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Abby Allen is a user-focused product manager, engineer, entrepreneur, and mom based in Minneapolis, MN.
My daughter

Everyone said that becoming a mother would change my life. I expected sleepless nights, a messy house, and fully embracing dry shampoo. I wasn’t surprised by the roller coaster of emotions as my daughter toddled through her first steps and climbed out of her crib by 15 months. There was…

Trigger warning: Graphic description of miscarriage

My heart has been breaking all day for the women of Texas. I know I typically write about product management and software engineering, but I needed a space to process my grief, trauma, and fear. …

“It was missing a piece. And it was not happy. So it set off in search of its missing piece.” — Shel Silverstein, The Missing Piece

In Shel Silverstein’s classic children’s story The Missing Piece, an incomplete circle slowly rolls along, talking to worms, falling into holes, and enjoying the company of butterflies as it searches for its missing piece. Meanwhile, the Missing Piece is waiting out there, somewhere, hoping the circle will come and find…

What is Cycle Time?

Cycle Time, the time it takes for a user story or other task to go through the software development lifecycle, is a common metric used in Kanban. It replaces velocity as a measure of efficiency and predictability for a team.

An example kanban board from Atlassian
Image Credit: Atlassian — Agile Product Management

If we consider the very simple JIRA Kanban board above…

Photo by on Unsplash

Sprint Demo. Sprint Review. Demo Day. All Hands. Show and Tell. Lunch and Learns. I’ve seen many flavors of the BIG DEMO meeting in tech companies who want the disparate squads of a growing engineering team to still come together and feel like a team. They generally look the same…

A lesson on opportunity costs from Mo Willem’s children’s book

Image credit: Mo Willems

In Should I Share My Ice Cream by Mo Willem’s, Elephant Gerald is frozen with indecision: should he share his awesome, yummy, sweet, super, great, tasty, nice, cool ice cream with his best friend Piggie or keep it all to…

Product Management Lessons from Mo Willems’ Award-Winning Children’s Book

The first page of Mo Willem’s children’s book, Let’s Go For a Drive. Elephant says to Piggie, “Piggie! I have a great idea”
Image Credit: Mo Willems, Let’s Go For a Drive!

Mo Willem’s book, Let’s Go For a Drive!, starts with a great idea. A self-organizing, enthusiastic team dives headfirst into a road trip adventure. Elephant Gerald declares that if this endeavor is to be successful, he and Piggie need a plan. Unfortunately, planning is not Gerald’s strong suit. …

Why products shouldn’t be a little of this and a little of that

Image Credit: Eric Carle via the Oak Hills Elementary School Library Blog

On a shiny green leaf sat a small green chameleon. It moved onto a brown tree and turned brownish. Then it rested on a red flower and turned reddish… When the chameleon was hungry, it sat still and waited. Only it’s eyes moved — up, down, sideways — until it…

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

The first page of the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
image credit: Lois Ehlert

A told B and B told C, ‘I’ll meet you at the top of the coconut tree. “Whee!” said D to E F G, “I’ll beat you to the top of the coconut tree.” Chicka chicka boom boom! Will there be enough room?

You just launched a Hot new product…

Abby Allen

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