On November 11-12, we joined with over 1,000 product management devotees, visionaries and veterans at ProductCon Los Angeles to learn the best practices behind the most successful products from companies such as Netflix, Walt Disney, Adobe and Intuit (many of whom are also MURAL fans 😎).
It wasn't a surprise to us that more than 22x that number of people were distributed around the world, streaming the keynotes and breakouts, with more than 55x that number of impressions across social media channels. At MURAL we know that important conversations must extend beyond the physical, collocated space to include diverse talents from where they are.
I'm the Head of Services here, and it's a rewarding aspect of my role to share innovative ways to use MURAL. In order for distributed teams to visualize and frame challenges they need a place to work, and confidence with a new breed of tools. Boosting confidence was the goal of our workshop, Take it Online:Facilitating Workshops in the Digital Space. Monday afternoon, we engaged with more than 35 product leaders, managers, designers and researchers to bridge their existing facilitation skills into a digital-first, distributed mindset.
Using a sequence of familiar methods, we broke into teams to try our hand at facilitation and participation using MURAL. For some, this was their first time using a digital collaboration tool. As a result, there were many comments around the learning curve of the tool, but everyone was engaged and ready to try again. What I found fascinating after our 2nd round was how many comments reflected a marked improvement in the experience, specifically around a feeling of confidence in contributing to the group discussion as well as a higher level of comfort from those who chose to flex their facilitation superpowers and lead the groups. By simply trying to use the tool, then reflecting on the ups and downs together there was a marked improvement in the confidence people felt to co-create. This was gratifying, and the cohort's enthusiasm carried over to lively happy-hour conversations about the potential for greater diversification when it comes to available participation in product design and delivery.
Tuesday, the formal program kicked off with presentations from product leaders behind some of the world's most successful products. Our team, however, was 100% focused on connecting with the audience. Distributed collaboration was top of mind among attendees, and we had a plethora of connected devices to put MURAL into their hands.
Remember to be patient when pushing new technology onto your teams. For some, turning cameras on in a video conference can be a big step, culturally.
Be persistent when adopting a new way to work. Remote facilitation skills are in demand, and it takes boldness to help others reap the benefits.
Working visually combined with the ability to involve people from (literally) anywhere in the world is a game changer in an increasingly crowded product landscape.
Before we called it a wrap, we had to pick a winner for our raffle prize (a FREE 90-minute workshop with myself and Hailey Temple). With seconds to go, we invented a target-practice game in MURAL using the native application's built-in physics and the Bull's-Eye Diagram framework. We each took turns trying to "pitch" the available names into the center of the target.
If you're a Product Manager and missed out on chatting with us at the conference, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope we hear from you soon!
Stay tuned for what events you can find the MURAL team at in 2020.
About the author
About the authors
Head of Services
Mark, MURAL's Head of Services, has more than 25 years of experience leading creative teams and delivering high-impact solutions at scale for clients including Autodesk, Inc. and Wells Fargo Bank. *Ask him about his rockstar days.