This week I did:
Whoever it was who said the role of a product manager is to turn ambiguity into certainty knew what they were on about. I spent some time doing that this week. We’re working with a partner to develop an online tool that we’ll turn into a product, but it turns out we’d missed the basics of managing the work and so no one knew why we’re doing, who’s responsible for what, how we’ll create a product, etc. But getting people together and collating our existing knowledge and the gaps into a document helped us get aligned.
It also started me thinking about what our product strategy might look like in the future, how we’ll join up all the different products. Hopefully I’ll find some time to give it some more thought sooner.
I completed 60 tasks this week, an average of 12 a day. My busiest/most productive week so far. Next week is already looking busier. I have 22 meetings already booked, totally 15 hours, which is 40% of my working hours. But like Matt Ballantine says, “meetings are the work”.
A shower-thought lead me to realising that all the tasks I complete for all the things I work on align to my four objectives. So I added a tab to my spreadsheet to show counts and percentages against my objectives. The sheet needs some tidying up, but it seems like its coning together into a more comprehensive system.
Building Resilience In the Nonprofit Sector
This report delves into the nonprofit sector’s journey and digital needs from 2020 to 2023. One of the insights is that lots of charities wanting a CRM and not many agencies offering CRM services. I wonder if that’s because implementing CRM’s is so complicated that it’s more effort than it’s worth. I’m also not sure every charity really needs a CRM either. I think if they really looked at their use cases they’d find that they need a marketing platform, or a reporting and data visualisation tool, or a case management system.
Networks and the Nature of the Firm
This article from 2015 talks about the “ongoing transformation of business by the Internet” and is worth looking back at. It’s especially interesting when thinking about digital in the charity sector, and how the transformation the sector needs isn’t more tech, it’s a new business model.
The drumbeat of digital
This McKinsey (yeah, I know) article talks about a strategically important it is for modern digital organisations to increase the cadence of their activities. It reminds me of something I read ages ago about organisations becoming more agile. If something that was previously done annually is done quarterly, it’s now four times more agile than it used to be. If it’s done monthly, it’s twelve times as agile. And weekly makes it 52 times as agile as it used to be.
3-day AI-powered design sprint
This is an interest idea. It’s a bit ‘magic blackbox’, like a lot of AI solutionism right now, but it’s still an interesting idea.
I thought about:
I have a 15 minute session at the start of each day which I use to plan what I’ll be working on. A colleague looking at my calendar asked if I was doing improv comedy. I said no, although me trying to plan my day is a bit of a joke.
But, actually, I really believe in having regular, dedicated time to check you’re focusing on what you need to, and help you feel in control of your day. ‘Plan, do, review’ is so much better than just ‘doing’.
Stopping things is hard. People are bad at it. Organisations are really bad at it. Most processes are designed to keep going forever. Path dependency and other biases keep us moving forward and taking on more and more. Even well-designed processes like Kanban don’t have a stop built into them, they just keep going and going.
Doing the work vs delivering value
Doing the work isn’t enough. Doing the work doesn’t deliver value. Delivering value takes coordination, communication, relationships, influence. We can ask, have I done everything I could to get the value I provide into the hands of users?