Best Practices

The role of product managers and experimentation

January 23, 2021

On the role of product managers

You're being paid for your judgement.

On working closely with engineers

Even if I am the decision maker, I have to rely on other people. In my first week [as a PM], I said, "Hey, I'm not going to be able to do this without you." It starts, as a leader, by respecting the expertise that somebody brings to the table.

On using experimentation to drive a product roadmap

Make sure the way you're incentivizing your team is not based on getting something out the door, or having a successful experiment. It's just learning. Make sure engineers understand that success could mean five failed experiments. That's an important cultural shift that needs to happen.

On success with experimentation

[At LinkedIn] my team ran tons of experiments. Probably 70% of them failed. But because we focused on experiment velocity and learning, and because we had processes to apply that learning to the next batch of experiments, we were able to drive significant value.

On interviewing 100 founders in 6 weeks

In 30% of those meetings, what those startups needed most was a rigorous approach to doing user research. Experimentation is great when you have large samples. But if not, then you have to do rigorous user research.

On mentoring founders

Good mentoring is about listening. The worst advice you get is a projection of someone else’s experience.

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