Resources for Product Leaders #3
Engineering advice from non-technical people, how to make better decisions when scaling a company, how to differentiate between good and great product leaders.
I’m still working my way to a better and more predictable cadence for the newsletter, but for now I wanted to share a few leadership articles I found really useful over the past few weeks. I hope everyone is having a good week so far!
This is a fantastic post by Marianne Bellotti, who discusses how advice she got over the years in non-software industries has helped her be a better engineering leader. This reflection, based on the advice “People like us make our money in the seams of things”, really stood out to me:
Security and reliability are more likely to go wrong in the seams between components. That means literal integrations, but it also means organization seams. Places where no one is sure who owns what, or who is responsible for what are unlikely to have proper monitoring and much more likely to be two or three upgrades behind. The seams are where things get lost, sometimes for years. So if your mandate is security or availability the seams are your best bet of finding a big pay off.
I am late to the Annie Duke party, but after reading this article with advice like this, I am all in:
“The framing that’s helpful here is asking yourself: Is there a way for me to make this a smaller decision than the one I am considering? It’s about realizing that, in some sense, you do have control over how big the decision is.” says Duke. “Founders should be continually asking: What's the smallest version of this that we can do at the least cost to us? Whether you have 3, 30 or 3000 employees, you should always bring that mentality to your decision-making.”
I immediately ordered her book Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts, and I am excited to dig in.
Gibson Biddle’s newsletter is always insightful, and this is one of my favorites. He discusses what he looks for when hiring product leaders, and goes into detail on each of the following points:
Here’s what I think differentiates great product leaders from good ones:
Great product leaders lead via the thoughtful articulation of product strategy.
They have both the creative and analytical skills to engage in experimentation via consumer science.
They not only are a great fit with the company’s culture but help to define it through their skills and behaviors.
Short and sweet for this edition. More soon as I try to get back into the writing groove!