Apr 6 • 59M

Driving alignment and urgency within teams, work-life balance, and the changing PM landscape | Nikita Miller (The Knot, Trello)

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Lenny Rachitsky
Interviews with world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.
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Nikita Miller is a product leader, angel investor, and advisor. She has built and led product teams at companies ranging from early-stage startups to multinationals, and she is currently SVP of Product Management at The Knot Worldwide. Nikita is passionate about scaling product teams to support high-growth businesses and was a product leader at Trello and Atlassian for five years. In today’s podcast, we cover:

• Lessons from building and growing Trello

• Nikita’s roles and responsibilities framework

• How the PM landscape is changing

• Lessons about managing remote teams

• Tactics for driving urgency within teams

• Why working cross-culturally was such a formative experience

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, and YouTube.

Find the full transcript at: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/driving-alignment-and-urgency-within-teams-work-life-balance-and-the-changing-pm-landscape-nikita-miller-the-knot-trello/#transcript

Where to find Nikita Miller:

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/nikitadyer

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nikitadyer/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Nikita’s background

(03:56) How Nikita helped Trello develop enterprise features 

(09:41) Trello vs. Jira

(10:28) Similarities and differences between building for users at The Knot vs. Trello

(15:02) Pro tips for Trello users

(15:41) Nikita’s roles and responsibilities framework

(21:10) Why scrum masters are disappearing and what shifts are happening on teams

(21:56) Why every team should have a data scientist embedded in it

(23:27) The proper cadence for the rules and responsibilities framework, and problems around execution

(25:27) Outcomes and output

(28:34) The importance of urgency, and how to cultivate a sense of urgency

(29:52) How to determine if your team is moving quickly enough

(31:03) Prioritization between big bets and optimizations

(31:29) Questions Nikita asks to understand her team’s speed 

(33:30) Changes in the field of product management

(36:42) Advice for people who want to get into product

(38:40) Why being a PM is hard, and thoughts on work-life balance

(43:03) How to manage remote teams and how to do successful, short, in-person meetups

(47:59) The importance of having overlapping work hours and onboarding in person

(49:09) The advantages of working in different cultures 

(52:58) The question Nikita finds most useful

(55:07) Lightning round


• Trello: https://www.atlassian.com/software/trello

• The Knot: https://www.theknot.com/

• Jira: https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira

• Roles and Responsibilities template: https://www.atlassian.com/team-playbook/plays/roles-and-responsibilities

• OKR examples: https://www.whatmatters.com/get-examples

• Set goals with OKRs: https://rework.withgoogle.com/guides/set-goals-with-okrs/steps/introduction/

• Objectives and Key Results (OKRs): https://www.atlassian.com/team-playbook/plays/okrs

Amp It Up: Leading for Hypergrowth by Raising Expectations, Increasing Urgency, and Elevating Intensity: https://www.amazon.com/Amp-Unlocking-Hypergrowth-Expectations-Intensity/dp/1119836115

• Nikita’s LinkedIn post on working abroad: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7039394235304824832/

You Will Hear Thunder: https://www.amazon.com/Will-Hear-Thunder-Anna-Akhmatova/dp/0821408062

The Fire Next Time: https://www.amazon.com/Fire-Next-Time-James-Baldwin/dp/067974472X/

High Output Management: https://www.amazon.com/High-Output-Management-Andrew-Grove/dp/0679762884

Crash Landing on You on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81159258

• Arc browser: https://arc.net/

• Josh Miller on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/competing-with-giants-an-inside-look-at-how-the-browser-company-builds-product-josh-miller-ceo/

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

Disclosure: I am a Wealthfront client and I have received non-cash compensation for the testimonial in this episode.