Nils first met Hubert Palan about a year ago at the Product Management Summit in San Francisco. Nils was presenting some ideas on a “roll your own product management system of record,” while Hubert was there to talk about the product he was building – a real product management system of record. This product, ProductBoard, is now available, and it’s definitely worth checking out. Hubert is a serial entrepreneur, with innovative and incisive ideas about how product management as a discipline can be improved.
In this wide-ranging interview, we discuss Hubert’s background, how he moved into product management, his career at Good Data, where he was the VP of Product, and his decision to leave Good and start ProductBoard.
This post is Part 1 of our interview, Part 2 is here.
Three things you can do today
As always, we like to give you actionable takeaways from our podcast episodes. The three ideas below come directly from the first part of our interview with Hubert.
- Get in the problem space, not the solution space. Immerse yourself and your team in the problem that needs to be solved. Then, don’t devote so much of your time to the design and the solution – that’s a job for designers and engineers. Your input and review is valuable, but your focus should be articulating the problem, then giving the rest of your team space to solve it.
- Turn your company or tribal knowledge into a system. It’s valuable even before it’s perfect. Think about team knowledge, the captured information you have, as something that deserves a system of record. Hubert described how difficult it is to simply use your memory for this, especially when it’s more than just you on the team. Of course, you can take a look at Product Board, but as Hubert pointed out: the system matters less than simply getting something in place.
- Finding the problem is orders of magnitude more important than how efficiently you can create a solution. Although it’s hard and not very well-defined, the process and results of focusing on the problem first will save time and frustration for many cycles to come, and often result in better product performance. So spend time distilling the problem from every angle, and disseminate it to the entire product team. It will act as a beacon of light to follow.
Thanks to Hubert!
Rob and I want to reiterate our thanks to Hubert for participating in our new podcast as our first interview! If you want to learn more about ProductBoard, you can visit productboard.com. You can follow Hubert on Twitter at @hpalan, and ProductBoard tweets at @productboard.
As always, we’d love to ask two small favors from you:
- First, please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can access the podcast directly on this feed.
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