Tales of a PO: Week 2 – Dating

Day 6 of the Product Owner role. Click here for backstory.

The major process we follow while developing products at Ignite is lean. It’s an interesting process that has quite a bit of similarities to other frameworks, such as Pragmatic, with one huge factor of a difference, it’s very very slimmed down. That’s a big ‘duh’ just based on the name.

The lean process  hinges on 1 major factor, getting out of the office. This means interview, interview, interview. You need to understand the problem the market is having, how it’s being solved currently, and where does your idea fit. Taking this approach will hopefully lead you to talk to a ton of the right people who will help you mold, pivot and shape your business model into the rip roaring product you hoped it would be.

I’ve taken this seriously with the seeds I managed, and now I get to do it myself.

Key lesson #1 – Networking is a lot like dating.

Remember the really rad times of being single? The days where you would go out with friends, enjoy a bunch of laughs, and have amazing conversations. They were awesome right? Yeah, they were. They were even better when one of our friend’s would build up enough courage to get a lady’s phone number. Big smiles, high-5’s, and confidence for everyone! Point’s on the board for the home team and mark off the checkbox next to “have a good night.”

This is essentially business networking. This is the same thing as going to a Meetup group, conference, or LinkedIn (networking version of online dating) and getting the contact/business card you were hoping for. You have the card!!!! Now what?

Now do you remember the really crappy days of dating? The moment that number gets in your hands, it’s a minute of excitement and then about 20 hours of, “ohhhhhhh nooooooo.” You now have to talk to this person.  Many of us become a mangled mess of self-consciousness while we analyze our next moves.  You build up enough courage to call…and leave a message.

Now you play the waiting game. You’ll go through the phases of, “It’s been a few days and I haven’t heard back. I should follow-up with an email.” Then you’ll hit, “They could be on vacation and they just forgot their out of office.” Maybe you’ll call from a different number …say from the local PizzaHut. You can see where this is going.

If this is your only lead you’ll smother them.

The successful few won’t put all their eggs in one basket. They’ll be like three little Fonzies, and what’s Fonzie like? Cool. They’ll keep finding leads and make sure they spread their attention out until somebody shows more attention back.  Then you can spend more time with that person.

So the lesson is, don’t worry about it. Go on with your life and treat your leads just as they are. A person. Not an early adopter, or a contact.

Yeasayer – Ambling Alp


Tales of a PO: Week 1 – Gut Check

Today is Day 1 of my new role, Product Owner.

For the past year I’ve been cofounding an intrapreneurial innovation and R&D lab, Ignite, for the world’s largest staffing firm. It’s been awesome!! and really really hard. Breathtaking really…in the sense of being gut checked, running a race, and seeing the most amazing sunset in your life all at the same time.

During the past 12 months I’ve been able to dabble as the hiring manager, maintenance man, admin assistant, developer, project manager, facilitator, real estate guy, office manager, event planner, marketing assistant, seed manager, and advisor. I’ve loved every role because it’s put me in the position I feel most comfortable, the guy behind the guy. 

Today I started a new role that I’ve only been able to experience from behind a chalk line as the Seed Manager. I’ve been dubbed a Product Owner, PO, for the Fall/Winter Semester round of seeds. This means I now need to follow my own process I’ve spent the last year developing. I no longer can sit in meetings and wonder why the PO is developing so much, or question why they conducted zero interviews that week. 

The next 3ish months I’ll be keeping tabs of my learnings here and what it’s like to walk on my path.

 It’s going to be breathtaking.

Washed Out – Falling Back