This is Product Dogs

For those that build digital products. A series of essays, ideas, and general thoughts on how to build better. 

How to say ‘no’ nicely

Written by For new product folk

Reading Time: 4 minutes

On my first day as a real PM, my boss told me that “80% of the job is saying no”. I don’t think it’s too far off the mark, and saying ‘no’ to people is definitely one of the harder parts of the job.

People from around the business come to you because they need something doing. It might be marketing wanting to change some copy on the homepage, sales asking for a new feature, or someone on C-level floating an idea you should look into.

PMs end up saying ‘no’ a lot.

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A quiet place – getting a response from unresponsive colleagues

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Image result for quiet place

There’s nothing more frustrating than doing a good piece of work, sharing it, and… no reply. You’ve done all the hard work, and you need other people to read it and give a 👍, or even just tell you that they won’t read it, but to go ahead.

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Don’t fix bugs just because they’re bugs

Written by Better product building

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A common mistakes product teams make is around prioritising bugs, tech improvements, and tech debt. The mistake is to treat them as separate entities from features, and prioritise them through a different process.

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Introducing HOWLAI – the rugby-predicting robot

Written by Machine Learning

Reading Time: 6 minutes
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How to not suck at giving product interviews

Written by Product leadership

Reading Time: 4 minutes

A major part of any product leader’s job is to hire a great team. You are only as good as your people, and your people are only as good your ability to recruit. Interviews are a major part of the recruitment process, and yet product interviews are often not given much special attention.

The interview process is where candidates will learn the most about a company. They will find out what their future colleagues are like; how they think and how they communicate. From the questions asked, they will learn what current employees values in colleagues, and what problems they’re currently thinking about.

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The problem-solving PM and the non-coding engineer

Reading Time: 6 minutes

The product management role can be hard to understand and articulate. I think I can make it clear, but it requires changing your mindset about engineers (and everyone in a tech team).

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Career advice for product people

Written by Career stuff

Reading Time: 8 minutes

I’m always hesitant to give career advice. While I’m proud of my career so far, I’ve had a few lucky breaks and help from some very smart people. This makes it hard to feel qualified to guide others myself.

However I’ve recently been reflecting on my journey and where I’ve made some good decisions. I’ve also made lots of mistakes, and where there are mistakes there are lessons. There aren’t many posts that cover this topic for product people, so I thought I’d write a few of them down. The following is by no means product-specific, but my experiences were formed in that context.

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NPS isn’t the metric you want it to be

Written by Better product building, Metrics

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Or: Why I’m a detractor of NPS itself.

Net Promoter Score is a de-facto metric for tech companies to measure how much people love their product. If you’re reading this you probably know what NPS is, or can easily find out so I won’t explain how to calculate it. Just remember that it asks users:

“On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend our business to a friend or colleague?”

The big question
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How to create a quarterly roadmap in sixty minutes

Written by Better product building, For new product folk

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Deciding what to work on is probably the most high-leverage task that product people can do. Spending 10 hours working on an important problem is far, far more impactful than 20 hours working on a non-important problem.

The trouble is, prioritising a list of work feels hard. There aren’t many how-to guides, and it’s a weird skill that you don’t truly learn through school or university. Unlike many product-building skills, you can’t passively learn it from playing with other products. You can see and Facebook’s design decisions, and be impressed by Snapchat’s speed, but that doesn’t give much visibility into how they make prioritisation decisions.

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Reading list for becoming a product manager

Written by For new product folk, For non-product folk

Reading Time: 5 minutes

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