Interview with Albin, co-founder of Linky product
Fresh interview in our “Customer Obsessed” interview series, which profiles product leaders! We had the pleasure to receive our friend Albin Poignot, from Linky Product, who told us more about his background and the challenges he most often faces as a product leader.
What to prioritize in an ocean of possibilities?
How to experiment efficiently?
How to move quickly and be "action-oriented", in a constantly changing context.
Thank you, Albin, for sharing these insights with us!
Tell us more about yourself. What is your background?
I started working in the software industry about 10 years ago, after studying computer science. My early career was more on the technical side, then gradually, I became more interested in the strategic aspect of things: Why am I developing this feature? Who will be using it? How will it create value for my users?
Quite naturally, I was dragged into product management.
For a few years, my job was to establish certain work approaches in different companies. I quickly realized that I was doing the same thing again and again, and that it started to look like a framework. Realizing this, I thought that instead of serving a single employer, it would be interesting to serve several customers, several product leaders who would need what I do. This is how I started Linky Product 2 years ago.
Tell us more about Linky Product. What’s your mission, and what does your day-to-day look like?
Linky Product's mission is to make product strategy simple.
We see a lot of product leaders who seem to be lost in the complexity of their work. As they grow their teams, they are continuously exposed to thousands of ideas from everywhere. Succeeding in prioritizing all of this, and creating a product strategy that aligns everyone, is a never ending challenge.
At Linky Product, we experienced these challenges within many companies. We managed to realign stakeholders or development teams that were highly misaligned.
All over the world, the largest technological ecosystems have the reflex to be Product oriented, to find the right compromise between business objectives and users to achieve success. Our mission now is to bring this to as many teams as possible. To meet entrepreneurs, product leaders who are a little lost managing their priorities, and to give them tools to make their lives easier.
Can you tell me a little more about Linky Product's interventions?
We intervene with a subtle mix between consultation and coaching. We want to give our client companies the tools that will help them to evolve in the long term.
Our target customers are essentially product leaders, even if it varies a lot from one company to another. We mostly work with people who have development teams around them and whose efforts will have to be prioritized.
Our typical mandate is very strategy-oriented and lasts between 1 and 3 months. We then help leaders to structure their strategy and decision-making process. We give them a framework that allows them to collaborate more effectively as a team. Our approach is human centered, adapted to the context, the challenges and the major next steps to be achieved by our clients.
We are very action oriented, so our clients car reach their market/users as quickly as possible. It allows them to collect data and to learn from it as quickly as possible, so it can feed their strategy.
You have accompanied numerous companies. What are the most recurring issues?
What do we do in the ocean of possibilities?
How to structure thoughts and experiments?
How to have a common and shared framework on the directions/priorities to take?
How to project oneself in the long term and make decisions?
These are major topics that come up very frequently.
How do you assess the product maturity of an organization? Do you sometimes feel like it won’t be so easy to improve the situation?
We conduct workshops with our clients and their teams. We have in-depth discussions about their identified (or unidentified) objectives, what is already in place, and what they would like to implement. We also try to identify the blocking points and various challenges.
I often observe what we could call vertical maturities, meaning that there is an axis on which they are very good, but they have forgotten all the others. Just because you conduct user interviews every day doesn't mean you have a good product strategy. You just have a lot of data. Similarly, you can have good delivery practices and a beautiful Scrum, but customers who don't use your product.
The discussions are quite natural. We try to perceive what the real problem is and where it lies. Are the teams misaligned? Is the business strategy unclear? Is the understanding of the market not good? Once the problem is identified, we can focus on resolving it within the next few months or the next year.
Indeed, it happens that we think changing thins won’t be easy. But we only accept mandates when we are convinced that we can help. Occasionally, we feel that it's not the right time and that there are other priorities to address first. We also have people who are simply not in the "product mindset," and they are not interested. In that case, the dialogue doesn't really happen, and that's okay. We often see this in larger companies that have been functioning well for many years. It's difficult to just come up and tell them how they could improve things.
In your opinion, what makes the difference between the best product organizations and the others?
I see two main aspects:
The first is the "expected results." Are they present, and are they clear?
And the second is how often do they talk to customers/users.
For me, these two aspects are the first signals of a product that will succeed. Everything else, in general, stems from these two things.
Is the delivery good? If it doesn't serve any outcomes, we don't care. It won't be a success.
These two things are the pillars of a functioning product organization. And usually, that's where product leaders spend most of their time.
One last word?
Simplicity is the key to success!
It's central, and it sums up pretty well what we do at Linky Product!