Retrospective April 2023

I’m going to try out some different retro formats, and this month it’s the starfish.

Keep Doing

Tackling the four big risks (valuable, usable, viable, feasible) to create a quality product environment. Last month I started to work on improving how we test throughout the product development process, and on infrastructure reliability. Lots more to do here but stable tech and usable products feel like the most urgent.

I’ll keep working on my side projects:

My reflective practice of daynotes, weeknotes and monthly retros and delivery planning continues. It’s the most consistent thing I do. I also reorganised my roadmap a bit to make it clearer which items are achieving which goals.

Less Of

Starting new things. Both at work and for side-projects (the list is growing again). High WIP is a constant theme for both. I think I managed to highlight one of the ways that unplanned work arises and gets in the way of planned work.

More of

Systems thinking and mapping for understanding what makes things work the way they do (mostly human behaviour, assumptions, cultural practices, all the kinds of things I find hard to understand).

Using mini roadmaps/kanbans for each project to break the work down into more achievable chunks. I have these in my head but it would be better to have them documented.

Stop Doing

Holding on tightly to things that matter to me but don’t matter to anyone else, e.g., what I see as the corruption of good practice. It’s just not worth the stress of trying to communicate why it should matter to others. I know it’s part of a bigger problem (systems mapping above) but I can’t change it by being dogmatic.

Start Doing

Thinking through side-projects rather than jumping into creating something just because it interests me. Basically, be my own product manager. But still giving myself the freedom to follow my interests. I think I can create some kind of template for this.

I’d also like to see if I can connect my side-projects and thinking more coherently. It makes sense to me that the stuff about responsible product management is one of the practical aspects of system-shifting product management’s vision stuff. And the technology charity is an example of system-shifting product management and using technology to achieve social impact at scale. So, I think they do connect, but maybe not in a very obvious way.

Finding opportunities to connect with people (in and outside the team). I don’t know how yet, but it feels like a valuable thing to do. My usual thinking is that this needs a ‘vehicle’, a reason to spend time together and talk about things but maybe that’s not always the case.