John Cutler is a product evangelist for Amplitude, and a leading voice in the product management community. As a systems overthinker and "on second thoughts" leader, he's an anomaly in this world of quick-fire bubblegum takes. John's hypothesis is simple - product management is messy and he loves nothing more than thinking about it and drawing lots of complicated diagrams to explain it.
Here are some of John's weighty thoughts:
There's a lot of variety in product content out there and that's good
John can get pretty in-depth, but there's plenty of room for targeted, optimised, "just do this" takes out there. As long as they're reducing the gatekeeping around product management not increasing it.
Working in the "ideal" product way isn't the be-all and end-all
There are lots of great teams out there not working as per the books. There are also great Big Tech-style practitioners who can only thrive in certain environments and would flounder anywhere else.
We should all be thinking in systems
Systems thinking is important for product managers trying to make sense of their product or organisation. Nothing is linear, everything is composed of self-reinforcing loops. Think you're a change agent? You're part of the system too!
Product people need to be able to translate their thinking
Systems thinking or otherwise, product people can have complicated messages that could sound esoteric or theoretical to non-product folks. It's important to find a way to land your message with your target audience.
He coined the term "Feature Factory" as a joke and his thinking has evolved
Sometimes you're going to have to build a feature & it might even be the best move! Work with your CEO, not against them, when they ask for a feature & make sure you know what game you're playing.
Surviving a feature factory is possible with this 5-step plan
John has an actionable 5-step plan (containing 6 steps) which enables you to work out what you want, what your colleagues want, demonstrate the value of product practices and, if all else fails, when to leave.