photo of Michael Luchen

Welcome To The Product Manager Podcast (with Ben Aston & Michael Luchen)

Ben Aston is joined by Michael Luchen, the Director of Product Management at Crema. He is the resident host of the Project Manager podcast. He has got a vast amount of experience building teams, helping people develop products for enterprises, small businesses, and startups across a whole load of different industries. Listen to learn more about the Product Manager Podcast.

Interview Highlights:

  • The product manager is a community that is exploring the best of product strategy and vision, product development frameworks, customer research, startups, and more. This is a place where you’re going to find lots of tips, tricks, hacks, tools, and ideas of how you can build, develop, manage, iterate better products. [2:00]
  • Michael Luchen is the director of Product Management at Crema. He is the resident host of the Project Manager podcast. [2:22]
  • Michael has got a vast amount of experience building teams, helping people develop products for enterprises, for small business and startups across a whole load of different industries. He is going to take over the first ever residency of the Product Manager Podcast. [2:38]
  • The Product Manager community is valuable as a space to share and talk about the latest tips and tricks and tools to build great products and also make the world a better place. [3:33]
  • The difference of the Product Manager community from a lot of communities out there is that it’s going to provide a space to talk about the human side of things and the ambiguity that comes up in it and just the challenges that happen. [4:22]
  • In the Product Manager community, they are going to talk about ambiguity. We’re going to lean into it and we’re going to get uncomfortable with it but we are also going to cover the processes, the tools, the roadmapping, all of the milestone reports, everything that goes into enabling product management to happen. [6:16]
  • Michael’s primary focus as director of product management is to focus on bleeding and growing the craft of product management at Crema. One of the things that they have is a craft team for each discipline design testing development, and of course, product management. [8:21]
  • Years ago, Michael was really interested in startups. As he was finishing up his information systems degree in college, he was really wanting to either run a startup or get into one. [9:57]
  • The Kansas City Startup Scene, which was where Michael was focused at the time was really booming. And there were a lot of startups and a lot of excitement around that and Crema was a relatively new company that was focused on serving these startups at the time. He got connected and was able to join as like the seventh or eighth team member about eight years ago now as a project coordinator, which is an entry-level project management role. [10:16]
  • Michael was self-teaching himself about Agile methodologies and figuring out how to really cultivate a strong environment that supported really incredible product teams collaborating with their stakeholders and clients. [11:01]
  • The best part of Michael’s day is collaborating with their product teams. [11:46]

“What I loved about Crema and the space of product management is that we get to have the fortune of working with so many talented, creative people from all different disciplines.”

— Michael Luchen

  • Michael’s biggest challenge is the risk of them becoming a feature shop. [12:32]
  • Michael is trying to get better at taking people’s first approach to product management and just building products in general. [16:02]
  • JIRA and Confluence – great in managing development roadmaps and sync with Wiki-style documentation. [17:52]
  • Slack – used as their day-to-day communication and collaboration. [17:59]
  • Miro – a digital white boarding facilitation and collaboration. [18:02]
  • Bear – a note taking app that supports markdown. Michael’s personal task management app. [18:25]
  • Spark and Drafts – it’s like digital sticky notes that you can then sync out to any tool that you can connect it to. [18:40]
  • At the beginning of the year, Michael recently read this book called How to Take Smart Notes. It helps set his sights on how he wants to continue to learn and grow which is incredibly important to him and their team at Crema. [19:16]

“If we stop learning and growing, then we’re going to become irrelevant.”

— Michael Luchen

  • The book How to Take Smart Notes is about having a framework that’s all about intentionality around what you read, kind of reframing things and then filing it away in an intentional manner. [19:54]
  • Basically, Smart Notes is built on this system called, Zettelkasten. [20:27]
  • Product management is responsible for managing the product. [21:47]
  • When hiring a product manager, Michael is looking for somebody who at a hard skill level has at least a basic understanding of Scrum and Kanban frameworks. Those can be used to create an Agile framework that works well for your own team in the environment that you’re in. They’re also looking for somebody who’s really focused on outcomes for the product and be able to work backwards and collaborate with the team. [24:59]

“Product management when it’s done well, it empowers the product team.”

— Michael Luchen

Guest Bio:

Michael Luchen is a forward-thinking, people-focused product person with vast experience helping teams build digital products for enterprises, small business, and startups across numerous industries. As an agile coach and technologist, he enjoys helping teams improve their collaboration to analyze and solve complex problems. Notable clients have included Adidas, Callaway Golf, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Kudelski Security, tilr, and a top global consulting firm.

He is currently the Director of Product Management at Crema, a digital product agency creating web and mobile apps for disruptive companies and industry leaders.

Michael Luchen Headshot

“The key responsibility of the actual product management role is to ensure that everything is aligned to achieve the key outcomes based on user testing, team input and strategic planning.”

— Michael Luchen

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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:

Ben Aston

So you’re listening to the first-ever podcast of theproductmanager.com. Welcome to the show. We’re product managers, and we want to evolve the playbook for product management, development, and strategy. We’re many have, whereas with the January list, with a team, with a product advocates, with coaches, we’re designers, we’re developers, we’re strategists.

Of course, we are firefighters, we’re planners, we’re creative, and with thriving in ambiguity in experimentation. Yeah, we’re trying to do it in unmeasured and unintentional way. We are on a mission to help people build better products to ship faster, to iterate more effectively. So if you want to ship better, don’t say that too fast.

If you want to become a better product leader, if you want to become a more effective product manager, then why don’t you come and join us? So keep listening to this podcast to find the business, to find the technology, user experience, tools and teams management required to deliver exceptional products and while listening to the show, please subscribe and join our mailing list on theproductmanager.com.

So first let me introduce myself and what this podcast is all about. So by way of introduction, my name is Ben Aston. I’m the founder of Black and White Zebra, and we’re a media company and really, we’re just trying to make things that are sometimes considered perhaps boring or difficult. We’re trying to make things fun and a lot more understandable. 

Ultimately, what we’re really trying to do is help organizations and people succeed and really this is a something, a project,  a journey that I’m interested in personally because I want to create and build better products. I want to approach product management in the most effective way possible and to do it intentionally, not just to muddle my way through, but actually to ship better products and I want to build a better product and I’m sure you do too, which is why you’re listening to this podcast and what we’re building here. The product manager is a community that is exploring the best of product strategy and vision, product development frameworks, customer research, startups, and more. This is a place where you’re going to find lots of tips, tricks, hacks, tools, and ideas of how you can build, develop, manage, iterate a better products.

So I want to introduce you to our resident host of the podcast is a guy I’ve known for a while. He’s great at what he does. It’s a guy called Michael and Michael is the director of Product Management at Crema. 

Hey Michael, thanks so much for joining us today. 

Michael Luchen

Hey, Ben.

Ben Aston

And Michael has got a vast amount of experience building teams, helping people develop products for enterprises, for small business, and startups across a whole load of different industries. We’re going to talk about some of that today, and Michael’s going to take over the first-ever residency of the Product Manager Podcast. So a massive welcome and today we’re going to be talking about this new community we’re starting called The Product Manager. We’re going to be talking to Michael about his current role at Crema as director of product management and dive into a little bit about some of those product management fundamentals. So Michael, let’s start by talking about the product manager. Can we talk about this for a minute?

This thing that we are created, this thing that we’re excited about, we’re building a community of people who are developing products who want to do it better. Tell us a bit about what your kind of hope and vision is for this community and how you see that evolving. 

Michael Luchen

Yeah, I think first and foremost, it’s valuable as a space to share and talk about the latest tips and tricks and tools to build great products and also make the world a better place. That said in our space of product management, there are a lot of tools and tips, and tricks.

It’s a fire hose at times, which is why it’s so important to have this intentionally crafted space for us to have this dialogue come back to the fundamentals that make great product management possible. 

Ben Aston

Yeah. And really what we’re trying to do here is help people lead their product teams and build better products ultimately, that’s what we want to do and I think kind of what you’re talking about, like, there is a lot of information out there. So tell us how you see this community being different to some of the other product management communities out there. 

Michael Luchen

Yeah. You know, one of the things that I’ve seen in my experience is that makes great product management possible is people and like leaning into it, not really just being a science, but also an art. And that requires an intentional miss with leaning into ambiguity and a lot of the communities out there are really great and really awesome at providing detailed guides and things on what to do. But I think our community is going to provide a space to talk about the human side of things and the ambiguity that comes up in it and just the challenges that happens. Like there’s no book that can exactly tell you how to be a great product manager. 

Ben Aston

Yeah, and  I think that’s so true and I think what I want to see from this community is embracing some of that ambiguity and one of the things that I’m really passionate about is building a playbook, which means that there’s not just one way to do things.

There’s a whole host of different ways of doing things, depending on your situation, depending on the product you’re building, the clients that you’re working with. If you’ve got clients the team that you have, the type of software, or the thing you’re trying to build, like we live in a world of ambiguity where following the six steps doesn’t really work.

It depends on the situation and what you’re trying to build. So I think embracing that ambiguity is something that’s so important and that’s where the soft skills around product management in the way that we manage our team, the way that we pull in stakeholders and engage the team to collaborate effectively is so important.

Michael Luchen

Yeah, absolutely. 

Ben Aston

And tell us about, tell us about ultimately the vision though beyond what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about bringing people in the product will together, about the softer side, perhaps a product management, embracing the ambiguity that is part of our everyday lives. But tell us, tell people who are listening today why should they, why should they listen? Why have we got something that’s worth talking about? 

Michael Luchen

Yeah. You know and definitely run that ambiguity. We’re going to talk about that ambiguity. We’re going to lean into it and we’re going to get uncomfortable with it but we are also going to cover the processes, the tools, the road mapping, all of the milestone report, everything that goes into enabling product management to happen and trust me, I, myself am 1000% a tool geek. I will. I will talk for hours if you want me to about any particular product management tool, but I think what’s ultimately important and as we get into this together is contextualizing it within the people that we work with and to build great product with every day.

Ben Aston

Yeah, and I think one of the things that I’m really interested in seeing as we build this community is that feeling of connection. I think as a product manager, sometimes you can, it can be quite an isolated role. You might work alongside other product managers but it can be quite isolating at times.

And so what were you really hoping to do with this community is to first and foremost, build connection with people who are doing similar things so that we can learn from one another and so that we can bring your peers together with you. And I think that is such a powerful thing, that building that connection so that you begin to get different points of view, different perspective, understand how different people do things.

So first and foremost, this is about connection. And then as we build that connection, what we see is, Hey, you get more confident with the way that you’re managing and delivering your products, because you know that there are different perspectives and you’re bringing them into the way that you’re delivering your products.

And so I think you begin to get more confident and as you get confident and you get these different perspectives and knowledge and understanding, that’s when we begin to become more skilled. So think about this product management community as a place where you are going to get connected, where you’re going to get [00:08:00] more confident and where you’re going to get more skilled.

So, Michael, I just want to switch gears and talk a bit about you and kind of what you’re up to. Obviously you’re deep in the world of product management. You’re heading up the director of product management at Crema. Tell us a bit about your day job. What keeps you busy every day apart from running this podcast.

Michael Luchen

Yeah. Sure. So, my, my primary focus as director of product management is to focus on bleeding and growing the craft of product management at Crema. One of the things that we have is a craft teams for each discipline design testing development, and of course, product management. And so what that means is I’m working with our other product managers to figure out how can we improve the quality of what we’re doing today.

And making sure that helps continue to support our scaling for more and more clients and more products, but also keeping an eye on the future and figuring out how can Crema perhaps lead in the direction that product management maybe should go our interpretation of it. 

I think what’s really cool about this role is that I’m also allocated to working on product work in the day-to-day with our clients and I think that’s that player-coach mentality is so crucial so that way I’m able to stay sharp and actually really present with what is actually happening in our team. 

Ben Aston

Yeah. A hundred percent, I think. Yeah. That player-coach element is so important. You’re not just a graduated product manager or director who is now casting down direction from on high, but actually beginning to.

And now as the discipline evolves as new technologies, new tools come in as we develop different ways of doing things like product management as a discipline is relatively new. And I think the there’s a bit of a danger of becoming this product management guru, who is not actually developing any products.

So I love the fact that you are still down in the trenches, but tell us a bit about your story. How did you get into product management? 

Michael Luchen

Yeah. So years ago I was really interested in startups. As I was finishing up my information systems degree in college, I was really wanting to either run a startup or get into one.

But I also wanted to be able to work with a team of people that had some sort of like security moving forward in that area. And so, the Kansas City Startup Scene, which was where I was focused at the time was really just booming. And there was a lot of startups and a lot of excitement around that and Crema was a relatively new company that was focused on serving these startups at the time. 

And I got connected and was able to join as like the seventh or eighth team member about eight years ago now as a project coordinator, which is an entry-level project management role. And got to figure out kind of, how does this work?

At the time we were very Waterfall-based like a lot of agencies back then. And I started to realize like, Whoa, this is not quite working out to serve our startup clients really well. You’ve got to iterate fast and when you’re working in a fixed contract, it just doesn’t quite work. And it also doesn’t maximize the talents of the team that we have on it. And so that actually is really kind of the pivotal moment that started my journey into product management was self-teaching myself, Agile methodologies, and figuring out how to really cultivate a strong environment that supported really incredible product teams collaborating with our stakeholders and clients.

And that just kind of set things in motion and helped us scale, help us grow, helped solidify our product management process until where we’re at today. 

Ben Aston

Awesome. And so now you’re involved in leading managing products as well as the team component as well. You’re working with actual external stakeholders, which many people probably listen to this podcast is all about internal.

What you’ve got that juggling, that external stakeholder as well. So tell me what for you now, what is the best part of your day? 

Michael Luchen

So for me, hands down, it’s collaborating with our product teams. Like, one of the things that I’ve always loved about Crema and just the space of product management is that we get to have the fortune of working with so many talented, creative people from all different disciplines.

And I just love being amongst all of that and learning from everybody. And how that just further shapes my view of product management and just product in general. 

Ben Aston

Yeah, that’s cool. I think working alongside a great team when you’re inspired by people’s ideas and creativity and surprised as well, and that feeling of, Hey, I’m learning something new every day.

That is super exciting, but it’s not all exciting. What are the, what are some of the challenges that you that well that you’ve faced recently, or some of the challenges that you see in the year ahead.

Michael Luchen

Yeah. So I think, you know, the biggest challenge, especially coming from an agency perspective who staffs product teams to a lot of external clients is the risk of us becoming a feature shop.

And I don’t think this is a risk that is specific to agencies. It’s certainly there for in-house product teams as well. It’s so easy to go to your stakeholders and. Just take kind of what they say as a list of features as this is what we’re going to do, and then you build those features, but that’s not really focusing on building great product. That’s just building features that there’s kind of thoughts usually around that as needed, but you’re not talking about you talking with users. You’re not doing a lot of business research and whatnot. 

It’s more of kind of an, a very expensive hypothesis. And so getting around that is, and figuring out how to more shift our posture to problem-solving with our clients and our stakeholders rather than just working on features is really the biggest challenge.

And I think we’ve made some progress down there. There’s a long way to go. But I think that’s definitely going to be the biggest challenge also as well as moving into the future. 

Ben Aston

Yeah. I think that’s having that lens of a benefits realization and value-driven product development, I think is such an interesting challenge because what we’re balancing I mean it is politics really it’s how do we balance those user needs?

How do we balance what’s going to deliver the most value with what our stakeholders or our teams think hypothesize that is going to be the most important thing. And sometimes we can slip into, well, we’re just doing this vanity. Backlogs item, this feature just simply because someone keeps on shouting about it who’s important rather than thinking, Hey, what’s going to deliver the most value here. What’s going to be the benefit realization that we’re going to see as we release re released this feature. And it’s always a bit of a hypothesis, right. But sometimes we have a much better idea because we can use data to help us make more informed decisions about that so, yeah, that is a, an ongoing challenge for sure. 

Now I’m interested in, I mean, you’ve been working, developing products for nearly a decade now, how are the kind of the projects or products that you’re working on and engaging with stakeholders? How are they changing and evolving? What are some other kind of meta trends that you’re seeing in terms of that, the work that you’re doing? 

Michael Luchen

Yeah. So we’re really bringing that, that, that problem solving approach that I mentioned to those products. So those that’s kind of like the broader train is like, clients and stakeholders are becoming more open to understanding that is how great product is made.

I think the challenge in this and Marty Cagan of the Silicon Valley Product Group talks about this. And his book Empowered is that it’s often a lot easier said than done. And so while it’s awesome that we’re being able to partner with a lot of clients on building products in this very partnership and problem-focused relationship The actual, like kind of where the rubber meets the road requires a lot of work and a lot of that comfort with ambiguity that I was talking about earlier, I think requires a lot of trust. And truly having that partnership mentality. 

Ben Aston

Yeah, definitely. And tell us, you know, what then are you trying to do differently? How has your practice evolving? You kind of touched on earlier the fact that.

And when we both talked about this is evolving, this is changing. This is a relatively new discipline. What do you, how do you see your practice? Evolving? What do you see yourself doing differently? What are you personally trying to get better at? 

Michael Luchen

Yeah. So overall like 50,000-foot level is taking a people-first approach to product management and just building product in general.

And then working down from that means that we are working with each other at a level of empathy. And I think the product manager really helps set the tone of those of the team. In order to set that kind of like, Hey, let’s approach each problem with empathy, let’s assume good intent from everyone and more.

And then I think kind of at a lower level, it means also having a regular mindset of coaching. One of the things that we’ve gotten into over the last year just because as we’ve scaled various clients have asked this of us is talking more about process and helping clients build their own product development process so they can be a product oriented company. Ultimately, our clients, as an agency, aren’t going to be with us forever. And so we want to make sure that by working with them, we’re not just being a stock yet, but a true partner in setting them up for success and having those product minded organizations. And so coaching and facilitation is a really core part of that.

Ben Aston

Yeah, I think that’s really exciting. I think this notion that helping people help themselves and embracing the reality that as a, as an agency, you’re eventually probably gonna move off the project. And I think setting people up for success in that, and then beginning to coach them through that I think is great.

Now tell me, obviously you get exposure to a whole load of different things. I’d love to know what is in, what actually is in your product management toolkit. What are the tools that you use every day that you love, or maybe even hate about why, what do you, what are you currently using right now that well, let’s talk about the things that you love or what’s great.

Michael Luchen

Yeah. Yeah. So I think there’s two ways to look at this. There’s like one was like the team tool kit that I used to collaborate with. And then what is my personal toolkit. And I, at a team level we’re using JIRA and Confluence. Those are just. Really great from being able to manage development roadmaps and sync with Wiki style documentation.

We use Slack as our just day-to-day communication and collaboration. I think the most impactful tool to us has been Miro for a digital whiteboarding facilitation and collaboration, and more that has just tenfold our effectiveness as a team over the last couple of years since we started using it.

Personally though especially sometimes I’ll be in different JIRA instances due to client security. And so I need something that can help me be able to manage all the threads across all the tools. And so I used to do is for my own personal task management, I use Bear a note taking app that supports markdown which I just love. And then fantastic how to manage my scheduling, which has awesome multi time zone support, especially in this remote first world that we’re all in right now. Spark Email, and this little secret weapon I have called Drafts, which is this app that just allows me to, like, it’s kind of like digital sticky notes that can, then you can then sync out to any tool that you can connect it to.

Ben Aston

That sounds cool. I’ll need to check some of those out and we’ll be sure to stick those tools in the show notes as well. So make sure if you’re listening to this, check out, go to the product manager.com, click on podcast, and you’ll see all the show notes and transcription from today’s show. 

But tell me what else is there anything else that you’ve read, seen? What else is making your life awesome at the moment? 

Michael Luchen

Yeah. So at the beginning of the year, I recently read this book called How to Take Smart Notes. It came out a few years back and it’s, it was really just empowering and studying my, and helping set my sights on like, how do I want to continue to learn and grow which is incredibly important to me and incredibly important to our team at Crema, because if we stop learning and growing, then we’re going to become irrelevant. And so. This was all about creating like a framework for the information that we consume and I’m guilty of over the years of reading a lot of books highlighting like literally, I will look at my highlights summaries on my Kindle and it’s like, you’ve highlighted 200 something things. And it’s like, I basically highlighted the book at that point. What’s the value of that. 

And so smart notes is about having a framework that’s all about intentionality around what you read, kind of reframing things and then filing it away in an intentional manner so that maybe I’m reading a lot of stuff on Agile roadmapping, and I don’t realize it, but several months from now, I kind of see like this thing arise. It’s like, Oh, Hey, there’s some connected insights that I wouldn’t have had otherwise around Agile roadmapping If I didn’t have this framework. 

Ben Aston

So is that a tacking system that I’m wondering how it works in an analog? Does it bridge analog and digital work? 

Michael Luchen

It can. Yeah. So, basically smart notes is built on this system called, Zettelkasten, which I don’t know who invented it exactly, but it’s mentioned in the book and it was actually this note card-based filing system. So like you read something to book, you note it, you add a bunch of numbers to it.

You put the notecard in your system and think you have like all these no-card boxes. And so you have all these related thoughts. Everything you read is very complex. It’s 2021 though. So we have a lot of software to help automate this. I’m like, you know, Roam Research is basically built kind of on this method if you’re familiar with Roam. But yeah, it can be both analog or digital. 

Ben Aston

And what’s your system. Is it analog or digital? 

Michael Luchen

It is, you know, I’ve tried analog because I appreciate disconnecting, but it is definitely digital. I mean, I just love being able to read things and Kindle and then have those things automatically go into these systems.

Ben Aston

Yeah. That’s cool. Cool. Well, for this first podcast, I also just want to touch on some product management basics. Maybe for people who are not normally product people, but are listening to the podcast. 

So let’s talk about, I mean, we’re talking about product management, but we haven’t really explained or discussed what we mean by it. So. Give me a kind of a layman’s explanation for a non product person. What is, how would you describe product management? 

Michael Luchen

Yeah, I think product management is responsible for managing the product. The key responsibility of the actual product management role is to ensure that everything is aligned to achieve the key outcomes based on user testing team input and strategic planning.

Ben Aston

Cool. So we’re w we’re making products and we’re getting them out the door and making sure the right thing is being built. It sounds very similar to project management. 

So tell me how do you see what it, what are kind of the, for you the core differences between product management and project management. Is project management and product management, the same thing, or how are they different?

Michael Luchen

Yeah. So it is not the same thing. It is definitely a misconception though. Part of that I think is because it’s crucial that great product managers have skillsets that project managers have being able to manage a roadmap and make sure that dependencies are accounted for and more some organizations actually have like a set, like separate these into two different roles.

But I think especially if you’re working like in an Agile-powered organization being able to have everything kind of underneath one role is okay, because you’re working on an Agile environment, then that helps alleviate a lot of the, kind of the actual management of milestones and [00:23:00] updates and stuff. So that way, as a product manager, you can really focus on the product itself.

Ben Aston

And I think this is an interesting challenge that we have in there in the digital world is many of the projects that we are now working on are not just are not just one time thing. So I think a lot of project management is becoming more product management orientated as we begin to, we have a product and we begin iterating on that product. 

We’re improving it and in a digital world that is more and more possible. So I think this transition that we see of project managers turning into product managers so that they’re iterating on a project, on a product. Maybe it say it’s a website and you’re building out different features or it’s a backend platform, an e-com that can be product management where we’re we’ve got a list of features. We’ve got a wishlist of things we want to do. We’re using user research to try and optimize maybe a shopping cart conversion to through checkout. Th this is product management. And I think that transition that we see as. In a digital world, we’re no longer just doing a project and then it’s done, but actually we can keep adding to it. We can keep iterating on it. We can keep trying to make it more effective. That then becomes the realm of product management as we’re managing that roadmap, the things that we’re going to do in the future. 

We have managing the backlog, the things that we want to do next. And we’re trying to engage with our team and work out. What’s going to be the most efficient and effective thing to do. And we’re working with our stakeholders to work out what they need and why they need it. And what’s more, most important. 

So there’s a whole lot of soft skills that we need this communication skills. But tell me what other skills do you think are important for product managers. Well, when you hiring a product manager, what are you looking for? We’ve talked about soft skills, but talk me through what’s important and what’s not. 

Michael Luchen

Yeah. Yeah. You know, we’re looking for somebody who at a hard skill level has at least a basic understanding of Scrum and Kanban frameworks.

Those can be used to create an Agile framework that works well for your own team in the environment that you’re in. But we’re also looking for somebody who’s like really focused on outcomes for the product and be able to kind of work backwards and collaborate with the team on figuring out like, well, what is it from like a strategy perspective that we have to actually do to achieve those outcomes?

That then funnels into all sorts of other types of things like backlog management and stakeholder management user testing to validate these assumptions, writing user stories facilitating a team workshops to bring out the best of everybody and even diving into product analytics.

Ben Aston

Cool, and I want to close with this question, which is, I guess we’ve now started a podcast all about product management, but we obviously think it’s important, but for someone who’s listening, it’s like how I’m not convinced, you know, I’ve got, we’re kind of, we’re doing okay.

Why for you is product management so important? And why do you think it’s I guess within the context of the community, we’re talking about building our skills, about connecting people, helping people come become more confident, but fundamentally we’ve got this this is based on this value that product management is important. 

Tell me why you think product management is important. 

Michael Luchen

Yeah, I think product management is really when it’s done well. It empowers the product team. It can kind of be in, I think it’s best form a generalist skillset that can go really kind of wide and empathize with all of the different disciplines to be a really effective and also empathetic servant leader to that team.

By willing, like just enough understanding of all these roles, those product managers in that specific in product management, can it really help lead their team towards effective product definition and planning and ultimately achieving those outcomes. That is so hard. There’s so a lot of temptation, I think, in our space and it’s really easy to say yes to this, and maybe we’ll even see some short-term success around it.

To just fall back to like the old kind of command and control project management style of things. But when you take a more product management mindset and you don’t really view yourself as the sole holder of what makes great product, but it’s your team. And you’re able to bring all this empathetic perspective to that team, you can create really awesome things together. And that is why product management I think is important. 

Ben Aston

Well, Michael Luchen thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for being the host, the resident host of the product manager podcast. We are so looking forward to having you catch up with different people over the next while recording some episodes, exploring exactly this why project management is important, but also exploring these things.

That resources that people can use exploring the soft skills and really beginning to build this product management community that we’re so excited about. And really the, as I said before, we’re wanting to build this product management [00:28:00] community to help you, listener become connected to get more skill, to get more confident, but ultimately, so we’re shipping better products.

We want to see more value realized, we want to see less wastage happening. And we want to use to be less stressed as well. Like we know the product manager role can be tiring. It can be stressful and we want to help you do that better. 

So go to the productmanager.com. If you haven’t checked it out, already sign up to our mailing list. And so you can stay up to date with all the podcasts that we are going to be releasing over the next while you’re going to find a whole bunch of tools there. 

If you’re interested in tools and working out products roadmapping tools or user experience tools, that might be helpful to you? As I said before, we’re going to put in the show notes as well. All those tools that Michael talks about today, but yeah. Check out theproductmanager.com. You’ll find some insights there, and you’ll also find a way that you can sign up to the community that we are going to be starting. So thank you, Michael so much for joining us today. 

Michael Luchen

Awesome. Thank you Ben, for having me.

Ben Aston

And we’d love to know what you think as well.

So if you enjoyed today’s podcast the first-ever of the productmanager.com, please subscribe and take a couple of minutes to leave an honest review for us and come and join our gang. As I said, head to the productmanager.com to register for our soon-to-be-launched membership, but until next time, thank you so much for listening.