Product Research Rules with C. Todd Lombardo

Product Research Rules with C. Todd Lombardo
Daniel Elizalde

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Episode Details – Product Research Rules with C. Todd Lombardo

Getting to know your customer’s pains is one of the biggest challenges of building enterprise software. Joining me to take a deep dive into this topic is my good friend and return guest, C. Todd Lombardo.

“Start with the problem first; Don’t start with the solution or the technology.”

— C. Todd Lombardo

As the VP of Product & Experience at Openly, an insurance-tech startup, C. Todd is a seasoned product leader in the B2B space with a ton of experience leading in-house product teams to success.

He has also written two of my favorite product books: Product Roadmaps Relaunched: How to Set Direction while Embracing Uncertainty, and, of course, his newest book, Product Research Rules: Nine Foundational Rules for Product Teams to Run Accurate Research that Delivers Actionable Insight.

In this episode, C. Todd and I discuss topics based on three of the nine Product rules included in this book, including:

  • How to align your teams on the right question to research
  • How to plan research in a B2B context
  • And why it is essential to share your findings through the innovation process

About C. Todd Lombardo

C. Todd Lombardo is a data nerd, design geek, and product fanatic all rolled into one. He’s currently the VP of Product & Experience at Openly, an insurance-tech startup. He’s lead in-house product teams and consulted for many well-known product teams such as TripAdvisor, LogMeIn, Spotify, New York Times, BBVA, and more.

As a “pracademic” he serves on the adjunct faculty at Madrid’s IE Business School, and Baltimore’s Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). He has co-authored three books in the product and user-experience design areas: Design Sprint (2015), Product Roadmaps Relaunched (2017), and Product Research Rules (2020) published by O’Reilly Media.

Topics we discuss in this episode

  • C. Todd’s career background and experience in various product roles
  • About his newest book, Product Research Rules: Nine Foundational Rules for Product Teams to Run Accurate Research that Delivers Actionable Insight
  • What you need to know to build a product that solves the problem(s) of your users
  • How to conduct research to fully understand what the problem is that you’re trying to address with the product you are creating
  • Key insights and examples on “Rule #3: Good insights start with a question.”
  • How to align your team as a leader so they can discover the right questions to ask and research (and get the executive team, management, and stakeholders on board too)
  • Examples of how to create solutions for problems your customers are actually having
  • Key insights and examples on “Rule #4: Plans make research work.”
  • How to access/communicate with your customers in a B2B environment
  • The critical role that the product leader plays in enabling their team to feel empowered
  • Key insights and examples on “Rule #8: Insights are best shared”
  • The importance of good user experience and a good product that fills a need and isn’t just a solution in search of a problem

Product Leadership tips of the week

When it comes to product research you need to ask simple questions — then listen. The ability to ‘dig in’ and then know when to listen is crucial! Don’t wait to speak. Instead, listen to what somebody is saying and then respond.

And don’t forget: be humble if you’re wrong.

To learn more about C. Todd Lombardo

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