My (software) toolkit

| Mar 3, 2019 min read

As product owners, we rarely have the chance of starting a new project. Most of the time, we have to handle existing projects and we need to adapt our expectations and internal processes in order to build or improve something.

At least that’s how it is in my business area.

That’s why whenever I have the chance to get on board of a greenfield project, I get over-excited and try to implement as many good practices I can, so at a later point, I can benefit from those early efforts.

And that’s how I realized how often we overlook the work on templatization of various stuff we use on a day to day activity.

Technical stuff

As a part-time, amateur programmer, I always stay a few hours to setup the environment required for my app to say “Hello, world”.

IDE, programming language runtime, database, server, yada-yada…

Everything takes time and by the time I got everything up and running, I lose my interest and decide to do something else.

I’ll skip the technical details as I have received feedback this blog should not be only about technical stuff.

Business stuff

Whenever I change the business context it’s when either I’m switching between two jobs or I’m helping someone else than my current employer, as a freelance project.

And then I have to go again through all the setup of everything:

  • emails
  • domain
  • hosting
  • business discovery
  • team formation
  • process analysis
  • choosing the right tools for the right job

This, again, takes time and it is prone to error because you don’t really remember everything by heart, upfront. Most probably, you’ll remember you haven’t discussed anything with your new business partner about reporting when you’re in the middle of a meeting, discussion about a new awesome feature and then it strikes you: we need to measure the success of this feature, but how do we do it?

That’s why it was easier at the previous job / project, because it was there. After a period of time, someone, you or maybe a colleague of yours, might have ran into the need of having some figures on how good a feature was and built a framework for reporting.

Building a framework sometimes means make a query and save the results in an Excel file, on a shared drive that everyone is using. This way it will be easier to everyone to measure how is that KPI evolving.

Or something more advanced, like putting together an entire Business Intelligence stack, connected to various data sources, crunching numbers and delivering insights to business peers with little to no effort.

Fresh start

But this is not the case whenever you have the awesome opportunity to start fresh. Most of the times, you have a blank page and you feel like you’re naked and panic starts to kick in.

That’s why I think it’s important to spend some time, everytime you’re doing something and question yourself: how is this going to help me in my next endeavour?

How am I going to replicate what I’m doing here at other companies and what I can templatize so others can replicate this success somewhere else?

Be it another project or another company, one that I will employ me or not.

Gabi’s toolkit

During the last 8-10 years, I’ve been working for various companies and projects, being exposed to certain degrees of business software.

eCommerce platforms, plugins, reporting tools, CRMs, customer care software, email marketing - you name it.

Tools that are valuable in eCommerce company or in one that relies on software to do business.

And quite often, I am asked for recommendations. That made me realize that sometimes, I need to answer to the same questions, multiple times, to different people.

And I kept asking myself: why don’t I templatize this in a list of tools I can recommend, based on my personal experience.

Well, now that I said it, I think I should also start working on it and create a new section of this personal website with some product recommendations.

Who knows what will this spur into in the next 6-12 months.

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