Making Yourself Disposable

One of the best leaders I ever worked with was my first XO at 1-14th Cavalry David Polizzotti. One day while we were deployed to Afghanistan I was stressing about something and he very calmly looked at me and told me that I needed to do a better job at accepting that I as an individual was a wholly replaceable cog in the machine. At the time that felt like a hard thing to swallow....

May 16, 2022 · 3 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

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

Why a military officer should be your Product Manager

Ken Norton in an effort to help companies understand how to hire product managers wrote a guide: How to Hire a Product Manager I’m here to argue that the person you are looking for might just be a transitioning or former military officer. I have never been a Product Manager, but I have spent the last eight years as an officer in the United States Army, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazing peers and the honor of leading, coaching and mentoring some very promising young lieutenants....

December 5, 2015 · 7 min · Andy Nortrup

Army Brigades are built on agile.

Michael Cata’s wrote a smart article discussing the Department of Defense is reacting to changing events with agility. He thinks we have a good start in the Army Operating Concept. In good units the Army already operates as an agile and learning organization. When lead by astute and prudent leaders it can very closely resemble an organization applying the Scrum Methodology. ...

April 30, 2015 · 10 min · Andy Nortrup

Sequence Diagrams and better operations planning.

I’ve helped plan brigade and battalion level operations in my time as a staff officer and company commander. Lots of staff officers and NCOs standing over a map, drawing symbols on acetate, scribbling notes on paper and into emails and documents. Once the drawing is done one or several staff officers walks away from the table and copies all of the graphics onto power point slides and the Command Post of the Future (CPoF)....

April 5, 2015 · 5 min · Andy Nortrup