“Increased social media followers by 4,000 percent. Boosted website traffic by 3,500 percent.” I see puffed up metrics like this all the time. Especially on resumes submitted by people applying for marketing roles. While I appreciate the instinct to show results, what do these eye-popping numbers really mean?
Getting lost used to be much easier. One wrong turn and you could lose your way. You might pull over to unfold a faded paper map. Maybe even ask a stranger at a gas station for directions. Now smartphones and GPS have changed the way we navigate. But even the best technology cannot tell you where you want to go.
“There has got to be a better way.” This was my inner monologue as a product manager. I found myself creating the same reports again and again. I would spend late nights in the office, painstakingly updating the same spreadsheets and tracking down outdated versions. It was frustrating and incredibly time-consuming. Read more…
Sometimes your gut instinct is wrong. I discovered this a number of years ago after launching a new product. A strange phenomenon was happening. The more support interactions a customer had, the more likely they were to keep using the product. Wait — what? The more problems customers had, the longer they stayed with us?
You know that feeling when you are running late? Someone is waiting for you and you just cannot get there on time. You feel anxious. I bet your friend will let it slide a time or two — but customers are not so forgiving.
Who is the most misunderstood in technology? I would say it is the person who plans what will be built next. This person — often called the product manager — is a puzzler to many. Just consider how many different job titles are used for people who do the work of product management: product manager, product owner, business analyst, and even program or project manager sometimes. To keep it simple — let’s refer to these folks as product managers.
It is one thing to write down your thoughts in a private journal. It is quite another to publish those thoughts for everyone to read. You need to have a strong conviction to share what you have learned. That is why I started writing on the Aha! blog — to share my views about building great products and companies with others who are trying to do the same.
Aha! is a Rails monolith. Although we have embraced front end technologies, such as webpack and React, Rails is the glue that holds everything together. And like many Rails monoliths, CoffeeScript made up the bulk of our front end code. It was the obvious choice for us when Aha! launched in 2013 — back when Rails 3 was stable and ES6 still lived in arcane specification documents.
“I could never work remotely.” A friend of a friend said this to me the other day. We had just met and I was explaining how we run Aha! as a fully distributed team. Despite that declarative statement about “never working remotely,” this person seemed plenty interested in the concept of remote work once I described how we do it at Aha!
There is a lot to juggle in the day-to-day work of building a great product. But even on the busiest days, forward-thinking company builders and product leaders are always on the lookout for opportunities for improvement.
Products get better fast when the teams that build them also use them every day. Of course, we use Aha! to set our own strategy and roadmaps. But we also use it for our marketing work — including this launch. And because marketing projects often have very specific deliverable dates, we needed a different way to see those activities. Aha! needed a calendar view.
Does it ever feel like there is just too much information coming your way? You are not the only one who is exhausted. The whole team is drowning — chasing down customer requests, navigating conflicting executive decrees, and trying to prioritize which colleague to respond to first. It is no wonder the mental exhaustion seems contagious. This overcommitted and overloaded state is not sustainable. But the solution might surprise you.
My compass is always pointing towards the next goal. Self-learning web development as a kid, becoming the first college graduate in my family, my passion today for mountaineering — I never stop exploring. There is always a more challenging summit to reach, so I like to push myself further and further in all aspects of life.
“Quick, hide!” You hear the whispered warning from your co-worker. The hawkish boss is circling the office again — hunting for intel and ready to swoop. He sees no problem with preying on his own employees to get what he wants. Squawking about status updates being delivered at the end of each day, he claws his way into every meeting and conversation.