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: 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

PRODUCTHEAD: Service design and product management

» Customers are seeking more value from digital technologies — “liquid experiences”

» Services by nature don’t always fit current organisational structures

» Service design and business analyst roles require a different type of focus and mindset

» Key to becoming a service designer is not finding a new job, but transforming your current job

» “Seamless services” means bringing together people from across professional boundaries

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Service design and product management

PRODUCTHEAD: Ethical product management

» Product managers must understand the impact of their products on society as a whole

» Now is the time to push for broader product management accountability

» No company, individual or set of activities, yet provides a clear-cut example of ethical best practice

» What we build must not be at the cost of another group’s needs

» Nothing in traditional product training prepares you for making ethical decisions

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Ethical product management

PRODUCTHEAD: The new lamplighters

» Amazon warehouses are gradually moving towards full robotic automation

» Greater automation creates new types of work, but not necessarily for people

» Smart contracts are already automating financial transactions, but can be susceptible to coding flaws

» Increased use of machine learning in insurance places greater burden on regulators to ensure fairness

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: The new lamplighters

PRODUCTHEAD: The what, why and how of user research

» User research needs to be proactive as well as reactive validation

» Some research techniques are more useful than others at different stages

» You must safeguard the welfare of your user research participants

» There are many ways to recruit participants for your research without outsourcing

» Use a simple format for sharing research findings memorably

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: The what, why and how of user research

PRODUCTHEAD: Remind me, what am I meant to be doing?

» A product manager works at the intersection between business, technology and user experience

» A product manager is not a replacement for absent specialists

» The product manager is accountable for ensuring the solution is both valuable and viable

» Product managers use their knowledge of user needs and business goals to frame problems and set priorities for their delivery teams

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Remind me, what am I meant to be doing?

PRODUCTHEAD: The good, the bad and the ugly of machine learning

» Machine learning is the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed

» DeepMind’s AlphaFold solves a complex protein folding problem in days rather than years

» Netflix and the BBFC automate age certifications for content with a staff-trained algorithm

» YouTube’s recommendation algorithm has the unintended consequence of creating echo chambers

» An algorithm widely used in US courts for predicting future criminality exhibits racial bias

» Filmmaker Shalini Kantayya explores the impact of biased facial recognition algorithms on human rights

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: The good, the bad and the ugly of machine learning

PRODUCTHEAD: There are only 5 product strategies

» Product strategy is how you will achieve your product vision

» There are only 4 types of work after finding product-market fit

» A step-by-step guide to building product strategy like Netflix

» “Framework fanatics” and “optimisation optimists” mask the absence of product strategy

» Using research to overcome organisational inertia to your product strategy

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: There are only 5 product strategies

PRODUCTHEAD: The plummeting price of power

» Scientists have solved a problem preventing the commercial production of more efficient solar panels

» Solar generated electricity is now cheaper than fossil fuels

» Tesla’s South Australia battery farm is saving tens of millions of dollars

» South Australia spent an hour powered solely by solar, 77% of which came from consumers’ home panels

» The cost of US battery farm projects has dropped 70% in 3 years

» Tesla’s battery innovations would result in cost dropping by half, capacity increasing by half

» The convergence of green technologies would lead to explosive growth

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: The plummeting price of power

PRODUCTHEAD: Hieranarchy

» Hierarchy in organisations appeals to our innate need for stability, but turns us into ego-driven and needy children

» Nature abhors a hierarchy. What if there was a viable alternative way to organise ourselves?

» Valve Corporation shows new employees how an organisation can operate without hierarchy

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Hieranarchy

PRODUCTHEAD: Finding the positives

» Lockdown has accelerated existing tech adoption trends

» You need to be asking different questions about product strategy now

» 25% discount available on my Product Management Masterclass

» How to make your résumé stand out from the competition

» 5 lessons from transforming culture in government

» Avoid the biases and traps of user and market research

» How to use product strategy to influence dysfunctional corporate strategy

Read more › PRODUCTHEAD: Finding the positives

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