Designin, stylin and profilin …

My previous two posts covered the why and what of my side project. Now that I had clarity on that part, it was time to start building …

You can read Part One and Part Two, but it’s not required for understanding this post.

For my side project, I had decided on a chrome extension that would hijack the ‘new tab’ functionality of chrome. My new tab would then provide the cues and triggers of what I should be focusing on today. …

I knew why. Now the question was, what to build?

My previous post covered how I needed to build something that had a purpose. How I had come up with a simple problem and through rethinking it as an outcome rather than merely a problem, I had a desired outcome to work towards.

If you’d like to you can read Part One, but it’s not necessary.

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If the first post defined the gap that existed — the why, then the project needs to be built. This post will attempt to define what it is that I need to build and how I came to that solution. …

2017 is the year of my sabbatical.

Early on I knew that I wanted to travel, read, reflect and work on a side project. It’s been too long since I’ve been able to build a project myself and really flex my coding muscles. What better opportunity than a 9 week sabbatical?

Right away I had a few different ideas.

  • Learn some swift and build a simple calendar for the MacOS menu bar (with a nice flat styling).
  • Play around with Angular 2 and create a simple nameplate site that was a little more dynamic than
  • Build a sketch extension that would challenge my math skills.


A little history

Back in 2015 our R&D team started to work on an internal product to improve cross team and company wide collaboration. This project emerged from staff feedback that pointed out we collaborated really well within teams, but poorly between teams in our company.

The R&D team defined a number of problems …

  • Staff didn’t know what each team’s purpose was
  • Staff weren’t sure of who does what on each team
  • Roadmaps and active work were obfuscated within various project management tools and processes
  • Teams lacked a clear purpose that was connected to the company/product strategy
  • There was no clear or…

When I look back on the meetings I’ve had over the years, far too many have been a waste of time and effort. Don’t get me wrong, some were life changing, with insights and ideas that have shaped the products and teams I’ve worked on and even shaped myself. Most though, were draining. Whether it was because there was no plan, execution, outcome or participation, they just didn’t have the right ROI. Of course some are just plain productive. A chance to get to inbox zero is an opportunity that I can’t complain about.

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I would be surprised if you…

Just to be clear, on the off chance that Winds of Winter (George R.R. Martin) actually gets realized this coming year, then you can ignore everything on here and assume I’ll be reading A Song of Ice and Fire from the cover to cover, then taking my time with Winds of Winter.

Otherwise, this is my reading list for 2017. Some I’ve already read so they’ll be a quick revision, others are more reference material. It is a lot. However, by the end of the year I want to level up on a number of my Product Management skills.


Chris Nicol

Geek: eccentric: a person with an unusual or odd personality

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