Women in Product Leadership, Breakfast and Learn

4 minutes

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." - Steve JobsLearning, developin...

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." - Steve Jobs

Learning, developing and innovating is a key part of any Product Owner’s role. In fact, our 2023 Hiring Report found that learning & development opportunities are prioritised by Product management candidates when searching for a new job. 

As the product management role is still fairly new, the skill set continues to actively develop and evolve. Consequently, our Product management recruitment team work closely with both employers and candidates to stay up to date with and support the development of the Product skill set.


Women in Product Leadership, Breakfast and Learn

On the 6th of December 2022, we hosted a breakfast and learn for some fantastic female Product Leaders. 

Specialist Product management recruitment consultant, Francesca Jackson and Tehya O’ Hara, Head of Product at Lego, collaborated together and met with 11 inspirational female Product leaders to discuss prevalent themes in the industry. Together they discussed a range of topics and worked to solve the challenges they face by sharing their individual experiences in their own Product careers.

Highlights included discussions around uniting a Product team behind one strategy, navigating remote & hybrid working, and finding a maternity policy that is right for you and your career.

How to unite a Product team behind one strategy?

The breakfast and learn kicked off with a question about how to join a pre-existing Product team. With the Product management skill set relatively new in comparison to other areas of expertise, this is still a new challenge that many senior leaders are facing for the first time.

With new leadership it can be important to ensure that the team is working cohesively, reminding everyone how they fit into and contribute to the overall Product strategy. 

As a Product Leader joining an already-established team, there are a number of things you can action to unite your team behind the product strategy...

Introducing yourself to the Product team

Introducing yourself to the team both socially and professionally can set you up for success in your new role and ensure that you’re approachable and people feel they can relate to you.

Organising an in-person social event or relaxed virtual get-together allows everyone to get to know each other on a more personal level and built rapport and open communication.

It can also be useful to inform your team how you prefer to work, giving details about any processes that you would like to implement in the team. It's also important to reverse the conversation and take the time to understand your team’s work preferences. 


Communicating regularly and effectively with the team

Communication is key to uniting the team behind the Product strategy and reinforcing what role they play in the success of the team and working towards the company goals.

Maintaining regular communication can be more challenging by remote and hybrid working where employees have adopted different communication preferences. In order to ensure effective communication with your team, it’s important to take the time to understand how best to reach each team member. Although companies invest in a particular communication software, employees may prefer an email, phone call or chat message. 


How to navigate remote and hybrid working as a Product Leader?

While remote and hybrid working has a number of advantages, the working style also has it challenges. 

Ensuring everyone is involved in the meeting

Hybrid working can be isolating for those working from home when everyone else is in the office. What’s more, is that it can be difficult to have your voice heard in a meeting that is mostly taking place in person.

One way to combat this is by having everyone join the meeting online, whether they are in the office or at home. This puts everyone on an equal footing and allows everyone to join the conversation.


“Document culture”

Document culture is a popular way of working that has been adopted by leading technology organisations. This method can transform the way that meetings are run, making them more productive and beneficial to attendees. It involves sharing a document ahead of a meeting that details what will be discussed in the meeting, providing time for everyone to read the document and annotate it ahead of time. 

The Product Leaders who attended this breakfast and learn were strong advocates for this way of working, stating that it enhances the productivity and creativity of Product management teams.


Why is the office still important in 2023?

Candidates and employers alike are often unsure of why the office remains important in 2023 when so many tools are available to make remote working successful. Requirements to attend the office for meetings can cause friction in interview processes, especially when there is confusion as to why it is necessary. 

A few reasons were discussed, including having a more efficient workday, creating a more energised environment and supporting the training of junior Product Owners. Understanding your reasons for the office and communicating them effectively with the team will be beneficial for your team. 


How to find a maternity policy that works for you?

Lastly, we discussed the importance of finding a maternity policy that is right for you and your career.

This topic of conversation highlighted the importance of employers taking the time to understand what staff are looking for in family planning policies and how they can fully support them, their family and their career. 

43% of mothers consider leaving their job as a result of childcare costs, according to Pregnant Then Screwed, showing the importance of getting these policies right. Many of the women at this event highlighted that even though they might not be looking to have a child at the time, they will take into account a company’s maternity policy when searching for a new role.


Product management recruitment in 2023

Looking to grow your Product management team in 2023? Or perhaps you’re searching for Product jobs? We have put together our Product management salary guide for both permanent and contract Product jobs, helping you navigate the recruitment market in 2023.

For more support with your next Product recruitment process, get in touch with our expert recruitment consultants to discuss your requirements. We deliver the best recruitment experience you will ever have.

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