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An introduction to Sprints

Sprints are short periods of time in which you hope to achieve some measurable progress towards your larger goals. Most teams run 2 week sprints. These are long enough to make meaningful progress but short enough to plan at the right level of detail.

  • You start each sprint with a planning session agreeing on the goals you hope to achieve and discussing any impediments or assumptions.
  • Throughout the sprint you’ll check in with your squad on the progress you’re making with regular stand ups.
  • At the end of the sprint you review the work done with a demo and discuss the processes you’re using with a retrospective (often abbreviated to retro).

Beyond this, there are lots of details and variables which teams customise as they see fit. But most of what makes a sprint work is contained in those 4 meetings (called ceremonies).

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Getting Profitable – HotelTonight

Great post from Sam Shank on LinkedIn earlier this week about how HotelTonight managed their team to drive towards profitability.

B2P (“build to profitability”) became a call to arms around HT HQ. Giving our goal a name made it easy to rally around. We talked about it every week at HT Nation, our all-hands meeting. It became a shorthand for every decision we made. “Will X project help us reach our B2P goal?” If the answer was no, we tabled the idea for a later date (even if it was a great one). We even built a giant h-bed (the HotelTonight logo) that we filled up like a modern school fundraising thermometer, visually demonstrating how close we were to our goal.

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Addressing the right problem with the right solution

Product Management is really only about two things:

  1. Understanding the space in which your product exists: DISCOVERY
  2. Building your product to deliver the most value in that space: DELIVERY

These two are fundamentally linked. If you don’t understand the problems and opportunities in your space you’ll never address them. If you don’t know your users’ needs you’ll never fulfil them. Similarly, if you’re not conscious of the product you have, of the direction you’re growing, then you won’t ask the right questions to understand your space.

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