Software Product Manager Melissa Perri Got Stuck in the “Build Trap”

Software Product Manager Melissa Perri Got Stuck in the “Build Trap”


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My guest for Episode #96 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Melissa Perri.

She is the author of the book Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value.

Melissa does many things, including hosting the podcast Product Thinking with Melissa Perri. She is Founder & CEO of Produx Labs. Melissa created the online school Product Institute, where she has shared her scientific approach to Product Management with over 3500 students. She also started a program called the CPO Accelerator.

In 2019, Melissa was appointed to the faculty of Harvard Business School to teach Product Management in the MBA program.

Melissa is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, having addressed audiences in over 35 countries. She has a B.S. in Operations Research and Information Engineering from Cornell University.

In today's episode, Melissa shares her “favorite mistake” story related to working for a software company, where they produced a big requirements document and then built software that, basically, nobody wanted to use. People SAY they’ll use it, but really??

Other topics and questions:

  • How do we know if it’s a great startup idea?
  • The Highest Paid Person's Opinion?
  • Risk of creating smaller batches but not being open to experiments not working out
  • *MVP – minimum viable product
  • Delegating the things you’re really good at
  • Didn’t listen to gut over advice, warring with herself for years
  • “Experiment theatre”
  • What is “The Build Trap”?
  • As a consultant, have to be careful not naming names when presenting on stage or doing podcasts… everyone’s on a journey
  • Product management mistakes?
  • Is the problem the product managers or the company?

Scroll down to find:

  • Watch the video
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript

Watch the Episode:


"I call it 'experimentation theater' because they're not actually doing the first thing, which is getting to the root of the problem... and then run experiments around the different solutions."
"I think my favorite mistake kind of set me on the path that I'm on now."
"Instead of personal pet projects, are we all willing to sit here and admit that we are wrong at certain points?"

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.