Weeknotes 386

This week I did:

Doubling down

Had a couple conversations around the theme of knowing when to try something new or double down on things you think are working. The phrase originates from blackjack, so it kinda fits the idea of placing bets even when things feel pretty certain. When we talk about placing bets we mean deciding how much to invest based on the risk we perceive and our confidence in dealing with the risk. That decision making applies whether the thing is new or proven. Proven things should have fewer risks and greater confidence but they should still be thought of as bets

Finishing off

As the end of the year approaches I’ve been rushing to finish off the things that have been hanging around.

  • Migrated forms from one platform to another.
  • Planned out the work from our SEO/SGE strategy ready for the team to pick up next year.
  • Wrote up some thoughts on how we manage campaigns on the website. I’d really like to turn this into a playbook. And then turn that into an entire wiki for how we manage products.
  • User journey mapping for a new product. I love how it expresses the underlying logic of the product, assumptions about user behaviour, and makes explicit the questions we need to answer.


Consciously tried to do fewer things this week so I could focus on finishing off things, which means I completed 33 tasks, averaging 6.6 a day. That’s 55% fewer tasks than last week.

Achieved 35% of my weekly goals. The pattern I’m starting to notice is that one task gets completed, a couple get a bit done on them, and any others get nothing.

I interacted 68 times with 25 people (which is about 1/6th of the organisation).

I’ve been tracking this stuff for a over a 100 days now, so it seems like a good time to write a blog post about it.

I read:

Why autonomous product teams work better

This article is a few years old now but the point still stands. Collective intelligence is better than individual intelligence. Teams are smarter than people. Autonomous teams given the space to solve problems are best.

The 8 Key Challenges Facing Charities

The digital transformation of charities and the charity sector requires wholesale change to business models and mental paradigms. That comes with a lot of challenges. Michael’s blog post goes into 8 of those key challenges.

Move fast and fix things

I read a bit more of Move fast and fix things. I’m feeling a bit torn about carrying on reading it. On one hand I completely agree with the sentiment, but the way the book is written, as five easy steps, annoys me.

And I thought about:

Product management maturity models

I started looking at product management maturity models. They are all broadly the same, five steps and five or more dimensions across the steps. They define the least and most mature versions of how product management exists in an organisation. The question is, are they useful? What can they tell us about the state of product management in an org and what to do about it?

Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

Reflecting on how different team cultures interaction with one another, I remembered Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions. He identified four value dimensions: Individualist/Collectivist, Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, and Masculinity/Femininity (1967-1973). And later additional research identified a fifth dimension: Long Term/Short Term orientation (Bond, 1991). I wonder if teams were mapped by those dimensions we might see what causes conflict between them. For example, if one is more individualistic, avoids uncertainty and is focus on the short term, but another team they work with is more collectivist, embraces uncertainty and thinks long-term, then it makes sense there would be conflict.

Admitting defeat

Thought about when you should know to give up on something. I’ve been going on about ways of working collaboratively for a couple of months but have failed to convince anyone that it’s even a worthwhile goal, let alone try it. So the end of the year seems like as good a time as any to give up and accept it.

Leadership is about promises

Big and small, explicit and implicit, kept and broken. That’s the sum of leadership.