The anti-pattern I’d like to explore today is the Ponzi roadmap. It usually starts with the best of intentions but has extremely harmful effects as a company scales.
When a company is in the initial stages and has a small engineering and product team the planning model that emerges is what I call the pooled model. Engineering is considered a pool of resources and usually composed of full-stack engineers. The product is typically small and mostly a monolith, every engineer can work on anything and there are just a few PM’s (maybe just one). Since we are all agile, every quarter the PM comes up with a list of priorities and outcomes, engineering staffs the priority from its pool of engineers and delivers outcomes. The next quarter rolls around and we do this all over again. Engineers move on to working on different things every quarter. This makes perfect sense in a small company – but goes horribly wrong as you start scaling up.
Continue reading “Anti Pattern – The Ponzi Roadmap”
Some books/podcast/blogs that i’m enjoying at the moment!
Continue reading “Reading and podcast recommendations”
Feedback is a gift, but not all gifts are useful :). Which feedback to listen to and what to discard? What is useful and what isn’t?
Continue reading “Feedback, when to change and when not to”
Human beings crave certainty and in the world of product management it translates to “estimates of value”. Product managers have to make tradeoffs regularly on what initiates to work out next. At a certain stage of the company the need for “formal estimates of the value of doing X” will kick in, otherwise, how do you know to work on X or Y? There will be an overwhelming desire to quantify everything to the nth detail before deciding what to do next. We all know the dangers of that – If you torture excel enough you will get the answer you want. Use of a complicated bottom-up model in the early stages of a product’s evolution is a huge warning sign for me.
How to counter this?
Continue reading “Beware of false precision”
A thought experiment on the sort of fintech experiences and products we’d want as consumers in the distant (or near) future. The thought process is structured as a conversation between an older father and an adult son. Italics is the dad.
So son, hows your financial life going? Everything under control?
Oh, Fiona’s got it all covered.
Continue reading “Magic and Fintech – a thought experiment”
I’m obsessed with the financial crisis, love reading about it, love learning from it. Humans have a huge bias towards positive outcomes and learning more about how crises happen, has helped me counter that bias. Additionally, learning from other’s failures make our lives a bit more bulletproof!
Continue reading “What blowups can teach the product manager”
A key skill in my opinion as a product person is to identify “idea de-railers”. Idea de-railers are specific phrases used to block ideas from going further. Once you can identify this pattern, it’s much easier to plan around it, and as leaders attack it head-on. Below follow some choice de-railers from my collection.
Obvious disclaimer, Yes product managers should be empathetic, yes everybody in the company is driving towards the same thing so idea-derailers seems a bit harsh of a characterization, yes this is not ideal company culture, yes yes yes. However, reality is an approximation of the ideal, it always helps to understand human behavior (good and bad) and have a plan to tackle. These are just techniques that have been useful to me 🙂 Continue reading “Idea killers, how to bounce back”
Read a great book over the weekend – Fatal Risk: A Cautionary Tale of AIG’s Corporate Suicide by Roddy Boyd. Just buy the book, its full of wisdom. One of the many things that jumped out at me was how deeply Hank Greenberg, who made AIG into the powerhouse it became before the fall, was acutely aware of risk.
Continue reading “Risk on, Risk Off – Hedge or die”
A few common threads that I hear these days, that are super interesting,
- $NAME stock is a great buy – typically one of the FANGS or $TSLA
- Bitcoin is going to the moon
- You can never go wrong with real estate
- I am an angel investor (*part-time)
Continue reading “I wonder I wonder – a few questions”