Happy Teams Build Great Products. Here’s How.

By on in Process, Product Management

Ever feel like your product team is not working to its full potential? Here at Carbon Five, we’ve worked with hundreds of product teams, and we wondered what differentiated strong teams from struggling teams.

Our curiosity drove us to create the Product Dartboard, a digital tool that helps teams identify their strengths, challenges, and blind spots, and provides teams with actionable steps to continuously improve.

Speaking of continuous improvement — we just released a few updates to the Dartboard. Now you can see a more detailed Dartboard report, facilitate a productive team discussion with our downloadable guide, and create your own follow-up assessments — which is critical to team success! Continue reading …


Channeled Procrastination

By on in Everything Else, Process

I procrastinate.

In high school it was a huge issue for me, because as a high schooler I was still inexperienced at it. I frequently found myself in last-minute mode, moving swiftly from one self-induced crisis to another.

College wasn’t any better. The assignments were more spread out, but the due dates tended to be final due dates, whereas in high school there were usually several interim deadlines for milestones. Continue reading …


Carbon Five Wins Amplitude Emerging Product Leaders Award

By on in Process, Product Management

We were honored to receive the award for Outstanding Product Agency in Amplitude’s Emerging Product Leaders Awards.

This award is for the agency that provides clients the best product development, growth, or strategy support. At Carbon Five, product managers help clients to transform their vision into reality. We also build high-performing teams, mentoring client PMs and leaders so that they can continue to build amazing things once we roll off the project. Continue reading …


Minimum Viable Process

By on in Process, Product Management

If I mention the word “agile” to you, a couple of rituals common to agile methodologies probably come to mind. Daily stand-ups and iteration planning probably top the list, and you probably think of other agile concepts like user stories and estimating their complexity with an arbitrary number of points. Continue reading …


How to save 90% of your development budget

By on in Design, Process, Product Management, Startups, User Research

Carbon Five was recently brought in to build a new product with a planned budget of 6 months. As the first step, we conducted a few rounds of customer development to try and validate the concept. After a month of experiments by a product manager and designer, we ultimately recommended that the company not pursue the idea. Our client spent a few weeks of consulting fees but saved more than 90% of their budget by not building anything.

The client for this project provides software to a niche set of businesses. As more and more competition started popping up, they believed they saw an opportunity to create a digital marketplace in their niche. Before Carbon Five started building software, the client wanted us to confirm demand for the marketplace.

Continue reading …


Top Traits of Successful Non-technical Founders

By on in Process

As a digital product development consultancy that delivers more than 30 projects a year, we get to work with a lot of founders: technical and non-technical alike. Over the last 17 some-odd years, there are a few traits we see time and again in successful non-technical founders. And really, these six traits benefit anyone trying to create a successful new product.

Continue reading …


Proposals and Processes in Your Professional Life – Carbon Five Santa Monica Talk Night October 19th

By on in Announcements, Events, Los Angeles, Process

Another month, another talk night in Santa Monica! This month’s talks on October 19th cover the softer skills of a professional’s life such participating in conferences and running processes before they run into the ground.

First, we are happy to have engineer and advocate Carina Zona! She’s in town to speak at the SCNA conference on Oct 21st at USC, but if you can’t make it there we’re hosting her at the westside. As the founder of CallbackWoman, expanding diversity of all underrepresented genders as speakers at conferences, she’ll be speaking “On Proposing Your First Conference Talk”:

Giving conference talks is a game changer. Speaking can propel a career forward, expand your network considerably, and lead to wonderfully surprising opportunities. Come learn about how to get started, and get some practical skills for doing your first proposal how to find relevant opportunities, dissecting Calls For Proposals, evaluating their for fit with you, questions it’s cool to ask organizers, the darned fair expectations to hold, brainstorming a topic, and writing abstracts!

Then Carbon Five’s Ryan Finley will be shining a light on the cold heart truth; some projects ARE doomed from the start. Ryan explains why and how to tackle the causes in “Ch-Ch-Changes: Setting the Foundation for Successful Process Change”:

Key decisions made, or not made, before the outset of an initiative can either give your team the opportunity to succeed or set them on a path to failure. We will discuss the things that can be done prior to kicking off a change initiative to give it the best shot at success, and some strategies to deal with the issues that may arise when this upfront work hasn’t been done.

Doors open at 6pm. Talks begin at 7pm and includes Q&A. The rest of the evening, until we shut down at 9pm, is free time. We also have an accompanying Slack to discuss during and around the event; contact a group admin to get an invite.

So sign up on Meetup and we will provide pizza and drinks (beer and non-alcoholic drinks), wi-fi, cool vibes and killer talks.


The 10 Practices of Healthy Engineering Teams – Part 2

By on in Culture, Development, Process, Startups

In Part 1 of this series, we introduced a high-performing engineering team at SuperStartupCorp that had automated repetitive tasks, codified its engineering practices, and adopted a learning mindset, resulting in happy engineers and happy stakeholders. Read on to learn more traits and practices that make this team so successful, and how they keep their bus factor high. (If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can head on over to Part 3).

Continue reading …