Hi there 👋

Greetings! I’m Andy Nortrup, a Product Manager by trade, beginner bonsai artist, father, husband and U.S. Army veteran. I write about some of that here.

An officiant's wedding script.

This fall I was asked to officiate the wedding of my sister-in-law Rachel to her fiance Mike. It was a distinct pleasure and the first wedding I’ve ever been asked to officiate. My remarks were well received so I wanted to share them here in case they are useful to someone else. There are some minor changes I wrote on my script in the weekend before the wedding, but this is the script I started with. ...

December 3, 2023 · 6 min · Andy Nortrup

Keep your standards to a minimum

I recently had a conversation with several Product Managers at work who wanted me to step in and set a standard for how and who was responsible for triaging bugs reported to their teams. The question was mostly focused on who inside of the team was responsible. Was that the engineering manager, the PM, the TPM? Between the four folks who came in mass to my office hours, there were five different ways of managing bug triage. This was causing some challenges because there was a RACI being built to set expectations. I had a very firm “No I won’t create this standard for you”. And I’m here to caution other product leaders and product operations teams not to do it either. When you are operating a dynamic adaptive system with multiple independent teams. It is important to be very thoughtful about where and when you set and enforce standards. Some questions you should ask yourself before establishing a standard that everyone must follow. ...

September 13, 2023 · 5 min · Andy Nortrup

Product Operations feeds the OODA loop

The OODA loop(Observe Orient Decide Act) is a concept originally coming out of the Air Force for pilots conducting air to air combat. It’s now applied to many different systems thinking and design contexts. This week I was preparing to explain Product Operations to my new CEO and it occured to me that the role of Product Ops is to help power and accelerate the OODA loop for product management teams....

June 18, 2023 · 2 min · Andy Nortrup

A Solid Fediverse

The Fediverse is great, I love it, but as I see more and more projects to spring up to replace different private social media operations. First it was Twitter, now Reddit is seeing an exodus to Lemmy, there is also Pixelfed to replace instagram and bookwyrm to replace Goodreads. It’s great. But it isn’t without its problems. No consistent Identity We don’t have a clear identity federation system. I came across Keyoxide which seems like a great way to start gluing your identities together, but is not yet user friendly....

June 14, 2023 · 3 min · Andy Nortrup

LLMs - I won't be fooled again

I’ve stayed on the sidelines of much of the LLM debate, but I’m willing to stake out my skepticism on this “world changing” technology. As I think back over the arch of my online life, I see these foundational models as the latest in a series of events where amazing technology was going to change the world. But each time individual value is diluted for corporate money grabs. Going way back in time, my first real formative experience on the internet was Geocities....

April 30, 2023 · 7 min · Andy Nortrup

Balancing Feedback Loops in Product

Working with some colleagues recently I was asked “Why aren’t we doing all the things to really be [desired state], we should pause and think about how we really want to restructure the company and the way we build software to do it right.” My colleague has a great instinct and she isn’t wrong in seeing the gaps that we have in the product and how we produce software. But I think that its important to apply systems thinking to solving these problems. That requires us to understand where we can apply leverage to change the balancing feedback loops that are enabling and constraining our products. ...

March 28, 2023 · 4 min · Andy Nortrup

Productboard Field Descriptions and Process Documentation

I’ve been working with Productboard a lot in the past few months. Purchasing and helping Tanium implement it has been one of my primary tools to help improve our prioritization, process, and transparency with the rest of the organization. One of my favorite things about Productboard is the ability to super easily document what fields are and how they are supposed to be used immediately inside of the product. I use this all the time to both make my life easier as the person building systems, and it lowers the adoption curve quite a bit for my users. It also feels like a good example of your process being open source. Where it is clear it is easy update your process documentation. ...

March 18, 2023 · 2 min · Andy Nortrup

Star Magnolia - Spring 2023 Update

It’s early spring here in the Seattle area that means its time to get into my very modest garden and start going any repotting that needs doing. We had a very warm early February, followed by a a cold spell in the second half of the month. Which meant that all the trees woke up, and then had to be shuffled in and out of my workshop. But when the trees start to wake up you have to do the work of repotting them before you miss the window....

March 11, 2023 · 3 min · Andy Nortrup

The Product Management System

I’m in the midst of reading Thinking in Systems: A Primer(affiliate link) to my list of recommended reads for Product Managers. It is one of those books like Principals of Product Development Flowthat show you why things work at a deeper systemic level that you’ve just been emersed in. It’s a book that points out the water for the fishes. I had a moment of illumination when reading her description of the reinforcing and balancing feedback loops that drive physical systems....

March 4, 2023 · 3 min · Andy Nortrup

Hashtag strings in Hugo

I did a fun bit of Hugo templating today that seemed worth sharing. I was previously generating my list of hashtags to apply to a social post inside of my Zapier workflow. I’d pull the list of tags then manipulate them into a single string and add the # symbol. Today I realized that this would be much simpler to do in Hugo as part of my JSON output. It came out like this:...

March 1, 2023 · 1 min · Andy Nortrup