Commit #000: Product Management (and related) Reads

Inspired by Carl Shan, Brittany Cheng ( and Tiang Lim (, I’ve started logging and sharing my learnings (not just my thoughts). In the spirit of programming the series is called “Commits“, starting with issue zero.

The idea behind this is to provide perspective – if something interests you, try it, then decide whether to keep or jettison it. I hope to do this weekly or bi-weekly basis, so if you’d like to stay in the loop, you can sign up for the mailing list. I’d also love to hear your feedback, so do leave a comment or a tweet to get in touch!

In this week’s commit: roadmapping, user stories/empathy, interviews, ux, programming



This week, I did some active searching on relating the backlog back to the roadmap:

  1. The new user story backlog is a map, Agile Product Design, Jeff Patton (approx. 16 mins). Jeff provides an alternative to managing the backlog in a “flat” manner, by categorising stories according to different functionalities.
  2. Ebook: on roadmaps and roadmapping, Steve Johnson, Under10 Consulting (approx. 21 mins). Revisited this great eBook, which takes you all the way from concept to practice, using Tripit as an example. I found the conceptual stuff particularly illuminating.

User Stories / Empathy

  1. Asking why is not always the best strategy, Daniel Ritz of Hubspot (approx. 5 mins). The title is a little misleading – it’s about asking more constructively, not discarding the need to ask in general. That said, quite a good framework for thinking through your questions to get actionable answers.

PM Interviews

  1. The PM Handbook, Carl Shan and Brittany Cheng (approx. 95 mins). I mentioned Carl and Brittany earlier, and they have done amazing work putting together a free collection of 60 interviews with PMs from companies like Yammer, Twitter and Facebook. Well worth the download!


Related Fields


I’m been thinking about improving the usability of my product as well:

  1. “Progressive Reduction” Could Mean Simpler, Friendlier Apps, Co.Labs, (approx. 22 mins). An oldie but a goodie on designing the FTUE (First Time User Experience). Instead of overwhelm a first-time user with walkthroughs, let the UI lead them progressively, such that you open more complexity to them as they use the app.
  2. Emotional Interface Design: The Gateway to Passionate Users, Aarron Walters (approx. 9 mins). I love Mailchimp’s UX, so it’s great to chance upon this article by Aarron. Basically, why aim for usable only, when you can aim for usable and pleasurable? A reminder not to underestimate surprise and emotions in design and UX.


  1. Programming isn’t manual labor, but it still sucks, Peter Welch (approx. 15 mins). I had a good laugh reading this! But if you are looking for an analogy/insight into the world of code, this is a great read.




Hope you find the articles and reads as useful (and pleasurable) as I did. I’d love to hear you thoughts (in comment or tweet). Do consider signing up for the mailing list as well!


One comment

  1. Pingback: Commit #001 | wasabi geek

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