Weeknotes 365

This week I did:


I was on leave this week so didn’t do much work. It gave me some time to think about what I want to focus on outside of work. I could try working on the book I started about what a technology charity might look like, or that white paper I started about system-shifting product management, or maybe something new. Don’t know yet, and I don’t know how to decide.

No drama LLaMa

I’ve been using LLaMa a bit this week instead of, and as well as, searching for info. I feel like I’ve lost some of my curiosity about new tech over the last year, so maybe I need more resolve to explore things without an end in mind.

I read:

Why Agile Coaches Can’t Be Product Coaches

It’s weird how much “agile” gets conflated with “product” when they are so different. Petra Wille’s blog post talks about why agile coaches can’t be product coaches, but I think the overall point is that so much of (generally poor) product management is about delivery, which makes knowledge of agile as a delivery method seem like pretty much the same thing. So, more product management focused on discovery is the answer.

Exposing the Invisible

The Kit is a collaborative, self-learning resource that makes investigative techniques and tools used by experienced investigators more accessible to people and communities who feel motivated to start their own investigations, collect and verify information, build evidence and create a better understanding of issues without losing sight of ethical or safety considerations.”

Lean product lifecycle

I started reading the lean product lifecycle.

And I thought about:

Being an autistic manager

There’s hardly anything useful on the Internet about how to be a good manager if you’re autistic. Plenty about being a neurotypical manager and making the most of that one autistic person on your team (can you sense my sarcasm?), but it’s almost like no one expects autistic people to be managers. Even LLaMa says, “It’s important to recognize that autistic individuals bring unique strengths and perspectives to the workplace, and they can be highly effective managers when provided with appropriate support and accommodations.”.

Great strategy disrupts power hierarchy

Great strategy provides clear guidelines. It enables everyone to make coherent decisions. Maybe the reason so many organisations don’t have great strategy is because it requires leaders to hand over decision making power to those responsible for delivering on the strategy. It takes away from the leaders’ authority, it disrupts their power, they can no longer choose what they want delivered.

The fire control problem

Ages ago, I started working on an idea for a goal-setting method that started with deliberately vague goals and used fast feedback loops it iterate and refine the goal as you get closer to it. And more recently I’ve been wondering if the same approach of embracing uncertainty to start and validating your way towards (more) certainty might be a useful approach for product development. If I might try to spend some time figuring out how it might work in practice.

Discretionary quality of engaged workers

I heard a podcast talking about engagement at work that mentioned one of the benefits of more engaged workers putting in more discretionary effort. It doesn’t seem to fit for modern knowledge work, where more value is always the result of more effort. So I wonder if, for knowledge work, discretionary effort is replaced by discretionary quality. An engaged worker chooses to do great work rather than merely good enough work.

Behaviours over tools

Emily asked about how we might help teams bump into artefacts like roadmaps when working remotely. The thing that struck me about the answers was that they were all about tools for collating information and not about how to build a behaviour of referring back to information wherever it’s stored. I guess it’s parts of the “watercooler moments” narrative of remote work that no ones knows yet how to manage the flow of information.