Category Archives: product development

March 24

What you could learn from ‘Infrastructure as Code’ by Kief Morris (2016, 326 pages)

Good book about modern software development are hard to find. Infrasturcre as code balance explaini the high-level pricnilpes with detail in a clear and compelling way. Infrastructure as code emphasises ‘consistent, repeatable routines for provision and changing systems and their configurations’. Changes are made to definitions, which are then automatically validated and cascaded across the […]

March 23

What you could learn from ‘Effective DevOps’ by Davis & Daniels (2016, 356 pages).

My advice is not to buy this book unless: You work in a large company that releases software less than one a week You have never heard of, or experienced DevOps I found this book very basic and too highly focused on culture. Much of the book is not aligned with other articles, book or […]

January 25

What you can learn from ‘Decode and Conquer’ by Lewis C. Lin (2013, 202 pages)

In his book ‘Decode and Conquer’, Lewis breaks down the separate roles of the Product Owner. His advice includes: Have a clear set of criteria for design (he likes Dieter Rams), these should be three of four criteria that you use to evaluate other/your designs The CIRCLES method of analysing design Comprehend situation (what, who, why, when, where and […]

December 28

What could you could learn from ‘Building Microservices’ by Sam Newman (2015, 250 pages)

When electricity replaced steam as the means of power in factories, there was initially little improvement in productivity. Factory owners just replaced their centralised steam engine, with a single electrical generator. Only factories when factories moved away from a centralised generator, to separate generators for each machine, where they able to operate machine independently, move […]

December 28

How to scale (5 of 5) – culture

In my last few posts I have discussed how successful scale-ups grow, and the fundamental components structure, process and architecture. In my final post, I look at possibly the most important aspect of company performance – culture.   Great culture means that you need less bureaucracy and control measures to protect your customers and your company.  […]

November 30

How to scale (4 of 5) – architecture

In my previous posts, I have talked about how start-ups scale, how to structure products teams and how to scale process.   Jez Humble suggests that architecture and culture are critical to scaling. On architecture Jez argues for: Build systems that are designed to be deployed easily into multiple environments, can detect and tolerate failures in […]

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 22

How to scale (3 of 5) – Agile (process)

In the earlier posts, I explored how successful companies scale, and ways to structure product teams.   In this post, I look at execution – how to get code shipped. Modern software development (Agile) differs from historic approaches (waterfall).   Agile is a commonly used term but is often embellished and miss-understood.  It is important to separate […]

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 […]

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