January 25

What you could learn from ‘Lean vs. Agile vs. Design thinking’ by Gothelf & Seiden (2017, 39 pages)

Modern product development is rife with frameworks and philosophies. Many books and articles attempt to provide their own interpretation, mainly to sell books. In their book ‘Lean vs. Agile vs. Design, the authors do a great job in explaining the basics of each, and providing a good list of recommendations. The diagram below from Gartner […]

January 15

What you could learn from Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh (2018, 299 pages)

In their book, Reid and Chris argue that blitzscaling is a general framework and specific techniques that allow companies to achieve massive scale at incredible speed. The authors use examples of Airbnb, Google, Uber, Zappos and Tencent (among others) to bring their frameworks to life and rienforce thier asertions. The main tenant of blitzscaling is […]

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.  […]

December 14

Leadership hack 026 – balancing delivery and discovery

As a leader you want your team to deliver and meet their objectives.   However, there is a problem with just blindly following a plan – the real world. In WW2 a group of soldiers got separated from their unit and ended up lost in the Alps.  Far away from friendly forces and in danger from […]

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 15

What you could learn from ‘Building successful communities of practice’ by Emily Webber (2016, 70 pages)

Emily argues that to be a resilient and happy organisation you must invest in the learning and development of its people as a whole.  In her book, she argues that communities of practice are the best way to encourage learning and development. “Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or passion […]

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 […]

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