What Product Leaders Should Do When Sh*t Hits the Fan

A Conversation with Tatyana Mamut, SVP of New Products at Pendo

Stay Customer-Obsessed: The Product Development Process

When COVID struck, Tatyana received calls from Nextdoor’s investors, CEO, Board, and everyone in-between, asking how she planned to weather the storm. Her response was simple:

“All that matters is what customers value, the rest is just noise.”

In keeping with her philosophy, one of the first things Tatyana did at Nextdoor was rebuild the product development process to incorporate the voice of the customer. Rather than running experiments based solely on OKRs, Tatyana’s team carefully observed customers, documented their problems, and ran charrettes to brainstorm potential solutions.

Focus on Your 3 Big Rocks: The Rock/Pebble/Sand framework

As a Product leader, it’s easy to be pulled in hundreds of different directions at once — especially during a crisis. Knowing how to zoom out and identify top priority issues is an essential skill for any Product leader.

“If you have more than three big things, you don’t have big things.”

Putting rocks, pebbles, and sand into perspective

  1. New Member Retention
  2. Neighborhood Vitality
  3. Reaching Profitability

Measure What Matters: The North Star Metrics Framework

When choosing your top goals, it’s important that you can measure them. Tatyana’s team used the North Star Metrics Framework to select high-priority goals and assign “leading indicator” metrics to gauge their value. Not only does the North Star framework encourage product teams to devote themselves to only the most critical projects, it also enables them to report on their progress in a way that shows them the actions they took that truly moved the needle.

Bonus: How to Hire Your First Product Leader

Before you start: Ask yourself, how product-oriented is the founder?

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