Sign in

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 a quiet acceptance when I realized I had grown apart from some friendships and deepened those with fellow parents. These were the things the parenting books, the unsolicited advice from family and friends, and the knowing looks from total strangers had warned me about.

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: Every two to four weeks the entire engineering department and a handful of key stakeholders gather while a product person drags engineers up to a podium to talk about their latest work. These meetings usually have well-meaning and lofty goals such as:

  • Demo functionality to management and stakeholders from across…

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 himself? As product professionals, we’re often faced with similar choices: should we prioritize Initiative A or Initiative B? Is Feature X the better solution or Feature Y? It is important to make these decisions quickly and effectively. …

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”
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. The result is a lesson anyone involved in software development can learn from.

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 spotted a fly. Then the chameleon’s long and sticky tongue shot out and caught the fly. That was it’s life. It was not very exciting. But one day the chameleon saw a zoo!

The chameleon is a remarkable lizard. It can move its eyes in two totally different directions, shoot…

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

The first page of the book 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 or feature. People are Interested, and you Just got a call from Kyle in Legal. A digital Media News Outlet wants to Publish a story, and Kyle wants to make sure you’re Qualified to take the interview. Your marketing team just Released a stellar Strategy and it’s Taking off like…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store