Food for Agile Thought #443: Scrum Theory, Beating the Feature Factory, We’re All Product Managers Now, Dealing With Chaos

TL; DR: Scrum Theory — Food for Agile Thought #443

Welcome to the 443rd edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 42,551 peers. This week, Francis Laleman reconsiders Scrum theory, appreciating its robust foundation in empiricism and lean thinking, and Jeff Putz advocates for Agile’s practical value over procedural adherence. Also, Todd Lankford outlines steps to enhance team autonomy and leadership. Verena Schwarzer discusses Agile’s challenges in large organizations, while Chris Matts critiques superficial Agile implementations, particularly the ineffective “Go/No Go” meetings that typify “Agile Kabuki.”

Then, Melissa Perri and Stephen Bungay apply military tactics to product management strategy, discussing daily challenges and solutions, and David Pereira and Maarten Dalmijn advocate for impactful, humble planning over quantity to escape the feature factory trap. Moreover, Michael H. Goitein highlights strategy as crucial for business agility, citing Nokia’s focus on Agile without a strategic foundation as a cautionary tale. Jeff Gothelf argues for unifying roles in product development, suggesting everyone should be a product manager to enhance collaboration.

Lastly, John Cutler interviews Gene Kim about his latest work, ‘Wiring the Winning Organization,’ focusing on simplification and impactful change themes. Lena Reinhard offers strategies for leaders to manage overwhelming workloads, and Simone Cicero presents a manifesto for adaptable, innovative platform organizations suited for the 21st century. Also, Shane Parrish discusses how the differing schedules of Haruki Murakami and Gary Vaynerchuk reflect their unique professional demands. Finally, Andrew Chen critiques the tech industry’s “Dopamine Culture,” highlighting the challenge of balancing instant engagement with lasting retention.

Food for Agile Thought #443: Scrum Theory, Beating the Feature Factory, We’re All Product Managers Now, Dealing With Chaos — Age-of-Product.com
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Food for Agile Thought #442: The Value-Add Activities Metric, The Adjacency Matrix Post-PMF, Destroying Trust, EBM Guide 2024

TL; DR: The Value-Add Activities Metric — Food for Agile Thought #442

Welcome to the 442nd edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 42,518 peers. This week, we explore diverse perspectives on leadership and productivity within Agile environments: James Shore delves into the complexities of measuring productivity in software development with the Value-Add Activities Metric, while Willem-Jan Ageling identifies seven leadership missteps that destroy organizational trust. Former Cisco executive Ashley Goodall critiques traditional disruptive leadership methods, advocating for stability and connection. Joost Minnaar argues that self-managing organizations reduce employee burnout by balancing demands with control. Moreover, Parsa Saljoughian highlights four leadership principles essential for high-performing teams, focusing on psychological safety and effective communication, and we ask ourselves: Should a Product Owner be technical?

Then, Jason Cohen introduces the Adjacency Matrix for strategic expansion post-PMF, using existing strengths for wise market entry. The “Paths to PMF” series highlights diverse, customized strategies for startup success, and XKCD reevaluates ideas like solar cars and laser eye surgery, challenging our perceptions in a fantastic cartoon. Also, Nima Torabi emphasizes the integration of vision, strategy, and metrics in crafting impactful product roadmaps.

Lastly, Patricia Kong and Kurt Bittner updated the 2024 Evidence-Based Management Guide, enhancing its clarity and practical utility. Christina Wodtke presents a method for aligning personal values with life goals using Ikigai and Personal OKRs, ensuring measurable progress, while Bob Moesta explores the practical application of the Jobs to Be Done framework, sharing its best uses and common pitfalls. Finally, Ethan Mollick introduces the Prompt Library, a Creative Commons licensed resource providing structured prompts for educational and general use to boost engagement and AI interaction.

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Food for Agile Thought #441: The Hexi Approach to Scaling, Good and Bad Product Coaches, Product Roadmap Failure

TL; DR: The Hexi Approach to Scaling — Food for Agile Thought #441

Welcome to the 441st edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 42,489 peers. This week, Dave Snowden and Nigel Thurlow present the Hexi approach, a multi-method strategy enhancing agility through complex adaptive systems. Joshua Arnold advocates for a Quarterly Look Ahead process, and Annie Duke and Lenny Rachitsky explore decision-making improvements using techniques like the “3Ds” framework and pre-mortems. Also, we reveal the hidden costs of offshore software consulting and delve into system-level anti-patterns of stakeholders. Additionally, Willem-Jan Ageling revisits the Agile Manifesto’s principles.

Then, Chris Beswick addresses strategic innovation frameworks, while Marty Cagan emphasizes the critical role of experienced product coaches. Ant Murphy advocates for empathy in problem-solving, and Leah Tharin highlights key pitfalls in product road-mapping, stressing strategic, focused approaches for organizational success.

Lastly, Daniele Davi discusses Kaizen and its role in Agile, emphasizing continuous improvement. Maarten Dalmijn compares OKRs’ fragility to coral, stressing the need for optimal conditions, while Letitia Rohaise critiques traditional personas, advocating for inclusive methods like Jobs-To-Be-Done. Moreover, Paweł Huryn offers strategies for effective surveys, focusing on improving response quality. Finally, Joca Torres explores boosting team productivity through role clarity and method optimization, sharing insights from his experiences across multiple companies.

Food for Agile Thought #441: The Hexi Approach to Scaling, Good and Bad Product Coaches, Product Roadmap Perils — Age-of-Product.com
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Food for Agile Thought #440: Brilliant Jerks, Product Operating Model Template, Backlog Organization Patterns, Shape Up in Practice

TL; DR: Product Operating Model Template — Food for Agile Thought #440

Welcome to the 440th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 42,461 peers. This week, Andy Birds shares a product operating model template to enhance ROI and customer outcomes. Brendan Gregg critiques the impact of disruptive “brilliant jerks” in engineering, while John Cutler advocates for engagement over layoffs. Also, Alex Debecker shares Basecamp’s Shape Up methodology, and Murray Robinson discusses the commodification of methodologies.

Then, Itamar Gilad warns about the potential pitfalls of Generative AI in degrading product culture. Roger Martin critiques traditional strategic planning, emphasizing genuine strategic thinking. Moreover, Ant Murphy introduces innovative Product Backlog formats and management techniques, and Teresa Torres and Stephanie Leue discuss transitioning from a feature factory to continuous discovery.

Lastly, Dave Rooney suggests replacing Story Points with simpler metrics, such as counting completed user stories. Nočnica Mellifera warns against misusing DORA metrics as high-stakes personnel tools. Abi Noda and Tim Cochran also promote qualitative metrics for measuring developer productivity. Cameron Presley advocates for blameless postmortems to learn from failures. Finally, Benedict Evans discusses evolving AI use cases, considering its potential to manage complex tasks.

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Food for Agile Thought #439: Ancient Scrum, AI Product Management, OKRs and Product Roadmaps, Perils of the Agile Community

TL; DR: Ancient Scrum — Food for Agile Thought #439

Welcome to the 439th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 42,436 peers. This week, Tobias Mayer traces Scrum back to ancient human processes, suggesting its natural integration in creative endeavors. Scott Seivwright critiques the narrow focus of Agile coaches on methodology, advocating for adaptive practices in response to economic challenges, and David Burkus highlights the crucial role of managers in fostering autonomy and leadership amid rising trends towards managerless models. Chris Matts uses Eric Berne’s transaction analysis to contrast effective adult-adult interactions against the limiting parent-child dynamics in risk-averse environments. Also, Rami James champions asking for help as an essential developer skill, promoting collaboration and continuous learning over individualism.

Then, Marty Cagan and Marily Nika address the challenges of AI Product Management, and Evgenia Suvorova shares insights from her tenure at Revolut on achieving product-market fit. Chad McAllister and John Rossman emphasize the importance of “Big Bets” in business transformation, with John drawing on his Amazon experience to advocate for clarity, speed, and risk management. Leah Tharin offers a critical view on the implementation of SAFe, noting its complexity and the constraints it imposes on team autonomy, often resulting in inefficiency and dissatisfaction.

Lastly, Richard Kasperowski focuses on the role of pair programming and continuous delivery in agile practices. Moreover, Roman Pichler discusses the integration of OKRs with product roadmaps, while Andy Cleff and Colleen Johnson explore flow metrics like WIP and cycle time to enhance organizational agility through actionable metrics. Additionally, the 2024 AI Index report presents a comprehensive analysis of new AI trends, public perceptions, geopolitical dynamics, and the impact of AI on science and medicine.

Food for Agile Thought #439: Ancient Scrum, AI Product Management, OKRs and Product Roadmaps, Perils of the Agile Community — Age-of-Product.com
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Food for Agile Thought #438: Agile in the AI Age, Product Operating Model, Effective Roadmaps, Failing Transformations

TL; DR: Agile in the AI Age — Food for Agile Thought #438

Welcome to the 438th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 42,401 peers. This week, Henrik Kniberg challenges traditional Agile team sizes, advocating for smaller, AI-enhanced teams in his article on Agile in the AI age. Our Lemon champions a retro, bureaucratic approach to “Agile reporting,” and Murray Robinson and Shane Gibson discuss enhancing organizational agility with Evan Leybourn. Also, Michael Küsters argues for Agile as a dynamic, evolvable practice rather than a rigid dogma, while Petra Wille emphasizes structured strategies for effective organizational transformation. Moreover, Marty Cagan shares his perspective on Scrum and the Product Model.

Then, Agustin Soler shares insights from his tenure as Mural’s Chief Product Officer, detailing strategic initiatives that spurred growth. Ant Murphy discusses the nuanced differences between roadmaps and plans, advocating adaptability and audience-specific customization. Phil Hornby and John Cutler explore product management complexities, and Janna Bastow highlights the importance of closing the feedback loop in product management, suggesting AI could transform feedback mechanisms.

Lastly, First Round Capital introduces a new B2B framework to accelerate product-market fit and 37signals shares decision-making principles that underpin thoughtful business choices. Additionally, the Coaching Card Download Hub provides many practice cards for organizational learning and productivity enhancement. Finally, Todd Lankford emphasizes rational decision-making in product development, advocating for clarity over emotion to boost team performance and product evolution.

Food for Agile Thought #438: Agile in the AI Age, Product Operating Model, Effective Roadmaps, Failing Transformations — Age-of-Product.com
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