You are previewing Shipping Greatness.

Shipping Greatness

Cover of Shipping Greatness by Chris Vander Mey Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. Shipping Greatness
  2. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
  3. Preface
    1. Shipping Is Greatness
    2. Acknowledgments
  4. One. The Shipping Greatness Process
    1. 1. How to Build a Great Mission and Strategy
      1. How to Find the Right Need to Meet
      2. How to Construct a Great Mission Statement
      3. How to Build the Right Strategy
    2. 2. How to Define a Great Product
      1. Step 1. Write a Press Release
      2. Step 2. Create a Living Frequently Asked Questions Document
      3. Step 3. Draw Wireframes and Flowcharts
      4. Step 4. Write the One-Pager and/or Build a 10-Minute Pitch
      5. Step 5. Add API s to Your FAQ
      6. Step 6. Write the Functional Specifications Document
      7. Step 7. Uncover Edge Cases and Get Buy-in from Your Team
      8. Step 8. Test on Customers
      9. Step 9. Figure Out the Basic Business Stuff: Name, Price, and Revenue
      10. Step 10. Sell Your Completed Product Idea Upstairs
      11. Your Product Is Ready to Build—Go Build It!
    3. 3. How to Build a Great User Experience
      1. Understand Design Roles: UX, UI, IA , VisD, UXR … and Personas
      2. Understand How to Evaluate Designs
      3. Understand How to Communicate with Designers
      4. Learn How to Communicate with Pictures
    4. 4. How to Achieve Project Management Greatness on a Budget
      1. Build and Maintain a Simple Schedule
      2. Track Your Bugs and Build a Bug Burndown
      3. Managing Dependencies
    5. 5. How to Do a Great Job Testing
      1. Insist on Test-Driven Development
      2. Build a Test Team Around a Test Lead
      3. Review Your Test Plan and Test Cases
      4. Automate Testing
      5. Dogfood
      6. How to Run a Bug Bash
      7. Triage Bugs Properly
      8. Use Trusted Testers
      9. Parting Thought: Use the Entire Product as a New User
    6. 6. How to Measure Greatness
      1. How to Collect the Right Metrics and Only the Right Metrics
      2. The Three Classes of Metrics You Should Collect
      3. Focus on the Goal, Not the Minutiae
    7. 7. How to Have a Great Launch
      1. Just Say No
      2. Run a War Room
      3. Instill a Sense of Urgency
      4. Complete the Launch Checklist
      5. Write the Blog Post
      6. Roll the Software Out
      7. Verify the Software Yourself
      8. Respond to the Positive and Negative Effects of Your Launch
      9. In the Case of Problems, Roll the Software Back
      10. Handle Any Production Crises
  5. Two. The Shipping Greatness Skills
    1. 8. How to Build a Shipping-Ready Team
      1. How to Start a Team
      2. How to Acquire a Company
      3. How to Work with Offshore or Remote Teams
    2. 9. How to Build Great, Shippable Technology
      1. The First S: Servers
      2. The Second S: Services
      3. The Third S: Speed
      4. The Fourth S: Scaling
      5. How to Ask the Right Technical Questions
    3. 10. How to Be a Great Shipping Communicator
      1. How to Write Great Email
      2. How to Handle the Five Types of Meetings
      3. How to Run a Good Meeting
      4. How to Build and Give a Great Presentation
    4. 11. How to Make Great Decisions
      1. Postponing: “We’ll Finish It Tomorrow”
      2. Negotiation: “OK, 10 More Minutes”
      3. Dealing with Conflict
    5. 12. How to Stay a Great Person While Shipping
      1. How to Balance Shipping, Quality and Impact, and Your Team
      2. How to Handle Randomization
      3. How to Manage Your Energy While Shipping
      4. How to Use Escalation as a Tool, Not an Excuse
      5. How to Eat the S#!@ Sandwich and Survive
    6. 13. That Was Great; Let’s Do It Again
  6. A. 10 Principles of Shipping
  7. B. Essential Artifacts Your Team Needs
  8. C. References and Further Reading
    1. Product Definition
    2. Managing Management
    3. Engineering Management
    4. UX
    5. Metrics
    6. Communications
  9. D. How to Contact Us
    1. We’d Like to Hear from You
    2. Safari® Books Online
  10. About the Author
  11. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
  12. Copyright
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Chapter 10. How to Be a Great Shipping Communicator

IF YOU ARE TRYING to ship software, you almost certainly have a ton of information to disseminate, statuses to gather, checkups to perform, and other details to sweat. You’re going to need to send a lot of email and run a lot of meetings. That’s the bad news, but it’s why they pay you. The good news is that it’s not hard to be great at either one, if you have a little technique.

One key technique is to take as few meetings as possible but no fewer. In many cases, you can avoid the meeting entirely by writing great email. So let’s start there, because it’s constantly amazing to me how the VPs at Google and Amazon are great at email, while their less experienced team leads are terrible at it. At the very least, you can consider yourself prepared to be a VP at the end of this chapter.

How to Write Great Email

Einstein said, “If you can’t say something simply, you don’t really understand it.” The first thing I do when I get a page-long email to a simple question is archive it, because I’ve learned that the sender doesn’t understand the answer he or she is delivering or has not yet found the right question to ask. The long email syndrome is so pervasive that engineers have developed shorthand for it, replying to these messages: “tl;dr,” meaning “too long; didn’t read.” And if you think anyone can send good email, think again. Kim Rachmeler, the first program manager Amazon hired and former Amazon VP, once singled out a program manager ...

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