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Product Management Dark Patterns

Focusing on outcomes and customer needs alone isn’t good enough anymore. Applying ‘best practices’ without consideration of potential unexpected consequences can only end in tears… A more holistic view, awarenes, antidotes even, are required to ensure long-term sustainability of organisations (individual welfare, society and the environment).

Product management practices cannot exist in a vacuum

Applying any practice in isolation is risky: we must consider them in relation to our context and values. Then we can understand their impact holistically and make informed decisions.

Applying product ‘best’ practices such scaling, personalisation, data collection or innovation in a thoughtless or even zealous way can easily lead  undesirable consequences: annoyed users and the need to rebuild customer relationships, a reduction of profitably indirectly or directly, negative impact to an organisations public perception and brand, endangering a businesses long-term viability, or detrimental impact to society at large be the economic, social, cultural political or environmental.

Our premise is that as product managers, for all these reasons above, we need to ‘do better’ – and we can.

Product management dark patterns title slide

Product Management Dark Patterns

In our talk Neha Datt and I challenge the definition of “good” when it comes to product practices and demonstrate what antidotes one can be applied to avoid such undesirable or detrimental consequences, that can easily arise when we think we are doing the right thing, but get a bit to zealous, too eager or apply them without really ‘thinking it through’.
Using some powerful case studies we illustrate what things can go wrong, and demonstrate how a shift in thinking and the use of a range of ‘tools’ can elevateproduct management to that of a more holistic, inclusive and sustainable stance.
Download (PDF)
Download presentation with speakernotes.
Ethical product management - cover

Ethical Product Management

As we design, implement and delivery products and services, we have to continuously make choices, which will affect our target audience and individuals, which will impact society and impact the world.  Some in good ways, some in bad. Sometimes we don’t know before it’s done, often we disagree with other what desirable is, and what isn’t. In this post and the related talk I want to raise awareness of the ‘ethical’ minefield and propose a framework on how to navigate it…
The Ethical Product Management post and the related conference talk (video) are an expansion on the thoughts features on this page. 

My co-creator and co-presenter Neha Datt is a product and change consultant who has built, led and enabled teams across startups, SMEs and distributed global companies.

From delivering strategic (sometimes unsexy) internal platforms to finding product-market fit with disruptive new business models, she loves geeking out on all things people, product and change.

More recently she’s been focusing on how to bring change when systemic levers are working against you. Companies are designed to turn a profit, not to solve customer problems. People are socially conditioned to serve their egos over their curiosity. Success is still defined as vertical progression rather than depth of expertise. You know the rest…

Other than her work, Neha loves reading, watching the latest Taika Waititi release and heading Down Under to battle once-in-100-year weather events with her family and childhood friends.

Follow Neha on Twitter.

Video of an earlier version of our talk at Equal Experts. We’ll release the updated AOTB version soon…

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