Notes on Lean Product Management for Enterprises by Natalie Hollier

From Natalie’s presentation this spring at LeanUX NYC, video link here.

Lean Product Development is comprised of:

  • Design thinking
  • Lean Startup (the steering wheel which allows you to pivot)
  • Agile UX + dev (the engine driving)

How can we make this a repeatable process?

You have to trust the process, have humility with your ideas, and have the courage to try, fail, learn

Some tools Natalie likes:

  • Creating an opportunity backlog, not a product backlog
    • Customer problems we need to solve
    • Write problems statements and measures for success
  • MVP Design Workshop
    • Gather stakeholders and hopefully users, break into groups and diverge and merge ideas, with each assessment ask what you can remove and still be MVP
    • Do quick sketches and wireframes
    • The most varied groups will come up with the most varied ideas
  • Use research sprints to narrow down possibilities–have a research backlog
    • Field observation
    • Build empathy
    • Learn pain points
    • Validate assumptions
  • User Story Mapping creates shared visual artifact
  • The overall cycle is Opportunity Backlog > MVP Workshop > MVP Hypothesis > Research Sprints > Story Mapping

Challenges of enterprise at scale

  • Large companies, large staff, lots of silos
    • Teams are structure by function, like Plan, Design, Build, Test, Deliver
    • Instead, the each group should have a member from each silo–crossfunctional teams
    • Organize them by customer goals/problems to solve, not things to be built
    • These “pods” are independent, adaptive, linkable and swappable
  • Coordination and management have to be rethought with new tools:
    • Practice communities/tribes – knowledge sharing
    • Cross-team rotation
    • Cross-team pairing
    • Standups
    • Lunch & learns
    • Visual information radiators – hang ’em up!
    • Supporting tools
    • Mature software practices
  • Principle of Mission
    • Alignment on vision
    • Not prescriptive
    • Empowered teams
    • Responsive solutions
  • Fund outcomes, not outputs
    • Portfolio of investment bets
    • Testable MVPs
    • Pivot or double down
    • Incremental investment
    • Balance across “horizons”
  • Lean Portfolio management
    • Clear vision at the top
    • Alignment on outcomes
    • Delegate decisions down
    • Empowered teams
    • Learning feedback loops
  • Minimum viable portfolio

About Natalie (from her site, link here): 

Natalie is a creative and innovative technologist with a passion for social good and sustainability.

She is currently the Vice President of UX at Validately, a platform that empowers product development teams to get fast customer feedback and innovate rapidly. Prior to joining Validately she was a Lead Product and UX consultant at ThoughtWorks helping product teams from startups to large enterprises adopt lean and agile product development practices.

Natalie began her career in digital products as a front end developer before moving into user experience and product management. She has worked globally as consultant on web and mobile app products in Australia, Asia, Europe and the USA. She holds a BA/BSc majoring in computer science from the University of Melbourne, Australia and is currently completing her MBA at NYU Stern School of Business.

In her spare time you can find Natalie mentoring high school girls for the Technovation Challenge, instructing UX courses at the New York Code + Design Academy, or speaking and blogging on lean product development. She loves travel, the outdoors, cocktails, brunch and Melbourne coffee 🙂

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