Hi, I’m Ben Barden. I’m a product manager with previous experience as a developer, tester, Scrum Master, and in tech support.
While I have a few years experience as a product manager, some of my roles allowed me to delve into product management despite not being a named PM. I also draw on my experience in other tech roles as well as some personal projects.
- Leading a small tech team for a news website. As part of a new digital team, I worked with the editorial teams to identify pain points and areas for improvement in the online tools. After building several content tools, the team built a custom CMS, piece by piece, to replace the existing Drupal setup. Features such as an embedded Getty image selector allowed content to be published far more quickly, which meant breaking news could go up faster, and more stories could be published overall. Tech was a key part of growing the audience from approx 250k monthly pageviews to around 2m.
- Exposing sales stats to a startup team. I took the initiative to design and build a live-updating page for a team to see sales on an e-commerce website. Everyone was able to see whether it was a “big sales day” (or month) and this tool created a great deal of buzz around the team – regardless of where people worked. It was also a good gauge following product launches or site updates to see if the ordering frequency changed, in realtime.
- Developing a comprehensive, categorised and ranked library of the Nintendo Switch. This is a personal project, which has allowed me to get some good practice at being a product manager. I started the site to save needing to hunt down game reviews, and provide aggregate rankings on the site. I didn’t want to miss any games, so I worked hard to keep up with the weekly releases and add all of them (in UK/Europe). The complete nature of the database allowed me to work on a secondary purpose beyond rankings: discoverability. The eShop provided for the Switch has been criticised for its poor discoverability – there are too many games to quickly find what you need. I’ve made my site quick and easy to browse games by category, tag, or series, or search for a game based on a few criteria.
I’m mostly writing about product management, Agile, and process tips, but some of my earlier posts are on a wider range of topics. Some of my themes are:
- Getting things done: delivery over perfection
- Software quality: doing things well
- Organisation: keeping track of multiple priorities at a time
- Continuous improvement: making things better, and doing so incrementally (small, frequent changes rather than big bang)
You can see some of my previous posts under Blog highlights.
My main personal project is Switch Scores, which I created (originally as World of Switch) in April 2017. It is a comprehensive database of games for the Nintendo Switch console, with ratings and aggregated scores for as many games as possible. It is primarily used by gamers to find games they may want to play. There is also a reviewer portal and a games publisher portal for partners who have registered for the site.