10 great pieces on product development from 2021

Sigurd Seteklev
January 5, 2022

2021 was another year with a pandemic forcing many teams to work differently and more remotely. Despite it being another crazy year, people somehow found time to write some great product development articles. We rounded up 10 pieces we enjoyed from 2021, hoping that they can provide inspiration for the new year.

If your favorite is not here, then tell us about it!

John Cutler: The Messifesto

We often use strong words and opinions when discussing product development approaches. However, we have all limited experience and knowledge. Perhaps most important is staying curious and humble while still downplaying our own experiences. John tries to state this in the Messifesto.

Gustavs Cirulis: Intercom’s 9 fundamentals of great interaction design

Design is a vital function in almost all product teams today, but doing this at scale sometimes can distract designers from some of the fundamentals of designs. Gustavs describes how they have recognized this at Intercom and created 9 fundamentals of great interaction design.

Mind the Product: Surviving 2020

Covid changed a lot for many businesses and teams. Emily Tate and Imogen Schels describe how Mind the Product (the world’s largest product community) had to make significant changes to survive the pandemic.

Ken Norton: Building products at Stripe

We really like it when teams and companies describe how they work. Ken Norton has had a series of these in 2021, and while we put the Stripe one in the headline, we might as well have shared Airbnb or Slack.

Gergely Orzys: Advice working with PMs from PMs

Working with someone with a different background, role, and way of thinking can be challenging. But it’s these challenges that make teams and individuals grow and get better. Gergely asked PMs what advice they wanted to give engineers and engineering managers. The advice is worthwhile to read for everyone working with PMs.

Lenny Rachitsky and Justin Gage: The top 5 things PMs should know about engineering

As a parallel to “Advice working with PMs from PMs” above, this article takes on top 5 things PMs should know about engineering.

Edward Chechique: How product managers can work effectively with product designers

Yeah, it seems like PMs have a lot to learn, and here Edward does a take on how product managers can work effectively with product designers.

Teresa Torres: Collaborative Decision-Making in a Product Trio

This article is essential as many seem to forget that the product team (meaning engineering, design, and product management) is collaboratively responsible for delivering a great product to users and the business. It’s critical for the product trio (engineering, design, and product) to work effectively. Teresa Torres describes best practices for making the trio work.

Matt Learner: Finding Language/Market fit (for First Round)

Product/Market fit is a big topic for founders. Still, a super important aspect of growing any startup is positioning and how you talk about your product. First Round calls this Language/Market fit, and the article is an excellent read for early-stage startup founders and growth.

Kevin Goldsmith: Addressing the challenges of partially distributed engineering teams

Many traditionally colocated companies plan to do a hybrid distributed/colocated model when things open up after the pandemic. However, the hybrid model is probably the hardest for teams and managers. Kevin Goldsmith summarizes his experiences and solution managing partially distributed engineering teams. It is well worth reading for everyone that needs to work in a hybrid model.

Happy New Year, and we wish you all the best for 2022!


The Kitemaker team