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🍷 Monthly wine tasting, mental models & boards / PM Snacks #48

1️⃣ Product Management Mental Models for Everyone
Aug 2018 • 13 min read • #manageyourself
This is one of the materials that influenced my craft the most. I highly recommend you read it at least once a year to internalise all the learnings. Here are my highlights:
1/ Time horizons — asking how we can create the most impact in 3 months vs in 3 years, will result in dramatically different decisions for your team. Key learning: to prioritise anything, always think in terms of time horizon & ambition level.
2/ Key failure indicator — pair the success KPI with a KFI to focus on healthy growth. The KPI captures the metric you want to go up & the KFI the one you want to remain stable. For example: I want more daily active users (KPI) with a stable D30 retention (KFI).
3/ Diminishing returns — when you focus on improving a specific product area, with time, you’ll require more efforts to produce similar impact. It seems obvious, but the key learning is that you should always assess the larger context to evaluate if the efforts are still useful. I actually recorded a podcast on this very topic based on my experience at comet (in French).
Bonus/ Apart from the mental models I talked about, some of my favorites are: Confidence determines quality, Experiment, feature, platform, and Version 2 is a lie

2️⃣ Looking at Example Boards
Sept 2021 • 5 min read • #execution
John Cutler (disclaimer: I read everything he writes) shares some kanban boards and explains what he would assume about the teams. It’s a great read to question your squad organisation and find ways to improve your flow in order to:
1/ better distribute responsibilities between team members
2/ have better focus
3/ visualise important steps like breaking the traditional “Done” column in “Limited release & tweaks, Released & measure, Fully released”. The idea here is to enable iterations and prioritise impact, not just the features delivery.

3️⃣ Startups Should Stop Using OKRs and Shift to OGSMs
Apr 2017 • 2 min read • #strategy
In one of my last coaching session, I was just introduced to the OGSM format that resemble the (too) famous OKR model but with some improvements. OGSM stands for Objective, Goals, Strategies, Measures. The main benefit is that it actually combine the Why/What (objectives & goals) to the How (strategies, measures & tactics). As a result, it’s a very short and self explanatory format to communicate the product strategy to the whole company. In my opinion, it’s a better communication device than a roadmap or OKRs.

4️⃣ Wine tasting and product design
Sept 2021 • 3 min read • #design #empathy
When was the last time you used your own product? Medium struggles with this too, so they found a solution through their monthly “wine tasting” sessions. Spoiler alert: there is no wine involved. Find out more about the process in this short article.

5️⃣ Fat Protocols
Aug 2016 • 4 min read • #tech #web3
A lot of new people have joined us this week so let me explain why I share this article. Since early sept I’ve been doing a series on web3 because I believe this will be the next tech wave. You can browse the medium archive to find the introductory material. In today’s article, the author explain why we are entering a phase of “fat” protocols. What he means is that, on Ethereum the applications won’t matter much compared to the protocol. Since the data is replicated on every node, the code (contracts) is publicly available, and collaboration is incentivised through tokens… the application built on top have no defendability other than creating the best experience. For example: Opensea, the leading marketplace for NFTs for the last 3y has 200 to 300k unique users. This week, Coinbase announced its own marketplace and gathered 1.2M signup in 24h out of their 70M users.

I’m Olivier Courtois, product maker for 10y+, currently building my startup (uKu), sometimes product coach & Startup advisor. Former VP Product comet & Product Director ManoMano.

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Olivier Courtois

Olivier Courtois

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