How to work with engineers

How to work with engineers

Ignite talk from #productsf in April 2013. See the full essay version here:

https://www.kennethnorton.com/essays/how-to-work-with-software-engineers.html

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Ken Norton

April 12, 2013
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Transcript

  1. work with engineers HOW TO Ken Norton Google, Inc. kennethnorton.com

    @kennethn
  2. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN MY SECRET 10 STEP PLAN

  3. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN GREATEST PRODUCT MANAGERS IN HISTORY Insanely Great

    Steve Jobs Greatly Insane Nick Machiavelli Ken Norton Great, Just Great PHOTO OF STEVE JOBS BY MATT BUCHANAN, PHOTO OF ME BY ADE OSHINEYE
  4. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN WHY YOU CARE WHAT I SAY 20

    Years Engineers 3,875,000 Listened 95% Engineers did what I told them to do MORE THAN 1,000,000
  5. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN “Great work!” “Awesome!” “Congrats!” “I shipped it!

    “Single-handedly!” “My vision!” EXECUTIVE YOU ABSORB PRAISE 1
  6. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN Blame! Blame! Blame! YOU ENGINEER ENGINEER ENGINEER

    DEFLECT BLAME TIP: Never Apologize 2
  7. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN WE There is no ME in “

  8. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN BLAH BLAH YOU ENGINEER ENGINEER BLAH BLAH

    BLAH BLAH TIP: Knowledge leads to disappointment DO NOT BOTHER WITH DETAILS 3
  9. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN Ideation Planning Launch Thinking Coding 2013 FEB

    APR 1 MAR APR 5 JAN INVOLVE THEM LATE RIGHT ABOUT HERE. 4
  10. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN SHOW VALUE BY ADDING PROCESS 5 Weekly

    Round-the-room Tracking spreadsheet Cross-functional Just checking in Daily briefing Status reports Friendly ping! Bug tracker Voicemail 2. 3. 1.
  11. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN WTF? TIP: The air of mystery will

    keep them on their toes NEVER TELL THEM THE REASONS 6
  12. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN We sign up... to ship in 2

    weeks... with all features! MAKE COMMITMENTS FOR THEM 7 TIP: Being held accountable to somebody else’s promises builds character
  13. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN TIP: whatever they’re working on is less

    important than what you need right now YOU ENGINEER ENGINEER ENGINEER INTERRUPT AT ANY TIME 8
  14. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN TIP: Feel free to change your mind

    at will, just don’t tell anyone when you do YOU YOUR CAREER ENGINEERS, USERS, ETC. BE AMBIGUOUS 9
  15. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN Total lies White lies Overt lies Subtle

    lies THEY ARE ALWAYS LYING 10 TIP: There’s no such thing as “technical debt,” just engineering excuses
  16. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN 1. Absorb praise 2. Deflect blame 3.

    Don’t bother with details 4. Involve them late 5. Add process 6. Never tell the reasons 7. Commit for them 8. Interrupt at any time 9. Be ambiguous 10.They’re always lying
  17. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN NO

  18. KEN NORTON @KENNETHN 1. Deflect praise 2. Absorb blame 3.

    Sweat the details 4. Involve them early 5. Streamline process 6. Always tell the reasons 7. Never commit without them 8. Respect their time 9. Be specific 10.Trust them
  19. PHOTO BY PHIL KING. BRING THE DONUTS 11

  20. Ken Norton @kennethn Find this talk: kennethnorton.com/engineers THIS WORK BY

    KEN NORTON IS LICENSED UNDER A CREATIVE COMMONS ATTRIBUTION 3.0 UNPORTED LICENSE SPECIAL THANKS TO: ANAND RANGARAJAN, ANDREW OPLINGER, DYLAN SALISBURY, JORDANNA CHORD, JOSEPH SMARR, MIKE CARRATO, PATRICK DOYLE, AND PHILIP TUCKER. DONUTS ARE ON ME.