Product and Engineering Wisdom - Issue #17
Tips, advice and guides from Senior Product Managers
A free fortnightly email that highlights the relevant tips, advice, and case studies from the world of product and engineering for the SEO community.
In this issue, the topic is lessons from Senior Product Managers working with development teams.
Stay safe and enjoy.
P.S. I missed my usual two-week slot on Thursday mornings because I had just come back from camping in the Lake District. Apologies if anyone was waiting for the newsletter to hit their inboxes!
⚡Post of the Sprint
Reading time: 14 mins ☕
A practical Reddit post on the lessons learned from 10 years working in product management.
Adam’s Insight: I read this post and immediately wanted to share this via Twitter but I wanted to hold off for my SEO Sprint readers :).
I would highly recommend SEOs of every level read this, especially when working with development teams. A lot of lessons in this post can be applied to SEO (just swap out the word product management for SEO).
I know all of us are still learning and trying to pick things up as we go but some of the most important lessons for me working in a product/engineering team are:
Your team is the most important factor for success.
Learn how to adapt and evolve agile frameworks or processes.
Learn to improve your work and how you work with other people in a team.
Get better at communicating with your team (retrospectives, vision meetings, etc.).
Be consistent with your work and with other people.
I would highly recommend any SEO read this (I will also Tweet this out as well).
by Will Lawrence
Reading time: 12 mins ☕
Will Lawrence, a PM at Facebook, talks more about the context around the execution process within Facebook after a Tweet from a Facebook Product Manager became the centre of a heated debate.
Adam’s Insight: In many organisations, product and engineering can have a strained relationship that evolves around many believing product managers don't do anything.
From my own experience, I can say this is a load of 💩.
A PM's role is hard to define as so many organisations do it differently but I think this blog post by Will is great at unpacking what a product manager actually does.
This is really in-depth blog post that goes into:
Product Strategy vs Execution
PM Outcome responsibility > PM Execution
Meta-execution (executing through others)
Empowering teams to execute
Collaborating with developers.
If you're wanting to better understand how Facebook teams work with engineers then this is a very good "behind the curtain" look at what they do.
For example, PMs at Facebook get engineers to write the dev tickets 🙀 and prioritise the backlog. While they focus on the vision and strategy for the team. I've actually met other PMs who get developers to write user stories and help manage the backlog in terms of prioritisation.
I know this might seem alien to many SEOs but the truth is that collaboration to a point where you trust development teams to write technical tickets/prioritise the backlog is one of the best ways to communicate requirements for a feature, service or product.
At DeepCrawl we worked heavily with the developers to get to a similar point (I wasn't as good as Facebook) but developers were very involved in planning, prioritising and road mapping.
This is a great post if you are Technical SEO or SEO Manager who needs to work with developers on regular basis.
Reading time: 4 mins 👀
Linda at Product Lessons provides reasons why teams hate working with product managers (and behaviour that lands them on the 💩 lists.
Adam’s Insight: I think we all make mistakes and do things that we're not aware annoy people.
This is completely normal in real life but it can be dangerous if these habits cause work not to get done.
Linda provides five common behaviours:
Overstepper - A person who believes they know best (there are no "heroes" in teams).
Vague Scoper - A person who creates vague requirements and sends them to developers.
Complexifier - A person who is not decisive and adds "scope creep" onto projects.
Visionary - A person who hoards credit and deflects blame.
Deadline czar - A person who gives deadlines and estimates but doesn't code or design.
This is a great post for any SEOs who want to avoid classic traps that many product managers fall into.
Reading time: 14 mins ☕
by Jonathon Geeves and Jackson Moes
The engineering and product team at Atlassian provide more details on migrating Jira and Confluence into AWS.
Adam’s Insight: Understanding how engineering teams execute features on other platforms provides great insights into how they work.
This case study from Atlassian on further work on migrating Jira and Confluence into AWS is no different.
If you're an SEO who works a lot with development teams and wants to understand the complexity of large scale features — this is a great case study to dig into.
The SEO Sprint Retrospective
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