Agile · Decision making · Other topics I care about · podcasts · Pop culture · Product management · questions · Reading

Questions on my mind

For the first month or two of 2015 I was writing in my blog almost daily; one of the weekly ‘features’ was sharing questions on my mind.  Given that my blog is entitled In Truth It’s Not That Simple it ought to come as no surprise that sometimes I feel like I have more questions than answers to the things that weigh on me.  Here are a few of the things I am wrestling with lately.  If you have any thoughts on these, feel free to post in the comments section or reach out to me on Twitter (@asbiv).

As a Product Owner:

Here I have a host of questions big and small.  What book should I read this year to gain some fresh perspective and practical insight on improving as a product owner?  Is there a great podcast or blog on the challenges of product development that I should check out?  If I can go to only one conference or training event this year to help me and my organization grow in product management disciplines which one should I attend?

How can we balance the lure of custom development for large clients with broad market appeal to a wider group of potential customers?  How do we staff appropriately for these different business development objectives, or can the same team pursue them both?

How do we gain deep insight into the needs of our clients without over-burdening them with inquiries?  How do we validate that we are heading in the right direction as we build out new features and functionality without getting crushed between the Scylla of ‘analysis paralysis’ or the Charybdis of confirmation bias (gotta throw in those Greek mythology references or Police lyrics depending upon your cultural perspective).

As a writer:

Should I start a second blog?  That may sound like a crazy idea given the struggles I’ve had over the years posting regularly on this one.  However, this blog has grown beyond its original intention – sharing insights and experiences about being a product owner in a financial technology firm – to being a place where I post thoughts about leadership, pop culture, books I’m reading, and other random topics in addition to ideas about product development.  And there are a whole set of other topics that interest me which I’ve never posted here.  My current blog has met with more limited readership than I had initially hoped so again that has me wondering about how much sense it makes to start keeping a second blog on top of this one.  Would I realistically be able to find the time to write in two different blogs on a regular basis?  Does it make sense to combine my many interests in a single blog that delves into a much more diverse set of topics?

In my free time:

They say nothing succeeds like success; I can also testify that few things demotivate like feeling stuck at a plateau.  In two areas of fun in my life – running and squash – I feel like I’ve been stuck for a while.  I’ve tried changing up my routines but I’m having trouble breaking through to ‘the next level’ and I’m starting to wonder if I need to adjust my expectations.  Those of you out there who struggle with this have any insights on how to push through?

If you’re reading this blog regularly you know I’ve hit a wall in another area: my interest in comic books from “the big two” (Marvel and DC).  I’m happily discovering comic books from Image, Dark Horse, and others but with convoluted continuity and generally high price points I feel no motivation to pick up any Marvel or DC books.  Even knowing that there are some great writers and artists working on characters I grew up with doesn’t get me interested enough to dive back into huge and interconnected story arcs that might not pay off for many issues – not when I can read a thoroughly satisfying single trade with a self-contained story.  I still love the medium of comic books and may come back again to the heroes of my youth, but right now I’m happy not to be reading these ‘mainstream’ books – though every now and then I feel guilty about it.  Should I?

Thinking about my ‘free time’ always has me wondering how I can find more of it.  There are a number of places I’d like to get more involved – plus plenty of fun things I’d like to do – but it’s so hard to find time beyond the ‘demands’ of my life.  One question I’m struggling with now: is it better to go ‘deep’ with a few interests be somewhat involved in lots of things?  There are joys and sacrifices in either direction.

For what it’s worth, these are a few of the things rattling around in my brain this week.  There’s lots more I could write about here but these are some of the bigger things nagging for attention in my mind.  It might be nice to find easy answers to some of these questions but I know that in truth it’s not that simple.


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