Food for Agile Thought #364: Empowered Product Teams? Shifting Product Culture, Experimentation, Don’t Let ‘Done’ Be Misunderstood

TL; DR: Empowered Product Teams? — Food for Agile Thought #364

Welcome to the 364th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 36,083 peers. This week, we share the real-life case of an organization embracing Marty Cagan’s ‘empowered product teams (EPT)’ model entirely—with underwhelming results. Moreover, we ask why the concept of “Done” seems to be constantly misunderstood in organizations while we explore why engineering speed drops over time and what you can do about it. Additionally, we delve into an “understanding of management (managing), self-managing, and the manager role.”

Then, we consider that many transformations fail because they lack a focus on product leadership and cover the challenges of managing a product in its mature state, from figuring out whether your product has achieved that stage to the four top-handling strategies. Also, Doc Norton analyzes the path from complexity to our need for certainty to experimentation based on observations, questions, hypotheses, methods, and results, and we illuminate the importance of Sprint Goals for a Scrum team’s success.

Finally, we listen to Allan Kelly proposing a seven-step, lightweight process to develop products, building on his previous work, and appreciate a new exercise from John Cutler to help teams to move from focusing on how they measure to what they measure. Lastly, Kellan Elliott-McCrea reflects on the annual planning ritual in engineering, from the futility of a bottom-up approach to constraints and dependencies.

Food for Agile Thought #364: Empowered Product Teams? Shifting Product Culture, Experimentation, Don’t Let ‘Done’ Be Misunderstood — Age-of-Product.com

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🏆 The Tip of the Week: Empowered Product Teams?

Bob Galen: Empowered Product Teams…Really?

Bob Galen shares the real-life case of an organization embracing Marty Cagan’s ‘empowered product teams (EPT)’ model entirely—with underwhelming results.

The point was that ALL of the efforts that the organization made to change the structure into EPT’s was not having any real positive impact.

Imagine that.

Just saying you’re empowering the teams or creating EPT’s structurally doesn’t mean a darn thing if you don’t change the organizational culture and the leadership mindsets.

Words are cheap and easy. While behavioral and cultural changes, true changes, are much harder.

And the SVPG folks seem to be selling a concept at the team level but not doing a good job explaining, training, or coaching the requisite cultural changes.

➿ Agile & Scrum

Todd Lankford (via Medium): Why is being “Done” in Agile teams so tragically misunderstood?

Todd Lankford is frustrated that the concept of “Done” is constantly—and probably deliberately—misunderstood in organizations.

Steve Janaway (via InfoQ): Why is Everything so Slow? – Measuring and Optimising How Engineering Teams Deliver

Steve Janaway explores why engineering speed drops over time and what you can do about it.

Eb: Managing Self-Managing Teams

Eb delves into an “understanding of management (managing), self-managing, and the manager role.”

🎓 🖥 💯 🇬🇧 Professional Scrum Product Owner Training w/ PSPO Certificate — Online: October 31 – November 3, 2022

Discover Scrum’s four success principles in this guaranteed official Scrum.org Professional Scrum Product Owner training class, leading to and including the industry-recognized PSPO I certification. The training will be offered in English.

Professional Scrum Product Owner Training w/ PSPO Certificate — Online: October 31 – November 3, 2022 — Berlin Product People GmbH

Learn more: 🖥 💯 🇬🇧 Professional Scrum Product Owner Training w/ PSPO Certificate — Online: October 31 – November 3, 2022.

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(Link.)

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🎯 Product

(via UX Collective): Shifting your product culture starts with product leaders

Afonso Franco believes that many transformations fail because they lack a focus on product leadership.

Janna Bastow (via ProdPad): How to Manage the Maturity Stage of Product Life Cycle

Janna Bastow covers the challenges of managing a product in its mature state, from figuring out whether your product has achieved that stage to the four top-handling strategies.

Doc Norton: Experimentation

Doc Norton analyzes the path from complexity to our need for certainty to experimentation based on observations, questions, hypotheses, methods, and results.

📯 Nine Sprint Goal Principles to Get Your Scrum Team Going

In Scrum, the Sprint Goal serves as the spotlight that provides transparency to the Sprint Backlog, as the flag that allows the team to rally, and the one thing that provides focus and cohesion.

No Scrum team has ever been able to reap the benefits of the framework to the fullest extent without making the Sprint Goal a cornerstone of its efforts. The following nine Sprint Goal principles point at critical issues any Scrum team needs to consider on its path to excellence.

Nine Sprint Goal Principles to Get Your Scrum Team Going — Age-of-Product.com

Learn more: Nine Sprint Goal Principles to Get Your Scrum Team Going.

🛠 Concepts, Tools & Measuring

Allan Kelly: Objective Driven Agile – 7 step lightweight method

Allan Kelly proposes a seven-step, lightweight process to develop products, building on his previous work.

John Cutler: Outcome Super Prompt

John Cutler shares an exercise to help teams to move from focusing on how they measure to what they measure.

Kellan Elliott-McCrea: How to plan?

Kellan Elliott-McCrea reflects on the annual planning ritual in engineering, from the futility of a bottom-up approach to constraints and dependencies.

🎶 Encore

(via User Interviews): Continuous User interviews

User Interviews shares a guide to best flex your “research muscle and use fresh, relevant customer insights to drive your decisions.”


📅 Scrum Training & Event Schedule

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🖥 💯 🇬🇧 December 8, 2022 GUARANTEED: Hands-on Agile #48: How Elon Musk Would Run YOUR Business with Joe Justice (English; Live Virtual Meetup) Live Virtual Meetup FREE
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🖥 🇺🇸 January 23-26, 2023 US Timezone Professional Scrum Product Owner Training (PSPO I; English; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class $1,045-$1,245
🖥 🇬🇧 January 24-27, 2023 Professional Scrum Master (Advanced) Training (PSM II; English; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1.189 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 🇩🇪 January 31-February 3, 2023 Professional Scrum Master Training (PSM I; German; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1.189 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 🇬🇧 February 7-10, 2023 Professional Scrum Master Training (PSM I; English; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1.189 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 🇺🇸 February 13-16, 2023 — US Timezone Professional Scrum Master (Advanced) Training (PSM II; English; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class $1,195-$1,395
🖥 🇩🇪 February 28-March 3, 2023 Professional Scrum Product Owner Training (PSPO I; German; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1.189 incl. 19% VAT

See all upcoming classes here.

Professional Scrum Trainer Stefan Wolpers

You can book your seat for the training directly by following the corresponding links to the ticket shop. If the procurement process of your organization requires a different purchasing process, please contact Berlin Product People GmbH directly.

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🗞️ Last Week’s Food for Agile Thought Edition

Read more: Food for Agile Thought #363: Tracking Learnings, Impact Mapping for Fun & Profit, Games as Change Tools, DORA 2022 Accelerate Report — Age-of-Product.com.

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