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Welcome! Here you'll find my collection of writings on product management and productivity. I am sharing my knowledge and experiences learned over my career in the hopes that it will help you excel in your role.

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New Stanford Marshmallow Test

Good scientists (and product managers) constantly test assumptions and change their minds based on new data.

I read a lot about Behavioral Psychology / Economics which is a fascinating subject area if you are a product manager.

One of the studies I will often find in books is the Marshmallow Test. If you’ve never heard of it the concept is easy to summarize.

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When product veterans make rookie mistakes

Sometimes “veterans” make rookie mistakes.

This week was my turn, if you’re in #productmanagement come along and learn from my mistake.

When I coach product teams and they ask me to review their user stories or roadmap, I’ll always ask them “How will you know if you’re successful?” Often times teams will scratch their heads and say something vague like “they’ll use it.”

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Why don't you just ...

If you have worked in product management for more than a few months someone has said this to you. It's deeply frustrating and can feel condescending.

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Product managers should embrace constraints

Force constraints on yourself as a way to change your thinking.

I ♥ grocery shopping and am always looking for ways to make things more efficient.

In our most recent release of ClipDish I wanted to add support for sending ingredients to a shopping list. The obvious solution is to add a grocery list feature into ClipDish.

Upon reflection, I realized that would take longer than I wanted with no clear return on the time investment.

Instead, I ended up integrating ClipDish with Apple Reminders. This cut the implementation time from weeks to hours. It also added some additional features like Siri and shared lists that I wouldn’t have even thought to include in the first version of a feature built from the ground up.

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The value of product management

I’ve spoken with a lot of CEOs from engineering led organizations who don’t understand how a much a good product manager helps their bottom line.

Here’s what I tell them.

Great product management drives down the cost of development because it front loads mistakes where the cost of being wrong is low.

In other words, if you’re learning that you’ve built the wrong product after you’ve released, you just ran a $$$$$ experiment that I could have probably done for less than $1000 and some interviews conducted via UserTesting.com.

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Always Be Testing

Make sure that you use checklists when you are testing anything that is sent to a user.

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What are the hidden costs of a company policy?

Company policies have hidden costs. Have you thought through them?

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How-to quickly clean old newsletters in Apple Mail

I receive a ton of email newsletters. I try to unsubscribe but let’s be honest who really wants to go through and manually click “unsubscribe?”

I know there are paid services that will manage your inbox for you. I just don’t feel like spending the money.

Here’s a way to nearly automate batch deleting tons of email in macOS Mail.

So, if you want to follow along, launch your Mail app and let’s get going.

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Product Manager & UX Interview Exercise

When I interview Product Managers or UX designers I usually block off time for an interactive exercise to see how a candidate tackles product problems. This involves designing a feature for app or website. Not to design the “right” solution but to observe thinking. I don’t want “free work” from the candidate so it’s never about my company’s products. Rather, I’ll take an application that I’ve used recently that I find particularly irksome.

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