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PDP #2: Building empathy with users

A product manager at ParkMobile and Agile coach Toby Johnson is our guest for the second episode of the Product Drama Podcast (PDP). It’s hard to describe in one or two sentences what this podcast is about.

We talked about a range of things: product development challenges and choosing the right tech stack to team culture, and the importance of clear communication between product managers, developers, and key stakeholders.

To better understand how versatile and awe-inspiring this episode is, read some quotes from Toby:

  • “Building software is always about trying to do the same smallest possible thing as quickly as possible, getting it to market, testing it, and building on top of that.”
  • “The smaller you start, the faster you make a decision.”
  • “If you try to stick to this ideal one-size-all solution, it conceptually makes sense, and it is very romantic and idyllic. In practice. I have never heard of it.”
  • “It doesn’t matter how your roadmap looks. It matters how people will use the product.”
  • “And the only way to get people to use the product is to try people use this product.”
  • “If you can get someone to test drive the software, you will be more likely to realize what they don’t like about it or what it needs, and people will be more likely to adopt it.”
  • “One good way to check if the features are important is to tell people you are going to remove them.”
  • “Don’t ask people what the most important features are. Ask them what are the ten things they will quit?”
  • “Stop treating people like computers, treat them like emotional human beings, who make emotional decisions.”
  • “As a product manager, the biggest thing that you can do is to reduce the risk of any product.”
  • “Take the ego out of product management.”
  • “Communicate what and why you build.”
  • “Product management is a lot of homework.”
  • “Be empathetic. Don’t treat one developer the same as another.”

This episode should not be missed. To hear and watch it, click the video below and enjoy!

Here are some key timestamps

0:00 Introduction. About ParkMobile

14:35 Conceiving New Products

19:29 User Research & Testing

30:56 Replatforming

38:14 Roadmapping

53:27 Working with Devs

1:07:12 Top 3 PM Skills


If you’ve missed the first episode, you can watch it here.


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