Product and Engineering Wisdom - Issue #6

Tips and advice on how to develop a digital strategy

free fortnightly email that highlights the relevant tips, advice, and case studies from the world of product and engineering for the SEO community.


Hello 👋,

It’s Thursday, which means another issue of product and engineering wisdom.

In this issue the theme is developing a digital strategy with tips around business vision and strategy to QA testing.

If you’re interested in learning more about product strategy, I’d recommend the Podcast: Developing a digital strategy from the UK Government DWP Digital. I’d also check out the BBC’s Quality engineering for a shared codebase which goes into how the BBC reduces bugs in their code releases.

Stay safe and enjoy.

Adam


⚡Post of the Sprint

Podcast: Developing a digital strategy

by UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Digital

The first episode in the DWP Digital podcast speaking with Simon McKinnon, Chief Digital and Information Officer and Helen Roberts, Digital Delivery Director.

They talk about the steps involved with developing a digital strategy around the UK’s biggest government department.

Adam’s Insight: When creating a strategy it’s always important to understand the business goals and vision.

So many SEOs focus on tactics but it is always important to make sure any playbooks are part of a wider strategy to achieve business results.

This is a great podcast which gives you insight into how a UK Government digital department creates their digital strategy around so many problems.

What I very much enjoy about this episode is that both directors talk about everything they’ve learned and how they are going to use that moving forward.


✨Product

Best Books for Product Managers

by Ken Norton, Bring the Donuts (Ex-Google Ventures)

Ken Norton, an Ex-Product Manager at Google Ventures, gives a list of best product management books that should be on any PM’s bookshelf.

Adam’s Insight: There are so many good books on this list (so many!).

Many SEOs keep asking me about the best books to read, well here is a much more comprehensive book list than the product management book list I put together.

If you’re interested in learning more about product then I would add a few of these books to your list (all of them are on my reading list).

Stop being the hero

by Linda, Product Lessons

Linda discusses why the best product leaders are not heroes.

Adam’s Insight: When I moved to the product team, this is a lesson I learned very quickly.

There are no heroes in Scrum or Agile frameworks. There is a team which works together to solve a problem. Your job as a PM is to provide direction, user perspective and priority to the backlog of work that needs to get done.

But you are always part of a team, which should learn together.

Since I have moved back into SEO, I’ve noticed a few SEO specialists gatekeep or override a team’s ability to learn or even understand the problem.

I’d recommend any SEO specialist read this if you work with a team to deliver change to a website.

Discovery - Excuses

by Marty Cagan, Silicon Valley Product Group

Marty Cagan discusses the excuses that many product teams make when they are seemingly unable to do product discovery.

Adam’s Insight: Product discovery and user research is an essential part of building successful products.

I’ve experienced and witnessed what happens when a team mistakes assumptions, for user research. You can overengineer the feature or even worse not solve the customer pain point.

As SEO specialists we need to make sure that our strategies and tactics are also inline with solving customer pain points.

I’d recommend reading this if you’re unsure about doing user research/discovery in an SEO campaign.


⚙️Engineering

Quality engineering for a shared codebase

by Abigael Ombaso,  BBC Design and Engineering

Abigael Ombaso, Senior Tester at the BBC, discusses their team building a shared platform for its digital products to reduce development complexity and improve code quality.

Adam’s Insight: Automated testing in SEO is a becoming a hot topic amongst enterprise clients.

This is a great post on how the BBC improved communication channels which led to better QA testing and improvement in code quality.

As a Product Manager I have witnessed how important and critical QA engineers are in picking up issues before they are released to staging and production.

Many companies have seen the negative impacts of missing SEO bugs, for example ASOS lost 87% in profits due to SEO code changes. It is now more important for technical SEO tests to be integrated into QA testing to catch these issues.

I highly recommend reading this post if you’re a Technical SEO specialist in a large enterprise organisation.

Client Tracing: Understanding Performance at Scale

by Justin Rushing, Slack

Justin Rushing, Staff Software Engineer, talks about client engineers running into issues with debugging app performance issues and the solution to trace these issues.

Adam’s Insight: This won’t be every SEO’s cup of tea but speed isn’t always about Core Web Vitals.

As a PM I’ve seen the depth of analysis development teams need to go through to understand a bug or performance issue.

This is a great example of a engineer documenting how exactly they trace and debug an app performance issue.

A great read for any technical minded SEO specialist interested in performance, debugging and Slack engineering.


Retrospective

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