The Value of Software Product Discovery & Other Important Lessons – On the Podcast with Brendan Wovchko

August 4, 2023

On this episode of Behind the Product, Brendan Wovchko joins us to share common problems he sees in product discovery, how his team has matured their product development practice, and how to lead product teams well. As the CTO at Ramsey Solutions, Brendan shares how he leads with simplicity while leveraging tools like Opportunity Solution Trees to optimize customer outcomes.

Here is a recap of our conversation hosted by SEP’s Chris Shinkle and Zac Darnell. You can listen to the full episode here:

Brendan shares how Ramsey views product alignment and how to stay financially viable in all seasons. Brendan says Ramsey follows a customer-led product strategy. He discusses how Ramsey approaches customer relationships and why this approach is the foundation of Ramsey as a company. He explains that when you are spending time talking with customers results in a natural byproduct of solving adjacent problems. Listen in on this part of our conversation:

Brendan describes his approach to the idea of ‘transformation’ and how digital transformations can be a distraction from serving customers well. He explains that transformation is not a comfortable thing. It means there is going to be a new set of rules you are unfamiliar with. Brendan goes on to share that transformation threatens people’s professional identities, and when you are threatening someone’s professional identity, you are inevitably going to get resistance.

Brendan shares insightful advice for companies who pursue digital transformation. He explains that an organization-wide digital transformation requires the executive team to have personal transformation. If a leadership team does not acknowledge that reality, they often end up on a treadmill of frustration and blame-shifting. Change needs to start at the top. You can hear Brendan share about this concept here:

Brendan shares the importance of establishing a simple system. He tells us that a majority of scaled systems assume people at the top of the organization have all the right instincts and know their customers perfectly, and that’s just not true. Brendan explains that his goal is to implement a more elegant, simple system. He believes that if he does a good enough job designing that system, one of its natural properties is that it can scale big. Brendan explains this here:

Brendan emphasizes the importance of having customers inform your Opportunity Solution Tree. This requires you to listen well, using a lot less of your words and a lot more of your customer’s words. Brendan says a common mistake he sees is product teams conflating their own opinions with the customer’s opinion. Listen to Brendan share about this here:

Brendan leaves us with great advice about finding a work environment you love. He shares, “Ask yourself, do I love the people I work with? And if the answer is no, go find a different job. Find people that you love working with. 45 years is too long to be surrounded by people you don’t like.”

That’s the show! We hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as we did. We’re looking forward to reconnecting with Brendan to hear about the work he’s continuing to do at Ramsey Solutions.

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