Food for Agile Thought #370: Calm Innovation, Delivery Dates, Participatory Decisions, Bad Bosses

TL; DR: Calm Innovation, Delivery Dates — Food for Agile Thought #370

Welcome to the 370th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 36,317 peers. This week, Shane Parrish interviews Tobi Lütke of Shopify about calm innovation, fighting bureaucracy, and scaling Shopify. Also, we reflect on facilitation and decision-making, including the opportunity costs of premature convergence, and learn more about the “Technology, Organization, and Product (TOP)” approach to agility. Moreover, we dissect the background of bad bosses.

Also, we learn from Ian McAllister about essential PM skills, broadening your horizon, and the importance of diversifying your skills as you move up the ladder. Speaking of which, we also share ten real-life examples of mistakes with long-term career-limiting effects for product managers, and we analyze three, unfortunately, prominent ways to trigger waste and frustration in product management.

Finally, we play our favorite broken record again: hands-off the deliberately abstract concept of story points. Moreover, we detail why teams underestimate work—learn more about hubris, dominant voices, and lacking the big picture—and advocate reducing cycle time to improve throughput and predictability. Lastly, Ken Norton shares his approach to what to do “when it’s time for some tough talk.”

Food for Agile Thought #370: Calm Innovation, Delivery Dates, Participatory Decisions, Good People to Bad Bosses — Age-of-Product.com
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Food for Agile Thought #369: Joy of Agility, CEOs and Product Leaders, Team Change is Inevitable, Product Data Mistakes

TL; DR: Joy of Agility — Food for Agile Thought #369

Welcome to the 369th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 36,291 peers. This week, we delve into the Joy of Agility and learn about the inevitability of team change and how dynamic reteaming may support dealing with it. Then we consider whether how decisions are made is more important than who makes them and why startups should have a risk roadmap, a plan for what they need to learn, from de-risking their organization to techniques used.

Also, we notice that ‘strong alignment and candid communication between a CEO and CPO’ are prerequisites for an organization’s product success. However, they can slowly dissipate when the organization is on a growth trajectory. Marty Cagan delves into multiple product management topics, from strategy, vision, and ethics, to the ways of working on a recent podcast. Additionally, Lenny Rachitsky interviews Alex Hardiman, the Chief Product Officer at the New York Times, for example, about the background of the Wordle acquisition.

Finally, we use a well-known Indian parable to point at three anti-patterns when using data, from rejecting ‘unfitting’ data to not turning disagreements into learnings. Moreover, we highlight the criticality of developing ‘inclusive mindsets to understand your own perspectives, the perspectives of others, and how they influence collaboration in design.’ Lastly, W.B. explores fundamental limitations to A/B tests that many businesses fail to consider—with possibly grave consequences.

Food for Agile Thought #369: Joy of Agility, CEOs and Product Leaders, Team Change is Inevitable, Product Data Mistakes — Age-of-Product.com
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Food for Agile Thought #368: Successful Product Development, Gracefully Firing People, Mental Models to Help Kill Projects, Dysfunction Mapping

TL; DR: Successful Product Development — Food for Agile Thought #368

Welcome to the 368th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 36,252 peers. This week, we delve into the importance of opportunity, output, outcome, and impact for successful product development. Moreover, we describe a step-by-step process on how to identify and subsequently also rectify dysfunctions within organizations. Then, Farnam Street points at essential leadership lessons from Michael Abrashoff’s book ‘It’s Your Ship,’ from rewarding risk-takers to skipping commend-and-control to letting go of your ego.

Also, referring to Astro Teller, CEO of Google’s moonshot factory, Annie Duke describes ways that help to kill innovation projects responsibly, and Marty Cagan defines the foundation of empowered product teams concerning customers, stakeholders, and engineers. Additionally, we advocate that using Gherkin as a notation for user stories will significantly improve communication with engineers.

Finally, Julie Zhuo lists five values of being data-informed, from accepting probabilities to setting verifiable goals, and we share an approach to answering a classic leadership question on the nature of a metric’s plunge. Also, given the turbulent week at Twitter, Lenny Rachitsky interviews Matt Mochary on how to best approach layoffs without botching the process and killing culture and innovation with one stone.

Food for Agile Thought #368: Successful Product Development, Gracefully Firing People, Mental Models to Help Kill Projects, Dysfunction Mapping — Age-of-Product.com
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Food for Agile Thought #367: The Power of Working Together, Product Leadership, No Learning w/o Closing Loops, Decisions under Complexity

TL; DR: The Power of Working Together — Food for Agile Thought #367

Welcome to the 367th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 36,223 peers. This week, we enjoy an interview with Alan Mulally, former President and CEO of the Ford Motor Company, on working together. Also, we point at a critical element of the seemingly dull Deming cycle: incomplete execution loops result in zero learning. Moreover, we explore our need for certainty and how this influences decisions in complex systems, reflect on what it takes to create successful (engineering) teams, and close with a simple thought: When is it time to stop using Scrum?

Then, we describe a Product Owner’s startup journey from an enthusiastic start in a new position to figuring out that he was oversold to fixing the whole thing and how he did so. Also, we point to common backlog issues preventing you from reaping the benefits of the artifact and reflect on product leadership from leadership styles—are you a fixer or an artist?—to necessary traits.

Finally, we revisit Melvin Conway’s epochal discovery, delve into a list of metrics by product type that can inspire you to design your dashboards for discovery, and appreciate the first list of product conferences in 2023.

Food for Agile Thought #367: The Power of Working Together, Product Leadership, No Learning w/o Closing Loops, Decisions under Complexity — Age-of-Product.com
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Food for Agile Thought #366: Taming Complexity, Agile Bureaucracy, Mapping Innovation at Scale, Good Activation Rates

TL; DR: Taming Complexity — Food for Agile Thought #366

Welcome to the 366th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 36,188 peers. This week, we identify five practical ways of taming complexity to avoid feature creep and pushing away users and share “examples of organizations that operate beyond the traditional set of agile practices and have been able to break down the bureaucratic hierarchy by adopting radical forms of consent, participation, and self-management.” Also, we have a look at building high-trust teams at Shopify in a remote working world, and suggest shifting “from leading with goals to leading with questions,” referring to Nobel laureate Richard Feynman.

Then, we point out that many companies may run experiments to test product ideas with users and customers; however, they fail to follow up with meaningful action. Following this example of failing innovation, we share lessons learned from a 100-plus-year-old company that is still a market leader, trying to innovate itself out of decline. Moreover, we appreciate a global benchmarking survey on activation rates with participants from Expedia, Grammarly, Canva, Duolingo, and others and examine the Lean UX Canvas in detail, pointing to shortcomings such as the need for a root cause analysis or mapping dependencies.

Finally, we share a primer on why “interviewing stakeholders provides helpful information about their context, [allowing] us to identify business goals they are concerned with, and increases their support.” And we close this edition of the newsletter with a video that explains what it takes to successfully use OKRs and points to common anti-patterns in their application, from tying them to compensation to excessive use.

Food for Agile Thought #366: Taming Complexity, Agile Bureaucracy, Mapping Innovation at Scale, Good Activation Rates — Age-of-Product.com
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Food for Agile Thought #365: Fixing Toxic Cultures, From Mission to Strategy to Tasks, Difficult Stakeholders, Go-to-Market Canvas

TL; DR: Fixing Toxic Cultures — Food for Agile Thought #365

Welcome to the 365th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 36,117 peers. This week, we dive into the research on toxicity in the workplace and point to three means of fixing toxic cultures, from leadership to social norms to work design. Also, we detail how to collaborate with challenging people you need to include in your work and argue that principally ruling out discussions on productivity leads in the wrong direction. Additionally, we reflect on critical techniques for any transformation: learning, unlearning, and changing the habits of participants and stakeholders.

Then, we appreciate Lenny Rachitsky’s visualization of the hierarchy of goals in product management, and we share tips & tricks to start or grow your Product CoP, from starting at a minimum viable level to formalizing the CoP to expanding the community management team. Moreover, Janna Bastow shares how the unsuitedness of timeline roadmaps—based on deadlines—helped her design her approach to outcome-based planning.

Finally, we check out a new tool to “help facilitate your thinking when taking new products or ideas to market.” Also, we share a free ebook on identifying what is worth building, from involving your team members to communicating your research results with stakeholders, and we point to six critical elements of successful user journey mapping, from the business goal to mapping a specific user’s experience.

Food for Agile Thought #365: Fixing Toxic Cultures, From Mission to Strategy to Tasks, Difficult Stakeholders, Go-to-Market Canvas — Age-of-Product.com
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