The number of women in product management is growing rapidly, which is why we’re thrilled to have Hope Gurion with us today to talk about her experience.
Hope Gurion is a fearless product leader of great product teams. She currently serves as a Product Advisor and Coach to start-ups and companies seeking growth. She has led more than forty B2B and B2C product teams, including as CPO at CareerBuilder and SVP, Product Management at Beachbody. When she’s not building great products and product teams, Hope enjoys writing and speaking to help others shorten their learning curves, and traveling with her family.
Welcome to The Expat Woman, Hope. Thank you for answering a few questions for us!
What do you enjoy the most about working in product?
“There’s a lot that I enjoy, but when it’s working well, I love two aspects: 1) Enabling a team to swarm around a problem to be solved and 2) being able to measure their progress towards solving it through qualitative and quantitative measures. It’s very tangible and personal as you need to understand your users, your stakeholders and the other members of your team to be very effective problem-solvers.”
What are the most important qualities a woman needs in order to be a successful Product Leader?
“Confidence in your craft and credibility in your goals. Confidence in your craft comes from practice–the more scenarios you’ve seen, the faster you’re able to spot problem areas and offer potential solutions. Credibility in your goals means you, your team and your leaders have agreed on the most important problems or opportunities to focus on and the success metrics have meaning. If that isn’t the case, your #1 job as a product leader is to resolve that issue so you can point your team in the right direction and effectively channel their energy.”
In your recent article Why I Can’t Be a Good Girl and Good Product Leader, you comment on the importance of learning to say ‘no.’ Why is this key to running a good product team?
“Being able to say no = ability to focus. Knowing what to say yes and no to requires discipline and rigor in your discovery process. Keeping the team and their partners (leadership/stakeholders) aligned around the agreed-upon goals means saying no to new ideas/problems or re-aligning around a new set of priorities. A strong product leader ensures goals have meaning, buy-in and longevity to keep teams energized and focused even if the methods by which they pursue those goals iterate.”
Product Leaders have to communicate with both their team and with other departments about decisions that may have a significant impact on the company. What are your tips for communicating effectively with a variety of stakeholders?
“The most effective yet difficult to consistently accomplish advice I can offer is to create shared ownership of the problem and shared understanding of the context. My favorite technique to align around context is to create videos of the users (or desired users) and their needs and frustrations in trying to use your product or a competitors. Everyone wants people to love and get value from their products so when they can see first-hand why, how and when this isn’t happening, it creates a pathway to shared ownership creating and measuring improved solutions.”
What is your best career advice for women interested in getting into product?
“Don’t wait! There’s a significant increase in people trying to break into product and the resources and information available to them. There are so many entrepreneurs who need help that you can gain real-world experience working on real products that will shorten your learning curve and make you more employable and more valuable to product leaders who would love to hire experienced product managers.”
Thank you, Hope!