Abigail to get her reflections on some key points that were brought up at the conference.

Interview with Abigail Ramirez Villarroel
QUESTION 1: Do you think that company strategy and product strategy are the same? Should they be the same?
Abigail: "I think that depends on if the company has software or not. For example, for WatchMojo, they have an internal tool [Unity] but they aren’t selling it to customers. That’s where I would see product strategy and company strategy different. Because the product strategy is meant to help the company internally and the company strategy is whatever they are doing on their YouTube channel, in the media and all that other stuff. But, if it's a company that’s software-first and are selling to B2B or B2C, then yes, I would see the strategies being the same. Because at the end of the day, you have to be user centric so you have to understand who you’re selling to, which has everything to do with product so you can’t even have a company strategy to begin with. So to sum up: if it's an internal software that isn’t being sold to the public, then I think they should be different. If its a software-first company that’s selling to the public, then they should be the same"

QUESTION 2: Do you think product managers should be involved in defining, refining, and managing company strategy?
Abigail: "Continuing my answer to the first question - let’s look at WatchMojo again. We can’t give their product team advice on content, but we can give them advice on the types of tools to get them a better reach, like when we pitched the Multiplayer Trivia idea to them. But, we didn’t get the final say at how it would look and how it will be operated; that’s for them to take care of content. So in that case, I don’t think so. On the other hand, if you are selling to B2C or B2B, I think absolutely the product managers should be involved because they are the ones who know the users and the numbers so they will be 100% involved in defining/refining/managing the company strategy."

QUESTION 3: Many of these strategies come with north star metrics (OKRs). How do you think the product team should leverage them?
Abigail: "Product Management is all about finding the problems and trying to solve them creatively. A lot of the time, you will find the problems by looking at the metrics. You will see things aren’t quite hitting their goals or they’re out of whack and don't make sense. So, you’ll see that specific metric is the problem and ask where is it stemming from. And then, you’ll ask how we fix it. Your OKRs are the jumping point of building your roadmap"

QUESTION 4: Finally, what are your reflections on how product managers should talk to users to pair them with the problems? Where does the user come in?
Abigail: "When we see a problem, we will think of 20 different possible solutions to fix it. However, before thinking of the solutions, you need to clarify who’s the person you need to target in order to solve that problem. For example, a problem might be if we see that more users aren't converting to pro subscriptions. If a company has only 100 PRO active users, that might seem like a problem. So I would have to go and identify who those active users are - let’s call this persona John - and what are his pain points and needs. My solution to increase the number of pro users should be based off what John needs and is looking for to make that pro subscription even more valuable to him. If product managers don’t create solutions based off that persona, then they might be coming up with solutions to 3 different segments and that is just going to lead them astray because they are targeting anyone and not a specific person."

About Abigail
Abigail Ramirez Villarroel is one of Bain Public’s associate product managers. Her expertise lies in her strong research skills and efficient problem solving. She has worked with many of our clients at Bain Public, such as Coindera, Metro Media, WatchMojo, and Blaise Transit, which gives her diverse experience with different types of startups. She is a certified associate in Project Management (CAPM) and is currently finishing her Bachelor of Commerce in Management Information Systems and Finance at McGill University. Abigail views product management through a business and research lens. Her philosophy favours innovation and social responsibility. Abigail believes roadmapping success can only be evaluated by the impact that the product has.
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About Bain Public

Bain Public, acquired by X Machina-AI Inc. in January 2022, offers consistent roadmap planning processes & tools for business leaders and product managers organized around what motivates, inspires and improves growth. Bain Public offers a variety of articles, e-books and approaches designed to help organizations understand their digital strategies, introduce elements of roadmapping and establish product-led change amongst the senior leaders and managers. Our approach, product, expert advice and coaching helps entangle complex technology, people and roadmap dynamics.

About XMachina

X Machina-AI seeks to provide a platform for the acquisition of Artificial Intelligence ("AI") entities in North America. The company’s thesis is based on an aggregation strategy to acquire successful AI targets and make them better through the addition of growth capital, streamlining of corporate processes and human capital acquisitions. The current sector focus of the Company is on enhancing supply-chain efficiencies, logistics and manufacturing.