If I had any worries about quality product meetups in Berlin, I should not have had.
ProductTank (the folk behind the MindTheProduct conference) have a strong Berlin chapter going. Just yesterday, they held ProductTank Berlin #4. At
MobileSuite too, practically my local...
C-word instead of I-word
Notionally, the topic for the session was "How to Drive Innovation". Luckily, the I-word proved to be just a bit of click bait.
In actual fact:
At this point I'll have to single out GitHub talk, which was so far out I'll have to cover it separately.
Besides, judging from the product questions most of the focus was on Musa and
Beggeman. I would say that the focus ended up broadly around the concept of
Pure products of profound simplicity
In Musa's case the goal is the culture capable of producing Pure Product of Profound Simplicity while avoiding the Scylla of Confused Complexity and Charybdis of Superficial Simplicity.
The nomenclature is idiosyncratic, but the concepts are very insightful and beautifully explained in MTP 2013 edition of the talk. It is a must-watch.
Yesterday's edition of the talk was even more insightful on the point of
resorting to Superficial Simplicity. In Musa's insistence, it is cop-out at worse, and tactical retreat at best.
As Musa pointed out during the Q&A, even if you disentangle product complexity into a series of superficially simple blocks you either need to simplify further or "get a UX expert that will find a way to recombine it into a profoundly simplistic product".
Wooga hit factory
In Wooga's case study, the product culture is one of devolved, small teams chasing hits. Begemann's talk was couched in more conventional terminology but still delivered a few great insights including the need to:
- devolve product responsibility ("team insights vs CEO decisions");
- keep teams small ("2 to 4 to prototype", "6 to 10 to build", "10 to 20 to maintain & evolve");
- maintain ruthless approach to intelligent pruning of product pipeline to create a Hit Filter.
Much of the Begemann's talk reminded me of recent Ed Catmull fireside chat. Hardly surprising. Both are running successful studios. Both are hits-driven. Both strive to bring creative products to previously ignored audience segments.
There is much to learn from the three core insights for any product organisation. Nonetheless, I could not help by side with a comment from an audience during Q&A highlighting the fact that hit filter works better in gaming or media.
In these two fields atomic unit of filtering is a stand-alone product, a game or a movie feature. In domains where features are harder to disentangle and product units less clearly defined, hit filter might not work in the same way.
Principled product culture
The common thread of the both talks is the requirement for absolute commitment to a principled product culture that lets the right teams:
- make decisions;
- be honest in appraising their own output;
- learn from failures and successes alike.
To my mind, this is the hard part of building successful company culture, particularly as it requires "putting people in position of power that say and do things that I don't like", as Begemann bluntly had it.
Which neatly brings me to GitHub...