What's The Build Trap & What Does It Mean For Product Managers? With Melissa Perri

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This is a podcast episode titled, What's The Build Trap & What Does It Mean For Product Managers? With Melissa Perri. The summary for this episode is: On this episode of Build, Maggie sits down with Melissa Perri, product management and UX expert and author of Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value. Maggie and Melissa dive deep and explore what the build trap is and what it means for product managers, plus how product management teams can get out of the build trap and drive real business value – not feature factories. Want to hear Melissa's two best pieces of advice for PMs? Listen to the full episode.
Warning: This transcript was created using AI and will contain several inaccuracies.

Cabins available today. I'm really excited because I have All Star product person Melissa Perry joining me to the founder and CEO of products Labs. She was a speaker Consulting a teacher in all things product and she is also the author of the book escaping the Build Shop how effective product management creates real value which I am currently reading and I'm really excited to tell you is that you go beyond just you know, you shouldn't be a future Factory. But instead you talk about Parts in the context of the company that you're in training is super fascinating before we did and if you could just give us an overview of what is this place where organizations get stuck and focus on really how much are they shipping and not what is actually produced?

Do do you start your customer is equal to what the organization wants to achieve into that? Cuz I'm riding with most of us wouldn't start out just singing it. We're going to keep shipping features and that's going to be the best way to do this focused on Valley delivery. How do I make sure that what they're doing is really a producer.

Start to come further away from the customer, which is fine, but is producing what you want to do. That's where we have so much money so much.

So what they're doing what's going on outside of our great. But I would imagine that part of that is also and I seen this as we started to grow, you know, we have more and more teams here I drift and as we do that the team you can get into a place where you own is featuring. Can you work on this thing? So you're constantly thinking, okay. We'll what else can I do with this feature? It becomes harder to sit back and think what problem do I need to solve over all cuz it might not have anything to do with that future that you've been kind of living and thinking about for so long.

Broadway Across what are all the different things for doing? How do you make sure that everybody has a value rather that we want to achieve a bunch of stuff? That's okay. What can I do around Milan type of stuff to really hit those?

Do you have a prescription that you have that you take them to help him get out of the side of it really depends on the organization. Some people just do things better than others. We do like a lot of Assessments with organizations and I always look at a couple things so want to talk strategy. So do you have a strategic framework? Is that how do you say?

To is really do you have the right people in the right role? So do we have people who are working together at the decision to swell. Do you have the support of functions around there? Like the details that we need to get to the highest level the office is not that

Operations and then culture Socratic operations is are you well set up at skill to do these things. So do you have a key strategy in operation dark?

Directors and what happens every year? Is that against December and what are cool were actually set up for their always right? And if we did not do that, we'll just check the box and ship it over the last two months of the year because because I could you please like a really big party and then you pick the one that's the worst in his heart there. Like how do you say someone had all of these problems to some degree? What's the one thing that you would just suggest everyone just jump in and start doing it differently today.

Actually work top-down and bottom-up and it's little pieces right ever purchased from a different standpoint. So it's like over the years. Who should I start work in these leadership positions to we're not typically Miniatures and then the coach and trainer Teen Titans Go.

How to create the other day and she was probably one of the biggest challenges that you sing in the market is the lack of coaching of pianos by Park wieners and how that's such a thing as I think so much of what I read as someone who's a practitioner and is you how to do the function of product better, but you're right as I scale and turn into a product leader that the tropics top of mine from Yanni the highest level thing I can do is probably making all the plans that work with better.

job position

Market economy booking jobs for people to ever do something. I think it's interesting. I have a background in Consulting and I also went went to business school and I think a lot of time, you know, there's a typical cliche. I knew you know, you don't need an NPI, whatever. There's also tomorrow.

I think that experience has given me a baccarat strategy and that type of communication that I've been fighting to be so much more important as I have jumped product leader. I didn't know that that was what was going to be the case was going to help me but now looking back. I'm so glad I had that time as a consultant where you're spending, you know, you basically your whole jobs. Can you get with Executives? It's so good that you have that experience trying to get people to see people don't know how to do level is well, right.

People go to the snow blizzard doing a great time. I'm going to be definitely someone who has probably roll.

We usually spend a lot of time like Taylor Communications. I think the biggest thing I get from people who are new to being in a CTO roll or VP of product rule or even I got a lot of people in like that and they say I'm trying to prevent these ideas to my manager and then we do a lot of work to one of the guys with the leadership team and what they care about and then to bring the work in the message that they want to do and fine-tune it into something that will make them. So we spent a lot of time and pleading with the teams working on it. So the way that they tell their stories to tell us that story.

Lying and being able to put a good narrative together how important is becoming a product and how that's turning into a defining characteristic of a really good piano is someone who can taking all those inputs and then come back. Good story. I completely agree. It's about so like if you were a product what you're the one who cash on this before you asked actually have a question set of related to communication. But before we get out of being a being in the Build Shop, do you have an example of like one or two top hurdles that you seen?

Turn into when they try to make the move from pulling out of being future Focus to becoming welcome focused like where the big pit balls at people fall into it a try to do this trying to change everything outcome-focused. There's two different sides of it. I've seen lately is one looking at only outcomes and never put it out and then you should be driving your outfit. You should be saying like I'm going to build this for these reasons and this is what I said.

People getting into the track of all the testing and never actually acting as that they have raised so you want to make sure that you're always feel pretty confident that what you're starting to track suggesting that I've noticed more recently about companies in these customers requested all these things.

What's that going to do for the business? Like why should you be from a business perspective in the middle? Yeah, that's awesome. I really what you said about pairing outcomes without this because I can certainly minutes a little bit about you know, of course, I want to be welcomed Focus. I want to make sure the teams have problems they're solving and we're not handing down features and romance not going to sing. But at the same time there's definitely a question that you either get explicitly or you feel like you got from leadership a x which is what what am I going to get for this week? If I solve this problem, if you cheat that outcome does that mean was that look like especially if

I focus Founders are part of focus leadership. How do you manage both of those expectations cheap washer how to cheat with a fishing around or what we can and then you say we're going to test the solution to see if we actually cheat.

Business out with the leaders that you are thinking about that. You're just not fair that you just don't have data to the Canterbury Tales from your book. I think this code is amazing. You wrote the more leaders can understand where teams are the more they will step back and let the teams execute the more you try to hide your progress. And why did that knowledge that becomes yours will demand more information and will crack down on your freedom to explore if you keep things transparent, you will have more freedom to become autonomous region in kind of but that this whole thing we're talking about which is the better and more appropriately you can communicate where you are at each time and what the information is that you have the better you're going to be able to text you in general. Yeah, exactly and I seen a lot of teams that are scary.

They're afraid of like giving them status updates about story so that they can understand it.

Just want my team to come back to me and and do the input on what we're doing. I want them to tell me if they can really putting up married at the Gathering coming back to me with your advice be so big one that secrete enough and I seen the Carpenters. Yeah, that's a bingo last night learns kind of early on when I joined draft was if you don't go after that and communicate up instead of taking ownership of those problems and was going out for you and it's not going to be probably the road. Not that it should be and if I could be the one that you want and it's not going to make you help you progressing your career because someone's running down things for you to do and I was a really important.

For whatever reason the way to that was raised to me really stuck and honed in on the point that you have to survive being the one who suggested those things and pulling out together. If you want to be able to progress we have two more questions for you know, what are you reading or listening to that you're recommending to people that you think is survived helpful in the work that you're doing today so we can book that. I read really recently at listen to all you like. I was right. I was called on never split the difference. So it's about negotiating a from a hostage negotiator in the FBI and he talks about like, how do you negotiate with?

I like to make you this when I go back to what's a good one as well as a little underwhelmed. I think only because people been talking up so much and this might be a really hot tea but I kind of felt like it was men learning. I was okay to have feelings in the work which I couldn't I started today, but I couldn't think of it in that kind of color my whole understanding of the book A for executives right wrist and the value of product management and I was like

Because all the second of the company is going to want to read this because they want to learn how to Google and then encourage them to like leave us alone and listen to that conversation with ICT about it and he made a good point that it really depends on the stage right in your career and what kind of decisions you're making and she was saying that a lot of it was really falling for him where I feel like a book like there's probably more relevant where I am today then actually in our coach of advice that you want to go to Every p.m. That you need to figure out what we talked about storytelling down like a vacation. It's really just a place where I see p.m. Special sale.

So important in this line of work, so be looking at things differently, right like the way I try to teach them in the situation that I'm in a lot of pain. Just don't do that.

Lake let me figure out what's the right one season right now, so don't Focus so much on the process focus on what is the outcome that you're trying to cheat was a contact that you're in right now. And what is the school? That is the best one? I really appreciate you spending some time with us today.


On this episode of Build, Maggie sits down with Melissa Perri, product management and UX expert and author of Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value. Maggie and Melissa dive deep and explore what the build trap is and what it means for product managers, plus how product management teams can get out of the build trap and drive real business value – not feature factories. Want to hear Melissa's two best pieces of advice for PMs? Listen to the full episode.