Hallway Studio

Lessons from 50 mentoring sessions

ADPList Logo and Mentees

This week I did my 50th session mentoring designers and PMs with ADPList. So many of them are talented and creative people who don’t know how to shine on a resume or they lack the confidence to tell us how great they are. My job is to be very direct and help them spotlight their […]

A new way of thinking about product team roles 

Teams need clear roles but people want to be heard and be creative.  Teams need to balance collaboration and execution. Some teams have found this balance and others are stuck in debates about ownership and that is stopping them from getting things done. Some of the conflict we’re experiencing is because teams haven’t established roles […]

Building a Research Flywheel: A Helpful Guide for Product Managers & Their Teams

airline machinery

Product Management Today Webinar – March 2022 You’ve heard of Amazon and Vanguard, two of the most successful customer-focused businesses in the world, but have you heard Jim Collins’ Flywheel Effect? You might be surprised to learn that neither of these businesses would be where they are today without it. Every step of the product […]

Who do you want to show up at your new job?

Sunrise at Half Moon Bay, Ca

Whenever a friend, mentee or colleague tells me about a new job, after properly congratulating them, I ask them how they want to show up at this job differently. Maybe as someone who is more strategic, a better teammate, or someone who raises standards.  A new job offers  An environment where you can more easily […]

3 questions that will help you hire the right design leader

Pastry Case at Modern Pastry in Boston Mass

Attracting candidates, finding the right fit and helping your chosen design leader them launch successfully is hard and often ends badly. As a former consultant and the first design leader in an organization in more than one organization I’ve seen that companies fail when look for a magical being to solve all their problems. Instead […]

My favorite Jobs to be Done resources

Table with markers and sheets to draw on

Jobs to be Done is a very effective way to think about what drives purchase and onboarding behaviors. I’ve been doing some workshops on it with colleagues and at first they aren’t buying it. They don’t see the value of functional, social and emotional goals until the switch flips and once it does it’s pretty […]

Don’t want to be an order taker? Stop taking orders

Boone Drug in Boone, NC

When you sit the chair and ask your hair stylist for a certain style of cut or color chances are they listened carefully, considered your face shape, hair type, how much time you spend your hair (not much if you are me) and your skill in doing hair (none if you are me). Hopefully at […]

Helping a CXO let go

National Cathedral Stained Glass

I’ve seen CEOs who are deeply involved in color schemes, CTOs who want to control every architecture decision and product leaders who are very particular about agile rituals.  I’ve written before about how to manage up. If you want to manage a CXO (CEO, CPO, CTO or one of the random other ones) and get […]

Mysteries of Product-Engineering Disfunction

I’ve seen a similar pattern pop up in three different companies and I’m writing this to see if anyone else has seen it too. Each company is in a different industry. One is small, one is medium and one is massive. The leaders are frustrated with the lack of progress and the amount of friction […]