Product Management Memory Lane with Alyssa Dver

Contributed by Saikrishna Chavali

Kicking off the 2017 BPMA calendar is Alyssa Dver on using Neuroscience to build confidence. While talking to her we realized her deep roots in Product Management in the Greater Boston area all way into Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in the late 80s. Product Management was still figuring out if it’s a necessary discipline in software companies.

Pouring over the latest neuroscience research and high performance coaching in her latest book “Kickass Confidence: Own Your Brain. Up Your Game,” she walks through real-life examples and tips to think more confidently. Such a trait is crucial to Product Management roles if you want Sales, Marketing and Engineering to trust and follow your direction.

With her background in Product and Marketing, the lessons, stories and tips will be very relevant to you. Be sure to come to our Jan 19th meetup at Localytics’ Boston offices to soak up her zany stories & valuable tips.

PM Lesson #1: Successful communication is the bedrock of Product Management

Alyssa’s career has two sustaining threads – writing and being a motivation wonk. The decade long product experience from PM at DEC to VP of PM & Marketing established her in the foundational class of PM’s in Boston. In fact, she was among the very first class of the highly regarded Product Management certification from the Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM). She summarized her frameworks through her first book, “Software Product Management Essentials”, first out in 2003. Even today, it’s considered a best-seller internationally in its category.

Her success in meeting customer needs through product and identifying the triggers to those needs more systematically helped her take on CMO roles at multiple organizations, big and small. She codified those learnings about a fast-changing marketing landscape, especially for the small firms, in “No Time Marketing: small business-sized steps in 30 minutes or less”, out in 2009. Throughout her operating career, Alyssa made sure to communicate her experience & learnings to the outside world through her highly successful books.

PM Lesson #2: Self-confidence is the bedrock of successful communication

Seemingly such career heights weren’t enough for Alyssa. Cue awkward situations in the boardrooms or on panels, in which she was “Ms. Represented” and “Ms. Construed” as one of the only women. Carrying those puns, Alyssa came out with her first book mostly on confidence, “Ms. Informed: Wake Up Wisdom for Women” in 2011.

Cute puns aside, there is truth to these issues even today. Look around at your own company and in your PM team, how many women do you see (let alone any minorities) in leadership roles? Christine Riordan in her 2014 Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, “Diversity Is Useless Without Inclusion” illustrates the importance of making the workplace more inclusive for all to achieve a diverse workforce.

“Ms. Informed” took the perspective that women can’t just wait around for the workplace to change, but adapt themselves. In her book, Alyssa states that it starts with “a lack of self-confidence that makes us do silly, stressful things to ourselves and to others.” Her consulting work, personal life events and her business partner emphasized that the lessons as “Ms. Informed” were applicable to all, not just to women in the workplace. From those seeds and her deep dive into neuroscience for personal reasons germinated her latest book, and source for Jan 19th BPMA event: “High Impact Product Management”.

Through stories and tips all within her engaging format, on January 19, 2017, Alyssa Dver will provide you tactical ways to improve your self-confidence in a variety of settings. You shouldn’t have to wait for the world to recognize you. Boost your self-confidence, take charge of your career & help make your workplace a wee bit more inclusive.

Saikrishna Chavali is a Product Manager at Veracode, the leader in application security based in Burlington, MA. Saikrishna is from India, spent teenage life in Singapore and worked since graduating from Colby College in the Boston area. Today, he is focused on growing revenue and building web products that have a positive impact on this world. At Veracode, he works with confident team members, from multiple ethnicities and genders, both on the Product Management team and on the executive leadership. Even here, we are learning to be more confident and more inclusive

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