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Show, don't tell and the power of demos / PM Snacks 62
Learn more about Shape Up, how to drop estimates, and why demos are so important to build great products. Or even market them.
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1️⃣ The #NoEstimates Rebellion, A Technical PM POV
Jun 2022 • 4 min read • #execution #method
It’s been a few years since I dropped estimates completely. Depending on the team & product contexts, we’ve worked with Kanban (= no estimates, you manage the flow, it’s great for R&D) or ShapeUp inspired methodologies (= you define an appetite/investment, it’s been great to ship impact). What about you (= yes I’m trying a new substack feature, please help me test it)?
Building from his experience at Apple, the author shares some practical advice to enter a no estimates world. My favorites:
- Try to work in small chunks, starting with a deadline. Instead of asking your tech team for estimates, give them a deadline and ask if they can make it. If they can’t, keep the deadline and reduce the scope. It’s more or less the basic principle behind Shape Up.
- Incrementally make progress by releasing the work often. The best way: have a release train (= a release happens automatically everyday at the same time)… and most importantly, demo, demo and demo. It’s easier for the rest of the company to accept the lack of estimates if you show the work regularly. It also improves the quality very much (feedback loop becomes shorter).
2️⃣ The Demo → Demo Loop
Jun 2022 • 3 min read • #execution #method
Did I already stress the importance of demos (what a transition, I know 😉)? I was reminded of it while reading Tony Fadell’s book “Build” (highly recommended) and this great thread on Steve Jobs 👇
Not yet convinced? Be sure to open the article for a few more examples from game design to Pixar & Apple.
3️⃣ The role of design(ers) within a cycle
Jan 2020 • 5 min read • #execution #design
Through my coaching sessions I’ve been exposed to more people making the switch to the Shape Up method. One question that comes back pretty often is: “when should the designers work on the final design?”. Like they explain in this thread, I also believe that designers & developers should team up at the same time to come up with a satisfactory & feasible experience. Designers, please stop working before the cycle begins, it’s the best way to turn your work into frustration, even resentment…
4️⃣ "Disregard the Words"
May 2022 • 5 min read • #design #manageyourself
At uku (my company) we’ve been working for some time on the marketing of our product to be released. It’s been hard to come up with the right way to present it since we are trying to invent a new category. Some people define us like (yet another) metaverse but we refuse this label. We did not choose these words popularised by Facebook/Meta and more importantly, they don’t capture what’s unique about us. After reading this essay, I stopped focusing so much on the words anymore. They limit our perception. I guess we will just show it instead. Look at how Apple advertised its first iPhone, there was no label, just use cases 👇
⏳ How To Maximize Your Team's Impact
May 2021 • 4 min read • #execution #empowerment
Most clicked link, shared one year ago in PM Snacks 39.
Asking your designer to "mock the feature X" is like asking "Gordon Ramsey to follow your grilled sandwich recipe"... not a good idea. This article gives clear examples & a framework from Brandon Chu to really empower your team:
1/ Consider the relative skillset of a team member (designer, data, eng) & your relative skillset
2/ Depending on the answers the relationship will fall in 3 possible buckets: support, partner, lead. Adapt your style to the current situation & set relevant challenges for your teammates.
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