Reflections from the Product Leadership Day 2016


The theme for the Product Leaderhip Day 2016 was Product Leap. How can you increase the sales dramatically? What makes a product and an organization to make the Product leap?

Among the speakers were Beth Topolovsky DSC_7638-126620-edited.jpgworking with turn-around execution. Magnus Molin the product guy from Primelog, Peder Stahle CPO from the cool iZettle, Magnus Olofsson from flashing Profoto and the thought leader Steven Haines, Sequent Learning. The most important and influential speaker was however the Participant. The intensity of the discussions between the 101 participants were electrifying.

Particpants have already started new industrial cooperation, established new product ideas, created better product launches and improved organizational setup. It is with pride that I report from the content of the day that inspires so much action.

Beth Topolovsky works with turn arounds. Taking on companies that need a transition into a modern market. She works with the concept of Leapability. When looking at companies’ ability to make a leap she analyses the Product Management. “Product Management is the critical keystone in making the leap” she states. An important characteristic for great product managers is to be obsessed with the customer. It is not enough to know and have information. You need to be obsessed to reach the success. The customer and market insight paves the way for the successful product strategy. Her second advice for product managers was to work on the interaction with other parts of the organization. Many product managers can improve this ability and thus leverage the strategy.

Magnus Molin, Primelog, is going from a project organization to a Product organization. In doing this journey he focused on the cultural changes. He shared a three step approach for a project company to become a product company.

  • Step 1: We need teamwork not heroes 
    In a project organization there are often heroes that solve the issues with a delivery or with a customer. In a product company we need to get away from the heroes and focus on the teamwork. A team  working in processes.
  • Step 2: Say No

    A project organization has a culture of saying Yes. A product organization needs a culture of  focus and that can say No.

  • Step 3: Know Thyself
    We need to understand the core of the offering and in the product. What do we have in the product that makes us great. Why has customer bought the project from us? Sounds basic but is necessary to understand to change the marketing, development and management.

Fredrik Sandquist, Coor, has done the impossible. He has driven a development and introduced numerous innovative services without any R&D resources. He has made magic. Coor focused on the ecosystem to develop the offer. The journey Frderik conveyed was not a school example. It was the master class of how to work in the Ecosystem. Just to imagine that they have been able to increase price, reduce cost, innovate, and to do it all without resources - is just impressive. We all learnt a lot by how they had applied the four bullet points for Ecosystem collaboration:

  1. Define the value you deliver
  2. Establish your bargaining power
  3. Identify what you can sacrifice
  4. Establish Win-Win relations

“You cannot build successful cooperation without knowing your true value” was the key message from Fredrik.

Peder Stahle, iZettle opened up the lid of the exploding Fintech market. It was amazing to see how they have identified and built the nano-market of payments. Their three-step product approach towards customer was as easy as it was exciting. To make a complicated product is simple, to make a simple product is complicated. It was inspiring to discuss the future of iZettle and to understand the future challenges.

Magnus Olofsson, Profoto is a pragmatic thinker. We could not sit still and listen to the clarity of his message of success. The core of Profoto is based on their beautiful product philosophy. Created 30 years ago and still valid. It guides the positioning of the portfolio and the complete brand.

“A Light Shaping Tool should feel right, sound right and be aesthetically pleasing. Just like the painter’s brush or the musician’s instrument, its form should reflect its function. We will never let technology rule over the artist. Our tools are not obstacles but lighting solutions, designed to help you turn your ambition into reality.”  -  WOW!

The Product philosophy can be the tool to build the long term position for your products. (Personally, I immediately started drafting Product Philosophies for two portfolios. )

In addition to the product philosophy Magnus shared 11 behaviors in their organization that builds the extreme profitability an d success for Profoto. Personally I liked the Bottleneck focus: “Identify bottlenecks – eliminate!”

As a finale of the product leadership day Steven Haines a thought leader in the field of Product Management shared his view on Product Leap. How can you build and execute high performing product management? His five key elements for success can be summarized in:

  1. Insight Creation
  2. Strategy planning
  3. Decision making process
  4. GoTo market skills
  5. Monitor excellence

Out of the five key processes for product management it is often the last that falls short. In general, we need to become better in monitoring result to increase them. The concept of a Product Management Dashboard was emphasized.

The day was filled with great speakers and inspiring conversations. It is obvious that the Product management community is a fantastic power for industrial growth and cooperation.

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About The Author

Magnus's profession is to turn technology into selling products. He has worked with product management for more than 20 years with electronics, software, services and hardware and is a thought leader within high performance Product Management.