Last week, I was fortunate to be able to attend the Women in Product 2017 conference in San Jose, CA. As a woman who has been in the world of product management now for four years, attending the conference was an insightful experience.
The talk by April Underwood, VP of Product at Slack, resonated with me most. One reason for this is that April was the main speaker who contextualized product management from an enterprise perspective.
As someone who works for a company that builds B2B solutions for enterprise use, it was interesting to see how the core mission of our companies/products overlapped. Talking in general about “the future of work”, April explained that Slack is trying to fill the need for communication across teams.
In a world where many applications used in business have their own chat functionality, there lacks a single communication channel for different teams that need to collaborate. Slack is trying to be the single source of chat to streamline conversations and create features to help teams work together. This core mission and purpose reminded me of Tasktop in a lot of ways, given that our purpose and product is centered on creating easier communication and collaboration across teams.
The software we build – the Tasktop Integration Hub – facilitates collaboration by flowing the artifacts that represent the work being done by each team during the software development and delivery process. I was surprised, in fact, when April showed a slide that represented the nature of communication from being very hierarchical to being more networked, given that this is how we at Tasktop have come to view the act of software development itself:
Slide from April Underwood Talk ‘Future of work and scaling enterprise products’, Women In Product, 2017
The Visual Landscape feature of Tasktop Integration Hub
I was also happy to realize at the end of April’s talk, and the conference in general, just how great and unique of an opportunity it has been to learn about software development and product management not at just any tech company, but at Tasktop.
Our mission is to help companies improve how they build software. Because our specialty is integrating systems that are used in the wider spectrum of software development, I feel like I have a special command of the different disciplines involved in the process and of the tools they use (the ones Tasktop integrates).
And because many of the speakers were from larger companies, I also realized how beneficial it was to have started at the company in its earlier developmental stages. Being the second full-time person on Tasktop’s product team, I very quickly learned about all of the challenges faced with cross-team and cross-departmental collaboration, and helped put into place core processes that we have continued to evolve (versus having started on a larger team at a larger company where processes might already have existed). Entering the company at an early stage, I’m convinced, has been an important part of my professional development.
These are only a few of the professional and personal insights I gained from the day-long conference. I left feeling inspired by simply having been at the conference with so many fellow female peers in product management, feeling proud of what I have been able to learn and accomplish in my career so far, and excited about the future of my career in product management.