Product and Engineering Wisdom - Issue #15

Tips and advice on how to collaborate with development teams.

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

Hello 👋,

In this issue, the topic is tips on how to collaborate with development teams.

The articles in this edition of the SEO Sprint will provide tips on how to better work with developers, including:

Stay safe and enjoy.


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⚡Post of the Sprint

How and why we switched to Continuous Deployment on GOV.UK

by Ben Thorner, Developer and Jonathan Nichols, Senior Product Manager

The GOV UK team tell the story of transitioning from manually deploying changes to automating code changes using "Continuous Deployment".

Adam’s Insight: The term Continuous Deployment is discussed much in SEO circles.

So, when I saw this post I was very excited to share it but what is Continuous Deployment (CD)?

It's a software release process that automates testing, validating and releasing code changes to a production environment.

Why is this important? This process makes it easier, faster and safer to make frequent deployments to a live environment.

This is what the team at GOV UK found when they transitioned from manual deployments to a Continuous Deployment (CD) process across 50 different apps.

Now the average deployment on GOV UK site only takes 0.5 days, rather than 3 days. The idea of iterating releases isn't new. It's part of the core principles of agile.

Successful product and engineering teams release code frequently as it helps to validate tested ideas quickly. Iterative deployments also help agile teams learn how to improve processes and solve customer problems.

Doing frequent and small deployments over time is one of the most important lessons I learned at DeepCrawl.

However, Continuous Deployment isn’t simple to execute. Even at an organisation like GOV UK Digital Service they have only just begun implementing it (70% of apps will have a CD process by Sep-21).

If you're interested in learning more about Continuous Deployment and a case study of it being implemented this is a great "beginner" blog post.

A recommended read for SEOs of any level (technical and non-technical).


Tips to collaborate better with your development team

by Paul Rehmet, Shipa Freight

Paul provides tips and advice on how to better collaborate with engineering teams.

Adam’s Insight: As a product manager you must work well with development teams.

Paul the Chief Product Officer of Shipa Freight provides some excellent tips on how to better collaborate with development teams. Paul recommends:

  • Understand the art of engineering - Show an interest in the craft and let developers explain technical solutions.

  • Provide positive feedback - Provide feedback to individual devs for good work and be specific.

  • Expose developers to customers - Expose your developers to customer interviews and data to get a sense of the impact of their work.

  • Get developers involved early - Invoice tech leads early on in scoping out projects.

  • Understand technical debt - Engineers care about reducing technical debt (making it a priority), if your projects align with reducing technical debt this can help get them on your side.

  • Build relationships, not control - Engineers want to work with you, not for you.

  • Strong communication - Developers appreciate strong communication, vision and clear requirements.

Although these tips are aimed at product managers they are still useful for any SEO working directly with a development team.

10 Visual Models That Let You Simplify The Most Complex Ideas

by Aditi Priya

Aditi a Product Manager discusses the importance of using macro and micro visual models to communicate to different internal stakeholders.

Adam’s Insight: The use of visualisation models are fast becoming one of my favourite ways to communicate to stakeholders.

Aditi provides a great introduction blog post on how product teams can use visualisation to communicate to different stakeholders. What I like most about this blog post is she splits the models into macro and micro views.

The two tools she recommends to create these models is Miro and LucidChart.

If you're an SEO specialist who needs to communicate with development teams I highly recommend giving this a read.

How HubSpot Builds Self-Service Education Tools Customers Love

by Eric Peters, Hubspot

Eric a Growth Product Manager at Hubspot talks about how tool documentation can help SaaS companies save money and delight customers.

Adam’s Insight: Answering support tickets isn't something many SEOs will ever have to understand unless they work for a SaaS company or build their own tool.

For product teams managing support, tickets are super important in satisfying customers. Eric provides great tips and advice on why creating self-service educational content is so useful for any SaaS company.

As a PM at DeepCrawl I saw the importance of managing support tickets and the different ways this can be achieved (internal wiki, in-app Q&A and external documentation).

I would recommend this for any SaaS SEO who wants to better understand why self-educational content is important (not just for SEO).


Email Classification

by Sarah Henkens, Slack

Sarah is a Staff Software Engineer at Slack and goes through the Slack Connect feature which allows customers to collaborate with internal and external emails on the same channel.

Adam’s Insight: I always enjoy a technical detailed explanation of a feature from an engineering team.

In-depth technical blog posts are likely not going to be for everyone.

However, getting a better understanding of the technical solutions your developers implement is important. So, I would urge you to start reading more of these technical blog posts.

For any non-technical SEOs, this article uses a lot of diagrams to show systems behaviour (see Aditi visual models blog post).

The article also mentions that a lot of decisions were made to reduce costs and make the feature scalable. These factors are nearly always mentioned in technical blog posts from engineering teams, and it's important to remember these factors are important to the business (so consider when looking at your projects).

The SEO Sprint Retrospective

Please feel free to leave feedback so I can improve this newsletter.

Provide Feedback