TL; DR: No More Deadlines, Goodbye Managers — Food for Agile Thought #311
Welcome to the 311th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 33,103 peers. This week, we reflect on the abandonment of deadlines for team health and the effectiveness of engineering projects. Also, we delve into the obsolescence of the modern manager; we define cross-functional vs. t-shaped to avoid confusion within teams and larger agile ecosystems, and we have a look at how large companies manage engineering projects.
We then explore how teams can make better product decisions, for example, by employing the Jobs-to-be-done framework; we share war stories from Microsoft regarding the perils of reflecting internal communication structures in a product’s design, and we list eight concerns about NPS, from displacing other efforts to a bad word of mouth.
Lastly, we share the results of a large study on remote work based on data from 61,182 US Microsoft employees over the first six months of 2020, and we point at a critical issue in applying OKRs: They don’t work as intended when merely handed down from top to bottom.
TL; DR: The Necessity of Leadership Engagement, OKRs in PM — Food for Agile Thought #310
Welcome to the 310th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 33,061 peers. This week, we delve into the necessity of leadership engagement to make change happen. We also show a way out of the ‘answering three questions’ mode for your Daily Scrum, and we ask: Can you take self-management to new heights even within a small organization of 7-8 people?
We then characterize traits of high-performing product teams, from healthy skepticism to experimentation to dealing with uncertainty. Moreover, we delve into improving the relationship between the product folks and business stakeholders within your organization in a mutually beneficial way, and we point at three first principles of valuable roadmaps, an excellent primer for stakeholders outside a product team.
Lastly, we share a free Excel-based tool for organizations that aspire to excel at software delivery practices to improve value creation, as well as a valuable guide to help you apply OKRs when you’re working in product management.
TL; DR: Say Agile One More Time, Scrum Master Salary Report 2022 — Food for Agile Thought #309
Welcome to the 309th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 33,012 peers. This week, we enjoy agile in memes — ‘Say Agile One More Time;’ we learn about a remarkable transformation of an industrial behemoth, and we share a beginner list of decision-making patterns, from consensus to rock, paper, and scissors.
We then reflect on the unfortunate ‘practice’ of putting carts before horses when product managers talk to the C-level, and we share six tips on how product folks can annoy their engineering teammates with outstanding efficacy. Also, we point at a critical part of the product creation process that bears many risks: Adding product features is fun and addictive. Now, what if no one uses them?
Lastly, we suggest a practice to test the health of your product creation process, and we shed some light on how long it took startups at Altar.io to build minimum viable products across several industries.
TL;DR: Scrum Master Salary Report 2022 — An Anonymous Poll by the Community for the Community
The purpose of this anonymous Scrum Master salary report is to create a clear, data-backed benchmark that allows everyone in the agile community to understand whether their compensation is adequate. (And yes, the report will cover Scrum Masters as well as Agile Coaches, both employed and freelancing.)
The goal is to have a sufficient number of replies – that would be at least 1,000 – by the end of November 2021 to create the report in time for January 2022. Of course, the report will be available for free.
TL; DR: From Hierarchy to Network, Analyzing Team Boards — Food for Agile Thought #308
Welcome to the 308th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 32,931 peers. This week, we dissect the consequences of hierarchies of authority and explain why CEOs, nevertheless, tend to stick with a hierarchy over a network. Also, we advocate applying the ideas of Inspect and Adapt to the Agile principles and values themselves. Moreover, we suggest several actions you can take to identify ‘conflict entrepreneurs’ and other troublemakers and mitigate their negative impact.
We then listen to an interview with Jeanne Liedtka on the importance of distinguishing between Doing vs. Experiencing vs. Becoming; we learn about the end-to-end research process that builds outstanding products, and we dive into premature scaling and its consequences.
Lastly, we share examples of team boards, delving into the importance of visualizing ‘what is actually happening on your team.’ Also, we provide a primer on creating visibility into the waste in a system and what you can do to improve the situation.
TL; DR: Continuous Improvement, Innovation Heroes? — Food for Agile Thought #307
Welcome to the 307th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 32,883 peers. This week, we explore the heart of continuous improvement; we dissect the leadership anti-pattern of rewarding the continuation of a broken system, and we suggest eight attitudes to describe leadership styles in a VUCA world, ranging from the organizational refactorer to the flow manager.
We then delve into the anti-pattern of product requirements documents (PRD), substituting proper product discovery. Moreover, we show that successful businesses figure out how to align their goals with the customers they serve. Also, we provide insight into how to practice empathy and communicate effectively with the leadership.
Lastly, we enjoy a podcast with Mr. User Story Mapping Jeff Patton, explaining how you can transform ordinary teams into extraordinary ones by fixing the product backlog.