Product and Engineering Wisdom - Issue #8

Tips and advice on why it is important to keep things simple

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 been two weeks which means another issue of product and engineering wisdom.

In this issue the theme is keep it simple.

I’d highly recommend reading the following posts as they all highlight case studies and process which can help to reduce complexity:

Stay safe and enjoy.

Adam


⚡Post of the Sprint

Why Pinboard beat a VC start-up

by Product Lessons Newsletter

In this newsletter the focus is on the underdog story of Pinboard and why they were able to buy out Delicious. The winning formula seems to be a powerful story for product teams: keep it simple and reliable.

Adam’s Insight: This is a great case study and warning to many businesses.

Any organisation as it grows can become bogged down in processes and releasing new products or features. A lot of product and engineering teams focus on shipping features (feature factory’s).

However, adding more features or processes adds more complexity which can move focus from solving customer problems to maintaining buggy code/ complex processes.

This is a great case study for SEOs as it provides a warning for those building new websites: Keep websites simple and reliable.


✨Product

Scoping the whole user journey

by Ignacia Orellana, Lead Service Designer, Government Digital Service

Ignacia Orellana talks about the why it is so important to map out user journeys and provides a practical example of starting a limited company on the GOV website.

Adam’s Insight: One of the key lessons I’ve learned from the product community is that it is very important to map out user journeys.

They can provide a mile high view of your user’s journey and provide insights on where a team should focus its effort.

This case study by the Government is a similar process that we had at DeepCrawl to map out user journeys and identify pain points for customers.

Customer feedback also provided insight into these journeys and helped us update these user journey maps. It also made us realise even the simplest user journeys can be complex (from a user’s perspective).

This is a great read for any SEO, Design or Content Lead.

Designing for Cognitive Bias

by Mind the Product Podcast Team

Design for Cognitive Bias author, speaker and filmmaker David Dylan Thomas discusses how product teams can make better decisions faster.

Adam’s Insight: Cognitive bias is something that I didn’t really think about until I was helping to build software.

This is great podcast if anyone wants to start learning more about this subject and how they can make better design or content decisions.

This is a great read for any SEO or Content Strategist.


⚙️Engineering

Building Trust Levels during COVID

by Jeffrey Butterfield and Ivy Chen, Yelp

Jeffrey Butterfield and Ivy Chen talk through how they quantified and measured trust levels of local business information.

Adam’s Insight: Any business who has information submitted to the platform by users’ needs to make sure the information can be trusted.

This is great insight into a product and engineering team identifying a potential customer pain point and then creating a system for other teams to quantify trust levels.

This post won’t be for everyone but for any digital team who looks after website which lists information from suppliers or from users this might be of interest.

How we ship code faster and safer with feature flags

by Alberto Gimeno, Github

Alberto Gimeno discusses how the Github team use feature flagging to make iterative code changes to existing features while lowering risks of deployments.

Adam’s Insight: Feature flagging is crucial for making iterative and fast code changes.

I learned this lesson working directly with engineering teams when they switched to using feature flagging. Our code releases become more frequent because risk was hugely reduced as only admin users could see the code.

This meant we could test and release code to production without fear of breaking the user journey (or app) for users.

Feature flagging cannot be used by everyone, but this is something I’d recommend any team investigate to see if it can help make code changes faster and safer.

A good read for any Technical SEO or SEO Product Owner who works directly with an engineering team.


Retrospective

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