March 3

When Rules Work and When They Don’t

How words build a product. “If you change every plank in a ship while it’s on its journey, is it still the same ship when it returns?” The words that we use in every part of our products, from buttons and dialogs to marketing copy might shape what is the product. The Intercom team has adopted a very deliberate process of deciding what words to use in their product and how they are organized.

Discovery sprints. SPRINT, the new book from the Google Ventures team has yet to be released but it’s already getting a lot of attention. Marty Cagan, he himself a bestselling product-book author, reviewed it recently and something jumped out at me — discovery coaches. It’s the first time I’ve heard this term for product people who are guiding organizations through practical working sessions to discover important things about their product (or what it is). I suspect that this will be a well known practice before long.

Starting fires on purpose — when and how leaders need to break the rules. Although perhaps taking the fire metaphor often heard in the corporate world a little too literally, former Huffington Post CTO Paul Berry has described how your team can rapidly compete by ripping up the rulebook for a period of time. So, do you want to be the fire starter, bonfire manager or ember tender?

Paul McAvinchey

About the author

For over 15 years, Paul has been building and collaborating on digital products with fast-growing startups and global brands, including AOL and WMS Gaming. Currently, he's a co-founder of Product Collective, a worldwide community of product people. Members collaborate on Slack, meet at INDUSTRY: The Product Conference, listen to Rocketship.fm, learn at Product Interviews and get a weekly brief that includes best practices in product management. In recent years he led business development at DXY, a leading product design firm in the Midwest, and product innovation at MedCity Media, a publishing startup acquired by Breaking Media in 2015.


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