Roger Swannell

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Weekly Update 75

Last week’s update

What happened this week…

  • Launched the new Wedding Favours.
  • Began advertising Wedding Favours.
  • Updated our Roadmap into Confluence.
  • Met with PR to discuss Wedding Favours, Fascinators and Gifts from the Heart.
  • Discussed Mass Participation and fundraising digital marketing.
  • Discussed MyMarathon merchandise advertising and considered.
  • Attended Interface Design Workshop between AX and the warehouse.
  • Attended ‘Improving Shop Page on the main website’ workshop.
  • Discussed Clothing product development with the Accessories Team.
  • Met with the RMSP Testing Manager to discuss plans for testing interfaces between AX and Magento.
  • Worked on Brand refresh requirements.
  • Began plans to launch Gifts From The Heart.

Read this week…

Doing next week…

  • Updating the monthly finance report.
  • Discussing interfaces between AX and Magento
  • Starting Magento requirements for RMSP.
  • Revising the GDPR Project Plan.
  • Adding Gifts From The Heart range to the Online Shop.
  • Starting plans to launch Fascinators.
  • Developing future aspirations for our clothing range.
  • Discussing Events Marketing.
  • Holding the Ecommerce Monthly Management Meeting.

Interesting stat of the week…

  • So far in 2018, 50% of our traffic was on mobile device, 30% on desktop, and 20% on Tablets, but when it comes to placing an order, 42% was on Mobile, 37% on desktop, and 21% on Tablets. Is this due to usual customer behaviour or does it show that we need to focus more on Mobile traffic to get the Convertors up to the same percentage as the traffic?

In the not too distant future….

  • Discussing the opportunities around ‘Give In Celebration’ for promoting our Wedding Favours.

Highlights from “Observations on Product Management” by Dan Hill

Highlights from “Observations on Product Management”

” The job of Product Management is to deliver good products to end users. The sheer number of possible definitions of good, product and user mean there’s no standard look to a Product Manager. But if you don’t deliver, the product is not good, or no-one uses it, you’ve done it wrong.”

” There’s good process and bad process. Good process is any that allows the team to produce better work faster, with joy and elegance. Bad process is anything else.”

” Incremental development and vision are not orthogonal; they both require the other. All product must start with a vision — a point of view — but then be built critically step by step. It’s ok to learn something new as you go.”

Exploring modern agile principles: Make people awesome 

As my interest in Modern Agile grows I’ve been looking for situations at work from which I can learn about how to apply the principles and how to work in a way that makes people awesome.

Modern Agile

There is a project team (who aren’t Agile) who seem to have a culture of focusing only on what they need. They don’t seem to be able to hear the needs of anyone else from any of the other teams they work with. I can see how this culture can develop in a team that is so completely focused on hitting deadlines and not having any part of the project slip beyond its allotted schedule, and I can see how this culture is the opposite of the Modern Agile principle of making people awesome. In this situation, the people that work with that project team don’t feel awesome because they aren’t listened to, and are given the message that the project team are able to command their time and effort without being able to feedback on whether they are focusing on the right things at the right time. And I doubt that the project team feel awesome as they probably feel like getting anything done is a struggle against the people who are supposed to be supporting them on the project (of course, they don’t recognise that those people have other work to do outside of the project because they are so focused on their project).

I’m not going to try to suggest a solution to this problem as I don’t think the situation/culture will change, but I definitely want to learn from it. So, I’m going to try to:

– Communicate more clearly,
– ask questions to encourage discussion,
– remember that other people have their own priorities,
– actively listen for implied meaning and ask follow-up questions,
– ask what they need to be successful,
– allow open honest conversations,
– and encourage everyone to be able to positively challenge what anyone says.

I hope that if these practices become part of the projects I’m involved with then we can all help to make each other awesome.

Technological leap frogging

I heard a programme on BBC Radio 4 about a business supplying small solar power packs to the people of small villages in rural Africa.

These villages have no electricity infrastructure, and batteries and kerosene are expensive, so households purchase a solar power pack, which they pay for over eighteen months. This empowers the villagers to electrify the village without having to wait for the government to build national grid – type infrastructure which is cost prohibitive anyway.

This is a great example of how technology can be used for revolution rather than relying on evolution as we often do in developed countries. Mobile phones are another great example. They leap frogged land line technology and went straight to mobile technology, which meets their use case better.

I wonder how this approach of leap frogging could be used on small scales to deliver products that meet customers use cases but ignore the accepted best practice of iterative development. Does it rely on the evolution to have happened elsewhere? Does it need to follow a distributed model; be very localised and empowering of the users with minimal support from a larger authority?

Weekly update 74 

Last week’s update…

What happened this week…

  • Began defining stock adjustment logic between the warehouse and AX.
  • Set up the new Wedding Favours on the Online Shop.
  • Set up the new Pin Badge on the Online Shop.
  • London to Brighton Off Road Tickets went live.
  • Manchester to Blackpool Tickets went live.
  • Investigated selling postage stamps on the Online Shop .
  • Added more info to our strategy document.
  • Conference call with our Magento agency to talk about moving to Magento 2.
  • Created Marketing calendar for the online shop.
  • Order status updates went live.
  • Reviewed Functional Specification Documents for AX.
  • Reported on CPR Training Kit sales.
  • Quarterly Online Shop product Roadmap Planning meeting.

Read this week…

Doing next week…

  • Confirming budgets for the Online Shop rebuild.
  • Attending the Warehouse Interface Design Workshop.
  • Reviewing priorities for GDPR.
  • New Wedding Favours going live on the Online Shop.
  • New Pin Badge going live on the Online Shop.
  • Continuing to define Stock Adjustment logic.
  • Discussing Mass Participation and Community Fundraising marketing.
  • Discussing PR opportunities for the Online Shop.
  • Planning MyMarathon marketing.
  • Finalising Brand Refresh project plan for quoting.
  • Looking at improvements to the Shop section on the main website.

Interesting stat of the week…

  • This year so far, 35% of the products ordered were Pin Badges, and second was Christmas cards with 27% of total units ordered.

In the not too distant future….

    New t-shirts with new branding

Laying out clothing shops

Clothing shops layout their ranges with the same item with different sizes on the same rail, but is that how people shop?

Why don’t clothing shops create sections of sizes so that shoppers can go to the area with the clothes that will fit them and see if there is anything they like, rather than looking for items they like and then see if the size is available?

Disruption eventually gets disrupted and consumed by the establishment

Uber is held up as an example of of how to disrupt an entire industry, in this case the taxi industry. But sooner or later disruptive ways of doing things butt horns with the establishment. Industries like taxis are regulated by the government, the government makes the laws, and the government doesn’t like it when those laws aren’t adhered to. That’s when companies like Uber find their ‘disruptive’ ways such as not considering their drivers employees challenged and disrupted by the establishment, which decides that those drivers are employees. In this way the establishment takes away any disruptive advantage, and eventually consumes the disrupted into the mainstream of the industry.

The government’s own digital team proved this when they looked at ways to disrupt and digitise the process of buying road tax. They were faced by a law that prevented what they wanted to do. Of course, the solution was to change the law, which they did, but something disruptive companies can’t do.

Crypto-currency, the application of block-chain technology to financial transactions, will go through the same cycle. It’s still too new a technology to have developed a useful application, but it will. And when a disruptive company comes along that can commercialise that application successfully they will be eventually be faced with a government that says ‘play by the rules or don’t play at all’. This is the cycle of innovation in regulated industries. It starts with the birth of the technology, then the application of the tech to disrupt an industry, then the legal challenge by the establishment, and finally the disbandment or consumption of the industry.

Weekly Update 73

Last week’s update…

What happened this week…

  • Finished the development requirements for the new community fundraiser website.
  • Designed the customer journey for purchasing CPR Training Kits.
  • Created an MVP chatbot for Dechox.
  • Updated the business costs tracker.
  • Worked through some of the logic for stock adjustments.

Read this week…

Doing next week…

  • Updating the Online Shop marketing calendar for the year.
  • Meeting the new Stock Control Manager.
  • Meeting with iWeb to discuss Magento 2.
  • Going live with Order Status Updates.
  • Planning marketing for Dechox, MyMarathon, and London to Brighton.
  • Reporting on CPR Kits sales.
  • Quarterly Online Shop Product Roadmap review meeting.

Interesting stat of the week…

  • Looking back over the last three months at the visitors that made a purchase, 50% were new visitors and 50% were returning visitors.

In the not too distant future….

  • Launching our new wedding favours.
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