Category Archives: leadership

November 30

Leadership hack – the role of Product Owner

In my previous leadership post, I discussed the role of the Chief Product Officer. In this post, I want to focus on product leadership at the team level.  There is much discussion over the what a product owner or product manager does, and if there are differences between the two.    While there are many […]

November 28

Leadership hack – what does a Chief Product Officer do?

In this post, I want to share my thoughts on what a Chief Product Officer/Head of Product does.  Recently I moderated a ScaleUp Heros panel discussion in the role of  Head of Product (you can find it on LinkedIn, Medium and  Facebook).  The host Ryan Foland and exceptional panellists John Connolly, Courtney Wylie and Ben Kim explored product […]

November 16

How to scale (2 of 5) – Product team structure

Welcome to the second part of my ‘How to scale’ series (you can find part 1 here). One of the first objectives when thinking about structuring your product teams is to ensure that Product is separated from Core engineering.  The core engineering team can then focus on creating architecture that can scale, and services that can […]

November 09

How to scale (1 of 5) – the journey from garage band to Glastonbury

“Software ends up being shaped by the structure of the organisation that develops it” Conway’s Law One of the most animated discussions I often have with founders, CEOs and other product leaders is how to structure product teams when a company grows.  While I think this is incredibly important (as Conway noted) I feel it misses […]

November 01

Product leadership part 2 – getting things done

“Actual productivity = potential productivity – coordination & motivation loss” Rich Kalgradd However, productivity is not the most important factor in team or company success.  Like running a race, you will not win by running the fastest in the wrong direction.  If you have chosen the right direction, .e., made a good decision about what […]

November 01

What does a product leader do?

Product leaders delight customers in hard-to-copy, margin-enhancing ways.  Gibson Biddle, VP Product Netflix   In my experience product leaders (PL, may also be called product owner or managers) lead the teams that build amazing experiences for customers.  PL’s understand existing and target customers, the companies strategic context and then translate this into a prioritised list of […]

October 25

What you could learn from ‘Powerful’ by Patty McCord (2018, 148 pages)

Netflix is now the global superpower of streaming.  How did they get there, and how did they out-compete Google and Amazon? Patty McCord in her book ‘Powerful’ suggests that the Netflix culture and a strong HR team, under her guidance, played an enormous part in that success. In the book, Patty divides advice into nine […]

September 28

What you could learn from ‘Thinking fast and slow’ by Daniel Kahneman (2012, 300 pages)

What is intuition?  How do humans think?  Are humans rational or irrational and can we predict them? In the past economist built models that assumed that human beings are perfectly rational (what behavioural scientists joking refer to as ‘Homo Economicus’).  Daniel Kahneman, a Noble Prize-winning author, showed that Homo Economicus does not exist and that […]

September 13

What leaders can learn from Google’s Project Oxygen

Google ran an experiment to prove that managers are unhelpful.  The found something different – the right managers can be very helpful. Google established the 10 Oxygen behaviours of Google’s best managers (behaviours 3 and 6 have been updated and behaviours 9 and 10 are new): Is a good coach Empowers team and does not […]

August 09

Leadership hack 024 – is getting better more important than getting work done?

“Improving daily work is even more important than doing daily work” Gene Kim You never have enough time and resources, so you throw everything at the task at hand – getting the product shipped or the problem fixed. We have all been there.  It is very, very easy to focus relentlessly on getting your work […]

July 27

What you could learn from ‘Agile at Scale’ this months HBR (May/Jun 18)

In brief analysis of the top articles in the most recent Harvard Business Review.

July 26

Leadership hack 023 – setting team norms helps your team perform after the honeymoon has ended

Building great teams is notoriously difficult.  Setting an agreed list of team norms can help teams become more productive faster. Teams take time and investment to become high-performing (see here).   The most challenging phase is what Tuckman called the ‘storming’ phase.  Once the team has formed and after the honeymoon period is over, team members soon get […]

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