5 Things I Learnt at Leading The Product

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On Thursday 20th of October, I was amongst 200+ like-minded Product Managers at Melbourne’s Leading the Product conference. An action packed line-up of speakers from around the world sent me away with a book full of notes and my head full of learnings. Here’s 5 learnings that inspired me:

1. Kara De Frias | Director of UX, White House Cancer Moonshot:


“The most important question I learnt to ask in my career was, What does success look like?”

So often we can get focused on solving the problem that’s on-hand, the one that’s right in front of you. And it feels good to solve it. But realistically, is it the right problem to be solving? When you’re so involved in the micro details, it’s healthy to take a step back regularly and reflect.


2. Damon Pezaro | Chief Product Officer, Domain Group:


“Every item on our Product Roadmap is assessed by the team in regards to these three questions:

  • What customer value are we adding?
  • How will we know we have added value?
  • Is there anything we could deliver that offers more value?”


Every decision you make to build one thing, is a choice not to build an endless number of others. Using the questions above keeps the user value, success metrics and priorities front of mind. Their growth 1.8 million to 4.5 million in the space of 3 years clearly is linked to their customer centric values and approach.


3. Kate Claringbold | Chief Product Officer, Sidekicker


 “On the journey to product market fit, you need to be ready to change anything and everything in order to achieve your goal.”


Sidekicker initially saw itself as a marketplace for on-demand staff, but since using a Lean Canvas and user interviews to validate their assumptions, have pivoted their model a number of times before finding the sweet spot. Quite often a lean canvas can start as a dumping ground for unchecked assumptions and wild claims – but I really liked the approach they used to gradually refine each component over time using a colour coding to indicate where each part was at.

Sidekicker Lean Canvas

4. Cameron Adams | Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Canva


“At Canva we focused on the onboarding process. We did user testing and discovered that regardless of the UI tools we had behind the login, people weren’t confident that they were capable of producing good design. Our onboarding process is all about building their confidence.”

A huge part of your product is not only doing the job, but making your users believe they can. This resonated with me, as at BlueChilli, we’re finding our most common sprint post MVP-launch is a user-feedback powered onboarding shipment – as opposed to the features first theorised to be in there. More about Canva’s growth and onboarding here.


5. Dan Olsen | Author of The Lean Product Playbook

The main reason products fail is because they don’t meet customer needs in a way that is better than other alternatives.
Focus on the problem before jumping into the solution.

I developed a framework and process for how to achieve product-market fit.” Dan boldly claims. If his talk is anything to go by, I’m probably going to be calling this book my new bible. We were all lucky enough to get a copy in our conference goodie bag – so expect a dedicated blog post once I’m finished.


Leading The Product Swag
Photo thanks to @_rebeccajackson


On the day I was filming the action with Folktale – the BlueChilli portfolio startup who I’m the proud Product Manager of. It’s helping transform me into a video storytelling pro and you can too! Check out the video from the day below and download the app here.


Leading the Product Melbourne conference kicking off! #LTPConf made with @folktaleapp

A video posted by Claire (@claire_s_nz) on