Back in March 2020 as schools in the UK closed, we started a weekly online code club for kids. 800 students and 1500 hours of learning later we finished up for the Summer…

This week our UK based staff headed back into lockdown, with our kids home from school again with us. So, it’s time for Code Club to return!

Starting Friday 15th January at 3:00 and continuing until they head back to the classroom, we’ll be back online making games, creating art, and working together as a group to learn a new skill.

We’ll be running three different classes:

For obvious reasons, 2020 saw us pivot away from our office bases to adopting remote-first work practices. Inspired by this tweet by @shreyas, here are some of the changes we’ve made to start to build a remote-first product leadership function.

Strategy and Vision

Over-communication has been the name of the game here. Jeff Patton spent some time with us towards the end of last year and one theme stuck out to me.

How does what you’re working on today move towards your long term vision?

Every member of the org should be able to answer this question. The role of PM leadership is…

We made it. July 17th is the last day of the school year so as of this week, Code Club is out for Summer.

Since our first practice session on 26th March, 25 Redgaters from right across the business have delivered over 1500 hours of learning.

We’ve had students from 20 countries (all the way from Brazil to Japan), and recordings of the classes for students that coudn’t attend live have racked up another few thousand views.

Feedback from parents has been universally lovely, and we get more and more comments each week. Here are a few of my favourites:

Photo by Tirza van Dijk on Unsplash

We’re currently running a high rate of research calls in my teams. A 45 minute conversation and follow up session every day is about normal for the last quarter. The frequency has allowed me to focus on something I’ve wanted to improve about my own practice for some time.

Research calls are for learning, not for pitching my product.

The theme of our current calls is around on-boarding and value awareness. It’s a perfect topic to force myself to avoid the pitch because every single day a customer will:

The output of the sprint demo is the customer value delivered, but the goal of the session is very different.

Photo by Alex Litvin on Unsplash

I’ve been on teams that demo every sprint, teams that demo if they have something they think stakeholders will care about, and some that don’t demo at all.

I’ve come to realise that the value in the demo is not the opportunity to update stakeholders. It’s the contribution it makes to the health of the team.

Here are a series of ways that the demo helps assess and improve team health.

Sprint demos prove we’re regularly shipping value

There are other more formal ways to keep track, but if a team is demoing we’re delivering value every time. …

One of the first things you do as a PM joining an existing product team is to assess the lay of the land. Get to know the team, understand the current roadmap and priorities. The first few weeks go fast and before long you’re up to speed with the day to day.

At that point the fun stuff begins. You start asking the ‘why’ questions.

I was at this point very recently so wanted to share how I approach discovery on a large existing product, plotting out a course to sprint-level discovery in the near future.

This post, and my…

This post is a response to Embrace the Interruptions over on the Aha! PM blog. It really resonated with me, and on further reflection over the last week I realised that it’s only half the story.

As much as I embrace the interruptions, taking the time to be unavailable is as important.

As a product manager your primary responsibility is connecting with stakeholders, understanding their needs, and working with your teams to solve their problems. The more you hear from everybody around you, the more you learn. …

It seems that the hardest part of writing any research is coming up with a good title.

Earlier this month King & Baatartogtokh published a paper examining the theory of disruptive innovation that was made famous in the book The Innovators Dilemma. They found (8 years after publication..) that less than 10% of the case studies cited in what has become something of a management bible actually demonstrated the theory in action. Their paper shifted ‘disruptive innovation’ from being a goal all companies should aim at to an observation that occurs in rare cases.

It should have been huge news…

I’ve been playing with the new IFTTT camera app and it got me thinking about how the original camera app on my iPhone isn’t as useful as it used to be. After all, it’s just a camera app. If I want it to actually do anything with the photo I’ve taken I have to tell it what to do. By pressing more buttons. How very 2014.

If you haven’t already seen it, IFTTT Do is a set of apps that extend the original IFTTT idea where you provide some simple rules and the software automates them. For example, if I…

On design and change management

Your work is out in the world, but you keep thinking of ways to improve it. Maybe your clients have got ideas to make it better. Or perhaps priorities have shifted and what you thought was important at the start is less so now.

The challenge for you as the designer then becomes about how to make those changes. Do you opt for subtle tweaks with each new update, or an entire redesign behind the scenes and release it all in one go?

It’s a conversation we’ve had a number of times in the team…

Tim Dalton

Product Managementing @redgate. Can also be found parenting / cycling / cricketing / allotmenting.

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