If you’ve been on the internet at all over the past couple of weeks, your timeline is no doubt filled with screenshots of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s latest toy and potential game-changer for the world of work.
The Elon Musk-founded company has been exploring the world of AI since it’s birth in 2015. Musk, Co-founder Sam Altman, and other prominent Silicon Valley characters, including Peter Thiel and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, pledged $1 billion to the project in 2015.
In 2016, the company launched Gym, a platform that allowed researchers to develop and compare reinforcement learning systems. These systems teach AI to come to decisions with the best cumulative rewards.
Later that year, OpenAI also released Universe, a toolkit for training intelligent agents across websites and gaming platforms.
Musk resigned 3 years after helping start the company in 2018. Since then, they’ve remained somewhat quiet but with the launch of ChatGPT, they’ve found a wildly successful spot on the internet, amassing more than on million users in its first five days. This number would be even higher but most people were met with error messages on the website due to unprecedented traffic.
As companies and tools like Canva, Prisma Labs, and DALL·E 2 explore the world of artificial intelligence with useful tools that creatives can use every day, it starts a really exciting conversation about whether these tools are helping us in our day-to-day jobs or slowly replacing us 2001: A Space Odyssey style.
AI: A force of good or evil?
This question has been debated by the likes of Stephen Hawking and James Barrat, so I don’t think we’re going to find an answer today. But AI and its relationship with the world of work is still an ongoing conversation. It’s normal to ask yourself if AI could replace your job role some day and as the technology gets more powerful we’re starting to stop laughing at the idea quite as quickly. Since 2000, robots and automation systems have slowly phased out many manufacturing jobs—1.7 million of them. On the flip side, it’s predicted that AI will create 97 million new jobs by 2025.
So, as the two sides of this coin wrestle to find answer, we thought we’d put it to the test and see who gives the best answers to questions about product: Our CEO and Co-Founder Robin Bonduelle, or OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
- Both answer the exact same questions
- Robin must answer the questions within the day (no researching)
- ChatGPT only gets one chance to answer the questions. No retries.
- A limit of 150 words per answer.
- Only VERY minor formatting edits have been made to all answers to match our style guide.
At the end of each question, guess who wrote which answer and see if you’re right. Will ChatGPT come through with some seemingly real world advice? Is Robin going to have a job by the end of the day? Let’s find out.
Question 1: What are the biggest pain points for remote product teams?
There are several challenges that remote product teams may face, including:
- Communication and collaboration: It can be difficult for remote team members to communicate and work together effectively, especially when they are in different time zones or do not have access to the same tools and resources.
- Lack of face-to-face interaction: In a remote setting, team members do not have the opportunity to meet in person, which can make it difficult to build personal connections and trust.
- Managing work-life balance: It can be challenging for remote workers to maintain a healthy work-life balance, as they may be tempted to work longer hours or struggle to disconnect from work when they are at home.
- Technology and connectivity issues: Remote teams may face technical challenges, such as slow internet connections or unreliable video conferencing tools, which can hinder their ability to collaborate and get work done.
- Lack of team cohesion: Without regular in-person interactions, it can be difficult for remote team members to feel like they are part of a cohesive team. This can lead to a lack of motivation and engagement.
For years—and even decades—product and tech teams were taught to collaborate with agile methodologies, in order to shorten the feedback loop, ship faster, and limit risks. This led the whole industry to rely on organizational frameworks - such as Scrum - that promote colocated work. Working closer together is the easiest way to keep the team aligned on the run, all day long, sprint after sprint.
Many companies went a step beyond and even allocated a private space for product squads to build routine in the team and host all meetings from the Scrum ceremonial. White boards for brainstorms and retros, sticky notes on the wall to visualize Kanban boards: colocated work came with clear benefits to foster a visual environment and align everyone in the team.
In this context, moving to a full remote configuration removes all these physical avatars of team collaboration. It is a big disruption for product teams, forced to reinvent the way they work, change habits, find new mediums to visualize work to be done, and so on.
Question 2: How can remote product teams utilize asynchronous communication to work faster?
Asynchronous communication allows team members to communicate and collaborate without having to be in the same physical location or time zone. This can be a major advantage for remote teams, as it allows them to work at their own pace and schedule, rather than having to coordinate and schedule meetings or phone calls.
One way that remote teams can utilize asynchronous communication to work faster is by using tools and platforms that allow them to share information, documents, and files easily and efficiently. This could include using cloud-based project management and collaboration tools, such as Asana, Trello, or Google Drive, which allow team members to access, update, and share information in real-time.
Another way to utilize asynchronous communication is by using messaging and communication tools, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, to quickly and easily share updates, ideas, and feedback with team members. These tools also allow team members to have virtual "water cooler" conversations, where they can discuss non-work related topics and build stronger team relationships.
Overall, utilizing asynchronous communication can help remote teams work faster by allowing them to easily and efficiently share information, collaborate on projects, and communicate with each other, even when they are not all in the same location or time zone.
Moving your Scrum ceremony (or any other team organization framework) online is not the best option to transition toward distributed work. Part of it can be migrated in some way, but part of it needs to be fully reinvented.
The problem is that all the floating context that comes with team meetings and small talks in the office is wiped out when your team is distributed. There is a need to fill this void and re-introduce an exciting vision, shared goals, and efficient team work habits.
This is where asynchronous communication comes into play, and can prove to be decisive for modern product teams.
Asynchronous communication is a way to engage in a team discussion and make decisions all without being in the same room, at the same time. It’s forcing everyone in the team to clearly express their problem, recommend potential solutions, and ask precise questions. Collaborators can read or watch this brief on their own time, get all the context needed to provide informed feedback.
More specifically, asynchronous communication can help cross functional teams to streamline handovers between designers, software engineers, and product managers. To communicate on the roadmap and new product releases, conduct design reviews, or exchange with external stakeholders.
Question 3: What's the best way to keep remote product teams motivated?
Working remote means that there is no longer any shared office where all the team can gather, have small talks or celebrates wins. Building a successful and committed remote team comes with several requirements to replace all this shared team space.
First, team projects, discussions, and decisions must be logged in a shared and clear repository to foster transparency and ensure that anyone needing information on their work can find it easily.
Second, keeping the team aligned helps teams define and shout out clear objectives.
Third, teams must be empowered to make progress and deliver their mission in autonomy. Being blocked with micro validations several times a day can be exhaustive for both individual contributors and managers, and doesn’t articulate properly with async work.
There are several ways to keep remote product teams motivated, including:
- Set clear goals and objectives for the team to work towards, and provide regular feedback on their progress.
- Provide the necessary tools and resources for the team to do their job effectively, and make sure they have access to all the information they need to make decisions and solve problems.
- Foster a sense of community and collaboration among team members, and encourage open communication and regular check-ins to keep everyone on the same page.
- Recognize and reward team members for their contributions, and provide opportunities for career development and growth.
- Support a healthy work-life balance by being flexible with work hours and allowing team members to work from wherever they are most productive.
- Provide regular training and support to help team members stay up-to-date on the latest tools and techniques, and encourage them to continuously learn and improve.
Overall, the key to keeping remote product teams motivated is to provide a supportive and collaborative environment where they can thrive and do their best work.
Question 4: How important is product-led growth for early stage startups?
Product-led growth can be a valuable strategy for early stage startups. This approach focuses on using the product itself as a means of acquiring and retaining customers. By creating a product that is easy to use and provides value to users, a startup can attract and retain a user base without relying on traditional sales and marketing tactics. This can be especially useful for early stage startups that may have limited resources for sales and marketing efforts.
Being product-led is not something specific to early stage startups, but rather relates to a type of go-to-market strategy, where product is at the core of the distribution. To this extent, an early stage start up can follow a product led growth playbook—or not.
However, something to consider is that initial days of a new venture are always a phase of experiments & learnings. In this regard, it’s important to stay close with users until the pain points and solutions are clearly identified. Only then can a growth PLG strategy come into play to start automating things.
Question 5: What are 3 key values every product manager should keep in mind?
- Focus on the customer: A product manager should always keep the customer at the forefront of their mind. This means understanding the customer's needs and pain points, and building products that address those needs in a meaningful way.
- Prioritize simplicity: Product managers should strive to create simple, easy-to-use products that are intuitive for the customer. This means avoiding unnecessary features or complexity, and focusing on creating a product that is easy to use and understand.
- Collaborate with your team: As a product manager, you will be working closely with a team of designers, engineers, and other stakeholders. It is important to foster a culture of collaboration and open communication in order to ensure that everyone is working towards a common goal. By fostering a collaborative environment, you can better align your team's efforts and ensure that the product is successful.
- High agency: A product manager sits at the crossroads of internal teams and client-facing teams. As a consequence, their main role is to articulate the product vision & ‘the promised land’, and to frame the best way to reach them. As every company has limited resources, they must prioritize projects and then… learn to say no when an initiative is not aligned with this vision. Being a Product Manager is a complex role. By definition, they can’t meet everyone’s expectations. Having a high agency state of mind—and a certain pinch of diplomacy—will help in the process of rallying everyone on board around the product vision and strategy.
- Be focused around problems, not solutions: Product managers are leading the product delivery, and can easily fall in the trap of thinking of solutions first. As one says, when you have a hammer in your hand, everything looks like a nail. Product managers must learn to take a step back, look at the problem, and only then start focusing on a solution. This requires a lot of empathy to put them in the shoes of their users.
- Be focused on impact: Shipping a new feature is great, but what is more important is to have impact. Product managers need to think about their goals and assess what success means before rushing on delivery of the product.
How’d you do?
No judgement here. Let us know how well you did and whether Robin should be worried or not.
Also, let us know who you’d like to see battle ChatGPT next. No job role is safe from the robot vs human battle and we’re looking forward to seeing how everyone in the Claap team fairs against this new exciting tool.