Product and Engineering Wisdom - Issue #4

Tips, advice, and insights from the world of product and engineering for SEOs

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

Hey everyone 👋,

For those of you who are new to the fortnightly format, I give a round-up of interesting posts from the world of product and engineering for SEOs.

I also provide my own insight and what SEOs can learn from these posts.

Newsletter News

I’m hard at work and writing content for this newsletter around Technical SEO Delivery Providing practical advice and tips on how to work better with developers.

So, watch out in the next few weeks for my first email.

⚡Post of the Sprint

Do Things That Don’t Scale

by Colleen Graneto, Airbnb

In this webinar Colleen Graneto, a Product Manager from Airbnb, talks about lessons learned when trying to scale and launch products.

In this talk, Colleen shows the audience why it is better not to scale a feature straight away. Instead, she talks about why it is important to use simple solutions to learn and validate ideas. Then once validated learn to scale.

Adam’s Insight: One of the biggest pitfalls in software development is spending 6 months building a product/feature and then getting customer feedback. Only to learn that the time and budget used to build the feature that never solved a customer pain point.

The concept of building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and putting it in front of customers to validate ideas is widely used in product communities.

A must for SEOs to better understand real-world case studies around the idea of MVPs and validated learning.


The Discipline of No

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

Ken Norton, an Ex-Product Manager at Google Ventures, talks about the power of developing a soft skill to say no.

Adam’s Insight: I can relate a lot to this interview. As a PM at DeepCrawl I was constantly saying no to quite a lot of feedback and ideas.

That might seem harsh, but the truth is that any development team can only do so much. It is very important that any ideas or features being worked on have been validated, discussed and mapped to a business strategy.

This helps the dev team keep on track with planned features and keeps releases consistent.

If you’re an SEO specialist this has a lot of insight into dev/product teams pushing back on ideas.

Product Alignment at Miro

by Farbod Saraf, Miro

Farbod Saraf, Product Lead at Miro, takes you through his Product Alignment Framework. Farbod uses this framework to make sure different stakeholders were aligned on the product roadmap, goals and structure.

Adam’s Insight: Developing a product strategy requires alignment. In fact, it’s critical.

As a PM you need to make sure that different stakeholders from senior managers, commercial teams to software developers understand a product or feature.

Alignment requires constant energy to make sure each stakeholder still understands the product strategy.

If you create and manage an SEO strategy this is a great example on how a B2B product team get buy-in and alignment on their product roadmap.


Passwordless Login: Reengaging Business Owners

by Krista Poon, Yelp

Krista Poon, Software Engineer, shares a great example of product and engineering teams taking action when listening to customer feedback at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adam’s Insight: This is a great product case study of a team reviewing customer behaviour, listening to feedback and identifying a solution to solve the problem.

Even a simple customer problem, like passwordless logins, can take a number of engineers time to find a solution.

This is an excellent read for any SEO specialist wanting to understand the effort and process that goes into building a simple solution.

Fighting spam with Guardian

by Hongkai Pan, Pinterest

Hongkai Pan, Software Engineer at Pinterest, takes you through the evolution of building a rules engine called Guardian to fight spam on the Pinterest platform.

Adam’s Insight: This is a very technical post about building a system and likely not for everyone.

For those of you who are interested in the implementation detail this is an excellent post which details the logic of moving from one technology to another.

For example, one factor many engineering teams need to think about is the cost of running infrastructure. For example, Pinterest found that their Python rule engine was found to be more expensive than the new query engine.

Any SEO specialist interested in implementation detail and technology will find this an interesting read.

Visualizing Data Timeliness at Airbnb

by Chris Williams, Ken Chen, Krist Wongsuphasawat, and Sylvia Tomiyama, Pinterest

The Pinteresting engineering team discuss creating an SLA Tracker product, a visual analytics tool designed to monitor late data at Airbnb.

Adam’s Insight: A great case study on the effort required from product, engineering and design teams to even begin to measure a problem.

The ability to measure customer pain points is critical when developing solutions but it is not always easy to capture that data.

Once the problem can be measured it is a lot easier to understand the impact of development work, feedback to a team and define success.

As SEO specialists it is important to make sure you have some way of measuring a problem you want a development team to solve. It makes it much easier to communicate the issue, measure the solution and the impact of the work on the business.


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