Retrospective Categories: Happy, Sad & Questions

“Retrospectives are dedicated time to examine how something went and learn lessons for the future.”

Over the course of nearly ten years working in technology, mostly as a coach or product person, I’ve run hundreds of retros and through trial & error, I’ve landed on a simple 4 part formula that I share with you today.

Conducting retrospectives has become the norm in a variety of industries and organisations — from NASA’s “Pause and Learn” sessions, to Etsy’s “Debriefs” — retros have come a long way since the wide-scale introduction through Scrum. …


How OKRs work at accuRx

Like most organisations, accuRx has developed a way of using OKRs that work best for us, and is slightly different from the textbook. We’re sharing here how we use them as we think it’s interesting and might be useful to others too!

Setting direction

At accuRx, writing focused OKRs for your team is common, and for Product Teams is a key part of the Product Manager’s responsibilities. We see OKRs as an important way of letting other parts of the organisation know what each team is focusing on, allowing them to flex their goals to identify how to support the best they…


(and a couple of bonus writing tips)

As the end of 2020 draws near, many will be thinking about what 2021 may bring, and some will be trying to summarise their thoughts in the form of a Product Vision.

Cheesy binoculars image from VectorStock.com/27978322

Writing a great Product Vision is notoriously hard. It took me years to become half-decent and I’m still not great at them. When written well though, a Product Vision can not only inspire a team, but also align an organisation. In short, they are well worth getting good at!

Visions can take many forms, but they all share one key tenet…


Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Before COVID-19 changed the world and remote working became the new normal, I had the pleasure of becoming the Product Manager for a team that was split over 6 cities, with a maximum time difference of 9 hours (from San Francisco to Barcelona). They were struggling to be an effective team and had never had a Product Manager before. I’d managed plenty of teams with remote members before and had done my best to make sure they were included in the team as much as possible: “Always on” screens, digital kanbans, etc… but had never had to dig much deeper…


Careers are all about experiences, there is no winning or losing, it’s just about creating great memories… I took my L(oss) and I bounced back, life is a rollercoaster.”

Anthony Joshua, 2019, shortly after defeating Andy Ruiz in their second bout

2019 was a year of “firsts” and probably the hardest personal and professional year of my life. It was the first time I truly tasted failure, the first time I had major surgery and the first time I lived alone. Because of this, it’s a year in which I’ve learnt an awful lot about myself and what I can…


tl;dr

A team at Monzo built a working Minimum Viable Product from scratch in just two weeks. It involved close collaboration with a 3rd party, upfront planning and showed us what our max speed could be. It’s not something we plan to do regularly, as the pace took its toll, but I wanted to share how we made it happen and some of our lessons learnt.

Context

The User Problem — Anyone on a fixed-term mortgage (the vast majority of mortgages) should remortgage at the end of each term (2, 3 or 5 years) to avoid large rate increases*. …


“Employees at Spotify rarely work the same job for more than 2 years — and the CEO says that’s on purpose”

Switching careers is nothing new and at companies like Spotify it is actively encouraged. Unsurprisingly, the key is finding a new role in which you already have at least some of the skills required, then quickly learning those ones you don’t.

Last year I did exactly that: moving from Agile Coaching (AC) into Product Management (PM) and I thought I would share a few learnings from my experience so far.

I’ve talked plenty about the intersection of the two…


We realize that it’s a big claim to make, but we believe that reading opens minds, cultivates a desire to change and can give you the energy needed to make a difference. The impact these books can have on anyone who has a desire to lead cannot be overstated.

We’ve picked the six which we believe will help you adopt the approach of servant leadership in your day-to-day, while becoming that annoying person in a bar dying to tell the world about it by night. …


Are you Coaching or Mentoring?

Before coming into the field of technology I’m fairly confident that I could not have articulated the differences between mentoring and coaching, as it’s very rare you think deeply about anything until you really have to, and I had never had to. However, I’ve recently had the honour of mentoring another Agile Coach at Spotify and in doing so have learnt a great deal about what mentoring actually entails and the differences between mentoring and coaching. …


Culture at Spotify

My co-workers at Spotify often quote the famous Peter Drucker saying:

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”

And to be honest, when I first heard them say it I simply nodded, as it sounded smart and I didn’t disagree. However, having just hit month six at Spotify, I can now hopefully say I truly get what they were on about.

Spotify talks about culture at every level. We interview for it, we preach about it and we certainly argue about it. …

Benji Portwin

Head of Product @accuRx . Previously @HawkfishNYC , @Monzo, @Spotify, @NHSDigital, @GDSteam

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