Weeknotes 304


Data-driven decision-making

I’ve been thinking about and working on how we can use data to inform decision-making. It’s interesting because I can’t start with the outcome because I don’t know what decisions anyone might want to make in the future, so I have to start with the step before that and ask, what might people need to understand so they can make those decisions. From knowing what people want to understand we can figure out what data we need to collect, how they want to see it, etc., etc.

Charity in the 21st century

Did some more set-up for the first module of my Ambivalent MBA in charity in the 21st century. The first module is about the broader concept of charity, it’s history and how it fits in society, including government policy and mainstream media.

No single source of truth

This week’s Irregular Ideas newsletter was about systems of record and how all of the different computer systems that hold data about us mean the can never be a single source of truth.

It depends

I have an idea for a fun little website about the product managers giving answers to stakeholders, so hopefully I’ll have time to build it this weekend.

Thought about:

Product operating system

There’s a bit of a trend on product twitter at the moment of recognising the problem of framework-overload. There are so many frameworks, techniques and tools to use in product management that how is a product manager to decide which to apply, let alone really understand how each works and get the most benefit from it. It feels like there are two directions for this to go, one is to take a more human-centred approach where product managers focus on the skills to create the systems and processes they need in their context rather than looking to non-contextual frameworks, and the other would be to figure out how frameworks fit together and compliment each other into a product operating system. It might help product managers to understand frameworks better if they were more aware of the sources of the ideas and underlying assumptions. So, for example, to understand User Stories you need to understand Boundary Objects, and the understand Build-Measure-Learn you need to understand the scientific method.

Design systems for decision making

I had some interesting chats about design systems this week and thought about how they can be really useful for moving to goal-based web page designs over what-looks-pretty designs. So far, this thinking looks something like: design systems are more than just component libraries, they contain research about how the component performs in various scenarios, and advice on when and when not to use the component. This then allows designers to start a web page design from asking what goals it’s trying to achieve and select the components that best achieve them. I should write a quick blog post about it to capture the ideas.


Introduction to Modern Product Discovery

New stories of what it means to be human

We’re in a chasm between stories that used to function and new stories which haven’t yet gathered enough coherence to function effectively.” This is what my edition of Irregular Ideas about the state of our story-telling would have been like if I was a better writer.

John Ruskin

As part of the research into building my Ambivalent MBA I’ve added John Ruskin to the reading list. He was a philanthropist and radical voice in Victorian society so I’m interested to understanding if what was radical thinking back then is problematic saviour-complex thinking now.