Not Trusting the Process is Product Management

Anna Marie Clifton is the head of product at Vowel. 


“A lot of times people think of process as a hindrance to getting work done, but good process should actually be an accelerant to getting things done because it gets everyone on the same page about how things get done,” says Anna Marie Clifton, head of product at Vowel, a video-conferencing meeting solution. With previous stints at Yammer, Coinbase, and Asana, Anna Marie knows product management and she knows process.

“Process is something people think of with a big capital ‘P,’ like, ‘Our process is our Scrum or our Agile or our product Double Diamond,’ but process is really just how you get things done, and it’s convenient in organizations anytime you’re working with N equals more than two,” she says. “The point of process should be that you can get a group of people to all work very quickly together because they all understand the way everyone else is expecting them to get things done, and it all works very smoothly.”

Anna Marie is quick to point out that process development is a place where PMs can shine. She does warn against “process accrual” as a substitute for conversation, and she reminds people to consider the full cost of a process because “process is trying to be an accelerant, and if you need to pay more cost, then you’re going to get acceleration, it’s not worth it.” 

Learn more from Anna Marie, including why she loves the idea of “safe to try” and how PMs can earn trust and serve as cultural torchbearers — as well as the importance of a “speclet” — on this episode of This Is Product Management.

Download the transcript: 


Here are some highlights: 

  • The whole cost of a process
  • “Safe to try”
  • Trust in the PM
  • The value of a “speclet”
  • PMs as cultural torchbearers
  • Vowel discount code for three free months


Subscribe now!

Get our new reports, case studies, podcasts, articles and events