Creator-first product management — Linear way

Manzoor Samad
3 min readJan 15, 2024

I’ve noticed that product communities are increasingly embracing Linear, admiring its focused approach to creating both frameworks and tools aimed at delivering exceptional software. This trend has sparked my enthusiasm to delve deeper into their methods. In this article, I’ll share my insights gained from using the product and analyzing their methodology.

In the dynamic world of product development, companies often grapple with finding the right methodology to build effective products. Linear.app steps into this realm with a unique approach, challenging conventional project management tools and strategies. This article explores the Linear Method, its principles, methods, and best practices, offering insights into why it stands out in the product development landscape.

Why Linear?

Typically, product companies lack a structured methodology for product creation, and most project management tools fall short for creators. Linear fills this gap with its distinct methodology. Besides this, Linear sets itself apart with a super intuitive user experience (UX), a clean and uncluttered UI, and impressive performance speed, enhancing productivity and user satisfaction.

Principles of the Linear Method

  1. Visionary Teams: Emphasis on the team’s awareness of long-term goals and vision.
  2. Goal-Driven Flexibility: Balancing structured goals with the agility to accommodate unexpected work and adapt roadmaps.
  3. Cyclical Workflows: Adopting n-week cycles to prioritize tasks, avoiding the rush of releases, and focusing on measuring progress.
  4. Purposeful Projects: Ensuring each project has a clear purpose, with well-defined objectives and execution plans.
  5. User-Centric Approach: Prioritising user needs and addressing their pain points effectively.

Methods

  • Visionary Roadmaps: Setting clear visions and defining value through well-structured projects and actionable issues.
  • Impactful Prioritisation: Focusing on projects that promise significant impact.
  • Definitive Task Descriptions: Issues should clearly articulate the task at hand, with exceptions for exploratory tasks.

Recommended Best practices

  • Direct User Feedback: Incorporate user feedback verbatim, linking directly to customer conversations for depth.
  • Encouraging Ownership: Allow team members to write issues, promoting deeper problem understanding.
  • Collaborative Issue Framing: Frame issues as requests or problems, allowing assignees to redefine them.
  • Holistic Customer Experience Discussions: Engage both engineering and design teams in understanding user needs.
  • Balanced Feedback Integration: Blend user feedback with the product vision, creating a harmonious product evolution.

Rethinking Concepts: The Obsolescence of User Stories

  • Beyond Just Needs: User stories, often confined to stating needs, fail to address deeper pain points.
  • Redefining Engineer Roles: Moving away from a mechanical role, engineers are encouraged to think holistically about the user experience.
  • Real Conversations Over Rigid Formats: User stories, a relic of the past, don’t encapsulate how software is discussed in real-world scenarios.
  • Evolving Standards: With established standards now describing common features, the traditional user story format has become outdated.
  • Sprints Reimagined: Sprints are no longer just about consistent delivery but about strategic distribution of work over time.
  • Embrace changelogs early on: It have multi dimensional effect on your product/startup from marketing to investor relations.

Linear.app’s methodology presents a refreshing perspective on product development, merging vision with flexibility, user-centricity with strategic planning, and traditional practices with innovative approaches. It challenges conventional methodologies and offers a pathway for companies to build products more effectively and empathetically. As the landscape of product development evolves, methodologies like Linear’s will be crucial in shaping future trends and success stories.

This article primarily sheds light on the numerous strengths of Linear.app’s methodology and user experience. It’s important to note that while I delve into the various positive aspects, I’ve have not focused on exploring the potential limitations or drawbacks of the platform. A comprehensive assessment of any tool involves understanding both its advantages and areas for improvement. In future discussions, I will aim to provide a balanced view by also examining the challenges and limitations that users might encounter while using Linear.app, ensuring a holistic understanding of the platform.

Looking forward to your thoughts and experiences with linear.

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Manzoor Samad

Founder, A Product guy — Design, Engineering & Distribution