Weeknotes 414

This week I did:

Alignment & autonomy

A while ago our delivery manager shared Henrik Kniberg’s Aligned Autonomy, which has been on my mind as an important aim for our team. So, this and the next few weeks are all about that. Also among other things, I…

  • Worked on the team training plan.
  • Prioritised work with the team for next quarter. Excellent session, shame it was rushed but we had a lot to do in a short space of time. On the plus side, it stopped us thinking too deeply about it.
  • Loved doing a bit of mentoring with another product manager.
  • Watched a webinar on the role of a service owner.
  • Chatted about the university’s business model.
  • Collected my thoughts about setting up a product community of practice.
  • Thought a bit about how product managers and service designers can work well together.
  • Sent my first three month’s survey to get feedback from people I’ve worked with.

The numbers

Completed 52 tasks.

Wrote 22 pages of notes.

Spoke to 40 people 79 times.

I read:

The principles of sociotechnical design

When I was 1 years old, Albert Cherns was writing a paper that would change my life. If you work on a cross-functional team, he changed your life too.

His paper on the Principles of Sociotechnical Design forms the foundations for modern cross-functional teams. For example, his principle on ‘boundary location’ sets up the management approach for cross-functional teams, by saying that the more the teams makes their own decisions, the more the managers role becomes about how teams interact.

The Self-Service Research Sweet Spot

Adrian Howard wrote about different types of research activities and how they split between user researchers and people who do research.

One of my secret little goals is to get continuous discovery activities going for our teams. It’ll make such a difference to the solutions we create.

And I thought about:

Team culture

I thought a lot about how to change team culture this week. I read stuff, listened to some podcasts, talked to people, and distilled it down to:

  1. Decide which things are important
  2. Behave in ways that show those things are important
  3. Do that relentlessly

If your not sure what’s important, let me tell you, talking to people is. It’s that simple. Talk to more people more often and you’ll already be changing your culture for the better.

Where have all the product managers gone

A while ago I did a quick study on how the charity sector sees the product manager role. To do the research I set up some alerts for product manager jobs in the charity sector. I had a quick look at the jobs from the past few months and there are almost no product roles being advertised. What happened? Are all the product roles in charities filled with awesome product people, or are are charities dropping product all together?