In this episode, I am talking to Erin Wood – a project manager at NASA. We discuss how and where product management has to give way to project management, and vice versa.
Transcript (courtesy of Otter.AI)
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Vlad G 0:07
This is real world product management.
Alright, Hello, everyone. This is yet another episode of Real World product management. And I have Erin Wood with me on the call today. Hi, Erin. Hi, thank you for finding time to be on this episode. Can you please go ahead and introduce yourself? What is it that you do? What is your role?
Erin W 0:34
What do you work here, and I am currently employed by Northrop Grumman. I’m contracted in NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. So report up to our headquarters location. And I am responsible for production planning and scheduling for a variety of projects that are all destined for the International Space Station.
Vlad G 0:58
That is awesome. Thank you. When I was a kid, I always dream to be an astronaut. But unfortunately, you know, being born in the Soviet Union and not having a perfect eyesight kind of closed it down for me.
Erin W 1:10
So, believe it or not, I never planned on working at NASA Glenn Research far I grew up in the Cleveland area. So this has always been in my backyard. And I am third generation of women supporting NASA Glenn Research Center, which is kind of unusual. My mother in law was employed there for 30 years from retired not long before I started, so I have the interesting perspective of seeing what it was like for her as a woman in the 70s and 80s. You know, really getting her feet wet at NASA Glenn Research Center. Prior to that, unbeknownst to me, in my youth, my grandmother’s cognitive Annie Glenn, Glenn Research Center, so I had got to learn a lot about what it was like for her to be a woman supporting NASA on research. Via her husband, john. And that’s also been, you know, an interesting glimpse of womanhood from the 50s. Say, it’s a lot of fun.
Vlad G 2:09
So to me that okay, that is that is even, is even better. So my obvious question here would be well, did you what what were the differences and what were the similarities, if any, between these generations?
Erin W 2:26
Oh, well, I mean, Annie obviously was married to john lennon, who is one of, you know, the United States best astronauts, of course, and it will always be my favorite for obvious reasons. But, you know, she was more of an in a supportive role. You know, her responsibility was the, you know, Americans trophy wife. And she was really really good at it. I have to say I have her rice pudding recipe and it’s the best you know, what she did was just as important although, you know, In a totally different capacity than what women at work would do today, my mother in law was one of the first ones to kind of venture into the workplace. She worked in document management. That’s what we call it today. So she was in, in more of an administrative role and and more of a secretarial role. And she got to deal with kind of the first brunt of women working in in an engineer, engineering environment in their research environment. And it was much different than where I come from today. I have a master’s degree in project management specifically. So in my position, I just have a little bit taken a little bit more seriously. I think that she was more of an equal partner, I think then than some of my predecessors were, although that said, there’s some advantages to each and I think that the women of today definitely have something to learn from and admire from every generation that’s come before us. Thank you. Wow.
Vlad G 4:02
Thank you. Okay, so tell me a little bit more about what is it? I mean, in within the allowed space? What is it that you’re specifically working on? And why does NASA need project managers? What is it? What is it there that project managers do?
Erin W 4:23
Well, I work in the background of project management. And so what I do is work with either projects who are in the development phase and are planning out their work and building a schedule, as well as projects that already have that defined and are in more of a monitoring and controlling phase of their project lifecycle. So I want to report up their their milestones to headquarters. I work with our cost team to correlate between schedule and cost, as well as our risk team to correlate between schedule and risk. So the three of us are, are kind of an integrated discipline in addition From a, from a project planning perspective, I incorporate a lot of Lean and Six Sigma techniques in order to remove constraints in advance and help things move really smoothly.
Vlad G 5:11
So this is is this have anything to do with a specific space programs flying space? Or is that some kind of internal initiatives that are staying on the ground?
Erin W 5:24
Well, specifically for me, I work in in code MSI, which is the physical sciences and human research for experiments going to the International Space Station. I mean, of course, at NASA Glenn Research Center, there’s lots of different different programs going on. But that’s the program that I specifically worked on.
Vlad G 5:42
Okay. All right. So your stuff flies into space, am I Am I understanding this correctly?
Erin W 5:48
Yes, as long as everything goes well, ever it will fly into space. It will be launched up on a shelf shuttle, taken up to the International Space Station in the form of experiments. And when It’s that experiments turns and the astronauts on the International Space Station will perform experiments and then send all of the data and sometimes the materials and the physical experiment itself back down to earth
Vlad G 6:15
as a project manager, and you’re This is so let me step back a little. This is a product management podcast right? So why do we have a project manager? The reason why we have you here is because a you work on some some of the most advanced and most amazing stuff ever. At NASA. I am I’m really amazed that everything that has anything to do with the space and second reason is because although I am a product manager, I have been the product manager for almost 10 years now. I still think product mindset should coexist with Project mindset. So every you know, there’s a tool for every job and to me, it seems like launching shuttle or launching stop on the shuttle into space is probably one of the very most wonderful things ever. Because once you launch the shuttle, you can really, you know, recycle really reiterate and do this, you know, oh wait, this didn’t lunch the way we want it. Let’s, let’s do this, again, doesn’t quite work that way. So that’s what we have here because I think we should be product product and project managers, we should be friends not you know, we should not we should not create the gap between devices it should, we should we should think about how to make it work together. And one of the questions that I had based on what I know is it seemed like the shuttle launches are pretty hard deadlines like there that’s at installs, you know, you lose your window. Things fly away, you know, weather changes of other any reasons. And again, in product management, we are way more flexible with this certain Things are hard, hard sets hard and stone. But in most cases, we’re flexible. We can play with a scope we can play with deliverables we can play with the deadlines. What is the situation with you guys? At NASA, you know launching things into space?
Erin W 8:18
Well, the launches are pretty set in stone. The launches are scheduled and they might fluctuate a little bit to the left or right depending on atmospheric conditions, and shuttle preparation. However, that shuttle is going to launch when they decide it’s going to launch with or without our materials on board. And in our materials don’t make it it’s going to launch with a different material. But it’s like going with or without us. So if the materials are not provided to the on dock location, with plenty of time to spare, they will not they will not get on the shuttle. And they always have backup experiment, ready to go so they experiment with the most Already, as long as it’s ready and on dock, it’s going to get to launch. But if it’s late, the launch goes on and you miss your window. And that’s just it. If you’re lucky, and it’s a high priority, maybe they’ll put you on the next launch. But that’s not guaranteed.
Vlad G 9:16
Wow. So I like again, this is this is both similar and different from how in product management, you would, you would build a roadmap. If you don’t make it this release, you can always say, we’re going to do it, the next release is there’s a lot more flexibility. It sounds like each launch in your case has its own queue, and all experiments that potentially can get on it. And if you’re missing, if you’ve missed your own window, there’s no guarantee you ever get into another queue.
Erin W 9:46
Is that absolutely. And you have to keep in mind each window has a highly specific amount of math and date that can get on the shuttle. So in addition to the time can Joining, we have to make sure that our material will fit into each individual shuttle. So each shuttle has its own dimensions and weight capacity. And so if your experiment is larger and need more space and more needs, then you have to be on a per diem, you have to be on a shuttle that will fit that. And not all shuttles can’t fit all experiments. So there’s there’s some additional considerations and some additional constraints and very little wiggle room.
Vlad G 10:28
Yeah, that’s that’s another argument about project management still not being not being obsolete. I keep hearing in some of the product management community that product management is way better, it should replace project management. This keeps telling me it shouldn’t there are different tools for different jobs.
Erin W 10:47
Well, I think when people think of project managers, a lot of times they only think about software. A lot of people think about software is the primary use for project managers. And I think that’s probably a similar thing that you get Product Management. However, I am one of the rare ones that have never worked in software, I actually am terrible with anything it or software related. It’s just not my field of interest. So I come from a background of working in construction project management, in manufacturing, project management and now in project management. So it’s important to keep in mind that, that, you know, that war might exist within the software community, but not necessarily in all these other industries. So I think it is a lot like what you said is the best tool for the job. And a lot of what we do in our as far as data analytics is very, very similar.
Unknown Speaker 11:45
Now, what do you mean the what would you do in data analytics? Can you elaborate on that a little more?
Erin W 11:52
Well, in in developing a research project, we’re also building a business case, a lot of times we have external partners involved whether it be Countries or businesses that have a financial interest in the data that we’re producing. Our main stakeholder is the American public. So, you know, everything that we do we answer to the American public as our as our primary stakeholder. And obviously, that’s pretty broad, broad group there. But we also build a business case, we go through development phases, where, you know, we would call it pre phase a NASA. So our project lifecycle will go through, you know, concept and development and a very high fidelity level of testing, primarily safety related long before that product and ever project is ever ready to launch. And that’s very similar to what you guys do. You build a business case, you have a concept, you go ahead and develop it. And then you would you would market your your product. For us. Our product is that data that’s coming back from the International Space Station. That is the product that we’re building towards network gathering to provide to the American public.
Vlad G 13:08
Right? Makes Yeah, thank you that makes sense. The only difference would probably be that product development, especially in software, product development is way, at least the the right way of doing things is a lot more iterative. So like I said, if we didn’t get things into this release, or launch in in other terms, sometimes people do colon launches. Now we can always hit it the next and the next, the next we can always reprioritize we’re a lot more flexible. In that sense.
Erin W 13:40
It does kind of twist me out when you say the word launch because you’re talking about a product launch and I’m thinking of an actual space shuttle.
Vlad G 13:49
Right, I’ll keep I’ll keep it to the releases. As a matter of fact, no, let me correct myself. You’re right. I’m not using this term correctly. We do use the word launch. When we Launch the Major Leagues like for example, we had, in my experience, we had an idea, we’ve iterated on it for for a number of months, we have figured out what we wanted to do, how the product will look in the market. And once we had the product in the market, we actually do the launch. It’s a one time deal. And it’s at you know, you can only do this you know, so often and it’s when product is presented to the market. It’s a go to market internally, but externally it’s it’s a product launch, we’re now making this product available to the market. So that’s that’s the that’s the proper way of using the term I bought that said okay, so from and as, as I was going before, I my goal in this podcast and reason to have different people is to understand not the glorious stories of of, Hey, we came in Everything started working properly. But talk about the real world challenges. And given that you’re not it, and most of the folks who have been on the show so far are from it. I am, I’m with a particularly very curious to hear what are the challenges? And you mentioned some, like missing the window not being ready. What are their challenges that you guys are facing? When you’re executing your projects? What are the challenges? The real world challenges not, you know, we came in everything started working, the stories that may get in the way of making things happen.
Erin W 15:42
Sure, I actually look at it and I’m not even going to be as specific as talking about my experiences at NASA because this is true of my experiences in construction and manufacturing environments as well. As an analyst one of my responsibilities is to do the math. That goes between cost, schedule and risk. And some people that will convert that into Earned Value management. There’s a lot of level in between in terms of integration between those those metrics and, and lots of different things that you can do to compare one against the other in order to map them. And so that’s my, that’s my area of specialization is looking at these metrics, and finding a way to translate scheduling the cost and cost into risk and all of them together. The number one problem that I have found in any industry is that there’s there’s typically a culture very much against data management. Math is is very specific, it’s black and white. You look at it and it gives you an answer. And that answer does not care what you think. It doesn’t like you or not like you. It’s it’s completely, you know, objective it It just has no opinions one way or the other. And in almost every environment where I’ve worked in, there’s been a culture against that people just typically do not like that level of accountability. A lot of people, project managers would would rather have the ability to, you know, make decisions based on what they think would happen or what they hope would happen. And when you show them the math, sometimes it doesn’t necessarily correlate to be the same, the same outcome. The math might say, hey, our current projection shows this is going to be the most likely outcome. Teams as a whole, you know, engineers in many fields, many industries, including research are brilliant people, and they do amazing work but they’re not always known to be the best planner. So they tend to resist a level of planning that that sets up for data management. They don’t always like that because, you know, there’s a there’s a high level of accountability. You know, when you’re looking at that, and it’s not always A welcome thing. So the biggest struggle that I’ve had in all of these industries is creating a culture in which there’s acceptance toward using data to make decisions. Because people are typically fearful that that data will ultimately be used against them, for example, you know, if they’re confident something can be done, and they kind of take a leap of faith going against that math and turn out to be wrong, you know, maybe they’re afraid they will click a guru in front of their boss or, you know, that, that that some for some other reason, they just don’t want that data being, you know, spread up the pipeline, they’re, they’re afraid that it’s going, they’re going to be micromanaged by it, or they’re going to be held accountable to it. And there’s just typically a culture where that’s not very acceptable. Wow.
Vlad G 18:47
That is so much different from what I’ve seen. Okay, let me let me correct that what I’ve seen recently be the data driven design visions and data driven development is one of the core principles of the product mindset. And I would argue that there’s actually a discipline within product mindset where you’re only making decisions based on the data. And as a matter of fact, if you look at the way Google builds things, they are very data driven organization, they build their products, they make their decisions based on the data and data alone. And I actually, I’m actually arguing that it’s not the best way of doing things. But because there are certain things that data cannot tell you or you can only make decisions as good as the data you have collected and granted. Organizations like Google or Facebook or others collect mongos amount of data and so they are, you know, within their right to make those decisions. And those decisions are mostly correct. But there there’s there’s an edge case When you don’t have enough data to make that decision, for example, you’re you’re debating whether you should develop or not. Or you should make certain things happen or not. And you only have two customers, one saying, Yes, I want it and another one saying, No, I don’t want it.
Erin W 20:18
What would you do? Well, I think the most important thing to do in order to create a culture where data management is, is encouraged, and I have to say, NASA is by far, you know, the greatest level of Project Management Maturity in any organization that I’ve worked within. And they are by far the most set up in order to be successful in this. So I have, I have full faith that, you know, this is, you know, the data is successful at NASA. But the the greatest way to build that on a team level when you’re working with people that don’t traditionally have, you know, a high level of project management knowledge, you’re working with people who are not project managers or project analyst by trade. You know, the greatest thing that you can do is just keep it simple. You know, sometimes we put such incredible math into the metrics, and we develop KPIs that are so complicated that nobody could possibly understand where this information comes from. And that’s I think one of the greatest things that lead to rejection is that we just overcomplicate it, and people don’t embrace things that they don’t understand. And we don’t always need the most complicated math in order to provide the data to make decisions. So by keeping it simple, you know, using, you know, metrics that you can explain where the numbers come from, is the greatest thing that we can do in order to create a culture of acceptance, in terms of data analytics, in terms of data driven decision making tool. You know, sometimes we just make it too complicated. We put big fancy words around things and they don’t mean anything. There’s so many different metrics that we can use. You know, Harold Kirchner is somebody that I really admire probably one of my favorite authors. I know, it’s kind of dorky that I’m one of those people that have a favorite textbook author, but I do. And, you know, he talks in his in his books about how, you know, sometimes we overcomplicate the metrics, and we have so many different metrics for so many different things, that it’s just, it’s too much, you know, just to keep it down to a handful of simple metrics that people can understand that, you know, you can really communicate openly about is probably the best way to create, you know, a culture in which a team can fully embrace data driven decision making tools.
Vlad G 22:47
That is actually very true. And one of the things one of the first things that I learned about how to talk to executive suite when I was just starting in product management is go break Your whole analytics report, bring me a couple of KPIs that the C level would understand. major stakeholders would understand they don’t want to look at your Excel spreadsheet if they want an Excel spreadsheet that will ask you for. But if you when you come into the meeting, bring in top three KPIs that you care about, that they care about. And as a matter of fact, one of the things that one of the approaches in product mindset and product management is one metric that matters. So you’re not tracking a number of KPIs. You’re only tracking one. For example, if you’re developing an app, your product is an app on mobile phones, then you can safely say, hey, my one metric that matters is adoption. How many users I have on the app? I don’t really care about anything else. I don’t care how long it takes for a signal to travel back and forth from app to the server and back. What’s the response time? How long it takes to transition from one screen to another. I don’t care. Okay. about is how many users are using this. Because ultimately, that is my KPI for usability, right? If the app is not usable, my adoption will drop. If my, if my app is slow, my adoption will drop. If something is wrong, if there’s there any issues, my adoption will drop. So that’s the one that truly matters. And it’s also indicative of the underlying things. So that’s something you can communicate. And that’s something people understand and the key Deacon behind get behind it. And and this is kind of like, how you how we in product management, how we get our stakeholders to love and accept the data driven decisions. And when you have when you have a very loud executive, it’s really easy for them to overpower everybody in the room and say, No, I want this to be done. This is right decision, blah, blah, blah. But if you tell them, hey, you doing this because you care about whatever one metric that matters, your adoption from the periods is Apple, and this is what’s going to happen. If we do this, but this is going to happen if we do something different and it’s going to drive up the adoption, it’s really easy to communicate surely demonstrate the benefits or disadvantages of one way doing one thing over another.
Erin W 25:13
I’m a firm believer in dashboards.
I believe in at a glance, put, you know, a one page graphic in front of someone, and they should be able to immediately figure out what they need to know right now. Yes, of course, I would expect that they they glance over all of it and give all of it consideration. But you know, the highlights should all be right there. And so if you create a dashboard to summarize your information, and it’s 20 pages long, you’ve overdone it because there you know, who flips through to page 20. So if you keep it all on one page, at a glance, all of your you know, your primary metrics, of course, your supporting data, you know, some people will want to see it, but most people really just want to be able to have dashboard in which they can look at it and use that as a key decision making tool. You know, I think a lot of people have so much incoming information every day. And, you know, the details sometimes are too much.
Vlad G 26:12
I completely agree as, as a product manager who created and managed probably about six or seven products in the last five years. There were nothing but glorified dashboards. I completely agree with you. I completely agree with that. Because, yes, that’s what that’s what enables people who should be making decisions to make the right decisions. And yes, there are ways to preview things up. But ultimately, yeah, nobody, nobody, nobody looks at the second page of search results. Why why people would expect executives to look at the fourth page of our desk world. I don’t know.
Erin W 26:57
I don’t even think it’s really a dashboard now. Money.
Vlad G 27:01
Right, right. No, I mean, I’ve seen I’ve seen I seen that I’ve done the dashboards that were 20 pages long. There was a reason for it, and we were asked for them. But I still think it was the watch. I and I agree. This is one of the things that I agree with you hundred percent. Yet sometimes too much is too much.
Erin W 27:21
I will say it, it’s kind of interesting. We’re working at NASA because most of my teams the first time they see a dashboard or report near on unusual budget in which they will want to go through and check the math. They want to understand lawyer that information comes from how it’s devised. So most of my teammates will at some point, go through the data and, you know, make sure that they can mentally process as far as where that information comes from, they really want to understand it, and very, very few exceptions to that and NASA They really don’t buy into a dashboard. And until they’ve seen the data at least once after that they’re usually fine with it. But perhaps it’s just because I work with so many brilliant minds, and, and we’re all very mathematically driven. So, you know, they they kind of want to see, okay, where does that number come from? They don’t usually take anything at face value the first time. And what a gift to that is that I work with people that really value the data and the value the math, they want to understand where where this information comes from, so that they can best use it to make decisions.
Vlad G 28:34
Right? Yes, and it makes perfect sense to me. Again, not always, this doesn’t always happen in the enterprise world, or in the IT world. Sometimes. You have when you have enough data, those those cases, sometimes you just have to trust your data engineers that prepare that data that they built that is kind of like one of the challenges and one of the products I’m using Managing. I was managing last year, when we show you the results. And we argue that, hey, these results were produced by algorithms that were developed through, you know, blood, sweat and tears of all our employees and in the past 15 years, and then when they want to see the math, we can’t really show it to them, because, hey, it’s not. It’s not it’s not really math. It’s just, you know, specific algorithms and rules that we’ve come up with based on our our real world experience. But I get what you’re saying. And I would agree that, you know, once you’ve proven that your approach is working, then just look at the at the end result. So I, I’m just curious, just just spend maybe a couple of more minutes on this. So were there any cases or are there cases when you have to make a decision or you have to make people make a decision when there is not enough data because One of the things we’ve talked about before, in this on the show is product managers gut feeling. And it comes from understanding the business domain, understanding being subject matter experts in certain fields, understanding how things work, in market on the market in the market in a specific vertical, basically knowing, you know, having this situational awareness of things. So we’ve thought through this several times that we’ve kind of agreed that gut feeling Product Manager feeling, Product Manager gut feeling is a thing. My question to you is the guise of cases when you don’t have enough data, but you still need to have a decision. And how does that work?
Erin W 30:43
Even apps are set up in a way in which we have so many tools available to us and we really can can find almost anything. Whether it be from historical data and lessons learned, or from future projections, we really, we really have a lot of tools that are disposal in order to use in analytics in project management exclusively to provide that data, I’d say that the hardest thing in this environment and being in a research environment, especially from a scheduling perspective, is that you’re building things that have never been built before. And you’re doing things that are just so outlandish Li crazy in terms of, of what we’re building, one of the products that I was one of the projects that I was working on, was to build a nuclear reactor, they could power our future moon base or a trip to Mars. I mean, who would ever think in a million years that that would even be a thing that we’d have to think about? From a time perspective? How long will it take to build it? What partners do we have, you know, we have the Department of Energy and we have NASA and we have, you know, all of these different stakeholders available, all of these different contributors available and some of the world’s most brilliant, you know nuclear physicists working on this project? How do you schedule the build of something that’s never been built before with materials that have never been built before for use, it’s never been built before. And a lot of these things depend on lightbulb moments, you know, you’re talking about brilliant people, and you’re trying to schedule how long it will take for them to create the uncreated. And that would probably be the greatest challenge that we have is is Eklund Research Center. A lot of the things that we’re doing have just never been done. We’re not quite sure how things are going to go because, you know, once they get up into a microgravity environment, you know, everything paves differently in outer space than it does on Earth. So, despite all of the extensive testing and everything else, you know, how do you schedule that? How do you how do you schedule somebody lightbulb moment in which everything comes together? A lot of times, you know, you think it comes together, and then it goes into testing and come to find out, there’s some rework involved, or some some safety considerations that need to be worked out and revised. So if you can’t see those coming in advance, and the same way that you would say, if you were building a cell phone, you’re building a cell phone, there’s lots of other cell phones, you know, it’s probably going to behave pretty similarly, it’s going to have a lot of similarities in the software similarities in the hardware, in what we’re building, we’re building things that are just just so outlandish that they’re not even going to be operating in an environment in which any of the scientists are familiar. So so that would probably be the hardest thing is that, that you can’t see the report coming and it’s just, it’s really a lot of trial and error.
Vlad G 33:50
In full transparency. When you started down this down this path, it started feeling a lot like product development, and just hearing me out Not because, you know, you’re doing similar things No, but because of the approach and, and that’s kind of like one of the reasons why product mindset too cold in it because there’s a lot of industry disruption, there was a lot of things built, that weren’t built before. And as a person who’ve built things that never been built before, several times by now I can, I can assure you, I’ve been through, I’ve been through the pain of having to report a schedule of building a thing that no one in the industry has built before 90% of the company that I was working for me even believes it could be built. Imagine you’re not building a nuclear reactor which is something we kind of have an idea how to do but building an anti gravity device right? I read a lot of science fiction so go mind. Imagine doing that and everybody knows it’s impossible. Everybody Billy tells you it’s impossible. You’re wasting your time and and you have to come up against all these people. And not only Tell them, oh, yes, it’s possible, but also tell them, this is the schedule and this is what we’re going to deliver certain results. So I think I understand the pain. But I still, I still want to hear how you guys do that. Because I don’t think I don’t think you told me what the problem is. But how do you face this challenge? I mean, how do you guys do that?
Erin W 35:23
You just eat the brownie one bite at a time.
That’s the way we all do it. So that’s probably the same thing. That’s probably the same thing that you do. You just break it down into manageable pieces. And then as you gather more information, you break it down a little bit farther. You break it down a little bit farther and you just eat it one bite at a time until you make your way through the whole pan. And and that’s just kind of as probably very similar to what you do. You start off in big chunks and as you get more information you you further you know break it down into into the next level chunks to them. I think the formal word for it is rolling wave planning. But, but that’s just really all you can do as you get more information. you revise your plan.
Vlad G 36:09
Yeah, we’re eating elephants here. But yes. Whereas the brownies were saying how do you one of the one of the recurring thing is how do you eat an elephant? Piece by piece? Same, same thing, but not not the brown.
Erin W 36:24
I prefer brownies over elephant.
Vlad G 36:29
Right. Okay, so, obviously, the next question is, how does it feel when you actually make it happen? And I’m not deliberately not asking specifically about the nuclear reactor or something like that. How does it feel for you? It probably, I would imagine it would be different. Because we, in product management were more kind of more used to this feeling when you know, you can’t make anything happen. And we’re more used to saying, Hey, you know what, it’s not good. To work, we’re we’re experimenting a lot and we’re a lot more acceptable to be a little more accepting to dropping an experiment that it’s not working. Okay. Not gonna happen. Let’s find another way. How do you guys deal with it with consistent failure to achieve the goal? Like, again, imagine where you’re doing the antigravity device, and you’ve spent the vital year, two years, three years, okay, it’s not not happening. You can’t, doesn’t work. Or you spent two or three years and then you know, the the regular scheduled lightbulb moment happened and you suddenly figure out how to do it. What How do you what happens at that time? How do you deal with systemic failure or unnecessarily regular failure? And that one time when everything starts checking out?
Erin W 37:53
You know, I’m not one of the scientists on a project so I can only really speculate how they must feel about it. The credible sense of pride. I’m just a numbers cruncher in the background. So. So I mean, of course, I’m I’m just as excited when I hear about a launch. I’m thrilled to see which of our experiments were on it and what’s going up into the space station. And then, as things go, I’m excited to hear about what comes back. But one of the most delightful things about it for me, is that it is it several of our experiments are really applicable in a real world environment. For example, it’s not projects that I’m on, but it’s a project currently going on at f1 Research Center, is it’s an experiment about a fire extinguisher system on a very high level, because it’s not my field of expertise. You know, the overhead of fire extinguisher systems that we have in buildings in which you know, dropped a line out of the ceiling and the ceiling comes down and it extinguishes any fire that is in that room. Well, that wouldn’t work in space because nothing goes down right? So they’re working on a new hire extinguishing system for the International Space Station. So in the unlikely event that there’s some fire on board, they can put it out my husband’s a firefighter. So I can excited to share some of the data and some of the some of the foundation level of experiments. It’s actually just recently launched in about decode operation. I get so excited to share that information back with my local fire department. We have another one called Slayer. And they basically take tools that we already have and that are common Say for example, calf bar, which is used by the United States military all the time and safety forces, of course use capital or pretty often, and as well as some new materials that aren’t currently available in the American marketplace like yet, and they basically light it on fire and they drop it down. It’s huge drop tylar Tower, and materials go so fast that it simulates an antigravity environment. So they can kind of start to get a prediction for how these materials will burn in space. In, in contrast, of course, they burn them in an earth environment as well to have the full data set, so I’m able to go back to the fire department and say, Hey, this is cool thing. They lit this on fire and dropped it today. And this is what happened. And you know, the community as a whole, you know, my fire family community gets excited about it. And so just being able to talk about what we’re doing and find on earth application for some of these experiments that are going on, how can we use this? Not just in face, but how can we use this information on the ground? Like, what is this hold on us about what’s going on? I think that’s probably where my source of pride comes from, as well as hearing the wonderment from the people around me in which, you know, with having such a huge Research Center in the backyard, you know, as a community, we all kind of talk about what’s going on and the fun things that are happening there. And, and we get to dream together. And so I think that’s probably more where my source of pride comes from at this point than necessarily the way that the scientists themselves must feel about their experiments. I mean, I’ve seen people working for as long as my teams now have been working on a project for 11 years, and it’s finally about to launch and so they’re in kind of the 11th hour crunch and are working really hard and they’re doing amazing things. And so to see that source of pride and, and, and to have that, that pride in our community as a whole, it’s just really cool.
Vlad G 41:45
Thank you. Yeah, that it makes sense. And yeah, I descend to say we will, what do you mean by this? Wow, okay. That’s for sure. Pretty cool. Again, as I mentioned, I was A lot of sensation. I just have to ask this. And I apologize if it’s self care. But how far are we from from the anti gravity and you fast fast travel to, at least to the solar system?
Erin W 42:14
Oh my goodness, I have no idea. Well, I appreciate that you’re into science fiction. I have to admit that I’m not. I have never read. I’m going to tell you the truth. My mother in law is going to kill me. She is a huge fan of Star Wars. Huge fan. Like her whole house is full of Star Wars memorabilia, like the shelves, everything. Everything challenge is Star Wars. And I have never told her that somehow in my whole life, even now that I work at NASA. I’ve never seen it.
Vlad G 42:50
Yesterday was May 4.
Erin W 42:53
I know. I can’t even begin to tell you how many jokes I got emailed to me about May the fourth be with you and me me Really cute, but I mean, I’ve never seen it.
Vlad G 43:03
That is that is very believable. And I apologize for the reference. I’m sure you haven’t seen that. There’s this military science fiction series. He was running for 1015 years. Stargate is you on and there the main character is a is a US Air Force Colonel. He, his point is he doesn’t like science fiction. He likes Simpsons, but he hates science fiction and, and he goes through the Stargate to other galaxies to other worlds explores other planets and he hates science fiction. That’s kind of the thing.
Erin W 43:43
I mean, I kind of feel weird at this point in my life, not having seen it. But that said, now I work in an environment where I live it every day. So it doesn’t, you know, when I was one morning I would watch the movie and think it’s not realistic. Or that, you know, I live it every day. So it just probably wouldn’t be that much fun for me. Why would I want to watch a movie about daydreaming about getting to other planets when I don’t have to daydream, and I work in environment every day with people who are trying to get to other planets. Like, it’s not a daydream, where I work. It’s just a reality. This is this is what the goals are. And so I mean, of course, I understand it’s different. But at the same time, I mean, I when I have a dream, I’m doing it at work with people who are trying to make it happen. So it’s just it’s kind of fun the way I have it, and I don’t want to ruin it.
Vlad G 44:42
Oh, yeah, definitely. No, I completely understand. And believe me, I appreciate what you guys are doing. Making my childhood dreams come true. Even if I don’t get to go to space, at least I see people go into, not far, far space not I mean, even Moon or Mars, I mean, the whole solar system. And I do appreciate it. I do appreciate the work that you’re doing. Bringing that a little closer. One one other one other questions that I had. And I want to go back to the the pre one of the previous things that you’ve said. He said, You said that you guys are working on projects that collect the huge number of data. What What is the overall sentiment around the data? I remember you mentioned that there is your kind of like final product that belongs to one of NASA is a public organization and one of the main shareholder stakeholders. So that’s who the data belongs to.
Erin W 45:50
Yes, most of the data is is what I consider to be the final product. So once an experiment is launched, and the information comes back down to earth, and gets ordered agonized and final reports get written, that’s considered the close of the project on my end. And that’s kind of the that’s the product that we’re looking for. That’s the ultimate goal. And all of that information alone, not all of it everything that doesn’t have a national security interest is is the property of the American people and and most of the information and most of the experiments that we do, you know, that information is accessible to the American public and not a lot of people know that. It’s not, not my information. It’s it’s the information of our country as a whole. So, you know, if there’s an interest a lot of a lot of times people will submit requests to get access to the information. And that’s not just the common citizen, but also companies interested in the in the results of our research have access to that information. We oftentimes partner up with other countries. I mean, a lot of people are familiar about the partnership with SpaceX and Blue Origin, especially now with our human launch campaign. That’s very exciting with the partnership with SpaceX. So, you know, any of our stakeholders have access to our information. And those stakeholders aren’t always just simply finance ears. I think in product management, I always imagined it coming from a marketing perspective in which, you know, your stakeholders were were of course, the people buying the product, but also the people financing the creation of the product. Whereas it’s a little bit different in a research environment in this research environment, because our stakeholders might be other companies that we’re doing business with, or other countries that we’ve partnered with, or the American people as a whole, just your average citizen who’s interested in the in the results of what we did. Everyone has access to that information. As long as like I said, there’s not a national security interest.
Vlad G 47:57
Right. Well, that part is understandable. I mean, I was Imagine myself as an average american citizen interested in really cute wallpapers from mess a website. Since you’ve since you’ve mentioned since you’ve mentioned and thank you for bringing this up, since you mentioned product management, just to clarify, it’s not just marketing. The product management is actually responsible the product management role or a product management discipline is actually responsible for a full lifecycle of a product that begins with ideation, hey, we have this cool idea is there something to be had there then you have experimentation, prototyping activities, where you try to build something that makes sense and try to build something that has merit that can be profitable and where value can be extracted from and then you have a specific point in time when you make a decision. Gotta go no go decision. Do we have ability This or we abandon this as this is this has this as a potential, then you move on into actual development of a product. And then you launch the product. And that’s exactly when the launch word is being used. You go to market with the product, and then you keep supporting the product, the product keeps evolving. One of the examples they keep bringing up about the product lifecycle, or product as a whole is Microsoft Office, it’s a family of products, each product does something, I’m sure you’re familiar with Office, and each product does something and if you if you if you’ve seen it long enough, you’ve seen how we’ve evolved it certain things come in, certain things are being deprecated certain things are improving, but the product leaves on and and and the company that develops it or the team that develops it keeps their hands on that same product, nobody’s walking away from it, once it’s on the market. Actually the opposite It happens once they launch the product and throw them on the market. And you start collecting the feedback from the market, you start applying more effort to make the product better. Usually the since you’re you’re doing the math behind behind the cost risks and schedules. What happens to the resource plan after product is on the market? What happens is the whole resource plan is reassessed. Now having a feedback have recently started receiving this continuous feedback from the market, we can now say, Oh, hey, you know what we have, we don’t have enough people, we need to double our team. And that’s usually what happens. You start seeing teams growing and product being split into specific capabilities where individual human can work on a specific capability rather than on the whole product. Again, as an example, let’s look at the Microsoft Word. There is a spell checker special checker is a capability that is called separate teams working on outside of Microsoft Word. So that that’s how the split happens in software like behind the scenes.
Erin W 51:13
Okay. The only difference I see there was an project with project management is that one of our project closes, we can use that information, obviously, you can kind of be a building block for our next projects, it might that information might lead to our next project as opposed to an iteration. I mean, I have seen cases in which case there have been iterations or you know, further developments with the data on the same project. Kind of like a like an option. If things go well then we’ll do this next. But for the most case, most of the time in the scientific community, the results of one data, batch or one experiment will end up leading to more experiments later down down the road. But that would be a new project.
Vlad G 52:05
Correct. And building up on my, my own experience being the project manager in IoT world, it’s very similar in the it. So you have a project you have school project, you have budget. Once it’s over, it’s done, nobody comes back to the project projects closed, eith will may and probably will lead to different project using the information that was collected from this one. But it’s just like you said, it’s going to be a different project. And the reason why product mindset showed up to the scene and kind of started to go over in a key is because it’s a very inefficient way to build software, project by project. It’s a very inefficient way to build software, because there’s a number of reasons. One of them is you may lose financing for something, at least for a period of time. You lose financing for people Define to continue developing the product, or an application or software application or something. And in that time, you need to make rapid changes, but nobody’s available because they don’t have developers who don’t have money to pay them. And things go south with product mindset where you have this concept of continuous lifecycle of a product where work on the product doesn’t stop. It’s just another iteration, the other iteration and iteration, but the product leaves on. That doesn’t happen. There might be adjustments to the budgeting, there might be adjustments to the scope it adjustments to the resources available, but the product moves on until it’s it’s deprecated until it’s no longer needed, until there’s no longer value in the product.
Erin W 53:45
So on the user, and I would see that as being like when one of my affricates an update and there’s new features available, or fixes and things like that.
Vlad G 53:54
Correct? Correct. These these updates or bug fixes or new features are available because the product leaves on. Once you stop financing product effectively dies, people stop using it or number of issues with the product increases, because you know operating systems evolve, the things evolve and you no longer can sustain. You know, the product doesn’t doesn’t work anymore. I’m trying to come up with with a good example off the top of my head. I can’t think of anything except Windows Phone. So I apologize.
Erin W 54:28
But it’s a really good example. How about like AOL? AOL was something that had lots and lots of iterations until its life cycle finally ended although I admit my mom still has a while email.
Vlad G 54:39
I think I still have it. But it was, it was my first one. My first one was Yahoo. But it they’re still alive. They’re just in this hibernation mode when were you still have certain things working Windows, Windows Phone is really good because they stopped making them. They stopped making new versions of the software for the phone and they stopped making the phones themselves. There’s no more Windows Phone, you can’t unless it’s something from 2011 you can’t really buy it anymore. There’s no polls available that that’s why I brought this into the picture. They released it, they were building certain capabilities into it, they were supporting it for some time and then they stopped and then you know, your your regular apps stopped working one after an hour after another after another. Like I had my Windows Phone. It had really good camera. I do have a hobby of photography. So I practice photography with false cameras everything and had really good camera and I used it. I use it a lot. And I started noticing that Facebook’s not working anymore on that phone. Instagram is not working anymore and of course so I even if I took a picture, I now need to drag the phone back home hook it up to the computer to download the images. Things stopped working. And at some point, it was easier to use another phone than to keep using this one because it became literally obsolete. So that’s, that’s why I thought it would be a good example.
Unknown Speaker 56:13
Vlad G 56:14
so that’s that’s your life cycle. It was a very hot phone with a startup. Everybody was interested, everybody was buying it because it was super duper camera on it. And then you know, it was supported for some time and then eventually died out. And that’s, that’s, that’s how you can think about the product lifecycle. So yes, it’s definitely different. But then again, in, in the, in your world, maybe there would be placed for a product manager product approach. I don’t want to say product management, mindset or product approach, who probably did better terminology of how to iterate through different cycles of product lifecycle.
Erin W 56:55
But it sounds like in our core, a lot of what we do is similar in terms of building a business case and, and keeping track of cost schedule and risk and things like that. It sounds like there’s a lot of similarities between the two pack.
Vlad G 57:08
Oh, absolutely, yes. And if I had my co host Irina, on the on the on the phone, he’s just not her out. She’s She’s in the in the Europe so Slifer she was, she would actually disagree with me. And that’s why I love having her because we always disagree and she puts a different perspective on things. She would say that inside every product, especially inside every enterprise product, there are different work streams that we treat this project. So projects and products are literally go together every time and and i i slightly disagree with that. But I want to make sure that I talk to that point, since she’s not here and I think it’s kind of like it’s worth having that point of view voiced out because in many cases when you start splitting words It needs to be done to build a product. For budgeting for scheduling purposes, it’s easier to wrap it in a project in a project form rather than in the product. There are not that many companies that completely abandon the project mentality when they building software products, and will full on with product mentality. Most enterprise companies still keep project mentality around they just have them kind of like a queue or conveyor of projects. When one answer, the next one immediately begins. So there’s no gap in coverage and financial coverage and resource coverage. It’s just like one project after another after another. Okay. Does that make sense?
Erin W 58:42
makes total sense makes total sense. You know, when you’re talking about your, you know, business intelligence, a lot of the terminology that we’re using is very, very similar. Things like just the lifecycle structure is a little bit different.
Vlad G 58:55
All right, so we’re almost at the hour. I wanted to ask if you Have any questions for me? At one? This is one of the things that we’re doing. We’re asking a couple of kind of standard questions. One is, how do you guys work from home? Are you working from home? How does the current pandemic affect you? And the other one is, if you have any questions for me, so feel free to start with either one that you like.
Erin W 59:22
Sure, I’ll share it with I’ll start with a pandemic. Yes, I’m working from home. I’ve been home now almost two months, I have been very impressed with how well NASA has done with moving all of us outside offsite, coming up with a framework with some with some metrics that would establish at what level of a lockdown we weren’t going to be subject to, as this moved on. They were very, very early in the game. They were very, very transparent with with how they were closing the centers and what decision making what data they were using. In order to make their decisions and what we could expect as as employees moving forward, so I was grateful for that. The first week or two after we all moved home, it was a little bit chaotic. We all adapted to teams, which was new to many of us. You know, as well as juggling just the life that was happening. You know, many of us have family, children at home. And you know, a lot of a lot of my colleagues have both, you know, both parents working from home with toddlers on the split, so you’re sharing a living room with, you know, your spouse who’s also on calls and your toddler. And so so phone calls got interesting there for a little bit, but everything seems to have really calmed down. I feel like as a whole, we’ve adapted very well. I find that that work has gone on pretty seamlessly. I don’t see very much disruption in my day to day work responsibilities or routines. The only difference is that I don’t have a commute anymore. On a more personal note, you know, and I have two teenagers at home. And so they’re able to do their remote learning somewhat independently, they don’t need me hands on the way that that many of the people with young folks do. As a family, though, you know, once the initial Shaka and all pass, we all kind of have have really grown a lot closer. I’ve spent more time with my kids in the last month than I think I have in years. And so overall, I don’t mind this one day. I mean, of course, I’d rather nobody be, you know, sick or dying. And I’d rather not have this fearful thing out there in the world but, but on a small scale in my own family. There’s just been a lot of good that’s come from this. And I feel like working from home has really given me the opportunity to juggle my life and manage my life a lot better. So that I don’t have to be either at work or at home all the time, I have a little bit more flexibility to kind of go back and forth and, and prioritize my life accordingly. So I have no no negatives in the telework situation at all, I’ve really, really been grateful for it. Awesome. I know that’s an unusual perspective, most people just can’t wait to go back to the office. I do miss the social aspect of it. But I feel like we’re all using technology in a way that is blended to that. In fact, some of the other schedule analysts that I work with, we set up like a Wednesday night, happy hour, you know, when we were kind of getting on a, you know, a call after hours of video chat after hours and, you know, having a refreshing beverage together and just kind of socializing. And I don’t think we ever did that before the telework situation. So I’ve gotten to know them a lot better. And I’m spending more time with, you know, some of my more distant colleagues than I did before. For so I think we’ve all embraced it well and and I’ve really enjoyed the the relationship building that’s come as a result of this. I miss the socialization I miss just seeing people smile. But that’s, that’s, you know we do our best with technology. It’s just an unfortunate, you know, unfortunate side effect is that we don’t get to see each other’s smiling faces very much anymore
or we do but it’s only the video and I don’t think that’s really the
Vlad G 1:03:34
nature of my work is I almost always work remotely and I’ve been working from home for the past couple of years, aside from some time that I wasn’t on the assignment so for me, it’s a little bit more. I’m a little bit more used to this, but I’m happy to hear that. You find positive things in it. I I’m a big proponent of working from wherever I’m a big proponent of working from home You know, remote, anything, doesn’t matter as long as the person gets things done. So I’m really happy to hear that you guys have to have it figured out and hopefully
Erin W 1:04:13
even I think overall we really are getting gone if anything I think we’re getting more done now than we did before. As strange as that sounds. I feel like we’re more productive as a group and we’re accomplishing more at home than we really did in the office on a variety of different levels. I, I wouldn’t be hesitant you know, of course if they called us back now I would be hesitant just because of this eg situation, but I have to be honest that this has just been you know, really a gift and I couldn’t imagine, you know, that, that this wouldn’t be a more embraced lifestyle moving forward. I think I think that probably companies are going to find out that he we really are getting stuff done and our costs have gone down a lot. Our employees are a lot happier. So I couldn’t imagine you know, a world in which this didn’t become just our new normal.
Vlad G 1:05:07
I completely This is another thing that I completely agree with you on. I think it’s it’s the new It’s the new normal, working from home or working from wherever. Because you are more productive you don’t dread the commute and me being from New York City, believe me, I did dread the commute them and if I pretended I didn’t, I I’m not enjoying. I wasn’t enjoying. So I do think we get things done. We get more things done and we get things done better overall, provided we can work from wherever we like.
Unknown Speaker 1:05:43
Erin W 1:05:44
that’s great. Yeah, I’m sure to commute there’s a lot different. I mean, where I live, um, it only takes me 23 minutes to get to work. So it’s really not that big of a it’s not that big of a commute. It just now that I know that we can do all this remotely It just seems wasteful. And so it’s a waste of, you know, time albeit not as much time as what you would be wasting. And just a waste of resources, a waste of fuel and wear and tear on my car and everything else. Not to mention time away. No right now, no, my kids are teenagers. So they know when when the office door is closed, monitor meeting and leave or be. But they also know that in between meetings, I’ll pop my head out and check on everybody and make sure everything’s moving forward and going the way it’s supposed to. So you know, I just don’t i don’t see very many negatives. And I would probably feel differently if I had a baby at home or if I was at home alone and didn’t have a family that would probably make me feel differently about it.
Vlad G 1:06:48
Right or, as as I have recently learned, if you had way too many people working then you just don’t have enough privacy or enough space to take the calls and not being disrupted during those days,
Erin W 1:07:02
yeah, extra, I’m really lucky that I have a home office and I have a door closed. So and it’s also separate from, you know, my otherwise living space, not in my bedroom. It’s not in my dining room. So it’s one way we work is contained. And that’s kind of my way of keeping my sanity. Otherwise, I think work just encroaches into your life and life encourages me to go to work, and it’s just kind of chaotic. So having an office has been a huge advantage for me. But, but overall, you know, even without that, I don’t know if I’d ever want to go back. Yeah, I guess I’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it. And what was your commute, like in New York City,
Vlad G 1:07:43
so in New York City, it was about an hour on the subway with one transfer, which wasn’t that bad. On in New York City, not bad. Or you have to deal with pack trains and in rush hour, and all that Prior to that I work outside of the city. I live in city I live in Brooklyn, I worked outside of the city and was hour and a change drive in traffic back and forth. So it wasn’t. It wasn’t as much the stress of driving it was more of a stress of wasting a good hour, hour and a half each way. hour and a half each way of your life where you can’t really do anything at all. The only thing I have available was to listen to audiobooks and podcasts. That’s really all there was there for me. Otherwise, it’s two to two and a half, three hours lost everyday just driving.
Erin W 1:08:39
Yeah, that’s so wasteful. Like there’s so many things you can probably do now that you weren’t able to do before recreational things, you know, things that are good and healthy for you. Well, at least I have now I have
Vlad G 1:08:49
to have a podcast.
Erin W 1:08:52
So there you go. I’d say the only struggle in my house is that my kids are constantly streaming Whether it be their schoolwork or YouTube or whatever it is, they’re doing their video games. So there’s never enough internet to go around.
Unknown Speaker 1:09:11
Yes, there’s just never enough internet.
Erin W 1:09:13
So and I, from what I hear, that’s like a countrywide problem. We’re all dealing with that, as we have, you know, sometimes four devices going at the same time streaming different things. And, you know, for me, my work computer, I’m going on VPN, but then I’ve got teams going, and I got email going. And so, you know, I’m constantly using, you know, internet as well, and the children are two because they’re doing their schoolwork. And of course, my husband is too because life happens. So it’s, that’s probably been the biggest, the biggest struggle is just that there’s not enough internet to go around. But I, I imagine our infrastructure will catch up with that eventually, and probably not as big of a problem and
Vlad G 1:09:55
it’s still it’s still he is a little bit I mean, Depending on which level of service to subscribe to, but it is a problem because isn’t one of those commercial things where you oversell your capacity because no one is ever going to use it to full capacity, like I purchased shortly last year, and I purchased the highest level possible, or the finest Verizon FiOS is almost a gigabit connection. And it still chokes off when more than two people are streaming. And as a matter of fact, I have instituted this rule in my meetings whenever I’m in the meeting, and I’m presenting, I’ve always I give them five, seven minutes to do the video sharing and then I say I tell people, hey, not everybody has the fastest connection in the world. Kill the video so we don’t have interruptions in audio and presentation. So please, you know, shut off your camera. It would free up people’s bandwidth to see other things in it generally kind of work. Now you can add it to a shot. If you want But how is the pandemic situation in city? How is everybody? Not? What is poor conditions like right now? Well, they’re they’re two camps in New York City, specifically, two camps those people want one camp is very strict. And as soon as you pop your head out, they go hysterical, like stay home, with all the explosives in the world attach to it. And the other camp is, there’s no pedantic or we don’t care. And I occasionally get out on the supply runs or just for a walk. Because they can’t, you know, sit in the chair 24 seven, and I see a lot of people going about their business like there’s nothing they will do is they will dogs, they just, you know, taking a stroll, not wearing a mask not ignoring six feet separation. So they pretend that you know, it’s over. And that’s basically what was happening in your city.
Erin W 1:11:58
Well, I think that’s probably what’s happening right now. Were we honest? That’s exactly what’s happening here. You have two camps. Those of us who were were pretty strict and those of us who are just following on with life so this has happened and they’re just like, resentful of ours are closed.
Vlad G 1:12:13
Yeah, yeah. I mean, hopefully, it will, it will start being better soon. I’m not I’m more I’m very worried about people dying, especially in New York City. We’re all here. We’re all affected. I know people who were affected I know people who passed away because of the virus. But I also worry about if we prolong the strain on the economy, although we may not emerge back may not survive the way we were before. So coming back to the they may not be coming back for because it would be no work because the economy is gonna start crumbling under stress. That’s that’s my concern.
Erin W 1:12:55
I’ve been concerned about the economy as well, especially recently, as pies has become, you know, a bigger concern. You know, today in the news, they had Wendy’s, you know, the fast food restaurants 20% of them are quotes because they can’t compete. And I just never imagine a world in which that would ever even be possible in which food supply would become a problem in the United States. I just never, I never even imagined that it was possible that I would go to the grocery store, not be able to get whatever I want. So that it’s a bit of a shock, you know, to the American public. I think it’s probably a similar feeling to how we felt about 911 in which, you know, wars happen and bombings happen and terrible things happen to innocent people, but it doesn’t happen here. And then all of a sudden it did. And so that’s kind of the way I’m looking at the food supply right now. And I couldn’t imagine what it’s like to be in this city, where you don’t have access to you know, Grow Your Own or, you know, I live in a I live in a state But of course, it’s a much smaller city outside of Cleveland, but I have enough land that I have a, you know, a big garden and, you know, my husband hunts and and so you know, we have some of our own supplies and I couldn’t imagine being in a world in which that wasn’t even a possibility.
Vlad G 1:14:17
Yeah, I mean, I didn’t
Erin W 1:14:19
ever imagine if it all happened here
Vlad G 1:14:22
coming from Soviet Union, I did experience that and I don’t want to scare anybody but it starts looking very much like it. We had, we had pretty much old stages of, you know, just not having food all the time. But it was possible to get it than not having food and not being able to get it because there’s no supply of food coming into the city. And at some point we had the voucher system or card system when you had a card that allows you to get you know, specific items specific numbers. So you can only purchase, I don’t know, two pounds of meat per week. And that’s it. That’s your norm, kind of kind of similar like during World War Two people had in in the occupied or in the cities where supply of food was very limited. So they only were able to purchase or even get without versus there’s no money or no money you can get it. You can only you know, use specific allotment of of stuff. Again, I don’t want to scare anybody, but I really don’t want this to start looking like it.
Erin W 1:15:34
What do you see is the greatest difference between product management and project management. In terms of methodologies overall,
Vlad G 1:15:43
I think I think it’s the is that difference that we’ve discussed this the difference between project is having this finite timeline. You start you build your finish product, you’re having a Life, which is why we call it a life cycle. Yes, it’s kind of like a human life, right? You, you you’re born, you learn, you grow up, you get into your prime, you plateau at some point and then you start, you know, you’re you start descending down, you’re the products have become outdated or or obsolete and eventually the products life has ended Unless, you know, you you come up with another idea or another replicability of the product, but by then it’s probably, it’s probably a child now. It’s another product is so that’s a new product that was built on top of the previous one. I think that’s one of
Erin W 1:16:46
the big, very similar, very similar, I mean, obviously, projects have a life cycle too. But it sounds like the difference between a project and a product is that the product would be managed through its operations. until it becomes obsolete, as opposed to a project. Once it gets to operations, then it goes off to the operations people. Sounds like it would be like the project management methodology might have a more like a division between development and operations where as product is development and operation,
Vlad G 1:17:23
core development never stops. Yes, that’s Yeah. Yeah. You nailed it on the head. Yes. The development okay. doesn’t stop until unless product is dead.
Erin W 1:17:35
There you go. Now, I learned something new today, too.
Unknown Speaker 1:17:38
glad I could help.
Vlad G 1:17:40
Any, any other questions. Anything else? I can? I can answer. No, no, I’m good. All right, then. So thank you very much for being on the podcast. Really enjoyed the conversation. Hopefully we can do this again, with slightly less technical issues that we had before.
Erin W 1:17:58
I would look forward to that.
Vlad G 1:18:00
Thank you very much Aaron would. Thank you. And that’s that’s it. That’s all there is for today. Thank you.
Erin W 1:18:07
Thank you talk to you soon. You’ve been
Vlad G 1:18:12
listening to the real world product management and I’ll be your host lon Drummond. Until next time,