Greenfield Projects: Seven Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success

By on in Development, Process

A developer’s perspective on building teams that build from scratch

There’s a story I once heard about a traveler and his party who peer out across an abandoned minefield to a site of buried treasure. There is no detour that will take them around it — they can cross together or separately, and they can go straight or around in circles. While they can deliberate over a plan, the sun is setting and they need to make a decision soon. What do they do?

That grassy field could represent opportunity — the path to success, riches, or adventure. Or it could be the opposite. A series of pitfalls disguised as freedom. Does this sound familiar? Does the term greenfield project ring any bells?

Continue reading …


Shifting to A Work From Home Policy: A Mini Survival Guide for Your Company

By on in Process

Given the COVID-19 crisis, most companies that can have shifted to temporary work from home policy. While about a quarter of those companies are likely already adept at working remotely — at least to some degree. The rest are completely new to this way of working and it’s not an easy shift. I’d like to share a few tips from our experience working with remote-first companies and across distributed teams.

Continue reading …


Recap: Running Remote Product Teams Fireside Chat

By on in Process

Carbon Five has worked with a variety of clients across the globe and within our own five offices that require remote collaboration while maintaining a sense of camaraderie and team cohesion.

With a lot of teams transitioning to remote workforces, we opened up the conversation to share some of our best practices. We would love to hear what you are doing as well. Tweet us at @carbonfive to share any other tips and tools your team finds effective!

Continue reading …


What Are These $%^&* Chores Doing in My Backlog!

By on in Process

Beyond Just Features and Bugs

Projects tend to have three types of “tasks” for developers to do: features, bugs, and chores. Features and bugs are mostly self-explanatory. Features deliver direct customer value. Bugs are features that are not working as intended. These two tasks focus on direct connections to the users. Chores provide indirect customer value. Indirect value can be hard to identify as it can come through a variety of paths.

Continue reading …


Working with Guests: Seven Tips for Getting your Company Ready to Leverage External Firepower

By on in Process

Companies have been successfully partnering with consultants since the dawn of time. Think IDEO’s work with Apple to create the mouse or Microsoft’s work with IBM to create MS-DOS. Our nation’s competitive strength comes, in large part, from this openness to collaborate, to learn from each other, to move quicker, and to leverage outside strengths, when needed and without shame.

Regardless of where you stand on the topic of partnering, there is one thing you have to realize. If you’re in tech and growing fast, there is a high likelihood you will have to partner at some point to meet your goals. Today’s labor market is just too tight to fill all the demand for experienced software talent.

Continue reading …


Changes Requested

By on in Development, Process

Each team has their own tolerance for what is and is not a reason to request changes on a PR and block it from being merged. This may be rooted in process, fairness, and expediency, and may be a company or team decision. Whatever your personal philosophy may be, the team as a whole and often the company has to come to some sort of consensus as to what constitutes a reason to block a PR. Over time, I’ve gotten a little more “block happy” and I’m going to talk about some of the advantages and pitfalls of blocking, and give you a mega list of reasons you might want to block a PR.

Continue reading …


Map vs Path

By on in Design, Process

It’s a simple idea that can help your digital product take shape; when a user enters your system, do you hand them a map or a path? What’s the difference? Great question, and in this case, the metaphor is pretty literal.

Continue reading …

Experiment-Driven Design Process

By on in Design, Process

So you want to grow your product? That’s super awesome. Growth is often a goal that startups rush towards. 

“We need 100,000 monthly active users yesterday.” – random startup person 

Growth can mean a lot of things. Maybe you’re trying to grow the number of users, or increase time spent using your product. Whatever it is, growth usually means moving metrics. But meeting your growth goal takes a very meticulous and strategic design process. You need to try out ideas and see what actually works. In this article, I am going to share how to set up a successful experiment-driven design process that can help you identify the features and changes to grow your product. Let’s grow!

Continue reading …