Building a Platform – Part 1

Okay, so this is part one it what has already been (and will continue to be) a long running saga about how NOT to build an enterprise platform.

Things are still early in the process and though leadership is violating every best practice in the book, this saga may not be a tragedy. If not killed, this build will be (and is already feeling like) something of an odyssey.

Now on to the show.

There is an idea to build an enterprise platform targeted at a customer segment. The idea comes from upon high and we have been given our (death march) marching orders. Normally, when I am working with an product idea, I want to understand and assess the viability of product idea. Product designers and/or managers will generally start with trying to make sense of the problem the product is trying to solve. For me, I would look to conduct some type of product opportunity assessment.


Well, the idea may sound great and the person pitching the idea will, understandably, be excited about the idea. The excitement may result in missing some critical bit of information or misjudging completely any number of things that could spell doom and result in wasting resources.

At a basic level, I would want to at least start with developing a value proposition.

A great tool for this is the Value Proposition Canvas. It is a great tool.

Understanding the idea from the end-users point of view is critical. What is the end-users job? What are the pain points? What are that help them achieve their ends? If we find ourselves making assumptions, it is a signal that we need to do homework and research things (more on that later).

This is basic stuff, product development 101. The trouble is, the folks upon high were pretty much adamant against the idea of doing basic homework. They wanted something! What exactly that something is, well, it is evolving.

So, we have been working to build a prototype with our development team without a clear sense of what this thing is. We have tried to story map the platform, but are constantly changing it. It is chaos and poorly planned.

The directive is to build while trying to fully form the concept without any sense of if the platform solves any actual problem for any user. There is no business model, no desire to think about any costs or revenues, how to license, how to sell, or much less else.

A long stream of stuff here. I’ll try to elaborate over time and hopefully use this topic to layout my version of Product Development 101.

Monday and Taifa has her Priorities Straight

Greetings everyone who may have stumbled on to this blog post. Hope you enjoy!

So, the Monday after “Super Sunday” and I’m up early though off to a slow start. Call it lack of motivation or not enough sleep. The lack of sleep had nothing to do with the Super Bowl or any late night partying. Honestly, I did not watch a down of the game. Nothing against fans of American Football, I just have not a great deal of interest in the game these days.

As mentioned, I was up early today. My dog Taifa woke me up with her barking at the door to my flat around 5:30am. She was guarding the apartment against the building super who was cleaning the stairs and the landings. In Taifa’s earnest quest to warn intruders to keep out (and away from her stash of treats) she managed to get me up.

After an early morning walk, I opted for breakfast and she opted to go back to sleep (as pictured).

Not the most flattering photo of Taifa, but she does look really peaceful.

I admire my dog, she is very independent (almost cat like) and she has converted my apartment into her bedroom. Taifa is rarely to be fussed about most things and she can find comfort in every room.

Taifa will not go into the bathroom though, at least not voluntarily. I believe she considers the bathroom an evil place, where she gets baths.

How does she have her priorities straight. Well, besides her ability to sleep anywhere and anytime, she takes life as it comes. Taifa enjoys being outdoors, time for her to sniff, play and meditate.

I am not a sniffer, but the play and meditation time sound really good. Regular naps are quite good too. She is a lucky girl, Taifa found a human that appreciates her and respects her choices. Good girl!

Okay, not much of a second post here. I’m still a bit unmotivated, but felt I should at least write something. I’ll have better days, better posts and sometimes not so great ones. Be patient.

Not Much Wisdom

I last took up my keyboard to blog when I was working in Kenya. I wrote, for a small audience, about my experiences working in a new place. I got a bit busy during my 3-year stint working with AMPATH, so my time blogging fell by the wayside.

I’m going to return to sharing my thoughts (again for a small audience) and the topics this time will vary widely. I plan to write about technology, cycling, Arsenal, my dog Taifa, politics (yep), science and what ever else comes up. I hope this will be a regular thing and that content will flow, but no guarantees.

Essentially expect long form Twitter. I hope things will be insightful and of value. I’ll try to take things seriously and to have some fun. I will do my best to back up statements so this isn’t just opinion. I do caution you (few?) readers that you will probably find “not much wisdom” in what is about to happen.

All the best!