🎢 Product Managers = Investors (metered funding, learn when to stop commiting, …) / PM Snacks #35

Olivier Courtois
Jun 8 · 3 min read

1️⃣ Empowered product teams and metered funding
Apr 2021 • 9 min read • #strategy #execution #mustread
I often talk about Product Managers as Investors (I developed this idea in this French video). The metaphor goes this way: your fund (= your squad’s time), your bets (= the initiatives you’ll work on), your investments (= the time you are okay to invest in each idea to have an impact). This article refines some ideas:
1/ Big returns don’t require big bets. Instead, invest as little time as possible. As the VP Eng @Shopify puts it: “Optimizing for speed leads to faster learning. Faster learning leads to higher quality. Optimizing for quality is an obstacle to speed, which undermines learning and slows down improvements to quality”
2/ Determine in advance the proxy metric & success threshold. Choose a leading metric.
3/ Be okay with failure. Every product work is actually betting on ideas. Like a good investor, only 30% of your bets will win & you’ll need to learn when to stop investing on the others (more on this topic below 👇)

2️⃣ Start Stopping Faster
Sept 2020 • 7 min read • #strategy #execution
We all have experienced this bias: you commit to an idea, let’s say developing a new feature. Then, either you never iterated on it even though it could be a failure, or the results were unclear and you decided to invest a little bit more.. leading to an escalation of commitment. The more you will invest, the more difficult it will be to stop, even with mediocre results. A few solutions are suggested in this article:
1/ Make decisions reversibles. This way you can still bet in a risky way but not live for too long with the consequences
2/ Make work more visible. Resist the temptation to wait for the right quality or moment. Share your work, and even more importantly your metrics.

3️⃣ How to Write Detailed Product Requirements without Killing Creativity
May 2020 • 10 min read • #execution
I’ve been asked these questions many times: how do you preserve delivery quality while empowering your team? How much should you specify? Some food for thoughts in this article but in my opinion you should change the interactions with your team:
1/ The PM should define the “investment” very well: an articulated problem + a clear success metric + a limit of time to deliver a first solution + boundaries
2/ The team should experiment around a solution in the first few days, think of going uphill: POC, timeboxes, etc.
3/ The team should write the stories: some will be by the PM, others by the designers or engineers. The PM should review the test cases & definition of done.

4️⃣ UI Wtf — a collection of interactions that feel right
Apr 2021 • 3 min • #design
A cool collection of user interface patterns and interactions that are useful & delightful. If you encountered them in real life, you must have felt: “holy cow, it just feels right, how did we do before?”. It’s a tribute to the wonderful designers out there & good reminder to make remarkable products. Btw: I invite you to browse the website on desktop, it’s full of easter eggs!!

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

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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.

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