photo of Chanel Maddox on a dark blue background with a teal circle and the Product Manager podcast logo

Using Product Strategy To Make Meaningful Impact (with Chanel Maddox from Crema)

Michael Luchen is joined by Chanel Maddox, a Product Manager at Crema. Chanel helps drive client visions to fruition to create great product solutions that meet the goals of their business. Listen to learn how to use product strategy to make a meaningful impact.

Interview Highlights:

  • Chanel Maddox talks about product strategy, and how it can be used to generate real impact. Chanel is an incredibly talented product manager at Crema. She oversees product planning, client, and team relations, as well as long and short term responsibilities for team members of her product teams to reach their overarching goals throughout the product life cycle. [0:48]
  • Chanel is a course facilitator for Block Knowledge, a non-profit that empowers the underestimated founder to realize their fullest potential and to impact the universe through entrepreneurial stem innovation by providing access to equitable opportunities, mentorship, apprenticeship, and support and development. [1:14]
  • Chanel is helping their cohort of block builders with gathering a deeper understanding of how to work with the technological team, create a portfolio of work, and test out their ideas with potential users of the product. [1:31]
  • Having a good product strategy means to have a vision for an ideal problem, or the opportunities, and to identify those key features or objectives that provide the most value and solve for the problem. [2:36]

“A team with a strategy tends to be more feature focused, more focused on outputs rather than outcomes.” — Chanel Maddox

  • Outcomes tend to be more effective, because it assesses the success of the product. So, not having a product strategy is opening your product to a high risk, because you tend to not solve for the ideal problem or the most important problems. [3:51]
  • The product strategy really focuses and concentrates action, and resources them. It really helps to clear the traffic with what we know so well, the laundry list of our backlog. And in turn, we generate results rather than just generate work. [4:22]
  • The lack of a vision tends to overwhelm the team, or the team has struggled through delivering those outcomes because they really don’t understand or resonate with the purpose behind that product. [4:40]

“When a product strategy is implemented effectively, your team has more opportunities to buy into that discovery.” — Chanel Maddox

  • Focusing is so critical in product development, and just for the product teams overall. Mainly because if the product or the vision lacks focus, you can go many directions that you don’t intend to. [7:26]
  • Take inventory of things, and make note of them so that when you’re going to market, you can make this a part of your strategy. It really helps you to leverage your reputation within the market, and identify how your product ultimately would fit into your product portfolio which is just as important. [8:45]

“Outcomes really tend to have a multitude of ways in which you can get a result, or get to several end results.” — Chanel Maddox

  • Outcomes allow you to solve a problem in various ways, and even present more opportunities, more doors to be opened. [10:50]
  • Oftentimes we think that putting out feature work is doing sufficient work that it’s adding satisfaction, but in all actuality, it isn’t aligned with our objectives clearly. [14:00]
  • For product managers, we often fall into this realm of imposter syndrome. Being a product manager or being a part of product teams, most of the time you’re going to feel very uncomfortable. And you have to lean into that feeling of uncomfortability, because that’s where you start to open doors. [15:46]

“It’s often important that we need to lean on those areas that challenge us, to hold us accountable.” — Chanel Maddox

  • Product strategy takes proper preparation, and sometimes it involves more commitment than the development process. There is no blueprint for the benefits of spending the time to further understand more about the problem during the preparation phase. [19:11]
  • Don’t be afraid to create a space to allow outside in artifacts and not opinion-based decisions. Bring them into understanding the investment that you’re going to take. [19:45]
  • It’s very important that, not just the product managers, not just the stakeholders, but the team as a whole really knows what is the problem they need to solve. [20:01]
  • There shouldn’t be a tension when delivering your results for your customers, your product, or your business. Instead, there should be empowerment to expand and push the standard on those metrics, therefore producing a much healthier environment. [21:49]

“We’re spending the right amount of time and investment to come up with the right result, and not just being innovative.” — Chanel Maddox

  • Strong product teams have leaders who are able to clearly define and communicate the problem. [24:41]

“Essentially, both PMs and stakeholders need to work hand in hand to define the strategy, while enabling and empowering their teams to bring that strategy to life.” — Chanel Maddox

  • When you’re coming up with your product strategy, don’t be afraid to find areas of partnership too. Inquire, or gain, or collect some of those insights. [26:55]
  • Chanel’s personal habits that have contributed the most to her success are “learning the power of observing” and having a “forward thinking mindset”. [28:24]
  • Chanel’s favorite tool that she uses regularly is Miro. [29:03]
  • Chanel’s advice for someone at the start of their product management journey is to keep in mind that “imposter syndrome is normal”. [29:28]

Guest Bio:

Chanel Maddox began her career in consulting, but oftentimes would question the ‘why’ around everything her team and the client did. Her inquisitive nature led her to always want to dive deeper into understanding the why behind the product decisions when it came to solving complex problems. It’s why she enjoys product management today and working in strong product teams.

As one of Crema’s product managers, she helps drive the clients vision to fruition to create great product solutions that meet the goals of the business. She’s been lucky enough to lead digital products, mobile apps, web apps, and many more product solutions in her experience as a Product Manager.

Photo Of Chanel Maddox on a dark blue background with a teal circle

“When you have clarity, you’re able to transcend that vision throughout the team and organization.”

— Chanel Maddox

Resources from this episode:

Related articles and podcasts:

We’re trying out transcribing our podcasts using a software program. Please forgive any typos as the bot isn’t correct 100% of the time.

Read the Transcript:

Michael Luchen

The strategic direction of a product can fundamentally determine its success or failure. At best, product strategy can be a north star at your company and product journey towards. At worst, it can be an exercise that you did once and set the results aside, wavering, wherever the wind blows your company.

Today, we have a product manager who’s passionate about cultivating healthy product strategies and will help us in crafting them. Stay tuned. 

This is the Product Manager Podcast, the voices of the community that’s writing the playbook for product management, development, and strategy. We’re sponsored by Crema, a Digital Product Agency that helps individuals and companies thrive through creativity, technology, and culture. Learn more at crema.us. Keep listening for practical, authentic insights to help you succeed in the world of product management. 

All right, everyone. Today, we are fortunate to have Chanel Maddox joining us to talk about product strategy, and how it can be used to generate real impact. Chanel is an incredibly talented product manager at Crema of whom I have the privilege of being able to collaborate with. Chanel oversees product planning, client, and team relations, as well as long and short term responsibilities for team members of her product teams to reach their overarching goals throughout product life cycle.

Chanel is also a course facilitator for Block Knowledge, a non-profit that empowers the underestimated founder to realize their fullest potential and to impact the universe through entrepreneurial stem innovation, by providing access to equitable opportunities, mentorship, apprenticeship, and support and development.

Chanel is also helping their cohort of block builders with gathering a deeper understanding of how to work with the technological team, create a portfolio of work, and test out their ideas with potential users of the product. 

Hey Chanel, welcome to the show. 

Chanel Maddox

Hey Michael, thank you for having me. And it’s such an honor to be here today. I’m very excited for our conversation. 

Michael Luchen

Awesome. Thank you for joining. I’m really excited as well. Are you ready to jump into talking about product strategy? 

Chanel Maddox

Yes. Yes, I am. Take us there. 

Michael Luchen

All right. So, for those listening who are new to the concept of product strategy, can you help to find what it is just that like, kind of it’s foundational level?

Chanel Maddox

Yeah. I’ll take my stab at that. For me, oftentimes we see that we master the art of prioritizing, but don’t have a vision for where we’re really going. This seems product teams, more feature focused, then strategically focused, and actually not a bad product strategy. The lack of a product check strategy altogether.

So having a good product strategy, in my opinion, means to have a vision for an ideal problem, or the opportunities, and to identify those key features or objectives, that provide the most value and solve for the problem. So how will we get there? And last but not least to this definition, I would add it’s really detailing how and why we will succeed for that product.

Michael Luchen

I like that. Focusing on the how and the why, not always the what. I think in, especially in our craft of product management, we’re so quick to go to the what. So, you know, kind of down those lines, when we think about teams that are maybe quick to go to the what, and not focusing on the how and the why of having a product strategy. What happens to the product teams that don’t have a product strategy?

Chanel Maddox

That’s actually a great question, because as you mentioned earlier, I just want to reiterate that. A team with a strategy tends to be more feature focused, and the translation for this in my opinion, is more focused on outputs rather than outcomes. So if you’re asking, well, what is the difference?

Difference can be between mediocracy, and the creation of lasting and sustainable change. And suddenly in my opinion, do outputs really address the value or the impact of your product? Well, outcomes tend to be more effective because it accesses the success of the product. So not having a product strategy is opening your product to high risk, because you tend to not solve for the ideal problem or the most important problems. The vulnerability here is that you’re not producing the outcomes, you’re usually are most likely expecting. Therefore you’re missing opportunities within the market to take your stake. 

Michael Luchen

Very well said. So you kind of mentioned some of those opportunities. What are some other benefits that our product team can get from having a product strategy?

Chanel Maddox

Yeah. Product really, the product strategy really focuses, and concentrates action, and resources them. I love this because it really helps to clear the traffic with, what we know so well the laundry list of our backlog. And in turn, we generate results rather than just generate work. 

From my experience, the lack of a vision tends to overwhelm the team, or the team has struggled through delivering on those outcomes because they really don’t understand, or resonate with the purpose behind that product. So, what I love about the product strategy is one. When you have clarity, you’re able to transcend that vision throughout the team and organization. You’re also able to knock out more valuable work, because the team can focus on the most critical problems to solve at a time. Lastly, one benefit that is part of the, I guess, unseen or unforeseen set, is that’s often not discussed. 

I should say, is that when a product strategy is implemented effectively, your team has more opportunities to buy in to that discovery. The development of the product, the problem solving of it all. And all these processes that come along with getting the product going out the door. This type of product tends to function at a more efficient and effective rate, than one is just performing transactions at the tasks they were given. So you’re allowing your team to really take ownership for what they’re doing. 

Michael Luchen

That’s really good. So let’s shift over into, how product strategy supports users. How can a product strategy help align opportunities for users of a product? 

Chanel Maddox

You know, actually when we, when I think about this question and when we think about opportunity or those opportunities, it’s usually it’s user centric problem we’ve heard in the market. So the problem or the product strategy itself typically is what confidently confirms, that those opportunities are three things, that allow us to zoom in, and focus. 

And those three things in my opinion are that one is pervasive. So is this widespread? It doesn’t have to be a large number of people who are experiencing it, but possibly a smaller number, but a greater impact on revenue or market disruption.

Number two. Secondly, is this problem urgent or will it be in the future? And is this urgency growing or shrinking? And lastly, are people willing to pay? This is, this problem painful enough for someone to pay to resolve it. The strategy helps you to know that if this problem is worth solving, and therefore for me, the ideal opportunity actually aligns your strategic direction.

Hopefully that answers your question there. 

Michael Luchen

Yeah. Yeah, it does. You know, one thing I’m thinking about too is just the concept of focusing. And you know, with the strategy when you think about like strategy, right? Like there’s this I think this idea of like yeah let’s do something like way out there, and like let’s do all these things.

But when we think about focus, what are some advantages of really leaning into a really small focus when working on a defining a product strategy? 

Chanel Maddox

You know, before I answer this, I just, focusing is so critical and in product development, and just for your product teams overall. Mainly because if the product or the vision lacks focus, you can go many directions that you don’t intend to.

And so you end up in a pool of things, versus going down one swim lane or another swim lane trying to get to the execution. But to get to your question, there are several ways we can see how the ideal focusing works more in our favor. Outside of aligning it to our strategic direction, additionally helps us help increase advantages over our competition. 

Simply put because you’re able to see how your product can fit, or enter into the market. Where is your segment that you’re going to tackle and go after. You could also view the number of existing competitors. Where they doing? How much market share do they have? And someone once told me it’s an ability to dominate, not just participate. So hopefully there’s some empowerment behind being able to focus in on, what your competitors are doing. And then what are you also wanting to do? 

One thing I also add, Michael, is it helps you to capitalize your distinctive competencies, which ultimately are the things that you do well. And how qualified are you to really solve for the problem? So I would encourage anyone to take inventory of these things, and make note of them so that when you’re going to market, you can make this a part of your strategy. But lastly, a few other things is it really helps you to leverage your reputation within the market, and identify how your product ultimately would fit into your product portfolio, which is just as important.

Michael Luchen

Awesome. Yeah. And you know, I, one of the things I’ve seen too is it also helps and accompany really focusing their resources, and when their teams that are actually executing the work and building this. So like in our case, helping our clients build a new software products and we have a really focused product strategy.

Then you have the entire product team working towards the execution of that strategy, which then paired with those things that you mentioned, is just helps it make be like that much more fine of a point in order to hit the market and hopefully see some results. 

Chanel Maddox

Exactly. I agree. And I would second that. Just because we don’t have that type of clarity or those guard rails, I would put it.

You can leave not only yourself guessing, on what it is that you want to deliver. But ultimately you can lead your product to be abandoned, or in that realm of world that is not really accepted to your consumers as it had been anticipated, just because you didn’t have the direction or the focus to zoom in on where you need to really direct your product strategy towards.

Michael Luchen

So on the flip side, how do I make sure that my product strategy isn’t limiting me too much and putting me in a box? 

Chanel Maddox

Yeah, this is actually a great question, because honestly think it’s a frame of mind question or your mindset, and hopefully this is a little bit of piece, but going back to where we mentioned earlier, it’s about remaining focused on those outcomes and not just the outputs.

Outcomes really tend to have a multitude of ways in which you can get a result, or get to several end results. And honestly may explore new areas that you never had even thought of. Outputs, on the other hand typically, in one result space. So outcomes allow you to solve for a problem in various ways, and even present more opportunities, more doors to be opened.

If you find your, if you find yourself driven by a task or just getting work done for the sake of getting work done. Making little impact on your customers, and they’re not satisfied with the value. Then I would encourage you to take a temperature check on that strategy, or the lack of that strategy or how it’s really doing, because this could mean that you are putting yourself in a box.

If you’re having these one way directions, or one way outputs, you’re really probably not thinking about the problem itself and the successes of comment with a multitude of results. Additionally, if you find yourself in that case or any case as more so output-driven, you’re probably having some pain around pivoting if it were to present itself. 

Again, this is a time for a quick tune-up, you know, where’s the vision or the direction which we’re headed? If you’re not able to pivot quickly, or it takes a lot of muscle to do so amongst your team, then you’re probably putting yourself in a box and I would just encourage you all to mentally take note of that as you’re going through your strategy. 

Michael Luchen

I love just the focus of outcomes over output. And I think you mentioned like taking a breath as a team, if you’re going in the output over outcomes direction. You know, how, like, what are kind of some of the tactics that like teams can do that?

So if you’re running a product team, maybe you’ve been doing this, and you find that you’re focused on putting out features that aren’t actually connected to any sort of desired results. What do you do as a product manager to get things back on track towards that strategy? 

Chanel Maddox

Yeah. And so I think you’re asking a great question that I have to say, I have fell a fallen victim for. Falling victim to. I will admit that sometimes when you are very task-driven or, Hey, we’re just putting out work or maybe we’re just putting out outputs, it may feel like you’re getting things done. So it is hard to detect whether or not I’m performing well, or efficiently for my team. So in those instances, I always like to think forward. 

And I will say this has become a habit of mine, which I may be worried about the work I’m doing now. But how does this work turn over three months down the road? A year from now or five years from now. And do I have key objectives that I have that have been outlined? And if so, how has the inputs, or how are the inputs that I’m putting out aligning with those? Most likely you’ll see that it may accomplish one or a few.

But it really isn’t hitting the big value markers. And so that’s when for me, I’m able to go back to say, well, what is the real problem? And then maybe I can do some reverse engineering to say, well, what were some outcomes it could have presented themselves to solve for these big value hitters? Or what are some of the things that I have done before? And how could that have trashed me from pivoting to accomplish another task?

I think oftentimes we build that putting out feature work is doing sufficient work enough that it’s adding satisfaction, but in all actuality, it isn’t aligned with our objectives as clearly. So I would just go back to the giant board and say, Hey, how is my work aligning with these objectives or the revenue goals or the business goals, even the customer goals. And being able to paint a picture from there, reverse engineered to make sure you’re answering the right questions. 

Michael Luchen

That is so good. And so inspiring cause I think, you know, this is kind of like the make or break. This is like the key stone that can like make or break great product management. Is you’ve a lot of teams it’s easy and we’ll talk, we’ll get into this, but like a lot of teams, you know, create product strategies up front. And then it’s just put away in some file, or some whiteboard hidden in a back office for the rest of that work.

But what you’re saying is, as product managers, we need to be consistently referencing that. Well, first off, like maybe we get to a point where we have to pause and there’s nothing to reference. Well, that’s a great sign of like, Hey, maybe we should pull the team together and build to define what the strategy is.

But then also too, it’s like we need to be constantly referencing this and we’re writing those user stories. We’re reviewing the requirements, we need to have reminders going back and looking at this the metrics and success of the features that we’ve pushed out there. You know, it’s such a hard thing to it’s an easy thing to do when you get those tactics in place, but it’s such a hard thing that very few teams I think do. Yeah. Why do you think that is? Why do so few teams do this? 

Chanel Maddox

I think it honestly is, you know, fine-tuning up and building up that muscle. It takes time, it takes experience, it takes practice and I, I. One of the things that I think we often get trapped in is for product managers. I don’t know if he felt the same way, Michael. We often fall into this realm of impostor syndrome or does this feel right? When I’ve learned that being a product manager or being a part of product teams, most of the time you’re going to feel very uncomfortable. And you have to lean into that, that feeling of uncomfortability, because that’s where you start to open doors.

That’s where you start to really explore the areas that suddenly have been explored. Things that tend to feel comfortable or natural, or, Hey, this feels good. Let’s just do that. Or, yeah, we can do that. Let’s do that. Tend to be the direction you don’t want to go in as much. It’s often important that we need to lean on those areas that challenge us to hold us accountable. To look back and say, we discussed this a month ago. How are we tracking with this? And to answer those hard questions? Well, we’re actually not doing too well. Well then what can we do to correct? You know, do we need to go back and make sure that everyone knows the vision of where we’re going?

Ok, good. If we know that. Well, do we need to make sure that we’re allocating the right subjects or test the right people? Making sure there’s no role confusion as well. Once you’ve checked that box. Okay. Well, are we making sure that the user stories that we’re coming up with make sense to where the products really had it?

All of these questions need to be answered along the way, until you could find the gaps. Once you identify the gaps, that should be your guiding tool to know, okay, this is what we need to answer and what we need to do to answer it. Hopefully that adds a little bit of flavor, but that’s the process that I would take until I can figure out, what is missing here and why we’re not meeting the mark.

Michael Luchen

Yeah. And I definitely second what you said too about impostor syndrome. And I felt that, I feel that a lot and I think it goes to you know, I’m a huge fan of Marty Kagan and a lot of the books he’s written, but also the articles he’s written. And there was one I can’t quite remember the name of it from a few years ago, where basically in a nutshell, he talks about how product management and product development from a process perspective, it’s pretty easy.

You can implement it. There’s a lot of good resources out there, but what separates the good from the great product managers are the ones who are able to lean into that discomfort. And I wouldn’t really say it’s just the product management role either, but it’s also the stakeholders or clients if you’re in a client situation. Because they have to also be comfortable with that discomfort, that you’re recommending from a coming from a discomfortable place saying, Hey, we need to be more uncomfortable with this.

This isn’t something that we, yes we have the ability to build out these features, but maybe these features or some something that we’ve all figured out internally what we think our users want. But actually maybe not developing for two months, and doing some intentional user research to help inform product strategy and vision is going to be worth it.

More in the long-term financially from a results perspective, and that’s like a hard thing to get over. It’s like, well, if we’re not developing for two months, Like that’s wasted two months, you might think, but you have to, we as product managers, we have to help kind of bridge that gap to show, well, it’s all about value, production over output.

Chanel Maddox

And I think you’re honestly tiptoeing around this concept of preparation. And to me, I think product strategy takes proper preparation, and sometimes it involves more commitment than the development process, which is something you may be alluding to Michael. But there is no blueprint for the benefits of spending the time to further understand more about the problem during the preparation phase.

And if I could, I don’t know if you are okay with this. I would like to just add on some benefits of how this could really help your team to be more effective. I think one of the main things here is, bringing, don’t be afraid to create a space to allow outside in artifacts and not opinion based decisions. Bring them into understanding the investment that you’re going to take.

It’s very important that, like you said, not just the product managers, not just the stakeholders, but the team as a whole really knows, Hey, this is a problem we need to solve. This is the amount of investment that we need to put behind it. And we need to make sure that everyone understands its purpose. Help them to understand the positioning of the product, the business plan, then the buyer and the customer’s experience, and the various personas who will be impacted. 

I think all of these help for them to know, what are you what is your market definition or your audience and, where do we win? Where do we lose? Where do we buy and where do we build? Or where do we partner? I think this empowers the team to make the right decisions, to have the right knowledge.

Feeling fueling their ability to really problem-solve more effectively and keyword focus. So I think if we’re looking at really product strategy, it is going to take a good amount of time to properly prepare ahead of that and to really make sure your team mitigates any confusions along the way. 

Michael Luchen

Interesting. You know, I think when you’re like creating that strategy, that too, there’s a tension that product managers might feel we have to be innovative. Is that healthy? 

Chanel Maddox

I’m disclaimer, this is Chanel’s thoughts. 

Michael Luchen

Please.

Chanel Maddox

I think the goal is to be clear. I, I know a quote that I love. I, forgive me. I don’t remember who said it, but read be clear first and clever, second. If you have to throw one out, throw out clever. 

Sometimes we’re so determined to be so innovative and futuristic, and we miss out on doing the work that we know is going to connect the dots and make sense to your customers and your product teams. But that’s not to say, don’t say space for balance.

Clear, cut, and dry. If I had to put it simple, there shouldn’t be a quote-unquote. Tension there shouldn’t be tension. When delivering your results for your customers, your product or your business. Instead, there should be empowerment to expand and push the standard on those metrics, therefore producing a much healthier environment.

So I would reframe that to say, not tension, but empowering and making sure that you are a team. You’re you as yourself, maybe a product manager, has what it takes to push those boundaries if you choose to, but ultimately you remain results-based driven as we stand by at Crema should be the goal. 

Michael Luchen

I love it. You know, and just like that quote, be clear first and clever, second. 

That’s just something I’m going to carry in my back pocket. You know, it reminds me too of something I was recently reading about how Stripe approaches product management. And they have a term, I think a few other companies use this called shaping. But to Stripe, what resonates to what you were saying, and this is shaping exists outside of design and outside, outside of requirements.

But it’s kind of like the metaphor I kinda got reminisces. It’s like a messy architect’s desk. It’s got everything scattered around it. Maybe it has some really cool futuristic building designs and inspiration on there, but by the time that architect is done with their work, it’s clean and there’s one final design.

And maybe it’s something that fits in with what exists today and the pricing of materials and things that exist today. And so, you know, being clear first I look at it as, yes absolutely. But like, don’t let clever lead you. Don’t let the futuristic architecture designs that are unrealistic to produce and haven’t been safety tested, being the thing that you recommend. 

Chanel Maddox

Yeah. I agree. A thousand percent. And I just would hate to allow innovation to lead all the time. Not to say it shouldn’t leave sometimes that’s an intentional strategy, right? To have innovation lead. But in this case, what we’re referring to is you just want to be cautious.

Like you said, let’s make sure that this is the right thing. And you know, that we’re spending the right amount of time and investment, to come up with the right result, and not just be innovative essentially. Don’t just let that be the only thing we’re trying to do. 

Michael Luchen

Well said. So, we’ve talked a bit about how there’s some overlap when it comes to strategy between the product management role, and the stakeholders, or clients depending on product manager situation.

So should the product managers, or should the stakeholders manage the product strategy and the connected product roadmap? Who gets what? 

Chanel Maddox

This is good. And in my experience, the answer is both. Both should be responsible and accountable partners for one another. Strong product teams, in my opinion, have leaders who are able to clearly define and communicate the problem.

Hence, so stakeholders, and product owners however those same teams have stakeholders and product owners that allow the space for those members to provide the best solutions for those problems versus just handing out tasks to do. I think I mentioned earlier, we don’t want a transaction-based relationship. We don’t want where we can clearly state the problem, but allow our teams to come up with the solution and not prescribed to them. 

So essentially both PMs and stakeholders need to work hand in hand to define the strategy, while enabling and empowering their teams to bring that strategy to life. 

Michael Luchen

That’s awesome.

Yeah. You know, it’s I was talking with someone today about just the roles that make up our product team. And one of the terminologies that I was sharing is like, this is the role division, especially when it comes to the product itself is not black and white. As product managers, we might, there might be tasks and things that we’re doing, but it has a healthy overlap with everything, but it’s also not responsible for everything.

I think product strategy is like the most crucial definition for it. And by the way, like, you know, it’s, this is probably one of the reasons why our role has impostor syndrome with this stuff. It’s accountable to everything, responsible for nothing. But yeah. So very cool. Before we wrap up do you have any other thoughts about a product strategy that you wanted to share for our audience?

Chanel Maddox

I think my only other thing I will add is, I wanted to lean in. I think you mentioned Empowered, the book by Marty Cagan and Chris Jones earlier. And if I had to, I once reiterate a few things that they mentioned that I loved. More so when it comes to key focus, key areas of focus for discovery for product teams that they should prioritize.

And a few of those were the quantitative insights. I believe the qualitative insights and technology insights, as well as industry insights, not trying to get away too much from the book, but I will divulge into leaning into those. Because you can get pretty granular with those various types of insights, but there’s really no trap door exploring any of those.

And I will also add that when you’re coming up with your product strategy, don’t be afraid to find areas of partnership too. Inquire or gain or collect some of those insights. A longevity relationship with someone, cause the market is pretty extensive. It’s pretty robust, and so I would just add in that discovery phase, don’t feel compelled to put it all on your shoulders as a product team. Make that a part of the strategy to say, Hey, along with this, while we’re doing our preparation, while we’re finding out more about the problem, let’s figure out where we can bring in some partnerships to help us get there along the way.

You never know how that can really turn out in your favor and in, so. 

Michael Luchen

And like what we were talking about earlier too, it’s not just only upfront work. It is ongoing. You have like a lot of investment up front to get started, but it should consistently be revisited, iterate on just like. 

Chanel Maddox

Discover and validate continuously, I would say. Yeah. 

Michael Luchen

Awesome. So before we wrap up, I love to ask some personal lightning round questions if that’s okay? 

Chanel Maddox

Okay. Go ahead. 

Michael Luchen

Which of your personal habits has contributed the most to your success? 

Chanel Maddox

This is a tough question, but I had to say when I was I’ll try to make this quick. When I was beginning my career early on, someone told me.

Learn the power of observing. And so for me, I have made it an intention to allow space to observe when needed, but also learning to feel fast when I do act and I do not get it right. So those are some strong habits that I have adopted, not more so tactical, but more so a soft skill that has shown up in a multitude of ways.

As well as added to my ability to be a strong product manager. And last, but not least being able to forward think. Have a forward thinking mindset would be a habit that I think a lot of PM’s could really benefit from. 

Michael Luchen

Awesome. What’s your favorite tool that you use regularly? 

Chanel Maddox

Without question, Miro.

Miro had, I don’t know many meetings or many areas, spaces, avenues where I have not leaned on Miro in both my professional and personal life. 

Michael Luchen

Right there with you. And lastly, for someone at the start of their product management journey, what is the one piece of advice that you would give them? 

Chanel Maddox

We actually said this earlier, impostor syndrome is normal.

And in fact, a good thing probably a conversation for another day where you and I can go more in depth around this Michael, but I would encourage someone who’s getting started to really lean into this feeling and let it work for your advantage. One thing that I’ve heard that impostor syndrome can really help prog managers is, because you don’t know what you don’t know.

You can actually bring new, fresh ideas to the table. So like I said, let it work for you. If you’re having that feeling, it’s totally okay. Completely normal and expected. 

Michael Luchen

Yes, definitely. Definitely. Definitely. All right, Chanel, thank you so much for joining the show today and enlightening us about product strategy.

Chanel Maddox

No problem. Thank you for having me, Michael. 

Michael Luchen

So for everyone listening, if you want to learn more about Chanel, you can find her at crema.us, or you can look her up on LinkedIn. Otherwise, Chanel, thank you so much again for joining. Thank you everyone for listening, and please be sure to leave a review of the podcast. Your feedback, lets us know how we can drive future episodes of the show for you.

Otherwise, please be sure to follow and join our community at theproductmanager.com. Thanks everyone. And have a great day. 

Chanel Maddox

Thank you.