Against Global Priorities

I’ve been working with some stakeholders on how we do prioritization as a Product Management team. I started by trying to build a matrix that would serve as an easy key for keeping product managers mostly on the same page for setting the priority field in JIRA. I think there is value in having common standards. But the more I thought about the problem, I got more uncomfortable, because we can’t prioritize globally and take into account local context. ...

December 14, 2020 · 3 min · Andy Nortrup

Outcome First Roadmaps

I’m sure if you’ve talked to me recently you’ve heard my song and dance on outcomes based road mapping. As I’ve been talking about it over the past few weeks something really clicked for me on why it’s so important to identify the outcomes early in the definition of an idea. When you are trying to get work prioritized and on the road map, it’s straightforward to start with a name for the solution that conveys meaning and then find supporters who also like the sound of the idea. An easy default is to talk about the solution you are proposing to fix a problem. They go together to help form a narrative story that works well in a meeting. We have this problem, and here is the solution! While this is really appealing, it also leaves us some challenges on the backend. If we prioritize problems with a measurement of what we are going to achieve better alignment on why we are trying to solve this problem, and allow ourselves more freedom to discover the right solution. ...

November 16, 2020 · 6 min · Andy Nortrup

Enterprise Product Integrations Journey

If you start building an enterprise product eventually you are going to get asked to start building integrations with other enterprise products. This is ultimately an essential evil. Your customers already have a host of enterprise products handling the rest of their workflow. Your product is looking to do something with data coming from or going to another part of the business workflow. No one wants to reenter all of their data into a new system by hand, you need to be part of the ecosystem....

September 28, 2020 · 7 min · Andy Nortrup

Military to Product Management - Level Equivalents

Military officers interested in moving into technology should consider careers in Product Management. There are strong parallels between the roles and product management requires many of the skill sets that effective officers have developed in their time in the service. But believing that you would be a good product manager and actually getting your foot in the door for an interview is another story. When applying for roles, I recommend listing your experience in the military as a Product Manager rather than as a “Company Commander” or “Platoon Leader”....

June 6, 2020 · 13 min · Andy Nortrup

Solid Pods - A better place to store user data

Solid Pods (Personal Online Data Store) are an open source project from the efforts of Sir Tim Berners-Lee (creator of the original internet) with a goal of re-decentralizing the internet. This project is still in development, I think it has a lot to offer in order to help make developing web applications easier and safer for the developer, user, and society at large. Solid provides a web standard’s compliant API to provide the owner of the pod with an identity (WebID), storage (document store), and relational language for data....

May 13, 2020 · 9 min · Andy Nortrup

The Self Taught Product Manager

I made a career transition into Product Management four years ago. Prior to starting my first role at Splunk as a line level Product Manager my previous experience was in the U.S. Army. I didn’t know that product management was a career field option when I started my job search, and as I look back on it I’m amazed I got any interviews at all. I had no meaningful experience building software, and I made some blind assertions that I had qualifying experience as an Army Officer....

February 11, 2020 · 20 min · Andy Nortrup

One Wheel Pint - An Honest Review

Commuting is a pain. My particular commute is a multi-stage, adventure that can take an hour on a decent day and mind boggling amounts of time if something goes wrong in Seattle traffic. My spouse and I start by carpooling to our day-care, drop off a kiddo, then catch a bus into downtown, and finally walk across town to my office. Most of the time it works just fine. But it doesn’t take much to throw off the whole experience to a post-apocalyptic hell-scape of gridlock....

January 2, 2020 · 8 min · Andy Nortrup

The Compliant News Room

There has been much ink spilled and great gnashing of teeth over Facebook’s news tab and the inclusion of Breitbart as a “high quality” news source. I continue to be amazed that social media organizations have moved to help establish clear standards and certification for what counts as a high quality newsroom. In Enterprise software if you want large companies (like Facebook) to buy your software or services, you will eventually have to get a compliance attestation from a third party auditor that your company follows industry standard practices around code development, testing, deployment, and security....

October 30, 2019 · 4 min · Andy Nortrup

The Email Interview

I don’t like conducting interviews. I would rather be interviewed for a job than interview someone for a job. If I have to choose between written and oral communication, I will usually prefer to write. I like async communication because I have time to think clearly and then commit to words what I’m thinking. I have a mild central auditory processing disorder, meaning an in-person interview pushes my limits of listening, and critically processing, and taking notes on answers in real time....

July 10, 2019 · 2 min · Andy Nortrup

The Product Manager as Scout

I’ve been a product manager for three and a half years after being an Army officer for eight. Never in that time have I felt like I truly owned all of the products I’ve worked on. I’ve never had the final say in everything, and I’ve never sat to review that every single story met all of the acceptance criteria. Time, team dynamics, and the nature of working on large complex products precludes any single person from being able to exert that level of control....

July 6, 2019 · 4 min · Andy Nortrup