I recently caught up with a long time friend, co-founder of Lyst, and Venture Partner at Seedcamp Devin Hunt about his view on the role of Product Manager. What followed was a fun deep dive into the evolving nature of the role, but also an exploration into its relative infancy in terms of what best practices are, and why this makes it challenging for founders looking to hire a PM to know what to look for. This blog post is a summarised and synthesised version of our chat, but hopefully it helps you answer the following questions:
- What is a product manager?
- Where can I meet one?
- When should I hire one?
First, let’s start by defining the role of a Product Manager (PM). A PM is more than just one thing, it’s a role that encompasses several disciplines. To make it simple, I’ve broken out those disciplines into four categories: Product Leadership, Management, Design, and Sales.
Leadership, in the context of being a Product Manager, means making the critical decisions based on your team’s research and the product vision set out by the founder. In our chat, Devin shared that there are two unique streams in building product: developing the product vision, and executing on it, which he calls product operations. Whereas a founder might be hyper critical in setting (Read more...)
Supply chains can be a complex logistical challenge. But they pose an even greater environmental challenge. And it’s that latter problem — global supply-chain sustainability — where UK startup Sourceful is fully focused, although it argues its approach can boost efficiency as well as shrink environmental impact. So it’s a win-win, per the pitch.
Early investors look impressed: Sourceful is announcing a $12.2 million seed funding round today, led by Europe’s Index Ventures (partner, Danny Rimer, is joining the board). Eka Ventures, Venrex and Dylan Field (Figma founder), also participated in the chunky raise.
The June 2020-founded startup says it will use the new funding to scale its operations and build out its platform for sustainable sourcing, with a plan to hire more staff across technology, sustainability, marketing and ops.
Its team has already grown fivefold since the start of 2021 — and it’s now aiming to reach 60 employees by the end of the year.
And all this is ahead of a public launch that’s programmed for early next year.
Sourceful’s platform is in pre-launch beta for now, with around 20 customers across a number of categories — such as food & beverages (Foundation Coffee House), fashion and accessories (Fenton), healthcare (Elder), and online marketplaces (Floom and Stitched) — kicking the tyres in the hopes of making better supply chain decisions.
It’s hard to avoid the agony on prod-eng Twitter about the basics of making software. It’s heartbreaking. Making software is hard, but we as humans do like to make it harder. Here are 10 lessons of my own about agile software, in case it is helpful. Some are high level and some are super tactical. Use only as useful for your own context.
1. Make software a continuous process
The rate at which the Earth moves around the sun shouldn’t control your software project. Months, quarters, years — these are useful constructs for planning, goal setting, and setting expectations, but the work is the work. We all know that it’s hard, complex, and inherently unpredictable; not just the coding part, but even more so the delivering value part. So the best way to handle this is to turn our work into a continuous process — continuous improvement of ourselves, continuous delivery of value to customers, and continuous evolution of our strategy.
I’ve experimented with multi-week sprints/iterations and not having sprints at all, and I’ve found 1 week to be the most effective structure. You start the week re-aligning, you work the week, you evaluate how you are doing, you take as much of the weekend off as you can, and then you get back to it.
Anything longer than a week and people start to confuse the sprint length with “shipping something” length. Those two should be completely disconnected. Sometimes you can ship something in two hours. Sometimes in (Read more...)