Communities of practice - Product Makers

Looping back on Rosie’s email about CoPs:

I run our community of practice at Productboard called Product Makers. Its focus is on helping those working in product level up their craft. We run on inSided (still not sure if that’s the right platform for it). The primary challenges are in getting people to be open about their challenges. Product folks are notorious for having to have all the answers and sometimes not the best at being vulnerable and saying “I don’t know”. The best outcomes have been that so many people join us who aren’t customers and the growth over the past year. It’s also great getting a thank you from a member of the community about how it’s had an impact on their craft. The not so great has been those moments where you wonder if anyone cares, when “engagement” drops off, but the signals here sometimes are just a switch to other programs where they can engage. Happy to chat more if anyone wants to compare notes or has feedback or ideas to share.


Thanks for stepping up to the challenge. I got questions. :innocent:

What are your top things that have worked well?

What reservations do you have about the tech/Insided?

And how do you balance the bias towards the product? Do you have a culture/philosophy/rules around this? I always feel this is a fine balance.

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Happy to help.

Weekly events and our core programs (mentoring, roundtables, and book club) have worked great. Pleased with these and have leaned into what works while regularly experimenting and trimming what hasn’t. We learn a lot thru discovery and try or build what our members are looking for. People vote with their feet and energy.

On the tech side, forums feel like a slow game of tennis where one person hits a ball then waits for others to “arrive” to hit it back. They aren’t as conversational (note: Richard’s latest blog post on the matter adds some credence ). Slack is isn’t a perfect option either, but it feels more immediate, and that little icon in your toolbar goes a long way and for some is just faster and requires less effort to post.

We don’t bias towards our product at all. My approach is to lead with the craft and practices, and where needed sprinkle in the product where it’s relevant to a conversation, while also leaving space for others who “do” want to talk about the product to have a place where they can do that.

Hope that helps.