Mindsets and Metrics is Product Management

Blair Ethington, VP of Product Management at Sam’s Club, talks about the challenges and opportunities that come with introducing the product management mindset to enterprise companies.  

When Blair Ethington joined Sam’s Club to build and introduce a product management function, she realized that she would have to navigate the complexity of an enterprise organization. She would need to win buy-in, build flexibility into software, and establish the right metrics to measure success.

Blair discusses the transformation of a merchant-driven culture, where products have historically been thought of as merchandise being sold in-store, to a product management mindset, which focuses on identifying problems and delighting customers by solving them.

“At Sam's, there'd been a lot of great work going on, but we were also ending up with a lot of really big projects that were taking multiple years,” Blair explains. “By the time we implemented, things had changed. Or we would implement things and it was very focused on, ‘Did you launch?’ Instead of, ‘Did you have the impact you were trying to achieve?’”

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact in the retail world, forcing companies to quickly deploy new measures to keep customers and workers safe. By building flexibility into the software development process, Blair and the product management team created a foundation that allowed the company to rapidly deploy solutions that kept stores running while ensuring a safe experience.

Learn how the impact of a product management mindset can transform a complex enterprise into an agile one on this episode of This Is Product Management.

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Here are the highlights: 

  • What the first 6 - 12 months of introducing product management into the enterprise looks like (4:26)
  • Strategies to introduce and embed a new mindset to change the way teams think (8:12)
  • Getting buy-in on the concept of iteration (14:54)
  • Using metrics to measure the success of product managers (20:39)

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