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Meet this Week’s Humans of Product: Leonard Kongshavn

By Rebecca Dorsay
Meet this weeks humans of product: Leonard Kongshavn

Meet Leonard. A passionate product guy, recent husband and father of two rascals based in Oslo, Norway. He cares about building and bringing the best products to market.

He is currently making an impact on the tech world as a Global Product Lead at Google,

”What I love about product management is the opportunity to have a direct and positive impact on products that help make people’s lives better. As a Global Product Lead for Search, me and my team build features that help billions of users find what they are looking for. ”

Before joining Google, Leonard worked at a digital agency. In a world of social and mobile apps, the projects were challenging but ultimately didn’t reach that many people. “I remember we would spend six to eight months on an app for a large international company, which ultimately reached less than one hundred people. It was discouraging and ultimately led me to move to Google. It was the start of my impact journey.”

Human of Product: Leonard Kongshavn with fmaily

Leonard has been a part of the innovations at Google for over seven years now and has some great stories to tell,

“I’ve worked across a wide range of our B2C and B2B products. The most memorable Product I worked on was Spaces, a consumer product aimed at solving the friction of keeping a conversation focused on a topic. Our hypothesis was that with the tools available then (back in 2015) required too many touchpoints. What if we could build one app where you can keep the conversation focused on a topic?

We launched at Google I/O 2016 but ultimately the product wasn’t focused enough and was shut down. It was humbling, but also a great learning experience. I love the moments of insight, those wow moments when you know something clicks for a user. I had a lot of those during the development of Spaces.

During the later stage of product development of Spaces, I remember I asked our PM Director, ‘Tell me the one thing I should do to have more impact?’ He replied, ‘Close the gap between what the product is today and what you want it to be.’ That was a very philosophical answer, but not very helpful in terms of what I should do.”

EPICC Frame work

Because making an impact was so important to Leonard, he took on the lofty goal of creating a framework that could help people focus on the behaviors needed to have the greatest impact with their product work.

He created the EPICC framework, a framework built based on his own experiences and observations of successful product people across the world.

“My way of defining impact is asking: What would have happened if the individual hadn’t done what they did? It sounds a bit weird, but helps clarify the actions taken by an individual. The EPICC Frameworks help clarify the 5 behaviours and corresponding actions I believe every great product person needs to be aware of: Execution, Prioritization, Influence, Communication and Curiosity.” 

“I really want to help my product people have more impact. That’s why I built the EPICC Framework. The answer to my 2016 question ‘What can I do to have more impact?’ is focus on actions that lead to impactful behaviors. I see behaviors as the understanding of what to build, and rate them far higher than individual skills. “

“Mind you, There’s a lot of skills you need to be a successful product person. But skills are just the tools a product manager uses. For example, writing a compelling user story is a great skill but if you’re not curious about their reality and the challenges they face, your user story won’t have the golden nugget of insight it needs to make a compelling product. Without the right behaviors your vision will get lost. So understanding the actions you can take to make those behaviors more visible is what I have tried to do in the EPICC framework.”

As a lover of innovative products that make an impact, Leonard shared his opinion on what truly makes a great product,

”Great teams make great products, and what makes great product teams is a deep curiosity and understanding of the user’s problem. Then pair that with a passion for solving it as simply as you can and great products emerge.“ 

Thanks Leonard, for sharing your story.

Human of Product: Leonard Kongshavn skydiving
Humans of Product Leonard with family 2
Humans of Product Leonard with daughter

Want more humans of Product? Read last week’s feature on Rebecca Jackson or follow us on Instagram!

And if you are keen to come together with a community of wonderful Product people, join us at the next LTP DIGITAL.