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The Steady Beat - Issue 24.6.2

Designing with robots, a product management superpower, syncing teams, distilling documentation, and heaping salt on AI-generated career advice.

June 14th 2024

by Henry Poydar

in Newsletter

Welcome to The Steady Beat, a weekly-ish round-up of hand-picked articles and resources for people who make software products: designers, engineers, product managers, and organizational leaders.

Elevating AI’s role beyond generative hype

In the latest Dive Club design podcast, Maggie Appleton, product designer at Elicit, argues that the true power of AI is not in generative capabilities but in enhancing critical reasoning and systematic processes. Elicit is creating tools to assist researchers with systematic literature reviews, leveraging AI to sift through thousands of scientific papers efficiently. Appleton’s journey from zero knowledge about AI to spearheading a product that levers it emphasizes the importance of integrating detailed technical understanding with user-focused design. The conversation also touches on the evolving landscape of AI in design, where the emphasis shifts from automation of routine tasks to solving complex, novel problems. The future of AI in design, Appleton suggests, will demand a blend of technical literacy and strategic thinking.

Dive Club, 52m

Dyslexic minds: a secret weapon in product management

Dyslexia, often seen as a disability, is actually a superpower in product management. PM Brendan Sherratt argues that visual thinking, divergent thinking, pattern recognition, empathy, and resilience—traits honed by dyslexia—fuel innovation. From spotting hidden insights in data to reimagining product strategies, dyslexic minds excel at solving complex problems. Sherratt calls for inclusive workplaces that celebrate neurodiversity, urging companies to hire for potential and different thinking styles to unlock product innovation.

Brendan Sherrat, 6m

Syncing modern teams with Continuous Coordination

The chaos of over-engineered work environments is sapping productivity and morale. Continuous Coordination offers a human-centered, open-source framework to fix this by focusing on proactive communication and transparency. Developed by industry veterans, it includes seven principles like automating updates, leading with context, and reducing low-value meetings. It integrates easily with existing tools and requires just three steps to implement, promising to elevate collaboration and efficiency without the burnout. Dive into the details to see how to transform your team’s workflow today.

Steady Blog, 4m

Documentation dilemma

Kent Bent eloquently argues that while clear communication is essential for programmers, overemphasis on documentation can lead to a vicious cycle of outdated and burdensome documents. Instead, he advocates for a balanced approach: document judiciously, focus on code simplicity, and leverage social interactions and tests for effective communication. With advancements in LLMs making code explanation easier, the push for more documentation might just be misplaced. After all, “nobody wants documentation. They want to know enough to change the code quickly & safely, to get the new results they want without accidentally breaking anything.”

Kent Beck, 5m

Advice about robots giving career advice

AI bots are stepping into the career coaching arena, offering tips from handling workplace harassment to deciding when to quit your job. While some of these tool promise in generating ideas and perspectives, they’re no match for human coaches (yet). The bots provide decent, but often biased or overly general advice. When it comes to your career, use AI as a supplementary tool, but trust your judgment first–human empathy and experience, the foundation of working with others, are irreplaceable.

Washington Post, 7m

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