Food for Agile Thought #374: The Hidden Micromanager, Defining Product Outcomes, Building a Learning Culture, Product-Market Fit Engineering

TL; DR: The Hidden Micromanager, Defining Product Outcomes — Food for Agile Thought #374

Happy 2023 and welcome to the 374th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 36,453 peers. This week, we share a short assessment of whether you fall into the category of the “hidden micromanager.” Speaking of which, we delve into nurturing a blame-free learning organization, from accepting the inevitability of failure, embracing the resulting learning opportunity, reflecting, and moving on. Moreover, we listen to Jason Knight and Douglas Squirrel diving deep into how tech teams can get closer to the business side, improve decision processes, and have effective conversations across the whole organization whiling pointing to five habits of high-performing teams, from using pre-mortems to a disagree-but-commit attitude to making learning a priority.

Then, we follow Teresa Torres and Hope Gurion, delving into the intricate details of getting outcomes right, from avoiding masquerading outputs as outcomes to not choosing outcomes outside your team’s control to not measuring action instead of value, and we reflect on the inherent risks of continuing to work with your prototypes beyond product-market fit, which is all too common. Additionally, we point out that failures are inevitable, and product managers learn in public. Consequently, it would help if you improved dealing with failure in public, too.

Finally, we provide a comprehensive guide on the OKR framework and its application to product management. Moreover, we reframe the investigative and often intrusive ‘why’ question so you “indirectly but effectively get the answers you need.” Amazingly, John Cutler created a live diagram of his modeling process. As an example, he aims to identify the drivers of a healthy community. Lastly, Jason Yip advocates using Blink Estimation, User Story Mapping, and swimlane sizing to improve project-level forecasting.

Food for Agile Thought #374: The Hidden Micromanager, Defining Product Outcomes, Building a Learning Culture, Product-Market Fit Engineering — Age-of-Product.com

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🏆 The Tip of the Week: The Hidden Micromanager

Joost Minnaar (via Corporate Rebels): Let’s Fire All The Micromanagers

Joost Minnaar shares a short assessment of whether you fall into the category of the “hidden micromanager.”

➿ Agile & Scrum

Ben Laker (via MIT Sloan Management Review): Embrace Mistakes to Build a Learning Culture

Ben Laker shares his take on nurturing a blame-free learning organization, from accepting the inevitability of failure, embracing the resulting learning opportunity, reflecting, and moving on.

Jason Knight and Douglas Squirrel: 🎙 Helping Tech Teams Get Closer to ”The Business” with Effective Conversations

Jason Knight and Douglas Squirrel dive deep into how tech teams can get closer to the business side, improve decision processes, and have effective conversations across the whole organization.

(via TechTello): 5 Excellent Habits of High Performing Teams

TechTello points to five habits of high-performing teams, from using pre-mortems to a disagree-but-commit attitude to making learning a priority.

🎓 🖥 🇺🇸 Professional Scrum Product Owner Training w/ PSPO I Certificate — January 23-26, 2023

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Professional Scrum Product Owner Training w/ PSPO I Certificate — January 23-26, 2023 — Berlin Product People GmbH

Learn more: 🖥 🇺🇸 Professional Scrum Product Owner Training w/ PSPO I Certificate — January 23-26, 2023.

“This class was extremely engaging and collaborative. The amount of information conveyed was immense and all of it relative to the work I do on a day to day basis. I highly recommend this class to Product Owners of any level.”

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🎯 Product

Teresa Torres and Hope Gurion: 📺 Defining Product Outcomes: The 8 Most Common Mistakes You Should Avoid

In this video, product coaches Teresa Torres and Hope Gurion delve into the intricate details of getting outcomes right, from avoiding masquerading outputs as outcomes to not choosing outcomes outside your team’s control to not measuring action instead of value.

Andre Schweighofer: The Product-Market Fit Engineering Trap

Andre Schweighofer reflects on the inherent risks of continuing to work with your prototypes beyond product-market fit, which is all too common. For example, how often have I heard founders and investors claim: “We do not want to die in beauty; we fix tech debt after the next funding round.” Which, of course, rarely happens.

Lisa Zane (via Medium): Responding Better After Failure. Mistakes will happen.

Lisa Zane points out that failures are inevitable, and product managers learn in public. Consequently, it would help if you improved dealing with failure in public, too.

📯 What Would You like to Read about in 2023? (Plus: Most Popular Posts of 2022)

What topics are you interested in learning about in 2023? Please share your ideas with me, and I’ll do my best to bring you the content you want. Let me know what you think!

What would you like to read about in 2023? — Age-of-Product.com

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🛠 Concepts, Tools & Measuring

Clement Kao (via Amplitude): OKR Product Management Guide for Outcome-Oriented Goals

Clement Kao provides a comprehensive guide on the OKR framework and its application to product management. Moreover, he also points out traps to avoid at all costs.

(via Product Coalition): 15 Ways To Ask Why Without Asking Why

Tia Loehnert reframes the investigative and often intrusive ‘why’ question so you “indirectly but effectively get the answers you need.”

John Cutler: Making a Model (Step-by-Step)

John Cutler created a “live diagram” of his process. As an example, he aims to identify the drivers of a healthy community.

Jason Yip (via Medium): My preferred approaches to estimation on Agile projects

Jason Yip advocates using Blink Estimation, User Story Mapping, and swimlane sizing to improve project-level forecasting.

🎶 Encore

(via The Guardian): ‘Our weapons are computers’: Ukrainian coders aim to gain battlefield edge

Agile software development saves lives.

“These were not bureaucrats from the defence ministry. They were from the corporate sector who were mobilised to serve in the army,” she said. “They started to make Delta with their own minds and hands, because they had this culture of agile development. The creative process has a short circle. You develop it, you test it, you launch it.”


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🖥 💯 🇬🇧 February 7-10, 2023 GUARANTEED: Professional Scrum Master Training (PSM I; English; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1.189 incl. 19% VAT
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🖥 🇩🇪 March 20-21, 2023 Professional Agile Leadership Essentials Training (PAL I; German; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1.299 incl. 19% VAT
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Help your team to deal with hidden micromanager by pointing them to the free Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide:

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🗞️ Last Week’s Food for Agile Thought Edition

Read more: Food for Agile Thought #373: ChatGPT and Disruption, Stakeholder Management, The Value of Agile Coaching, The Product Strategy Document.

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