#30 Product & Engineering Wisdom
Tips and advice on Web Performance Stories, Roadmaps and Big Bets.
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Hello The SEO Sprint Subscribers 👋,
New Subscribers: The Product & Engineering Wisdom newsletter is a monthly roundup of blogs, podcasts and talks from the product and engineering community that might help SEOs who work with tech teams.
I’ve also written 3 practical essays in October 2022:
News: I’ve been blown away by the interest and feedback since I started to write on weekly basis from Sep-22 about working with product and engineering teams.
I’ve managed to gain nearly +900 subscribers in the last 90 days with active members from a range of different industries and organisations (SMEs - Big Brands).
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has subscribed!
I’ve got plenty to write about so let’s see if The SEO Sprint can hit over 3,000 subs in November.
Please feel free to share the newsletter with anyone you think would be interested.
Stay safe and enjoy,
⚡Post of the Sprint
💻 Spotify: How to Create a Web Performance Story
Reading Time: 8 mins
Summary: In this blog post, Vinicius Teixeira Dallacqua an Engineer at Spotify discusses how his team convince stakeholders that investing in Web Performance is worth it.
The Bottom Line
This is a great and concise blog post on how to show other stakeholders why investing in improving Core Web Vitals is important.
The engineer at Spotify talks about using “Performance Story” and takes you through the following steps of data gathering to build a story:
Get to know your lab data
Get to know your users
Identify what to measure
Gathering metrics on a live environment
View performance from user's perspective
What is great about this blog post is that a lot of data and tools in this blog post are used by SEOs on a daily basis (Chrome, Lighthouse, BigMetrics, etc.).
Also, the engineer links to some handy guides to measure and debug performance with Google Analytics 4 and BigQuery. There is a useful video and article from Google I/O 2021.
This is a great read if you’re a technical SEO or in-house SEO in a large organisation and want to know how a company like Spotify track Core Web Vitals to get investment.
📟 ProdPad: Building better product roadmaps
Reading Time: 55 mins
Summary: In this podcast, Lenny Rachitsky interviews Janna Bastow the CEO of Prodpad (product tool), co-founder of Mind the Product community and the creator of the Now/Next/Later roadmap framework.
The Bottom Line
The Now/Next/Later roadmap framework is used as an alternative to the traditional Gantt Chart roadmap that reveals deadlines to stakeholders.
If you’ve ever worked in a technical team (or in the product) you’ll understand project deadlines set in 3-6 months are usually never hit. This can cause conflict within organisations between business and technical teams (I’ve witnessed this first-hand).
Janna Bastow created the Now/Next/Later roadmap framework because the timeline roadmaps are ineffective when communicating to stakeholders. I’ve used this framework both as a PM and as an SEO. It can be an effective framework for framing what is coming up next.
In this podcast, Janna talks through the problems with roadmaps with Lenny and how teams can create effective roadmaps.
I’d highly recommend listening to this podcast if you have to build roadmaps to communicate with other stakeholders.
📟 WhatsApp: Big bet, start small: Mastering the art of the big bet
Reading Time: 44 mins
Summary: Alice Newton Rex the Product Director at WhatsApp explains common trends that are used by successful companies when they make big product bets.
The Bottom Line
The idea of “bets” is not new in the product world.
In this talk, Alice Newton talks about how enterprise organisations like the BBC, Deliveroo and Wise make “big bets” on product initiatives to solve both user and business problems.
What I find fascinating about this talk is Alice’s take on big bets.
She states that big bets are not “new ideas”. For example, the BBC iPlayer came about after the team had launched BBC radio online. Once that big bet had shown success, then launching BBC iPlayer just made sense.
The biggest problem with big bets is knowing when to place them.
Alice states that there are two types of bets:
Bottom-up: Big bets that are owned by employees that come from pre-existing teams.
Top-down: Big bets that come from management and are handed to employees
The idea of placing bets is starting to catch on within the SEO community, for example Andrew Charlton talked about treating SEO recommendations like an investment portfolio (who place bets to drive long term growth) at BrightonSEO.
If you’re an SEO who makes strategic decisions then this talk by Alice is a great watch.
How to Be a Truly Great Head of Product: Strategy
Reading Time: 7 mins
Summary: A blog post by Alex Allan on the lessons he’s learned as a Head of Product when developing a product strategy.
The Bottom Line
In this blog post, Alex parts some lessons he has found when putting together a strategy for a company.
In this post he highlights that:
Getting your head around strategy helps to become a better leader
Well-researched facts help you spot problems for both customers and the business
Product strategy is not separate from the business strategy
Using the “Kernel” from Good Strategy/Bad Strategy.
If you’ve taken the SEOMBA course or read the SEOMBA newsletter a lot of these lessons will resonate with you.
For any in-house or agency expert who wants to learn a little more about product strategy this is a quick and easy read.
💻 Intercom: Engineering principles: Shaping the solution & building in small steps
Reading Time: 15 mins
Summary: A podcast from the Intercom marketing team who interviewed Group Engineering Manager and Principle Product Engineer on the company engineering principles.
The Bottom Line
Although this podcast uses a lot of fancy words for my taste, it does provide a great example of how principles can help teams make decisions in squads in large organisations.
I’ve talked about SEO & Engineering Principles in another newsletter on how SEO teams can create:
Definition of success
Build shared understanding between individuals
Develop a ubiquitous language between teams
Avoid repeating mistakes when working together
If you want to learn more about how engineering principles help to build products incrementally in practice this is a great listen.
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