Neurodiverse burnout

Listened to the WB40 podcast with Georgina Shute about her business KindTwo and how she is helping leaders with ADHD to avoid burnout.

Three word definition

I’m changing my three word definition of product management to, ‘discovering worthwhile problems’. It used to be ‘discovering valuable problems’ but I think it’s a bit complicated to think of a problem as valuable, but being worthwhile makes more sense. Worthwhile problems are problems enough people have, aren’t satisfied with the current solution, are willing to change to a new solution, etc.

User mental models

Got a mention on Matt Ballantine’s blog about understanding the mental models users bring to products and how it informs how they use a product (probably more than the interface does).

Charity redundancies

Lots more charities are making redundancies. The crisis is just getting started. I don’t think the sector will ever be the same again.

Ten years

Almost finished my blog post about product management in charities. Not sure whether I need to add a caveat about it probably not worth most charities investing in product management.


Personal OKR’s

I’ve been trying out OKR’s to get back into delivery planning. It’s easy to decide what I want to do, but really not easy to answer the questions of ‘what am I trying to achieve’ and ‘how will I know when I’ve achieved it’. For example, the three things below are part of my OKR’s going into Q1 because I want to talk to more people, get ready for my new role, and read books. But what am I actually trying achieve and how will I know?

Product leaders Whatsapp community

Joined to actual community proper. There are a lot of names I recognise.


Learned a bit about some of Salesforce’s products.


Read a bit more.

Leaving gift

Black rucksack


Complex system changes

The only way to know how a complex system will behave after you modify it is to modify it and see how it behaves

I guess this insight is the basis for lots of modern ways of working.

100 coffees

Had a very interesting chat with Matt Ballantine.

Product community

Joined Scott Colfer’s product community WhatsApp group.


You can measure bad road design by the number of horns sounded.

Applications by quill and parchment only please


Energy activities

Some activities build energy, some drain energy. Arrange daily activities accordingly.


Last day

My last day at RNID. Thanks ChatGPT for writing my leaving speech.

Screenshot of goodbye meeting

Three words people used to describe me: challenging, calm and kind. I’ll take that.

HTML presentation

Giles Turnbull blogged about making presentations in html so they can be viewed in a browser. I love this idea, so I started creating a html presentation. It’s easier to keep on brand, is more accessible and useable, and, when I sort out the css, works on mobiles. I might try to use it in my new role.

Three word definitions

Think I’ve figured out my three word definition for product management: “discovering valuable problems”.

Reading Marty Cagan

From ten years ago:

The product map


The givens

It’s the givens, the things that are so obvious as to not need to be talked about, are probably the things that need talking about the most.


Some steps towards psychological safety

1. Interpersonal – Two people sharing and supporting each other.

2. Small group of like-minded people – Bringing people together quietly.

3. Team – Being more public about safety behaviours.

4. Organisation – Know you’ll never get here.

Be kind, be cool


(Thanks, Neil)


Can maturity frameworks exist without value judgements?


Read some weeknotes:

Ten years in charity product management

Wrote some more of a blog post on my ten years as a product manager in charities. I’m at the ‘no one will want to read this, there’s no point finishing it’ stage.


Mobile phones

Still amazes me that a single device can be a phone, a book, a map, a notebook, a clock, a stopwatch.

Neurodiverse leaders

First article I’ve ever seen about neurodiverse people at work being anything more than employees who need support.


Training courses



Delivery standards

I love a good standard. And this blog about delivery standards from DWP is really interesting. Looks like some overlaps with project management.


Looking back over the last ten years of my career has made me realise how lucky I was.

Show and tell

There’s no business like show and tell business.


Nemesis follows hubris

When you think you’ve got it right, something will come along to show you how wrong you are.

More on principles

I believe in being principle driven, but have often struggled to explain why it works. Now I have some direction for that explanation. It comes out of the mathematics of chaos and the idea that simple rules can create complex patterns. So, good principles are simple rules that set out how a pattern will develop but don’t define or constrain it. John Cutler’s “Start together” is a good example. It sets a pattern of working collaboratively, involving different perspectives, creating shared understanding, but it doesn’t say who should be involved, how they should work, etc.

Team history

Do team’s remember what they’ve done? Do they ever think about what wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t done it? Maybe ‘lifetime shipped value’ should be remembered more. Maybe it shouldn’t always be about the next big win, but accumulated small wins over time.

The end of classical statistics

I was reading some articles on how LLM’s are doing things that classical statistics says they shouldn’t be able to. The articles didn’t go into the implications for the field of statistics but it made me think, wouldn’t it be cool if AI led to a new understanding, a new paradigm for statistics. Classical statistics would be history, just like classical geometry, and whatever comes next would be part of a new way of seeing the world. That’s the kind of unintended consequence that AI could lead to that isn’t really about AI but about the world it creates.

Psychological Safety Grows-up

Although I’m not really a fan of maturity models, this is post from Paul Byrne is interesting for helping to show how much further there is for teams to go.


Investment in teams and work is about more than time and money. Mostly, it’s about people’s attention that you need to get them to invest.

Zero-to-one problems

Ha! Zero-to-one problems are easy. You should try minus-ten-to-one problems.


Ask the people they worked with

Why do reference requests go to line managers? They should go to peers.

Shifting what product managers do

From managing production to managing risk.

UK tech for good

There are quite a few websites:

More on ratchets

“A ratchet is any mechanism that allows progressive movement in one direction and prevents slippage backwards.”


“…tend to self-perpetuate. This occurs because the process involved also changes the underlying conditions that drive the process itself. In turn, this creates or reinforces the incentives and expectations of the decision-makers involved in such a way that sustain or further escalate the process.”


Ratchets explain why organisational design can’t be treated like product or service design. Products and services have in-built ratchets, changes only happen if they are consciously made, including changing back to a previous state. Organisational change needs to incorporate ratchet mechanisms into the changes, there needs to be more reinforcement of the change than there is drag back to a previous or undesigned state.

Stigmergic priorities

Behaviour communicates actual priorities, regardless of ‘strategic priorities’.

What’s holding us back? Why not-for-profits are struggling to be fit for purpose in the digital age.

Still no real need though…


As above, so below

Wherever you draw the line of symmetry in an org structure, the same patterns reflect.

Effectiveness over efficiency

I remembered that someone on Twitter once told me that it’s much easier to become efficient if you’re effective, much harder to become effective if you’ve focused on efficiency.

Volunteering vs Assigning

When a person assigns a task to another person, the assigner becomes responsible for ensuring the task is completed by the assignee. By removing agency and ownership from the assignee, we strip them of responsibility – “I didn’t really have the time, knowledge, interest, skill, etc. to do this. The ‘boss’ made me.”

We also rob them of the subtle learning about what they’re capable of, what gives them confidence to take things on, and the joy that comes with commitment and success.

When team members volunteer for tasks themselves, they do so with a greater sense of clarity around what they’re taking on, increased ownership of the decision to do it and how to do it and ultimately more pleasure in the work itself.

This shift leads to better outcomes, greater learning about skills and capacity, and even greater desire to do more.



We shape our tools and then our tools shape us

Marshall McLuhan

You know when you’ve crossed the line to being shaped by your tools when you have to hire into a role that is specifically for administering a tool.


Strategising is more interesting than strategy.


Types of problems

Novel problems require a scientific approach. Non-novel, well known, problems require an engineering approach.

Tackling non-novel problems with an engineering approach starts with established knowledge and good practice.

Modern product management

Is what’s going on with Marty Cagan and Transformed part of a paradigm shift out of Euclidean geometry or just another social media blip? I don’t think you can tell from within the product community, the change only happens if people outside do something different.


Teams and orgs not creating ratchets that maintain a change is a problem. When people leave and others join, they have to start again and redo the thinking of those who left because their efforts weren’t sufficiently established and embedded.

Psychological safety

Got some stickers.




I’m getting more optimistic about the potential use cases for AI. Wherever there’s data, there’s an opportunity for AI.

The real genius will be where someone figures out creating data that no one has thought to create yet, and then uses AI to analyse and augment the data.

Of course, the usual risks and concerns with AI still apply.