PRODUCTHEAD

PRODUCTHEAD is my free curated newsletter of the best articles, videos and podcasts from product leaders and commentators all over the world. All neatly packaged up in a weekly email delivery for your reading, viewing and listening pleasure.



Recent editions

PRODUCTHEAD: Defining services

A service:

» is defined from an external end user’s point of view

» describes something someone would want to do, in their language

» has an outcome that relates to the organisation’s goals

» includes all the steps between the user and provider

» includes all the parts involved in delivering it

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Defining services

PRODUCTHEAD: Service mapping for product managers

» Service maps help teams and stakeholders to understand interactions with a service across touchpoints over time

» They provide a visual representation of an abstract and often wide-reaching process

» Think of your service like a theatre: front stage, backstage and behind the scenes

» Service mapping helps your team to tell their story to the wider organisation

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Service mapping for product managers

PRODUCTHEAD: More product coach, less line manager

» A product coach should measure their own job performance by the successes of their team members

» Strive to develop a capacity for learning in the people you supervise

» Coaching taps into an individual’s own wisdom and keeps them accountable for achieving their goals

» People who are genuinely committed to change but nonetheless dig in their heels may be unwittingly self-sabotaging

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: More product coach, less line manager

PRODUCTHEAD: Async working and communication

» Async working lets you set aside time for deep thinking

» Forced remote working led naturally to more async work

» Async relies on three main tenets: multiplexing, communication and action

» Find the right balance between flexibility and cohesion, independence and togetherness

» In-person time is important to sustain the human relationships that enable you to get work done

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Async working and communication

PRODUCTHEAD: The ethics of information (data ethics)

» Data ethics studies and evaluates moral problems related to data, algorithms and corresponding practices, in order to formulate and support morally good solutions

» Product managers have ethical responsibilities that transcend career, company and profit

» Organisations need to assess and build their trust and trustworthiness

» Mitigate biases in your product that may have unintended discriminatory effects on individuals and social groups

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: The ethics of information (data ethics)

PRODUCTHEAD: Product ops — cynical rebrand or division of labour?

» 3 tenets of product ops: insights, research, and processes & practices

» Product ops is about enablement and coaching, not a rebrand of the product owner or product marketer roles

» Product ops is the ‘glue’ that binds different business functions and product focus areas together

» Product ops enables product teams to achieve better outcomes

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Product ops — cynical rebrand or division of labour?

PRODUCTHEAD: Dealing with discomfort

» Firing someone is a task you will always perform with some anxiety, but you still need to be able to do it well

» At Netflix, it’s not enough to be a hard worker achieving only B-grade results

» Founder of AngelList Naval Ravikant seeks happiness by trying to live in the here-and-now, neither obsessing about the past nor fantasising about the future

» If your team’s cultural norms cause you to feel uncomfortable, ask yourself why you think it’s not ok

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Dealing with discomfort

PRODUCTHEAD: Managing mature products

» Ways to extend a product’s life cycle: frequent usage; varied usage; new users; new uses

» Sometimes removing features is more effective than adding them

» You can’t change the customer, but you can change your company’s process, strategy and culture

» Give your team time and permission to check you’re moving the right metrics

» Data is not a silver bullet and won’t solve your company’s trust issues

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Managing mature products

PRODUCTHEAD: New year’s resolutions

» Make small changes and embrace experimentation

» People may have a sincere commitment to change, while also unwittingly applying productive energy toward a hidden competing commitment.

» Extreme situations can build extreme understanding and can also push people apart

» Does our current worldview limit the way we think about organisations?

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: New year’s resolutions

PRODUCTHEAD: Your favourite articles of 2021

» 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

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Your favourite articles of 2021

PRODUCTHEAD: Rapid prototyping

» Learning is more valuable than being successful and not knowing why

» You can experiment with the content and layout of any web-based product with basic skills

» The success rate of experimentation is higher if there is no penalty for failing

» “If you have a good idea on a Monday and can design, test and learn by the Friday, then innovation explodes.”

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Rapid prototyping

PRODUCTHEAD: Working well with user researchers

» More specific questions yield better user research findings

» User research works well when the team collaborates with a specialist user researcher

» Increased team user exposure hours correlates with more successful product improvements by the team

» The sooner you start user research, the greater impact it will have on your product

» A Kanban board helps the team to collate and track the questions to be researched

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Working well with user researchers

PRODUCTHEAD: Becoming a product leader

» To build trust, mutual respect and transparency are critical

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

» Being good at your job means training others to be good at theirs

» Equip your team to make good choices without needing your input

» Developing people is the single most important part of your job

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Becoming a product leader

PRODUCTHEAD: Should we be saying no or not?

» Saying no to a good idea requires confidence in your product strategy

» Even if saying no to an opportunity, take the time to understand its value and context

» Keep ideas and suggestions separate from your product backlog

» Clear company goals and strategy make it easier to say no to unaligned requests

» Saying yes habitually to one-off custom features will usually kill your product business

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Should we be saying no or not?

PRODUCTHEAD: (Re)discovering discovery

» Discovery is about understanding the problem space experienced by people

» When on a tight budget for discovery, mitigate bias where possible and document all the biases you see

» A relaxed participant will open up and be more honest with you

» A discovery can prompt one or more possible solutions, or tell you the problem is not worth pursuing

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: (Re)discovering discovery

PRODUCTHEAD: Starting your next role in product

» When starting your next role, gather opinions and evaluate them before making your own appraisal of the state of the product

» Think of your first month’s activity in terms of people, product and personal

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

» To set up a new starter in your team for success, be clear on their role and goals

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Starting your next role in product

PRODUCTHEAD: Success theatre

» Success theatre undermines the long-term potential of your team and organisation

» Small changes can incite a large culture transformation

» As organisations grow, they incorrectly start to value the importance of “process” over “product”

» Measuring process distracts you from determining whether you are creating value

» Quarterly planning is disruptive when it introduces too much new information at once

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Success theatre

PRODUCTHEAD: 5 product strategy tips

» The vision describes the future we are trying to create

» The strategy describes how we’ll make the vision a reality

» There are only 4 strategies after finding product-market fit

» Tesla subsidised more affordable car models with the revenue from their initial luxury roadster

» Storytelling helps to convince stakeholders to believe in your vision

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: 5 product strategy tips

PRODUCTHEAD: Better than okay OKRs

» Objectives and key results (OKRs) set ambitious goals and track progress towards them

» Manage your desired outcomes separately from what you do to achieve those outcomes

» Make use of OKRs standard across all teams

» Learn from when you fail to achieve your desired outcomes

» OKRs go hand-in-hand with team autonomy

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Better than okay OKRs

PRODUCTHEAD: Pimp my system

» 6 core concepts of systems thinking will help you start solving complex problems

» Systems thinking complements the more familiar analytical (reductionist) thinking

» It is a way of creating a shared understanding of how something works

» It provides useful tools for surfacing and breaking reinforcing cycles of blame

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Pimp my system

PRODUCTHEAD: Listen all y’all, it’s a sabotage

» Competing execs will sometimes sabotage by claiming features for their own product long before they plan to implement them

» Your product roadmap can reveal symptoms of underlying organisational dysfunctions

» We need to consciously remember that the needs of our users change over time

» Many biases are underpinned by shared psychological mechanisms, such as the desire to feel positively about ourselves

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Listen all y’all, it’s a sabotage

PRODUCTHEAD: Everyone needs coaching

» Coaching allows you to leap ahead — it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you

» Active listening helps you restrain the urge to jump in early with a solution

» Performance management is retrospective; performance development looks forward

» A lack of clear goals and simplistic evaluation are ways performance management goes wrong

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Everyone needs coaching

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