Benji Portwin is the head of product at health software company accuRx. He cut his teeth as a modern product manager working at some of the most exciting digital companies around, including Spotify and Monzo. He also spent time advising the UK government on digital technology as part of the cabinet office technology transformation.
Originally from London, Benji studied engineering science at Oxford University, specializing in biomedical, civil, and production engineering.
Since then, Benji has taken a roundabout route in Product, making notable stops as a Maths teacher in Secondary schools, a technology expert on the UK Government Fast Stream, and as an Agile Coach for Spotify.
Benji Portwin is best known for his experience as an Agile coach and Product management expert. He has worked for a range of innovative and exciting startups and digital services and has advised and coached a diverse range of organizations, helping them embed collaborative design thinking to build better products. He’s keen to share everything he has learned on his journey into product, writing regular blog posts focused on a range of topics, with “13 things I learnt moving from Agile Coaching into Product Management” gaining the most traction.
The foundation of Benji’s approach is that the best teams are built on trust, and awesome teams build the best products. Servant leaders use a variety of different tools, tricks, and techniques to manage their teams, but the most important thing is that everyone has confidence in their teammates’ ability to get the job done and to support each other when necessary.
However, Benji doesn’t shy away from encouraging a little conflict. He believes in the mantra preached by “5 dysfucntions of a team”, that conflict is necessary to build trust. A key part of his approach is based around goal setting and this forms an integral part of his latest blog “6 OKR tips from accuRx”; where he explains how accuRx does things slightly different to other organisations. Each team member must be able to be proactive, take initiative, and not be afraid to speak up or even to disagree. Benji argues that a team can only become highly effective when its members feel confident enough to speak openly and not just silently nod along. "Beneficial conflict" makes teams tougher and more likely to develop their own solutions, rather than relying on a manager to make difficult decisions for them.
Benji writes a Medium blog at https://medium.com/@benjiportwin. It’s an excellent mix of practical advice on coaching teams, building products, and some great writing about his own personal experiences working with teams like Spotify, Monzo, and the UK government.
He’s also an active social media user and posts (semi) regularly on Twitter (@benjiportwin).