Building distributed teams are crucial to scaling an organization. It provides a greater pool of talent and can significantly reduce costs. What’s more, “remote-friendly” and “remote first” are fast becoming the standard operating model for tech companies. If an organization is not “remote first” it is much more difficult for it to attract top talent and keep them happy.

However, for remote teams to yield desired results, several factors need to be considered:

  • Communications
  • Documentation
  • Onboarding
  • Culture

Team Communication

In an in-office setting, communication is organic and easy. We can convey information to one another on an ad-hoc basis. This is inefficient…

Decision trees provide a systematic way of looking at a problem you need to solve. It provides a step-by-step method for breaking down big problems into smaller, more manageable ones while allowing you to prioritize the problems and providing clear “decision gates” at each step.

There are two basic kinds of decision trees:

  1. Problem trees — created by answering “Why?”
  2. Solution trees — created by answering “How?”

How to create a decision tree

Problem tree

A decision tree should cover the whole problem from a high level. Here are a few basic principles to keep in mind

  1. Start breaking down the problem into separate categories/branches.
  2. Use the MECE…

I’m not unique in my desire to try all the new toys :) I read Product Hunt daily and try to check out anything that has to do with product/eng. I mean, after all, we’re product people, so naturally we want to check out the cool stuff people are building, right?

A few years ago, after many failed attempts to make various “product management” tools work for me, I gave up and went back to google docs and spreadsheets, which wasn’t ideal. People would break formulas or mess up the formatting (formatting is a huge pet peeve of mine). Each…

Start with defining the market, not the product

When ideating new product ideas or potential strategic pivots, there are several ways to assess product-market fit. The approach often taken involves first defining the product and then assessing its market potential. The steps that are taken usually look something like this:

  1. Define the product hypothesis
  2. Identify the feature set
  3. Build the product
  4. Release the product
  5. Pray

There are several problems with this approach. In fact, it is ass backward. …

It doesn’t matter if your solution is targeted to large enterprises or small businesses, today’s user wants to kick the tires. They want to try before they buy and they don’t want to deal with a salesperson. That’s a pretty provocative statement, and I’ve likely pissed off a bunch of talented salespeople. But hear me out.

Backed in the early 2000s one of the best sales leaders I’ve ever worked with told me, “once our platform is easy enough to self onboard users, you won’t need me or a support team anymore.” That statement has stuck with me ever since…

In Agile Scrum methodology, an “Epic” is used to describe a feature that is too large in scope to be defined by a single user story. An Epic is a related group of Stories that comprise a product feature. In my experience, this defines most major features. Unless it’s a quick fix or bug, seldom are features comprised of a single user story. Epics are usually articulated by a one line description, and this is where the problem lies. Here is an example of an Epic and its children stories:

Epic 01: Provide ordering and priority options to user to…

Of all the many aspects of product design, User Experience (UX) seems to engender the most confusion in those who don’t understand the iterative and multi-faceted nature of the discipline or appreciate its value. While many great books have been written about User Experience Design, the following are some foundational tenets to address the most common areas of confusion:

UX is iterative

User experience is an iterative process of refinement until a level of acceptable quality is reached — meaning that success criteria has been met, as measured by objective user data.

Design opinions are signals, not deciding factors

People are highly opinionated about design. This is why the notion…

Start with your business model, go-to-market and user adoption strategies

“Most every innovation — disruptive or not — begins life as a small-scale experiment. Disrupters tend to focus on getting the business model, rather than merely the product, just right. When they succeed, their movement from the fringe to the mainstream erodes first the incumbents’ market share and then their profitability. This process can take time… complete substitution, if it comes at all, may take decades, because the incremental profit from staying with the old model for one more year trumps proposals to write off the assets in one stroke.”

Replacing the modernist ethos of “good design for all” with “from all, good design,” designers in the late 1960s and early 1970s sought to understand what people — or users — most want and need. The writing of design theorist Christopher Alexander was particularly influential for those interested in taking a human-centric approach, learning from the behaviors of users, and involving them directly in the design process.

“Design Thinking,” a popular offshoot of user-centered design, was first established by California design agency IDEO, famous for their contributions to many early Apple products, including the iMac and iPod. …

Gannon Hall

Product Strategy & Operations; ex-Google, ex-Shopify

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