PRODUCTHEAD turns 3 🎂 / The changing realities of product management
PRODUCTHEAD is a regular newsletter of product management goodness,
curated by Jock Busuttil.
the product mail #
every PRODUCTHEAD edition is online for you to refer back to
In product management, “the basics never change, it’s the more advanced stuff that changes”
Oft-cited company frameworks such as the Spotify model were just a moment in time — everything moves on
When all is changing around you, be an anchor of stability and trust for your team
In my recent article on force multipliers, I used the example of writing a talk as a way to illustrate how one piece of work can yield beneficial outputs greater than the input effort (a bit like a successful fusion reaction).
Writing a talk would force me to deepen my understanding of a topic, give me a recording and transcript to publish as one or several articles, and some reference material that could form a good topic for an edition of PRODUCTHEAD. Along with the desire to form a more regular writing habit, these were the main reasons I started publishing the newsletter.
Give or take the odd break, as of this week I’ve been writing and publishing PRODUCTHEAD weekly for three years. So now would be a good a time as any to reflect on what writing the newsletter has achieved, and ways it could change in the future.
I’m always open to your suggestions of topics for upcoming editions, and any feedback or discussion points. All you have to do is to reply to the email and it comes straight to me. 👋
The most noticeable impact for me has been the discipline of writing something every week. Occasionally I have a couple of topics in mind that I want to cover in future editions, but most weeks I research and write about something off-the-cuff. If nothing else, this has helped me to form a good secondary habit of reading and learning from other experts in the field.
I chose to focus each edition on a particular theme or topic rather than share a mixed bag of articles each week. This is probably quite polarising for you: if the topic interests you, great, you’re going to get a deep dive; if not, you’re not going to see much value in the content. That said, I do find the newsletter archive on the website to be far more searchable because each edition covers a specific topic.
The whole approach of ‘writing anything until the good words turn up’ does work. Sometimes I surprise myself when I have a lot more to write on a topic than I expected. Other times it can be dispiriting to write a thousand words of rubbish, only to start afresh and write 200 that make a bit more sense. But all in all, I would say that the newsletter has helped me to be a more disciplined writer.
I am tempted to reduce the frequency of the newsletters. The weekly deadline is entirely self-imposed and occasionally a source of stress, particularly on the off-weeks when I’m struggling to form a coherent sentence.
My inner optimist reckons I’d be able to get ahead of the game by continuing to write weekly but publishing every two weeks. My inner realist knows I’m a lazy procrastinator, and that I would just end up leaving it to the last minute. All I would really achieve would be to halve the amount I write without reducing the pressure to publish. So on balance, I’ll keep going weekly for the time being.
If you’re reading this, first of all, thanks.
There’s a lot of content out there, so I do appreciate you choosing to spend your time with me. Secondly, writing, whether a newsletter, an article or a book, can sometimes feel a little like hurling words into the void. Convince me I’m not alone — it’s always a joy to hear from you. Drop me a line :-)
Speak to you soon,
what to think about this week
Has product management changed, or does it need to? We look for some answers to the current questions about the effectiveness of product managers from a selection of product leaders.
[Eira Hayward / Mind The Product]
What does the day-to-day life of a successful product manager look like? How do you avoid burnout? What does the role now look like in the era of remote and hybrid work?
In this month’s webinar, we explore product management in practice – none of this in theory malarky, but actually getting into the nitty gritty of what the day-to-day life of a product manager actually looks like.
[Matt LeMay & Janna Bastow / ProdPad]
Especially the last few years have highlighted the significance of effective leadership in today’s fast-paced world. Navigating volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity has become essential for leaders. Simply adapting to change is no longer enough.
[Johanna Feick / Mind The Product]
Recently I was explaining to a client why I focus my efforts on finding “force multipliers”. These are what I call activities that allow us to extract multiple benefits from a single piece of work. You could think of it a little like a workplace fusion reaction, where the output ends up far greater than the input effort.
[I Manage Products]
When the vision and strategy are focused and clear, they allow product managers to prioritise and filter the possible options for their products more easily.
[I Manage Products]
Have you ever wondered why product managers say “it depends” quite so often?
[I Manage Products]
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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 a cake with three candles on.
Read more from Jock
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