What forums for collaboration exist within your team or organization?

At the large organisation where I work as a PM, I’ve observed that our PM staff is very fragmented. We work quite independently of one another in our product portfolio. Our weekly team PM meetings as a result become quite boring and lack many intriguing subjects. Engineering teams differ from other teams in that they hold stand-up meetings and demos. Rarely do our fellow PMs exchange learnings, unless an organization-wide forum is organised by executives.

Although I’m still getting used to my job, this could be a great chance to develop our culture and make us feel more like a team. These weekly sessions currently feel like a chore. However, in the past, they were jam-packed with discussion, presentation, debate, and actual product creation.

What venues or chances do the other PMs on your team have to discuss significant insights, successes, failures, etc., to strengthen your sense of unity?

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Collaboration within Apple is challenging unless it involves people you are working with directly due to the company’s secrecy culture.

Though some organizations are superior to others. The SWE organization as a whole does an excellent job encouraging open cooperation. However, because I work in services, I can’t truly agree.

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I’m in AIML and it’s a challenge.

Big forums are seen as victory laps and not as innovation opportunities.

I just wish work was more fun - not asking for much

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That’s totally fair; for me, it was far more enjoyable when we were at the office, for better or bad. We used to organize a ton of entertaining events. At AP, I got to see Lady Gaga and The Killers, which was incredible.

Although I’ve spent the last four years working in QA Engineering and am currently attempting to move into a PM post, there may also be some role-based cultural differences at work.

However, I think a lot of people would participate if you tried to organize some sort of enjoyable, collaborative recurring event. CoffeeWith is another option that is excellent for in-house networking on a one-to-one basis.

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Our division, which consists of eight product managers, meets every alternate week to discuss challenges and best practices. It’s really simple and democratic; anyone can propose a topic, and the one with the most votes wins.

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This is also our cadence @NathanEndicott, although most of the time the content is bland and without actual substance. Better yet, let’s go to happy hour. That would be significantly more thrilling.

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We hold a biweekly insights meeting where we share results from interviews, user tests, surveys, exploratory data analysis, and experiment results. That information gets everybody excited about new problems we have uncovered and understanding we have developed and often leads to debates about the underlying motivations and product strategy, which can spin off other cross-org PM meetings and meetings with company leadership to explore those angles.

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@MariaWilson, Do you think there is always something fascinating to talk about? That worries me. It appears like not much product work is being done in the background at the moment because we are so focused on migrations.

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I’ve experienced similar migrations in the past, and each one was split-tested as we worked to streamline the business rules as we went. Even from those split tests, we learned some fascinating things! Really relies on the culture of your business.

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Look into Ed Catmull’s book Creativity Inc. With our PM team, I used to lead Pixar-style Braintrust meetings and I believed it was incredibly beneficial for the team for a variety of reasons.

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I’ll definitely check this out! Thanks @HeatherKurtz :+1:

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Other small businesses also frequently exhibit the siloed PdM mentality. This isn’t, in my opinion, specific to your circumstance.

Set up a regular meeting—hopefully not a weekly one—where product managers from around the organisation can attend, present, and hear from other speakers who aren’t PdMs about ideas, initiatives, and techniques that help the product toolkit.

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I have weekly product meetings with my competency (partnerships). We talk about status updates, company news and objectives, and have general small talk.

They’re alright, I find I make better relationships and have more fun at happy hours but that’s just me.

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Don’t focus solely on PMs. Bring in outside speakers from other teams. The CFO, the chief lobbyist, an internal researcher who gave a presentation on the dark web and how my company’s accounts were being sold/used, the head of security, etc. are some of the coolest folks I’ve had as guest presenters.

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How do you do this in a vulnerable way and inspire people to come?

Concerningly, despite my promotion, nobody showed up because they were all “busy.”

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Yes, that is a legitimate concern.

Several options include having a senior individual chair the meeting or at the very least requesting a commitment (VP+ etc.).

Have your meetings early enough so that nobody has to cancel due to an urgent matter.

Outside of VP level, the majority of people will show because people want to talk about themselves.

In my experience, non-product/engineering individuals are more considerate about attending meetings, particularly when they are with other teams.