Getting Tech Teams Closer to "The Business", and The Twelve Days of Product Christmas
I think we can all agree that product management would be substantially improved if Morgan Freeman could read out our roadmap updates.
New Podcast Episode: Helping Tech Teams Get Closer to "The Business" with Effective Conversations
I first met Douglas Squirrel through work when he was helping do some due diligence on a deal (that subsequently never happened). He clearly knew his stuff, but I had no idea that he’d developed a system for having good conversations or written a book about it. Once we reconnected, he was an obvious choice for a conversation… about conversations!
I’m a big fan of getting product and tech teams closer to “the business” because it feels like so many teams are treated as cost centres, disconnected from the why of the work. Squirrel has some fine ideas about how we might change that, so if you’re struggling to connect with your commercial counterparts, give it a listen!
Tech teams need to get closer to "the business" and care about profit
Companies hire expensive engineers then get them into endless discussions about nothing, and lock them into backlogs. If engineers are given full business context, they can help to change the world.
The Twelve Days of Product Christmas
I’ve parked the podcast till the new year and, to be honest, I’m a bit tapped out when it comes to content. I’ve got 64 stouts & porters to drink, an entire refrigerator full of food to eat, and then I’ll be back! In the meantime, I wanted people to have a chance to go through some of my best episodes. But how to choose?
Well, obviously I could just take the top episodes by the number of downloads, but that’s an imperfect measure of quality. What? Well, I very much divide the podcast into 3 eras (so far):
The pre-Cagan era
Covering from the beginning (August 2020) through to Marty Cagan’s episode (March 2021), where a good episode might get 300 downloads.
The post-Cagan era
After Marty’s episode, things picked up and I also began to attract other big names (albeit my explicit goal has always been to not only focus on big names). A good episode in this period might get 600 downloads.
From 2022 onwards, compound returns have raised the bar so that every episode gets a minimum of 1,000 downloads, and popular episodes might get closer to 3,000. I’m of course confident that these numbers will continue to trend upwards in 2023!
Fundamentally, this means that there are some very good episodes pre-2022 that got fewer downloads than any episode in 2022. So, it’s not fair to just do it on downloads. I decided instead, in honour of the World Cup, to have a series of play-offs where I’d pit two random episodes against each other and keep going until I had 12 left. I wrote a little Python program to help me do this and then ploughed through the list.
There were some horrifying match-ups and I lost some wonderful episodes along the way (like Kim Scott, Bob Moesta, Emily Tate, Gibson Biddle or Jackie Bavaro). But, on the other hand, it left me with 12 episodes that I’ll proudly stand behind and that you should all listen to when trying to get away from your family this festive season:
Marty Cagan - How to Build an Effective Product Organisation
April Dunford - Aligning your Positioning & the Myth of Product Market Fit
Rand Fishkin - Escaping VC Culture & Building Products that Focus on True Lifetime Value
Melissa Perri - Escaping the Build Trap with Product Operations and Strong CPOs
Russ Laraway - Measurably Improving Managers to Help People do Great Work... and be Totally Psyched Doing It
Irene Yu - Building Effective Technical Skills for Product Managers
Diane Wiredu - The Importance of Messaging & ROARing Your Way to Product/Message Fit
John Cutler - Survive the Feature Factory by Applying Product Thinking to Product Thinking
Crystal Parker - Getting Strategic to Land Your First Product Management Job
Allen Holub - The Role of Product Management on Truly Agile Development Teams
Christina Wodtke - Maintaining Radical Focus and Staying on Strategy with OKRs
I’ve been putting these out once a day on Twitter with some background and stories from each episode!
Thanks for all of your support for the podcast and the newsletter this year. It’s been fun! I’ll be back in 2023 with more episodes, more hot takes, more memes, and hopefully some more somewhat useful takes based on things that come up in my work. I’d love to take you with me, but until then I wish you happy holidays and a peaceful break with your families and friends. I hope you can all step away from the backlogs until the New Year.
Thanks for reading One Knight in Product newsletter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.