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The Product Management Blog

Tips and Free Resources to become a Great Product Manager
Tips and Free Resources to become a Great Product Manager

10 Lessons Learned as Slack’s First Product Manager

As the first ever Product Manager at now hyper-growth Slack, Kenneth Berger has learned a thing or do about how to make a product successful.

In our recent webinar, he shared with us 10 of the many lessons he’s learned along the way.

Also, check out our previous blog post with Kenneth on how you need to find your superpower as a Product Manager. 

First Product Manager at Slack

Kenneth Berger is an executive coach with 10+ years background in tech product management, most notably as the first Product Manager at Slack. Today he focuses on helping startup executives and product managers achieve their career goals and fulfill their true potential. Previously, he spent over six and a half years at Adobe as Product Manager working with different features.

Slack Secrets

In only a few short years, Slack has become one of the fastest-growing and most beloved enterprise SaaS products of all time. But the secrets behind its growth aren’t what you might expect: it wasn’t all about analytics and A/B testing. Slack’s first product manager, Kenneth Berger, told stories from his time there and shared two surprising principles that helped drive Slack’s success. He combined it with detailed examples and a behind-the-scenes perspective. 

10 Lessons Learned as Slack's First Product Manager

In a nutshell:

  • How to build products people love? 
    • People loved Slack but as a Product Manager, you always try to find what’s wrong with it and things to improve.
  • Are you building a flat product?
    • Don’t only do the minimum (MVP) because people are not going to remember you.
    • Build products based on memorability.
  • If your product is great, it doesn’t need to be good.
    • Focus on three key attributes or features and get them right.
    • Give yourself a permission to go above and beyond.
    • Make the features and notifications personal by thinking about the customer.
  • Give something back to the users:
  • Build a product with peaks and valleys.
    • Give customers “peaks” to look at because that’s going to help them remember why they’re there in the first place.
  • One metric is not enough to understand the impact.
  • Don’t just stare at the metrics but go straight to the user/customer as well.
  • Every product decision is a trade-off and the metrics you measure should reflect that.
  • Focus on existing customers; increase customer satisfaction and limit growth into new markets.
  • Lessons to draw:
    • Choose clear goals that drive toward a specific vision.
    • Pay attention to both the upside and downside. 

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