Personal vision, regular reviews, habits and Obsidian – how I try to keep myself organised and focused

In 2018, I wrote a blog post which turned out to be one of my most popular: How I stay organised using Trello, Kanban, GTD and Inbox Zero. A lot has changed in the past 6 years! Wunderlist is no more. Trello has been acquired by Atlassian. I am no longer using personal Kanban. And […]

Busy bandwagon and infinity pools – minimise these two things to make time for what matters

One of the best books I have read in the past decade is Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. The book explores techniques to help readers “focus on what matters every day”, and it has had a big influence on how I try to spend my time. This blog post covers the two […]

8 ways I am using AI to help me be a better product manager (and 4 ways I am not)

Working in an AI startup has its benefits. Chief among them is that I have spent a lot of time working with a small but talented group of people who have a great understanding of AI technology. I have been trying hard to absorb as much of that knowledge as I can along the way […]

Roadmaps, delivery plans, timelines and the Civilization 6 technology tree – how I like to use these artefacts when working with product teams

Roadmaps, delivery plans, timelines and dependency maps are all artefacts that people use in different and overlapping ways. In this post, I describe my interpretation of what each of these artefacts are, how I like to use them when working with product teams and explain how the Civilization 6 Tech Tree can be a source […]

Becoming a more technical product manager

I have been working with teams on digital products & services for 15 years in a combination of product, program and delivery manager roles. Throughout that time, I have always been a bit frustrated by how little I know about the underlying technologies that power the web. I don’t come from a computer science background, […]

How we are using Linear and Notion to manage our product backlog and project work

This post describes the simple approach we have settled on to keep track of our work at Climate Policy Radar: actions on Linear and documentation on Notion. How we use Linear Why we like Linear Linear prides itself on being a simple alternative to larger more complex task management systems like Jira. Their method is to offer […]

Cycle time, queues, work in progress and batch size – four things product teams need to reduce if they want to deliver more value faster

Good product teams are focused on rapidly delivering maximum value to their users. This post describes four factors that when kept to a minimum, enable teams to deliver more, more often and at a higher quality: cycle time, queues, work in progress and batch size. In this post, I explain what these four things are, […]

Being a product manager in a start-up vs the public sector (or big organisation vs small): what I have learned from the past year

Just over 1 year ago, I joined a climate tech start-up called Climate Policy Radar as employee #11 and their first product manager. Before that, I spent 8 years working in bigger organisations, mainly in the public sector (Government Digital Service, BBC, Land Registry) but also a bit in the private sector (Cazoo and Gameloft). In this […]

The value of user research

Why we do user research and what we have learned so far When we started building Climate Policy Radar, we had lots of assumptions about who our users were and what solutions would help them. User research has helped us ensure our research tool meets the needs of the people we’re building it for – […]

How to run a daily stand-up

If you have ever worked with a software or agile team before, you have probably done a daily stand-up. In this blog post, I share my thoughts on why daily stand-ups are useful and some tips on how to run them well. About stand-ups What is a stand-up? Stand-ups are regular meetings for the team […]

Team manual and team charter – my two favourite workshops to run with new teams or teams with new members

When a new team is formed or an existing team goes through change, it is important to take some time for team members to learn more about who each other are and how best to work together. In this post, I summarise my two favourite workshops to help teams get off to a good start: […]

Splitting one product team into two

This blog post explains why and how we (Climate Policy Radar) decided to split from one big product team into two smaller teams. The problem with working as one big team As the team grew in size, we found it increasingly difficult to do everything together as a whole team.  Meetings took a long time […]

Tracking our product’s user lifecycle funnel in Google Analytics

Quantitative product metrics help us to understand whether our product is getting better, how people are using our tools and where they might be encountering problems. In this blog post, I explain how we (Climate Policy Radar) defined our user lifecycle funnel and tracked it in Google Analytics. What is a user lifecycle funnel? I […]

New feature: English translation of climate law and policy

Climate Policy Radar’s search tool breaks a critical research barrier by enabling users to search non English law and policy documents, and see English translations of passages that match their search. Effective policies are paramount to tackling climate change. Yet existing data about existing laws and policies – and which ones work – are sparse, […]

How we have setup Notion to help our startup stay organised

I am working at a startup of 13 people with big plans for the future. Notion is one of the main tools everybody in the team uses. This post describes how we have set up Notion to make information easy to find across multiple growing teams. What is Notion Notion is a note-taking and productivity […]

Climate Policy Radar launches public product roadmap

We are delighted to share Climate Policy Radar’s Public Product Roadmap – sketching the steps we’re taking today to reach our (very) ambitious future goals. Transparency is one of our core values, and it threads through everything we do and advocate for. We believe that being open about our own processes and priorities will lead us to […]

How we use Notion to manage our product backlog / bets

At Climate Policy Radar, bets are things we might do that might improve our product. We frame these as problems we need to solve or solution ideas that we think might add value. This post explains how we keep track of bets from initial idea to completion. Most other organisations would probably call this a […]

Doing user research as a product manager in an early-stage startup

6 months ago, I joined a climate tech startup called Climate Policy Radar as employee #11. As their first product manager, user research is one of the main things I am responsible for. This post describes the approach I am using to gather continuous feedback from users via user tests and interviews. Background For most […]

How to run a retrospective

This post provides an introduction to team retrospectives and a guide on how to run them. Intro to retrospectives What is a retrospective? A regular meeting for the team to reflect on past performance and identify ways to improve. Why bother? Good teams continuously improve their product. Great teams also continuously improve how they work […]

How to run a premortem

Premortems help us identify and reduce risks before they happen. They are a great exercise to run before launching a product or feature. What is a premortem Product teams often use postmortems to understand what caused a problem and how to reduce the risk of it becoming a problem again. Premortems are the opposite. You […]

Writing good OKRs

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) is a goal setting system that was popularised by Google.  To summarise, the objective defines what you want to achieve and the key result defines how you will measure progress towards achieving the objective.  In this blog post, I share my thoughts on how to write good OKRs.  I focus […]

Makers time and collaboration time: two metrics that help teams improve the timing of meetings to increase team health and productivity

Makers time and collaboration time are two metrics that I have started using to help teams to measure the amount of quality time they have available to do their best work, and to make improvements over time.  In this blog post I explain what they are and when/how to use them.

Better meetings for remote teams

“Too many meetings” is something I’ve said or heard over and over again in every organisation I’ve worked.  Since lockdown began, this problem seems to have gotten worse for two main reasons: There are more meetings: ‘Watercooler’ conversations and informal chats around the team space have been replaced with scheduled video meetings. Meetings are more […]

Running effective show & tells

Show & tell is a chance for teams to show their work to stakeholders and to get feedback. It’s a crucial form of governance for agile teams that keeps everyone up to date by allowing them to see the team’s progress first hand. Before you read this, you might want to check out my other […]

Show & tells, sprint reviews and showcases – what’s the difference?

I was recently asked to share some best practice on running effective show and tells. This led me into a semantic rabbit hole on the differences between show & tells, sprint reviews, team reviews, end of iteration reviews, sprint demos and showcases. These words are often used interchangeably to describe similar things. In this post, […]

Not all objectives are created equal

In this blog post, I explore how assigning economic values to objectives can help organisations and teams make more effective prioritisation decisions. Organisations start initiates to help them achieve strategic objectives. They often produce tables like Table 1 below to aid in prioritisation and ensure they have a balanced portfolio of work. Table 1 indicates […]

Measuring and improving ways of working on digital teams

Healthy teams, happy people and mature agile ways of working are good leading indicators of organisational success.  Getting these things right is key to unlocking long term sustainable delivery of value. In this blog post, I summarise some of the approaches I have used to measure and improve ways of working.

How Government digital teams can use Cost of Delay to prioritize work

Over the past year I’ve been learning a lot about cost of delay.  In this blog post I explain what I’ve learned so far, and how it can be used by teams to prioritise work.  My focus is on teams that are following the UK Government Digital Service Standard, but it can be of use […]

People over resources

In most digital teams the vast majority of budgets are spent on people.  People are our biggest assets. Almost all of our value is produced by them. Small changes in our ability to reduce the number of resignations and motivate them to work have an exponential impact on productivity.

Firebreaks on GOV.UK

Firebreaks on GOV.UK are similar to Google’s 20% time or Spotify’s hack week. For 1 week every 3 months, teams disband and everyone is given a chance to have some self-directed time to improve GOV.UK. We’ve had 3 firebreaks now: June, September and December 2017. This blog post explores why we do them, how they work and the […]

GOV.UK: a journey in scaling agile

GOV.UK is relied on by millions of people every day to access vital services and information. Material published on GOV.UK can move financial markets. GOV.UK is a vital part of our national infrastructure. But GOV.UK differs from most other pieces of national infrastructure in one respect: we built it and we run it using agile. […]

How I stay organised using Trello, Kanban, GTD and Inbox Zero

In this post, I’m going to explain my system for keeping myself organised and productive.  This system has been working well for me for the past two years, and I have helped a number of people to set it up for themselves.  

How we do team selection on GOV.UK

This post explores how we plan who works on which team on GOV.UK, and how that process has evolved throughout 2017-2018. 

Using Kata to help teams deliver value faster

Kaizen, Kanban, Kaikaku.  We can’t get enough of these Japanese words in agile!  Here’s a lesser known one: Kata.   Kata is a term used by Mike Rother to describe a set of routines that Toyota use to ingrain a culture of continuous improvement in their organisation.  Each routine is practiced and repeated so that it […]

Starting up a new team

GOV.UK was recently restructured to help us achieve our 2017/18 roadmap. As a delivery manager, I oversaw the formation of 2 new teams under the new roadmap: Content History and Worldwide Publishing. The aim was to build happy, motivated and productive teams with a strong culture of agile user-centred delivery. This blog explains the steps we went through […]

How we use Trello on the GOV.UK Publishing Platform team

Teams at GDS are free to pick the processes and tools that work for them. On the GOV.UK Publishing Platform, our Kanban process is supported by Trello. This is a follow-up to my blog post on How we use Kanban on the GOV.UK Publishing Platform team, and explains how we use Trello to support our Kanban process.

How we use Kanban on the GOV.UK Publishing Platform

At GDS, we believe that self-organising teams create the best results. So we give each of our teams the autonomy to pick the delivery approach that works best for them. On the GOV.UK Publishing Platform, we use Kanban to help us manage the work we do.

Getting things done with Wunderlist

Wunderlist is a free-to-use task management tool.  Available on desktop, web browsers, smartphone and more recently the Apple Watch, it allows you to stay organized wherever you are.  Initially created in Germany it is one of my favorite productivity tools, and after it’s recent acquisition by Microsoft, it should be around for a while to come.  Here I explore […]