🗑️ Substract before adding, unship features & the opensource content of TikTok / PM Snacks #36

Olivier Courtois
Jun 8 · 3 min read

1️⃣ Adding is favoured over subtracting in problem solving
Apr 2021 • 5 min read • #strategy #manageyourself
A bias worth taking into account when you design a system: we tend to think by “addition” (features, settings, offering) rather than subtraction. Not convinced? Think of a new product one-upping a competitor by adding one more feature or even the law (in France we went from 214k to 331k legal rules between 2002 and 2021). When designing, always start with the questions: can we unship things? can we simplify?

2️⃣ Upsides to Unshipping: The Art of Removing Features and Products
May 2021 • 29 min read • #execution #longform
Be the Antoine de Saint-Exupery of Product Management: unshipping is essential to maintain a healthy delightful product. In this long article you’ll find many examples and tactics (don’t be scared, it’s easy to skim through it).
1/ When designing, you have 2 superpowers: saying no to new things and unshipping
2/ 8 reasons to unship a feature: it no longer aligns with the strategy, it’s buggy, it has limited returns in time, it engages only a small subset of users, it’s obsolete, it’s redundant with a better solution, it’s incompatible w/ your product, it’s costly
3/ Unshipping will generally positively impact your internal metrics (= maintenance costs) & some external metrics (= satisfaction)

3️⃣ Start by counting things
Jan 2021 • 2 min read • #data #strategy
Obviously, to be able to unship some features (and orient your product strategy) you need to monitor it (by using a mix of qualitative and quantitative signals). If you have ever been in the same situation as me, it’s possible that you are looking for the “perfect” metrics. This pressure leading you to immobilism. John Cutler has the best of advice: instead start by counting things.

4️⃣ Open Source Content is the future of user-generated content
Jan 2021 • 5 min • #design #strategy
I’m fascinated by the rise of Tiktok and its strategy: algorithm-oriented UX, growth & now, by the nature of its content: multidimensional. When you watch a Tiktok, you are not only watching a single video file but actually a video file + a soundtrack + an applied effect + some metadata. Meaning that if you liked it, it’s actually very simple to reproduce the same video with your own content. And it works: on Youtube 1% of viewers produce videos, on Tiktok it’s at least 25%!!

📺 Replay FR — How to structure your product team?
6th May 2021 • 45 min watch • #org #AMA
Last week I was live with Fanny Jacob (VP Product @OpenClassrooms) for a conversation on how to structure product teams. We talked about the profiles we look for in our teams, how to mentor PMs, processes & I shared why I usually advise against empowered/impact teams.

I’m Olivier Courtois, a product maker for 10y+, currently freelance, coach& Startup advisor, former VP Product comet & Product Director ManoMano.

If you liked what you read 👉👉 Join over +1.5k readers from some of the best product led companies (like AbTasty, Blablacar, Cowboy, Double, ManoMano, Payfit, Productboard, Spendesk, etc.)


Product Management Newsletter by Olivier Courtois


A sharp, human & opinionated product management curation made to cut through the noise. Once a week, on https://productver.se. 2 weeks later on medium.

Olivier Courtois

Written by

10y+ in Product, now freelance / coach / advisor • Newsletter at productver.se • ex- VP-Product comet & Product Director ManoMano


A sharp, human & opinionated product management curation made to cut through the noise. Once a week, on https://productver.se. 2 weeks later on medium.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store