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I like the beautiful mess of product development.| newsletter:
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Apr 2 5 tweets 1 min read
The “messy middle” problems is one of the biggest impediments to product success. Here’s what it looks like:

The strategy and vision is somewhat clear.

Teams have specific features they’re working on.

But there’s nothing in between.

Why does it matter? 1/n High level visions and strategies are helpful, but they lack the specificity to guide teams.

Specific project-based roadmaps feel “actionable” but they are very fragile—they don’t inspire aligned autonomy.

You need a linking mechanism 2/n
Mar 26 6 tweets 1 min read
I was reading the transcript of a work presentation. Then I watched the presentation.

The transcript was filled with issues / logical fallacies / open questions.

While watching I noticed very few.

I think this is the root issue with presentation culture. I noticed different parts of my brain firing in each context. When slides had lots of “stuff” it felt like a sense of “oh they’ve figured this out” even when the words did not match.

If you pay attention you can feel this happening.
Feb 12 10 tweets 4 min read
Your team is burnt out. They are not getting anything done. Work is "low quality". You can see and feel those things.

But what you are seeing is an output of something—the downstream effects of other things happening.

In some companies this is a black box

1/n Image …they don’t have visibility into what’s happening.

But it is not that simple (of course).

The outputs are inputs into the black box. And the outputs input into the inputs.

2/n Image
Jan 29 9 tweets 3 min read
Product Management is an exploration of time.

In product we are always jumping between "Time-full" things and "Time-free" things.

An improvement project to build a new AI irrigation system vs. the ability to irrigate our crops.

1/n We project thing time-free things into the future, making them time-full.

Here we imagine our ability to irrigate our crops evolving from a watering can, to the new AI powered system.

And we imagine the capability level increasing.... over time

Jan 29 9 tweets 3 min read
Why do attempts to "reign in" product processes involving multiple teams fail so regularly?


Here we have a list of features about "the work".

An example of a feature might be something like:

"Amount of customer education needed...."

OK...1/n So imagine we collect data about our initiatives.


"Amount of customer education needed" = HIGH

OK, now we're getting somewhere.

Except... 2/n
Jan 21 5 tweets 2 min read
I recently asked Twitter for words describing "great product managers". Here the results in pictures...

The diameter of each circle represents the number of *other* words that were related to the word.

Colors represent "neighborhoods" of words.

Lines = relationships

1/n "Responsive" was not the most common response. But it was the word that had the most number of similar/related words

It is a broad word...for sure...but I thought that was interesting

Jan 20 4 tweets 1 min read
Agile "won" and "lost".

This is the way of ways.

Anything helpful will eventually become commodified, industrialized, and watered down to the point of being unrecognizable. It happened with Agile, and is happening with strands of product management, DevOps, design, etc.

1/n Its "thought leaders" will become more disconnected, seemingly holding on to a romantic view of the past.

Its adherent will become disillusioned. People will decry the diffusion of terms and ideas.

Jan 9 7 tweets 3 min read
"Wes Anderson movie called "return to office" about people who go back to work only to stare at screens again" it gets darker...
Dec 20, 2022 6 tweets 3 min read
Today—after 1,569 days in the @Amplitude_HQ saddle—my time aboard the rocket ship is coming to an end. What a ride; what a team.

Way back in 2018, @sandhya, Matt Althauser, @justinjbauer and @spenserskates took a gamble on the "feature factory guy".

Normally, product evangelists talk about "the product".

My style was to talk about the world surrounding the product—product strategy, data culture, data-informed roadmaps, asking better questions, being "product-led", situational awareness, etc.

Dec 11, 2022 10 tweets 3 min read
How can we all become better leaders?


Sure, but...

We all have "default" beliefs about work


Varying degrees of
* awareness of those defaults
* conviction that our defaults are universal
* conviction that our defaults are optimal

1/n Some people are very self-aware—they have plumbed the depths of their being and motivations—yet also believe their defaults apply to everyone ("everyone is wired like I am wired").

High self-awareness.
High conviction their beliefs are universal.

Dec 11, 2022 8 tweets 3 min read
Here is a collection of ChatGPT generated product frameworks you can use to become a 10X superstar product manager and DOMINATE your peers. First

The Led Zeplin Framework

Are you working on a:
- Stairway to Heaven
- Kashmir
- Rock and Roll

1/n Next we have the:

Sitcom Spectrum for categorizing ppl on your team

The Joey Tribbiani
The Leslie Knope
The Michael Scott
The Ron Swanson
The Ross Geller
The Miranda Hobbes
The Barney Stinson
The Andy Dwyer

Dec 4, 2022 9 tweets 3 min read
Having trouble advancing in your career?

Feel like your skills/experience don't match your opportunities?

One of the most important thing to discover is "perception asymmetries"

In short... what does B perceive about you?

Let me explain... 1/n It is absolutely possible that:

A appreciates your ability to do something


When B proposes an alternative take, A—who you perceive as your champion—doesn't represent that.

This can happen for MANY reasons, most that are non nefarious or self-serving

Dec 4, 2022 8 tweets 3 min read
My live unboxing of the chat AI thing...

"Debate the merits of Agile in the voice of a drunken sailor."


1/n 2/n

"List the key differences between Irish Shanties and English pub songs."

had never considered the group vs. individual dynamic
Dec 3, 2022 16 tweets 3 min read
product leader question

"John, my company seems to be in a terrible cycle. We are so reactive. Nothing is stable. Nothing lasts. There’s so much churn and pivoting. I want a sense of stability."

My response... a 🧵1/16 In my experience, this signals a shaky foundation. Without a strong foundation, humans create *certainty* by either:

1. Going into exploration mode to discover the foundation

2. Manufacturing big-bang plans (on top of no foundation)

Oct 6, 2022 8 tweets 2 min read
A 🧵on simplicity.

Simplicity Is a Tactic, Not the Goal. A simple thing is not inherently valuable. Simplicity is valuable if it aligns w/ your goals.

The pilot of a plane dies suddenly. A passenger attempts to land the aircraft with the help of a flight instructor...1/n ...Do the instructor’s commands sound simple?


But they are more than simple. The commands—devoid of jargon, acronyms, and standard ATC protocol—help the non-pilot land the plane safely.

If you’ve usability-tested content, you’ve learned this firsthand...2/n
Sep 30, 2022 5 tweets 1 min read
thought on how to wean your company off NPS're going to need to lie a lot

you: "Oh NPS, how meaningful, yes....I totally get it. I totally want to improve it."

them: "Amazing"

you: "There's one tiny is a lagging metric"

them: "oh?"

you: "yeah, to improve it we'll need to identify the levers that make it go up and down, and focus on those thing"

them: "Huh, what do you mean?"

you: "Let me show you. Here's our current model for what influences NPS. It includes....

Sep 23, 2022 7 tweets 1 min read
Starting annual planning?

Getting ready to do a strategy review?

Thinking about how to deploy your strategy?

1. Congruence
2. Decision quality
3. Decision timing

A 🧵1/7 1. Congruence

You can have a team of highly experienced product folks go in circles because they're making *locally* high quality decisions that are incongruent.

E.g. product solves a problem that sales is not incentivized to sell....

Sep 20, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
4yo requested a skeleton. It arrived. He named it Harpo. And today asked me to pick him up from day care with the skeleton so he can introduce Harpo to his friends/classmates.

Do I go all out? Image He’s so proud
Sep 19, 2022 7 tweets 2 min read
I've thought about this a great deal.

A couple thoughts:

1/n You assume that new senior leaders get a comprehensive onboarding. That often isn't the case as they are thrust immediately into the thick of things 2/n Related, it can actually be very difficult to determine who knows what.

Often the most confident folks know they least.

And the people who seem unsure, know the most (but also know enough to question what they know).
Sep 18, 2022 11 tweets 5 min read
One of the dominant models for organizational goals, work, and structure is the pyramid...

Other than vaguely resembling the hierarchal "formal" power dynamic in an organization...pyramids don't really reflect the nature of product work

What about the alternatives?
1/n One (of many) ways to think of product work is to imagine a series of interlocking and related sense and respond is all happening NOW, but the orbits range in terms of length...

Companies are built in 1-3 decade bets
Someone comes to work and places a 1-3h bet 2/n
Sep 17, 2022 6 tweets 1 min read
"It needs to be simple. You can only have 3 priorities"

me: "does that really map to what you are asking people to do?"

"what do you mean?"

me: "well how about X?"

"oh, that's business as usual...."

me: "business as usual?"

cont (1/n) "yeah, it doesn't need to be called out, it would happen anyway..."

me: "but not a priority....?"

"It is a necessity. Look, we can't have four bullets. Just connect it to priority #3"

me: "it feels like a stretch...?"

"we phrased that one broad..."

cont (2/n)