TL; DR: Estimating Complexity, Healthy Goals—Food for Agile Thought #284
Welcome to the 284th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 30,648 peers. This week, we learn how to excel in the dark art of ‘estimating’ in general and estimating complexity in particular. We enjoy a conversation on imposter syndrome, deciding under uncertainty, psychological safety, and the Dunning-Kruger effect, and we point at the disadvantages of group work, how to spot if those are taking hold of your group, and how to counter resulting anti-patterns.
We then suggest steps to improve stakeholder engagement with Sprint Reviews and overcome typical anti-patterns, and we dive into AirBnB’s product culture, ranging from storytelling and the Disney influence to experimentation guardrails to what makes a product manager thrive there. Moreover, we explore a product design process leading from ‘I have no clue what to do’ to ‘we should do this,’ using the Circles method to make final recommendations.
Lastly, we embrace the idea that no amount of RACI, SMART, INVEST, OKRs, OGSM, or any other framework designed to create meaningful goals could outweigh proper team support by the leadership. Speaking of OKRs, we also ask: Can OKRs and JTBD co-exist?
TL; DR: Is Agile a Trojan Horse, Product Strategy Stack—Food for Agile Thought #283
Welcome to the 283rd edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 30,593 peers. This week, we ask: Is Agile a Trojan Horse for change? We also enjoy the March 2021 edition of the Culture & Methods Trends Report, learning that COVID-19 was the biggest driver of culture change and that there are dramatic differences between good and bad remote work cultures. Moreover, we introduce a framework on strategic interventions when coaching agile teams.
We then introduce a product strategy stack, including product leadership experiences from Tinder, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and Airbnb. We summarize suggestions on setting practical Product Goals, and we discover an approach to Design Sprints that reduces its original time requirement from five days by 50 percent without sacrificing the outcome’s quality.
Lastly, we address wheel-spinning during transformations and how to overcome transformation theater and start delivering more value faster.
TL; DR: Self-Organization Does Not Work, Tools Don’t Matter—Food for Agile Thought #282
Welcome to the 282nd edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 30,507 peers. This week, we learn why self-organization does not work when your goal is creating a high-performance organization. We receive a free ebook on how to shift an organization’s focus from projects to products, and we ask: How much lean is in today’s “Agile?”
We then figure out how to breathe life into your Product (Development) Backlog by removing all ideas from it; we get advice on dealing with the executor, the manager, and the visionary among founders, and we address product managers’ obsession with tools.
Lastly, we discuss pragmatic, proven, and sometimes counter-intuitive approaches to develop faster.
TL; DR: Product-Led Companies, #NoProjects—Food for Agile Thought #281
Welcome to the 281st edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 30,412 peers. This week, we learn to identify product-led companies; we reflect on the effects of top-down decisions on imposing agile frameworks without identifying problems first, and we remind us of signs that an organization lacks the ‘agile mindset’ yet pretends to be agile.
We then gain insight into how to innovate within Google after being acquired—or not. We suggest embracing Pareto’s principle to execute an effective product strategy by ruthless prioritization, and we acknowledge the importance of picking appropriate metrics to guide our product teams to success.
Lastly, we appreciate introducing critical root cause analysis techniques, from ‘5 Whys’ to ‘Pareto Analysis.’
TL; DR: Managing Complexity, Difficult People on Software Projects—Food for Agile Thought #280
Welcome to the 280th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 30,344 peers. This week, we discover almost 50 different personality types you may encounter on software teams while managing complexity; we have a personal view on what success to a Scrum Master means, and we learn about the key takeaways from a development team’s transition from Scrum to Basecamp’s Shape Up.
We then delve into research outlining characteristics of organizations and tasks best suited to Agile. We also talk about chasing innovation, why it needs to be sustainable and the risks of taking it too far, and we embrace a one-hour virtual pre-mortem workshop before our team is heading into a high-stakes project.
Lastly, we download the brand-new free field guide on how to deal with complexity and uncertainty—courtesy of the EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and Cognitive Edge.
TL; DR: Agile Manifesto’s History, Amazon’s Invention Machine—Food for Agile Thought #279
Welcome to the 279th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 30,267 peers. This week, we look back 20 years at the origins of the Agile Manifesto, why they came together; we detail the difference between Agile vs. Scrum and typical ‘big mistakes,’ and we check a list of five ‘no’ that might come in handy in challenging discussions.
We then listen to insider tales from Amazon—from the need to slow down to innovate to focus on customers’ needs to build by working backward, and we discuss the first principles of continuous discovery. Moreover, we explain why tension and conflict are necessary, helpful parts of product management.
Lastly, we appreciate the release of the third annual State of User Research report.