Product Thinking
Developing Strong Product People with Petra Wille
September 22, 2021
Petra Wille is the author of the new book, “Strong Product People: The Complete Guide to Developing Great Product Managers.” A successful product management and leadership coach based in Germany, Petra joins Melissa to talk through how product teams can meet their full potential, and how leaders can achieve effective whole-person management and mentorship. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Petra talk about in this episode: How Petra became a product leadership coach. [2:10] A common complaint from product managers about their professional training is that there is a lack of guidance. There are no career conversations; one-on-one conversations are usually focused on progress updates, revenue updates, and how the product is doing. Managers aren’t focusing on the people development part, and they need to be. [4:45] Petra lists the five steps to forming strong product people. [6:24] Petra talks about the PM wheel she created which is a framework of skills every product manager should have. Petra says this framework embodies her principles and values, and it is customized for each company she works with. [12:29] Petra goes into how she coaches product leaders who don't have backgrounds in product management. [16:40] Petra explains that if you want to transform your organization, you have to bring in people that know how it’s done. You have to invest in a community of practice. “Do some basic training in the beginning, then create a community of practice. Make sure they learn on the job while they're actually doing it,” Petra tells Melissa. [20:25] If people who know how to do products aren’t given the support, they aren't going to stay with your company. Give them the infrastructure to be successful, Melissa says. [26:05] Product managers need to understand and accept that the impact they have now is through others. [27:02] Giving people several ways to structure their feedback can help them have an open dialogue and not be worried about hurting other people’s feelings. Basing your feedback on the impact of whatever situation or action occurred within the organization, positive or negative, makes all the difference. [29:27] Petra gives advice for product managers who don’t have leaders that are mentoring them. [35:32] Resources Petra Wille | LinkedIn | Twitter
Petra Wille is the author of the new book, “Strong Product People: The Complete Guide to Developing Great Product Managers.” A successful product management and leadership coach based in Germany, Petra joins Melissa to talk through how product teams can meet their full potential, and how leaders can achieve effective whole-person management and mentorship. Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Petra talk about in this episode: How Petra became a product leadership coach. [2:10] A common complaint from product managers about their professional training is that there is a lack of guidance. There are no career conversations; one-on-one conversations are usually focused on progress updates, revenue updates, and how the product is doing. Managers aren’t focusing on the people development part, and they need to be. [4:45] Petra lists the five steps to forming strong product people. [6:24] Petra talks about the PM wheel she created which is a framework of skills every product manager should have. Petra says this framework embodies her principles and values, and it is customized for each company she works with. [12:29] Petra goes into how she coaches product leaders who don't have backgrounds in product management. [16:40] Petra explains that if you want to transform your organization, you have to bring in people that know how it’s done. You have to invest in a community of practice. “Do some basic training in the beginning, then create a community of practice. Make sure they learn on the job while they're actually doing it,” Petra tells Melissa. [20:25] If people who know how to do products aren’t given the support, they aren't going to stay with your company. Give them the infrastructure to be successful, Melissa says. [26:05] Product managers need to understand and accept that the impact they have now is through others. [27:02] Giving people several ways to structure their feedback can help them have an open dialogue and not be worried about hurting other people’s feelings. Basing your feedback on the impact of whatever situation or action occurred within the organization, positive or negative, makes all the difference. [29:27] Petra gives advice for product managers who don’t have leaders that are mentoring them. [35:32] Resources Petra Wille | LinkedIn | Twitter

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