Is your team developing a new product? Refreshing a feature? Replacing a current experience? Wherever you are in the product development lifecycle, you’re likely practicing product discovery to guarantee a product launch slam dunk.

Girl basketball player going in for the dunk with an expression of joy and delight
Girl basketball player going in for the dunk with an expression of joy and delight
Photo by Harrison Haines from Pexels

Product Discovery is a set of skills and exercises to assure that what you’re delivering will meet the needs of your customer. It’s a critical skill set for every Product Manager. And since there are dozens of activities you could run with your team, you should pick the exercises that produce the most value.

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This year I’ve gotten more questions than ever from people asking how to make a move to UX Design. Since I haven’t recently had that experience, I talked to Jessica Chang for advice. She switched her career from Project Manager to UX Designer in 2017 and is now a Senior UX Designer at PayPal.

Laura: How would you suggest someone make the jump to UX Design if they don’t have prior experience?

Jessica: Of course, you can take classes online or apply to design schools to get a degree. Another more cost-effective approach would be identifying problems around you and…

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As a former hiring manager, I’ve had the opportunity to review hundreds of portfolios as I’ve sought to fill open positions. When I find a potential candidate, I’ll ask the recruiter to schedule a phone interview to get a better sense of a candidate’s qualifications before inviting them to an extended interview. While this is my experience at PayPal, some companies schedule multiple phone interviews with candidates before the more comprehensive portfolio review. If you aren’t sure what to expect, ask the recruiter who contacted you about the role.

What can I expect during a phone interview?

A phone interview typically lasts 30 minutes. During that time, you…

Photo of a man with a questioning expression
Photo of a man with a questioning expression
Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash

Recently I was helping a team just starting to review existing customer research. They had lots of information about their end-user in the form of segmentation, archetypes, and personas from a variety of sources. It was a treasure trove, but the team felt frozen. “We don’t know where to start. How do we know what to prioritize and use?”

I recommended they begin by putting it all out on the table, or these days into a Miro board, to see what they have, where there’s overlap, and where there are questions. For this team, they weren’t sure what information would…

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Gibson’s latest novel, Agency, features protagonist Verity Jane, assigned as a beta tester to some new AI technology. It’s 2017 in the VC-funded heyday of San Francisco. Gibson describes baristas, gig workers delivering packages, and customers paying for coffee with PayPal. Verity herself is couch surfing, recently having her own 15 minutes of fame after a failed relationship with a prolific inventor and tech tycoon. Sound familiar? Well, there are a few important details that differ from reality. The US President is a woman, and the political climate is primarily focused on uprisings in the Middle East. Yes, this book…

A laptop from above, showing a baby pressing a key and a dog using the touchpad.
A laptop from above, showing a baby pressing a key and a dog using the touchpad.
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

I just wrapped up my first fully virtual four-day design workshop. My neck is sore from staring into the web cam, but I want to share my biggest lessons learned while the experience is fresh in my mind. As someone who is most comfortable running an in-person workshop, I had to learn a lot of new tricks. I hope these tips will help you in your all-remote sessions.

For the workshop, we had three facilitator roles: lead facilitator, tech lead, and attendance lead. My co-facilitator, Ryan, worked tirelessly in the role of tech lead, ensuring templates were ready, setting up…

School girl holding book over head
School girl holding book over head
Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

If you’re a parent working from home with school-age kids doing distance learning, you may be cracking open a textbook for the first time in a long time. Of course, the book you’re cracking open requires a user name, password, an understanding of the subject to navigate the table of contents, and the assignment from the teacher in an email or Google Classroom. And, you’ll need serious patience as you navigate the online textbook to find the information, which can be frustratingly hard to locate. At a certain point, you may throw up your hands and just type the question…

The email from high school started, “Dear Mrs. Ward, My name is Sue Green, and I am your daughter’s math teacher. I am reaching out to express my concern about her grade so far, 57%.”

Photo by Spencer Russell on Unsplash
Photo by Spencer Russell on Unsplash
Photo by Spencer Russell on Unsplash

Yes, this is some bad news for a parent. But here is something else to consider. My husband attended Back to School night two months prior and met Ms. Green (not her real name). He was impressed with the way her class was organized. He understood how the class would be taught, her policies and expectations. From all accounts, he had a productive conversation with…

You know the photo print business — holiday cards, photo books, custom calendars. People love to gaze at their loved ones, reflect on good times, and retell their experiences. I enjoy creating a few of these gifts every season, highlighting the best moments of our family’s life together.

Now, what if you could make something new? Instead of your favorite photos from your phone, you made a Family Financial Photo Book to share with your loved ones?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Your financial info is already online and may even be aggregated with services like Personal Capital, so why not take one more step…

At PayPal, we’re training our product development teams to transition from the old top-down roadmap method to the process of continuous discovery. A big part of this transformation requires teams to talk to customers more frequently. With this initiative well underway, now is a great time to share the top tips we’ve found helpful for teams at PayPal when it comes to interviewing customers.

Tip 1: Start with clear goals

This is a great time for the team to ask, “What do we want to learn?” To create clear goals, start by sharing existing knowledge in a meeting or workshop where domain experts are invited to…

Laura Ward

Design the things you want to see in this world

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