Buckle up for the latest case study, where we catch up with Diana Stepner, a product leader empowering multidisciplinary teams to adopt an experimentation and outcome-driven mindset. With a background in the three pillars of product management - technology, business, and user experience, she’s an experienced individual who has spoken at the Product-Led Summit in San Francisco.
We wanted to know just how her time at the summit and with PLA has affected her professional career. Here’s what she had to say:
There is no one path to being a product manager. I joined the PLA community to be able to connect with other product managers and leaders who work at or focus on product-led organizations. PLG is still an emerging area for product development, and I always like learning from others.
The PLA community is a great place to continue to build my product management craft. There are so many amazing events - not just for me but for my team members, too. Whether it be product operations, revenue, or other aspects of product management, I always know there will be a PLA offering to enjoy.
I am one of those people who doesn't believe product management is simply applying a framework. There are always unique nuances to consider - the type of company, company size, north star, number of PMs, etc. Having the opportunity to explore a range of new tools and organizations focused on advancing product-led opportunities has been really helpful for me to form approaches that work for my company at this specific time.
I am always looking for new approaches as the field of product management continues to evolve. Thus, I really find lessons learned from individuals pursuing product-led opportunities, especially startups and new applications, helpful for my own learning and to better understand opportunities that may benefit my team now or in the future.
Speaking at the Product-Led Summit in San Francisco (Oakland) enabled me to meet with members of the PLA community in person and to connect with people whom I worked with previously or who subscribe to my newsletter. I've enjoyed being able to connect with people on LinkedIn, too, and to sync up virtually.
Product-led growth is growing in impact and opportunity. Being able to learn from others and contribute to the PLA space has helped me to identify new approaches to test out in my own organization. It's really important to consider that any failure is valuable - thus, I like learning about what worked and, even more importantly, what didn't work. I truly appreciate it when people share the good and the not-so-good.
Overcoming challenges and contribution
As product managers navigate the changing times, the community has allowed me to share what I have learned with others facing similar experiences. I enjoy being able to be transparent and honest about my own growth as a product manager. It's a career where you are always learning and experimenting.
Our customers' lives don't stay the same, and our approaches to product development cannot either. It's definitely tricky (in a very good way) as we must evolve ahead of our customers. As noted above, I spoke at the Product-Led Summit in Oakland (San Francisco). I really enjoyed having people come up to me afterward and share what resonated with them and opportunities to improve my talk as well.
I focus on putting people first, which is starting to emerge as a powerful leadership approach. It was wonderful to hear from others that they felt validated, hearing from a speaker that it was right - even a priority - to put their team's wellbeing first.
The community is full of product professionals dedicated to improving their craft and helping others do the same. It's collaborative, which is one of the draws for me - which can happen both in person at conferences as well as virtually. The PLA moderators are more active and involved, providing a structured approach that ensures events are shared, and practices are focused on product-led topics. Given this approach, the PLA brand has a stronger presence than I have experienced in other communities I am a part of.
The community is a wonderful way to connect with like-minded product-led product managers and learn more about product-led practices. You can see the community has helped me to continue to grow as a product manager and as a product leader. I continue to appreciate the opportunity the PLA community provides!