TL; DR: North Star Metric, Team Dynamics Explained—Food for Agile Thought #297
Welcome to the 297th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 31,817 peers. This week, we point at data and case studies, providing insights into how to narrow in on your organization’s North Star Metric. Also, we advocate that technical debt is rather a strategic lever for your organization’s success than a liability, and we analyze the invisible undercurrents that determine your team’s culture.
We then continue reading Marty Cagan’s pathology series with a deep dive into the well-known problems with MBA programs. Moreover, we share six common product discovery anti-patterns and what you can do about them, and we introduce fundamental principles behind designing and maintaining a product roadmap tailored to the needs of agile teams.
Lastly, we enjoy listening to Richard Kasperowski and Seb Rose talking about how to help create a good team with less seasoned professionals.
TL; DR: Rebels Spark Ideas, CSPO Pathology—Food for Agile Thought #296
Welcome to the 296th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 31,704 peers. This week, we acknowledge that rebels spark ideas, and we consider whether OKRs can restore purpose to agile teams and free them from the tyranny of the Product Backlog. Moreover, we get an inside view of how Youtube managed its early hyper-growth, and we point at the advantages of using low-code tooling to build software: Iterating faster.
We then address why the tech industry has such a high proportion of weak product managers and product leaders. We pitch the advantages of collaborative decision-making, leveraging both stakeholders’ and developers’ expertise while creating a shared understanding. Also, we share three tactics that have proven to impact getting buy-in from team members significantly.
Lastly, we enjoy an interview with Christina Wodtke on how OKR can help product managers accomplish more, and we get curious about a new Scrum software: “HappyStack is a Scrum project software tool for developers: Backlog, Sprint Planning, Standups, Reviews, and Retros done the right way.”
TL; DR: Overcoming Team Limits, The Mediocrity Trap—Food for Agile Thought #295
Welcome to the 295th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 31,527 peers. This week, we delve into overcoming team limits with Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of Scrum. We also dive into an adjacent topic: Team-building in organizations that double the employee count at least yearly, and we analyze some psychological issues that might interfere with the core of agility.
We then share ten compelling reasons why to stay out of meh work. Moreover, we reflect on the necessity of loving your customer’s problem, not your solution, and we embrace a comprehensive primer on how innovators can use the JTBD framework to create successful products.
Lastly, we appreciate a new academic paper on the effectiveness of Scrum teams.
TL; DR: Spotify Model Fallacy, Pirates & Leadership—Food for Agile Thought #294
Welcome to the 294th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 31,412 peers. This week, we dissect the Spotify model fallacy. (By the way, Spotify is no longer using product squads.) We also point at the forward-thinking approach of pirates regarding governance and self-management and why some people have difficulties embracing the idea of autonomous action by self-directed individuals.
We then learn the two only ways of pushing back requests to build features to close deals. Moreover, we list core principles that come with experimentation and what it takes to drive the change; finally, we analyze the popular leadership fallacy to mandate creating ‘innovative feature,’ probably, with a timeline, incentivized by OKRs.
Lastly, we delve into the origins of feature creep, adding on top of the usual suspects—such as gold-plating—the difficulties that distributed teams face. (See also Gold-Plating Beyond Done — Making Your Scrum Work #7.)
TL; DR: Success Metrics, Maker-User-Gap—Food for Agile Thought #293
Welcome to the 293rd edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 31,307 peers. This week, we delve into why picking success metrics is so challenging yet critical, and Henrik Kniberg shares some vital insights after years of working with Spotify, LEGO, and Minecraft development. Also, we point at how sociotechnical architecture and systems thinking are key to enabling product thinking in organizations.
We then share an eight-step strategy workshop; we understand why ‘going deep’ is Stripe’s core product principle, and we wonder why some product managers hold on to timeline-based planning while product roadmaps have evolved so rapidly in recent years.
Lastly, we analyze the idea of ‘autonomy’ in the workplace, particularly regarding two challenges: the air sandwich and politics.
TL; DR: Bottom of Agile, Velocity Forecasting Spreadsheet—Food for Agile Thought #292
Welcome to the 292nd edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 31,223 peers. This week, we get to the Bottom of Agile; we point at the benefits of journaling regarding modern leadership competencies, and we delve into the advantages and psychology of slack time. Additionally, we appreciate Troy Magennis’ updated ‘Throughput or Velocity Forecasting Spreadsheet’ for easy Monte Carlo forecasting of agile work.
We then address five PO anti-patterns what you can do about them; we introduce the three-step ‘Not Impossible, Just Too Expensive’ approach to problem-solving, and we point at the danger of merely copying what other companies do without understanding the why behind them.
Lastly, we note that Lean UX principles such as customer centricity or evidence-based decision making do not exist in SAFe. (See also: Survey Results: The Net Promoter Score® of SAFe® as a Scaling Framework is –52.)