A high level introduction to basic internet marketing / advertising concepts. It's a quick read and if you need a cursory introduction it's fine. Don'...moreA high level introduction to basic internet marketing / advertising concepts. It's a quick read and if you need a cursory introduction it's fine. Don't expect any meaningful insights.(less)
Goldratt is a great speaker, he has strong convictions and explains them really well. There is some real gold in the last few chapters about company s...moreGoldratt is a great speaker, he has strong convictions and explains them really well. There is some real gold in the last few chapters about company strategy and getting everyone committed, a mix of group dynamics and working personally with different types of people to get their buy in. This is a great way to get an overview of Goldratts work presented in a form that is intended for audio presentation. (less)
The first half of the book is great, but it tends to get superficial after that. I would definitely recommend this to anyone moving to a new role, in...moreThe first half of the book is great, but it tends to get superficial after that. I would definitely recommend this to anyone moving to a new role, in your current company or in a new company. The key is recognise the context you are in and Watkins gives us a simple framework for categorisation: S - startup - you are leading a new group T - turnaround - the group is in trouble and you are there to fix it R - realignment - the group is headed for trouble but they may not know it S - sustain success - create a new challenge while maintaining the good work Any particular context will contain elements of each of these in different degrees, but most likely one will dominate. This framework is used throughout the book to guide how you proceed in your transition. Do you spend more time learning, building your network or do you take quick action. How critical is understanding the mistakes of the past. This is all covered really well in the first half of the book. The second half then takes you on a whirlwind tour of management topics such as building strategies, building high performance teams. Good to skim read.(less)
This is a really readable and practical book. It covers a number of games to run with customers to help you understand how to make your products bette...moreThis is a really readable and practical book. It covers a number of games to run with customers to help you understand how to make your products better. Many of them are also suitable to use with internal teams, especially as a pre-cursor to customer sessions.I'll definitely be trying some of them out. Here are the games and a quick summary. The book also includes lots of detailed advice about planning, setting up, running and analysing the data you collect at these games.
1. Prune the Product Tree Put up a huge picture of a tree and cards shaped like leaves for your product features. Use this to reflect on where your product is at and where it is going. Closer in to the trunk is earlier in the product life. The roots are things like industry links, strategic relationships, core infrastructure. Great for a new perspective on planning your product roadmap taking in many points of view.
2. Remember the Future This sounds similar to Amazon's technique of writing the press release for a new product before they start developing it. You ask your customers to look into the future and see what the product has done for them at that time. It helps get specific detailed feedback about possible future directions. Participants work alone or in groups and then present to the wider group for discussion. This is a very loosely organised game, I'd like to try it with small groups first to see how the presentation and collation of ideas would work.
3. Spider Web Draw up a web and put cards on it to represent related elements in the ecosystem that your product exists in. Again this is quite a wide open area, but the idea is to open up new possibilities for innovation by combining elements of that ecosystem in different ways. They suggest presenting 2 to 4 types of relationships you want to explore
4. Product Box This is a familiar concept for agile teams, but in this case it is played with customers who then 'sell' the product in short presentations. You may even award a prize for the first box. The idea of having a well decorated and interesting looking box is much better than the way I have played it before. I like also that they bring in real boxes of real products for inspiration. Whereas with an agile team you are playing this to ensure everyone shares the vision of what the product should do and why, with this exercise you seeking to uncover as yet unmet needs.
5. Buy a Feature This game sounds really useful for both internal teams and with customers. It would take some practice with small teams first I think. There is lots of information about how to price your features, how much money to give out and so on. The key concept is that customers don't have enough money to buy important features on their own, they have to work together and negotiate for what is most important. The conversations they have at this time would reveal a lot about the importance of different features and why they are important.
6. Start Your Day The idea of this game is to talk about how your product is used in different contexts, different times of the day, week, year and so on. Large calendars and time planners are used to stick ideas up on which are then discussed.
7. Show and Tell Customers bring example artefacts that your product produces and show them to the group. This leverages the desire everyone has to do a good job, show they are doing a good job and then they will happen to show how your product helps them do that.
8. Me and My Shadow Made famous by Intuit as "Follow me home" this is about observing customers using your products in their home environment.
9. Give them a Hot Tub It would be great to see a video of this game in action because it sounds a little strange. You put out a set of possible product features and pepper them with outrageous features that you make up. Each feature is then either accepted, transformed to something more useful or rejected. It is explained it works because of the cognitive dissonance created by the outrageous feature that you naturally work to remove.
10. The Apprentice This game has your development team going and actually performing the job that your product does. This will increase empathy for the development team of the users and give them countless insights into what is important to ensure the product actually does the job. This is potentially really easy to implement, depending on your environment - so what's stopping you! Go ahead!
11. 20 / 20 Vision This is a method of requirements prioritisation by comparing each requirement 1 by 1. You start with 1, then take the next and decide if it is higher or lower, and continue. Some modifications to consider include grouping in MOSCOW (must, could, should) groups and then comparing within each group.
12. Speed Boat This is a method for collecting negative feedback in a non-confrontational and fun way. You draw a big speed boat, put that on the wall and attach cards with issues as anchors - they are slowing down our speedboat. The issues can be differentiated in importance by the size of the anchor, the position and other things. We naturally don't like to deliver crtiicism, especially face to face, so this game provides a way to do it while giving some disassociation - it's not 'you' that's the problem - it's the boat is getting slowed down. This sounds like a great technique to use in all sorts of situations.
Ferriss is my new intellectual hero! Truly loving this book. Check back for a full review when I finish it, right after I master memorising full decks...moreFerriss is my new intellectual hero! Truly loving this book. Check back for a full review when I finish it, right after I master memorising full decks of cards, cooking like a chef, shooting the perfect basket and Spanish ;-)(less)
Really great book. It reminds me of Mike Cohn's style, very readable and lots of specific usable advice. I would rate this up with Mike's books and I'...moreReally great book. It reminds me of Mike Cohn's style, very readable and lots of specific usable advice. I would rate this up with Mike's books and I'm surprised I haven't heard of Adzic before. Agile acceptance testing is the topic of the book but it really describes the whole approach to development, which is how the specification by example really works. There is an excellent diagram of how to organise yourself in a 2 week sprint which is up on our task wall now, and some great nuggets of wisdom delivered in a very no nonsense style. Like (paraphrased) 'if the business aren't reviewing your acceptance tests you may as well not bother' (reason being the purpose of them is to facilitate communication). There is a great wrap up of automated testing tools at time the book was written, I'll be using that as a reference point. (less)
This book took a little while to grow on me, a bit like it took a little while for the self destruction of Julian English to grow from some unknown, i...moreThis book took a little while to grow on me, a bit like it took a little while for the self destruction of Julian English to grow from some unknown, indefinite source to the shadow of something real to an all consuming raging fire. It reminds me how close we really are to the edge, we are living our lives obvlious to the fact that we could trigger some internal unravelling that in the end we simply can't stop. Not what you call a cheery read, but gripping, compelling and totally real. A great dip back into fiction, I've reading way too many 'work' books lately, and my first real attempt at Good Reads recommendations, picking up a new author I never heard of before (sorry to admit!), it turned out pretty well.(less)
The touching and personal history of Japanese immigrant women just prior to and during WW2 in America. It has a unique style with no central character...moreThe touching and personal history of Japanese immigrant women just prior to and during WW2 in America. It has a unique style with no central characters or plot as such, it tells the story through a stream of images and moments in the lives of the women and their families. (less)
I have to stop giving so many books 5 stars, but I have to say I really loved this. Any leader at any level would enjoy and benefit from Susan's insig...moreI have to stop giving so many books 5 stars, but I have to say I really loved this. Any leader at any level would enjoy and benefit from Susan's insights. Deep emotional connection is not something usually talked about in management and leadership. Radical transparency gets some airing but Susan puts it all together in how to be an inspirational, highly successful leader. Read it!(less)
Anyone living the corporate life should read this book. It's as much about not becoming an asshole yourself as dealing with the ones around you, which...moreAnyone living the corporate life should read this book. It's as much about not becoming an asshole yourself as dealing with the ones around you, which is important because the best of us can be reduced to bad behaviour in the wrong environment. But - I know you really just want the quick story, how do you survive the assholes at work - my choice bits of advice are: - pick your workplace carefully, try to not to join in the first place if the assholes rule - if you got it wrong, get out as soon as you can If you are stuck, for a short or long time in a workplace where the assholes rule try these: - imagine this metaphor - you just got pushed out of the raft (by the assholes) now they are buffeting you along in the rapids. The standard advice for this is float on your back with your feet in front, so if you hit the rocks you can just push off. So channel this when you get cornered in a meeting with assholes. Put you feet out, ride the rapids and wait for the calm at the bottom. This is not pleasant but it will pass. - Don't think you need to be an asshole to get ahead, there are many organisations where this is not tolerated and they are more successful for it (studies prove it) - Steve Jobs is the exception not the rule, and a dangerous exception for giving anyone the licence to think behaving badly will work for them.
Great short, cheap book about how to run your startup with a minimum of fuss. Somewhat US focused, but well worth the short read and price of a coffee...moreGreat short, cheap book about how to run your startup with a minimum of fuss. Somewhat US focused, but well worth the short read and price of a coffee!(less)
A nice quick read in the ilk of "Who Moved My Cheese. It covers change management and illustrates the classic problems faced in organisations trying t...moreA nice quick read in the ilk of "Who Moved My Cheese. It covers change management and illustrates the classic problems faced in organisations trying to enact change. (less)
This is one of those seminal books that I'll be returning to many times, in fact I plan to read it 4 or 5 times cover to cover. I'd like to write some...moreThis is one of those seminal books that I'll be returning to many times, in fact I plan to read it 4 or 5 times cover to cover. I'd like to write some really meaty blog posts distilling and absorbing some of the key points, it is really worth studying and analysing this book. The breakthrough for me was after so many years living in product companies seeing the struggle to create new innovations along side doing business today and thinking that the 'problem' was something specific like 'we need an innovation program', 'we need an idea submission process', some particular exec 'doesn't get it' etc etc, I have changed my opinion entirely. Actually the problem is in the budget allocation planning and the organisational structure. Course like any good idea the trick comes in all the little ways those plans get undone in the doing, but that's what makes it fun !(less)
Some excellent extensions to the idea of prototyping. Quite a short book, definitely recommended must read for anyone in product development. Love the...moreSome excellent extensions to the idea of prototyping. Quite a short book, definitely recommended must read for anyone in product development. Love the idea the whole book is a pretotype, that is it is not a full book but a prototype book to confirm if it is worth writing a full book. Think it has proven itself and would like to see a full book follow.(less)