2019 talks

2019 talks

Thursday, 6 June 2019

  • 9:10 AM

    Letting go of process and accepting controlled chaos: scaling a learning product organization

    Great product teams are empowered with a vision; organized into co-located, cross-functional, autonomous teams; and motivated by autonomy, mastery, and purpose. You don’t hire the best and then tell them what to do. But how does that scale? How does autonomy work when there’s multiple autonomous teams that must work together?

    No matter how innovative or proven your processes, structure, or techniques, they can’t be forced into place if they don’t fit the people. Every organization is different, every context is different, and every person is different. Your job as a leader isn’t building process, it’s building trust; and it requires patience. Your team must discover it and own it.

    Understanding your team’s technical skills, operational proficiency, and emotional maturity is crucial as you slowly step back from what, through how, to why. Join me for the story of how Workfront’s international user experience organization doubled in size in one year, reorganized into cross-functionally-led portfolios, assembled a design ops team, produced a design system, embarking on a complete user experience overall of an 18 year old enterprise platform, and developed a culture of accountability, transparency, feedback, and recognition.

  • 9:45 AM

    Your product is only as good as your teamwork

    Product managers and product leaders often focus on understanding customers as the secret to building great products. But that’s just the key to great ideas - the key to great execution is the team.

    The importance of teamwork isn’t a new concept in building products. As product managers and product leaders we spend so much of our time thinking about our process, about how we frame problems, how we scope them, and how we tell stories about them so that we can get our teams motivated to solve them. But to do more than just ship products, to build a truly great product, you have to go further than just figuring out how to define the problem and why it matters for your team.

    This presentation is a story about three people who launched two versions of the same product 10 months apart. It’s a story of how that team went from everything going wrong on launch day to building a best-in-class experience that launched smoothly, and how the difference in those launches was entirely due to how much better the team understood each other as human beings and coworkers.

  • 11:00 AM

    Scrapping your scrappy research process for scale

    How (and when) to say goodbye to your scrappy research culture in favor of a rigorous research process to support a scaling business.

    Like most aspects of product and development, research looks very different at a startup compared to an enterprise business. Comparisons can be made of research practices at different sized companies, but how does the transition actually happen? How do you know when it is time to move from one research approach to another? This presentation will address how to tell which research stage best fits your business, and what you need to do to level-up your research when the time is right. The story of Jane can help you anticipate how a team navigates these large-scale process changes to become a research powerhouse on the other side.

  • 11:35 AM

    Radical collaboration and trust; breaking down silos and building products at scale

    Learn about the highs and lows of growing a diverse UX organization, introducing new practice areas, and building relationships to thrive.

  • 1:40 PM

    Who will build the next million products?

    Since the inception of the internet, the practice of bringing new products to market has involved an intricate dance between product managers, designers, and software engineers – so much so that thousands of companies and services have sprung up from making the interface between design and development more efficient. But what if we pause, take a step back, and ask ourselves: could there be a radically new way that we can approach creating products that will make it easier for 100X as many people to bring their product ideas to life? This presentation will explore the rich history of other creative industries (like 3D animation and digital publishing) to gain inspiration for how we can completely rethink and transform today’s product design and development practices.

  • 2:15 PM

    Designing Change

    Great companies are defined by their ability to change. Apple changed when they re-hired Steve Jobs. Microsoft changed when they embraced open-source software. Amazon changed when they started selling groceries, and then cloud computing, and then original TV shows.

    It is easy to imagine these changes as grand strategic moves, carefully planned and executed by a handful of luminaries. But lasting, meaningful change comes from many small, focused improvements over time. With patience, just one person can make a substantial impact in even the largest organizations.

    Think about something you’d like to change. It might be overwhelming, but be bold: the bigger, the better. What I’d like to do is help you start making that change.

    The good news is that my job is easy: nobody is better at changing than designers and product managers. With the right tools, you can make focused, meaningful improvements to your company’s process, culture, or products.

    I’ll share how writing design principles with your team sets the stage. I’ll tell you how great feedback can fuel change. I’ll share stories of big changes I’ve made, like radically improving the Wall Street Journal’s approach to accessibility.

    At the end, you’ll be able to go back to work and start changing your team for the better, whether you’re a tenured manager or a brand new hire.

  • 3:30 PM

    How We Used Fast Customer Feedback to Build a Product for Fast Customer Feedback

    Desirable, Viable and Feasible. This is the criteria every team should consider when building a product. This was the mantra of UserTesting during the recent development and launch of Product Insight, a new application developed to help product teams build better products by leveraging rapid customer feedback. When we build products, we’re constantly refining our understanding of three key questions: who is my customer? what is their problem? what is the best, lightest solution I can build for them? This drives rapid validation & iteration cycles as we build.

    To demonstrate our product development framework, we will discuss the creation of Product Insight to show how UserTesting used customer feedback to (in)validate early ideas, to scope an MVP based on our understanding of customer needs, and to get a product to market quickly. We will also give examples of how we shared our understanding of the three key questions throughout the product development lifecycle to bring our stakeholders & organization along. Attendees will learn practical tips for how they can successfully implement our product development framework to improve time to product success.

    In this session, we will walk through how UserTesting develops:

    • Pragmatic ways to test and validate product ideas at every stage, from conception through launch
    • Ideas for sharing what you learn about your customers to build buy-in & alignment across your org for the products you build

  • 4:05 PM

    Blind spots and bents: Designing around your product biases

    How taking a look at a problem from a different perspective led to a complete reinvention of our product and my perception of product design.

    This presentation will examine what it means to overcome bias through the lens of my team’s case study around the redesign, rebranding, and re-launch of Typekit to Adobe Fonts.

    It will touch on different types of biases and how to overcome them while exploring three main aspects of the product case study:

    • Designing beyond the pixels to influence every aspect of the product experience
    • Conducting guerrilla user testing to make stakeholders aware of their blind spots
    • Thinking beyond your intuition to design for inclusivity.

Friday, 7 June 2019

  • 9:10 AM

    Organizational design: Going from features to experiences

    What does it take to truly lead an organization that focuses on the customers and not features? Hint, it’s not just about a product development process! In this talk, Nate will share his journey, which took years in the making, in taking Pluralsight from private to public, from a product team of 10 to an experience organization of 550, and from building a product to developing an open platform.

  • 9:45 AM

    Gen 2

    Everyone has a personal history. Happy growth, as well as formative struggles and insecurities mold and teach us how to navigate our day-to-day. As a California-born Korean kid, Frank will talk about his experience as a second generation American, and how early questions of assimilation and identity, and subsequent phases of introspection and self-reckoning shaped his career and perspective on effective teams, leadership, and succession.

  • 11:00 AM

    The strange alliance: Why building unlikely allies in your organization will win you a better customer experience

    Product teams often view a customer’s interaction with their offering as limited within a set of product features. But to a customer, it really extends to the end-to-end experience with your entire brand — from acquisition ads, targeted emails and sponsored content, to the website, the software or physical product experience, and continued via support interactions. Consider how much better the customer journey is with a consistent experience across every interaction. But how do you make it consistent when all you can control is the UX in your product area? This presentation will provide a framework on how to build and maintain strong relationships with your counterparts across the organization, as well as real examples from my experience at Chatbooks and Ancestry.

  • 11:35 AM

    Slaying Giants: What Enterprises Can Learn From Startups about Product Decision Making

    Every company has a different process for making product decisions. What to build? What not to build? In what order? How to build it? How does it work?

    Startups have less money, talent, and expertise than established companies, but they sometimes win. How? Two reasons: speed and flexibility. And decision making is a critical ingredient in a startup’s speed and flexibility.

    This presentation will explore key lessons of product decision making at startups and provide ideas for how you can implement these lessons at established companies.

  • 1:40 PM

    Designing a modular onboarding system

    New beginnings are equally fun and terrifying, and trying out a new software product can often feel the same. While customers are navigating uncharted territory to get started in your product for the first time, having the right signposts for them at the right time can set up their relationship with your product for lasting success. But true success goes beyond just the first impression—from signup, activation, first use, and re-engagement, your customers need a cohesive experience to feel confident in your product.

    The reality of that becomes much trickier. Onboarding often sits between several teams, including individual product teams, customer engagement, and sales/marketing. How do you empower different product teams and functions to input into onboarding, but still come out with a unified, comprehensive onboarding experience that helps customers quickly see value and stay engaged over time?

    In this talk, we’ll look at how Intercom developed an extensible onboarding system and key lessons we learned along the way.

  • 2:15 PM

    The incumbents dilemma: How large organizations are being disrupted by their own assumptions

    What if everything you think you know about the market is wrong? Not that it was always wrong, but that it is wrong today. That is a very possible reality in todays ultra fast-paced world. The solution: disrupt your assumptions before they disrupt you.

  • 3:30 PM

    Designing for impact: The shape and strategy of design maturity

    Design is at a pivotal moment. Our influence within the business is growing, our skills are in higher demand as problems grow more complex, and companies across size and industries are asking themselves: how do we increase the impact of design?

    This talk will explore the drivers of design maturity through the lens of research, drawing from two major reports released last year, and from direct experience, looking at how highly design-mature companies manage, evangelize, and practice design. I’ll explore the levers that have the most direct impact on design influence, and the way organizations are leaning into their people and practices to get there.

  • 4:05 PM

    The business value of design

    Is design fluff? Pop and sizzle? Icing on the cake? Or, is design the lifeblood of the business? We all can point to products and services from thriving businesses that are iconic and well designed. These experiences are reminders that well designed products and services can thrive at the intersection of both consumer and business value. Come listen to stories from my experience at Nike and Vivint Smart Home in creating value through consumer-centered design.

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