PRODUCTHEAD: Your favourite articles of 2021

PRODUCTHEAD: Your favourite articles of 2021

PRODUCTHEAD is a regular newsletter of product management goodness,
curated by Jock Busuttil.

products out


Good candidates have initiative and passion to pursue their opinions

The transition from product manager to leader requires many new skill sets

Discovery is about understanding the problem space experienced by people

Becoming a product leader means letting go of the day-to-day product management

Netflix on HR: “Be honest, and treat people like adults”

Your North Star metric best captures the core value that your product delivers to customers

a favour: please share this with other product people

every PRODUCTHEAD edition is online for you to refer back to


2021 is drawing to a close, and I think we can all agree that it was less of catastrophe than 2020. Admittedly, the bar was not set high.

On a personal note, I’m really proud of myself for compiling this newsletter pretty much every week. As some of you may know, I’m quite the procrastinator, so keeping the discipline to research, read and write regularly throughout the year is a win for me.

Thank you for reading along each week with me, whether you’ve been subscribing since the beginning or have joined in more recently. I hope you’ve found the articles, videos and podcasts as entertaining and eye-opening as I have.

And if you’ve read or listened to something particularly remarkable, do forward it on to me. I’m always on the lookout for great product management content. You can just reply to this email — it will drop straight into my inbox, nobody else’s.

This week, I’ve crunched the numbers and found the content you’ve found the most interesting and relevant throughout the year. If you like, this is the PRODUCTHEAD you’ve compiled :-)

(Hmm. Looks like hiring and jobs have been on your minds.)

I’ll be back with more product management goodness for you in the new year. Until then, may I offer you the warmest wishes for you and yours during the holiday period.

If you can: rest, recharge, and reflect; 2022 awaits!

Speak to you soon,


what you’ve been thinking about this year

The 3 Secrets to Getting Hired

I’ve been lucky enough over the years to be able to hire many people to the various teams I’ve led. Over the course of all of these interviews I’ve discovered that there are three core components that make a candidate a desirable addition to my team.

Do your candidates have these 3 traits?


Read the whole edition: Recruiting the right stuff

Crossing the Canyon: Product Manager to Product Leader

There’s a hidden trap right in the middle of the PM career ladder where many of the brightest PMs fail — we’ve seen numerous careers stall at the transition from Senior Product Manager to a Product Leader (sometimes referred to as a Group Product Manager, Dir of Product, or Product Lead). Let’s explore why this is the most difficult career transition for PMs.

What got you here, won’t get you there


Read the whole edition: Starting your next role in product

Steve Blank’s customer discovery checklist

A great series of short videos by Steve Blank giving you a practical idea of how to go about your discovery and what to do next.

A very valuable 20-ish minutes


Read the whole edition: (Re)discovering discovery

Product Management Coaching

Whether you’re new to product management or have been a product manager for years, a coaching session can help you to step up your career.

We’ve coached people wanting to get into product management, product people with nobody in their organisation to manage them, and experienced product managers preparing to apply for a promotion.

We can help you prepare for your product manager interview, including mock interviews.

A proportion of the fees from every coaching session is donated to charity.

“Jock has been instrumental in my personal growth as a product leader but also as a person.”

Ludovic Lacay

Ludovic Lacay
Co-founder & Chief Product Officer, Napo

Find out more about product management coaching

Tips for becoming a head of product

Becoming a head of product and managing a group of product people is a significant career step. In this article, I share my recommendations to help you get ready for the new job and be off to a great start.

Look after people, not products


Read the whole edition: Becoming a product leader

How Netflix reinvented HR

When Netflix executives wrote a PowerPoint deck about the organization’s talent management strategies, the document went viral—it’s been viewed more than 5 million times on the web. Now one of those executives, the company’s longtime chief talent officer, goes beyond the bullet points to paint a detailed picture of how Netflix attracts, retains, and manages stellar employees.

Hire fully formed adults


Read the whole edition: Prize winners / reinventing HR

North Star playbook

A team using the North Star Framework identifies a single, meaningful metric and a handful of contributing inputs. Product teams work to influence those inputs, which in turn drive the metric. The North Star is a leading indicator of sustainable growth and acts as a connective tissue between the product and the broader business.

Help your work to align with the bigger picture


Read the whole edition: John Cutler’s North Star Metric

recent posts

You need a delivery manager on your team

In the UK government digital teams, you don’t see project managers or even Scrum masters. Why? Because they have delivery managers instead. In this article, I’m going to convince you why you need delivery managers on your teams.

Support and encourage the delivery team


How to measure product manager performance

Early on in my blog, I wrote one of my most popular posts – 4 key ways to spot a successful product manager – about measuring the performance of product managers. The problem is that a lot – and I mean a huge amount – has changed in product management, and my own approach, since I wrote it. So here’s an update to my original article from a real-life case study.

Performance is multi-dimensional


The coffee shop problem

During a class I was giving the other day over at Edtech, we were looking at possible risks that might affect the theoretical products we were discussing. One team of students was hotly debating the relative importance of one of the risks. They couldn’t agree how much of a problem it would be if they discovered that something similar already existed on the market. I call this The Coffee Shop Problem.

Go niche and do it better than anyone else


Replatforming the cash cow

Recently people all seem to be encountering the same problem. Their engineering teams are choosing to work on projects that make them look busy, but which don’t actually move things forward. What they’re usually working on is a convoluted — and arguably doomed — attempt to replatform a legacy ‘cash cow’ product.

A strong signal to discover the replacement product


The product leader’s guide to interviewing

Because I tend to help organisations build up their product team from scratch, I’m often involved in the interviewing and hiring process, so I’d like to share with you my product leader’s guide to interviewing product managers.

Countering unconscious bias in recruiting


can we help you?

Product People is a product management services company. We can help you through consultancy, training and coaching. Just contact us if you need our help!

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Helping people build better products, more successfully, since 2012.

PRODUCTHEAD is a newsletter for product people of all varieties, and is lovingly crafted from festive cheer, mince pies and over-indulging.

Read more from Jock

The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner's Guide To Product Management

by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock Busuttil is a product management and leadership coach, product leader and author. He has spent over two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy, coaching and training. Its clients include BBC, University of Cambridge, Ometria, Prolific and the UK’s Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). Jock holds a master’s degree in Classics from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the popular book The Practitioner’s Guide To Product Management, which was published in January 2015 by Grand Central Publishing in the US and Piatkus in the UK. He writes the blog I Manage Products and weekly product management newsletter PRODUCTHEAD. You can find him on Mastodon, X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn.

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