How do you Deal With Tech Debt as a PM?
A Collaboration with Brennan Decker
It’s so easy to focus on shipping exciting new features that sometimes we forget the importance of completing tech debt stories, and creating minimal technical (tech) debt along the way.
This is true for engineers, designers, product managers and builders of all stripes. In fact, in my experience, it is hardest for CEOs. It is so easy for CEOs to connect the dots between a feature and more growth, a stronger valuation, and greater success for the company.
For the PM specifically, one of the most challenging parts of the job is prioritizing tech debt. Then, protecting it after is nearly as difficult. As one of our primary stakeholders is the CEO, we are constantly trying to build to their vision.
This creates a perceived tradeoff between career growth, impact, and tech debt in the short term.
So, how do you deal with tech debt as a PM? In today’s post, I’m very excited to collaborate with Brennan Decker, who writes regular amazing content on LinkedIn, is writing the book From People Manger to Product Manager, and has a great youtube channel.
What the Tech Debt is
Role as a PM
Strategies to Address
As a PM at JD Sports, Brennan has great in the trenches anecdotes and advice on these areas. I started my career as a software engineer. So, together, let’s get into it.
How did DoorDash win the Food Delivery Wars?
After its stellar IPO debut last year - with shares popping 92% on the first day - many of us expected DoorDash to face tough comps this year. It seemed like the company had priced in all the growth it could handle valued at 24x sales. After all, this was a delivery company, not a SaaS company. Margins, delivery is not known for.
Furthermore, with the second year of the pandemic upon us, the comps for a delivery service looked rough. Cooped up with mandatory lockdowns for too long, Americans seemed to be done ordering delivery. As restaurant revenue began to rebound towards pre-pandemic levels, it appeared Americans were done with 90% markups on their food.
It didn’t help that Uber was doubling down on Eats. Or that, as a public company, there are serious pressures towards profitability.
Yet somehow, DoorDash has managed to continue to grow revenue and take share. At 57% market share in October, it has more than doubled its closest competitor, Uber Eats. Grubhub, the dominant player as recently as 2018, has been completely left in the dust.
The company that was sneaking up on no one managed to pull a fast one on all of us. But just how did DoorDash do it? Let’s explore:
The Strategies It Uses to Win
What the Future Might Hold