Couples Counseling for Product Development

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An introduction to Non-Blocking Development and how to get your entire business, from sales to software development, aligned to ship more product more quickly.

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Couples Counseling for Product Development

  1. 1. Couples Counseling forSoftware Development Joe Stump, CEO of Sprint.ly
  2. 2. • Early employee at three startups ranging from bootstrapped to venture funded.• Angel investor in three startups.• Advisor to seven venture funded startups.• Cofounder of three venture funded startups (SimpleGeo, attachments.me, & Sprint.ly).
  3. 3. “The best products inthe world start out as features.” Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram
  4. 4. Warring Factions
  5. 5. Check Your Ego
  6. 6. EVERYONE IN YOUR COMPANY IS CAPABLE OF HAVING A GREAT IDEA.
  7. 7. Managers
  8. 8. QuicklyCorrectly Cheaply
  9. 9. YOU CAN’T HAVEYOUR WINE CASK FULL AND YOUR WIFE DRUNK.
  10. 10. “Want to increaseinnovation? Lower the cost of failure.” Joi Ito
  11. 11. ALLOW ENGINEERS TO INVEST IN AUTOMATION & TESTING.
  12. 12. Why?• Iterating on your product is all about shortening feedback loops• Continuous deployment allows you to ship on code commit• Automated testing allows for aggressive refactoring with confidence
  13. 13. Makers
  14. 14. “You should get a CS degree. Its the only degreethat automatically makes you an expert on politics, finance, religion, and economics.” @thejayfields
  15. 15. YOU ARE NOT ANEXPERT IN SALES,MARKETING, NOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT.
  16. 16. A Sampling of Non-Technical Product TODOs• Financial model creation for pricing • Messaging • Documentation• Customer development• Copywriting • Screencasts & Videos• Marketing plan for launch • Marketing materials• Public relations • Capturing requirements• Support • Business development• Community development • Funnel analysis• Sales training • Market research• Managing beta testers • Blog announcement• Contract negotiation • Newsletter announcement
  17. 17. SIMPLEGEO’SPRODUCT LAUNCHCHECKLIST HAD 41NON-ENGINEERING ITEMS ON IT.
  18. 18. YOU ARE NOT A DESIGNER. (SERIOUSLY. JUSTLOOK AT THAT SHIT.)
  19. 19. YOU ARE NOT THETARGET CUSTOMER. (NO,REALLY, NOBODY CARES ABOUT KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS.)
  20. 20. “Focus on the problem. Ifyou’re only excited about the solution, you’ll lose interestwhen your solution doesn’t fix the problem. ” Adil Wali, CTO of ModCloth
  21. 21. Delivering Product
  22. 22. Implementing vision takes timeInception Your brain Funding v1.0
  23. 23. “If you’re not embarrassed when you ship your first version you waited too long.” Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn
  24. 24. Product is Trench Warfare
  25. 25. BE MILITANT INYOUR MINIMALLYVIABLE PRODUCT (MVP).
  26. 26. Approaching Product1. Focus on a single use case that addresses the problem2. Start with a minimal core set of features3. Release and listen to your users4. Question your initial assumptions based on feedback5. Rinse and repeat
  27. 27. Iterating on Your Product1. Have a great idea2. Wireframe in Balsamiq (or whatever)3. Designer creates a static mockup4. Static mockup is thrown “over the wall” to engineering to implement
  28. 28. Seriously?
  29. 29. Oh, whoops.• Turns out static mockups are ... static• Engineers implement it only to find out the UX is terrible• Engineering is unable to implement critical features
  30. 30. INVOLVE ENGINEERING IN THE PRODUCTDESIGN PROCESS.
  31. 31. Why would I do that?• Nobody knows your data better than your engineers• You likely aren’t an expert at data algorithms• They are your company’s best technologists
  32. 32. Iterating the Yardsale Way™1. Have a great idea2. Wireframe in Balsamiq (or whatever)3. Engage engineering to build a vanilla prototype (e.g. Default Bootstrap or iOS/Android UI components)4. Play, tweak, rinse, repeat5. Once UX is nailed have a designer polish to perfection
  33. 33. Promote OwnershipYay!
  34. 34. Why is this better?• Designer’s time is not lost on features that are not shippable• Timelines will not be disrupted by unforeseen technical hurdles• Avoids pissing off the engineers
  35. 35. Process Interrupts
  36. 36. PRODUCTS ARE EITHER DATE- DRIVEN ORFEATURE-DRIVEN.
  37. 37. Non-Blocking Development (NBD)1. No sprints, milestones, or dates are tracked by engineering2. Items are scored, velocity is tracked3. Each developer works on an item to completion in a feature branch4. Pull request via GitHub for review5. Feature deployed immediately upon approval via continuous deployment
  38. 38. Why is this better?• Shares reactive qualities of Kanban• Velocity metrics allow you to do reasonable capacity planning• Features ship in real-time as they’re completed
  39. 39. “You can’t ship process.” VP of Product, Live Nation Labs
  40. 40. @joestump

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