TL; DR: How to Be Unproductive — Food for Agile Thought #409
Welcome to the 409th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 48,883 peers. This week, we explore several provocative perspectives: John Cutler delves into factors affecting developer productivity, or: how to be unproductive, suggesting the environment plays a more substantial role than individual aptitude. Kris Brandow makes a case for the undervalued potential of the Waterfall method. Stephan Schmidt pinpoints the unintentional merger of Scrum and Waterfall into “Scrumfall” due to external pressures. Lastly, Ben Biran shares insights from Zapier’s Interfaces team, emphasizing how shifting prioritization duties to engineering leaders can catalyze team performance and culture.
Then, Jason Cohen critiques the widely adopted MVP approach for sidelining the user experience and calls for its reevaluation. In conversation with Lenny Rachitsky, Tim Holley of Etsy unfolds his ten-year odyssey with the e-commerce giant, touching on various facets, from handling the pandemic-induced surge to fine-tuning marketplace dynamics. Meanwhile, Arne Kittler brings product maven Teresa Torres into the spotlight, who, in dialogue with Petra Wille, clarifies the essence of product discovery grounded in customer feedback.
Lastly, Mike Cottmeyer tackles the growing disillusionment among leaders with Agile, offering ways to reignite their interest and commitment. Mikkel Krenchel sheds light on the rising societal apprehensions around AI, emphasizing the often-overlooked importance of ethnographers in shaping AI’s ethical trajectory. Lastly, Nick Ianetta puzzles over the marked distinction between Research Operations and Market Research Operations, probing the reasons behind their strategic organizational separation.
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🏆 The Tip of the Week: How to Be Unproductive
The Ultimate Guide to Developer Counter-Productivity:
John Cutler argues that the environment influences developer productivity more than individual skills. Counter-productive developers are often stuck in low-leverage activities. Instead of assessing individual productivity, address factors causing low/negative leverage. Instead, teams should track where their time goes, aiming for high-leverage tasks.
🍋 Lemon of the Week
Medium): The Anti-Agile Manifesto(via
This week’s Lemon critiques Agile's practicality, noting widespread dissatisfaction among developers and senior managers. Despite Agile's principles, the majority of implementations seem ineffective, suggesting a fundamental flaw in its real-world application.
➿ Agile & Scrum
Changelog): ‘Waterfall’ doesn't mean what you think it means(via
Kris Brandow challenges common Waterfall perceptions, revisiting its roots through key papers to argue its underrated value in today's software processes.
Why we always end up with waterfall:
Stephan Schmidt argues that despite agile adoption, external pressures and the pursuit of efficiency often reintroduce waterfall elements into Scrum processes, leading to hybrids like Scrumfall.
(via Medium): Hand over product prioritization to Engineering Managers. Here’s why.
Ben Biran describes how shifting prioritization responsibilities from product managers to engineering leaders can significantly boost team effectiveness. By adopting a product mindset within engineering at Zapier's Interfaces team, they observed improved outcomes, faster learning, and enhanced team culture.
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Jason Cohen): Your customers hate MVPs. Make a SLC instead.(via
Jason Cohen emphasizes that while product teams have consistently favored the MVP approach for its quick insights, it often neglects the customer experience, suggesting a need to reevaluate and refine the process.
🎙 Inside Etsy’s product, growth, and marketplace evolutionand :
Tim Holley, VP of Product at Etsy, and Lenny Rachitsky discuss Tim’s decade-long journey with the company, sharing insights on corporate culture shifts, Etsy’s pandemic-driven e-commerce boom, balancing marketplace supply and demand, addressing the “graduation problem”, and hiring tips for product managers.
📺 How Can Product Leaders Support Continuous Discovery?and :
Arne Kittler introduces product expert Teresa Torres. In a chat with Petra Wille, Teresa defined product discovery as making informed decisions on what to build using customer feedback.
📈 Join the Scrum Master Salary Report 2024 — Let Us Create Transparency
The purpose of this anonymous Scrum Master salary report is to create a clear, data-backed benchmark that allows everyone in the Agile community to understand whether their compensation is adequate. The report will cover Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches, both employed and freelancing.
The goal is to have at least 1,000 replies by the end of November 2023 to create the report in time for January 2024. Of course, the report will be available for free.
🛠 Concepts, Tools & Measuring
Leading Agile): 📺 How You Define Success in Agile Matters(via
The Agile community is split between viewing Agile as an iterative delivery and as a cultural movement. Many leaders have grown disillusioned with Agile. In this video, Mike Cottmeyer addresses how to re-engage these leaders.
epicpeople): Ethnography for the AI Age: How to Get Started(via
Mikkel Krenchel claims that AI advancements raise societal concerns like biases and privacy issues. While many focus on AI ethics, the role of ethnographers remains underutilized. These professionals should understand AI better and engage early in its development.
(via Team ReOps): Research Is Research: Rethinking Market Research’s Place in ResearchOps
Research Operations and Market Research Operations are distinct disciplines. Search results vary significantly between them, emphasizing their separation in many organizations. Nick Ianetta asks, Why is this?
There are no entries to this category this week.
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📺 Join 5,000-plus Agile Peers on Youtube
Now available on the Age-of-Product Youtube channel to improve learning, for example, how to avoid to be unproductive:
- Hands-on Agile EXTRA: How Elon Musk Would Run YOUR Business with Joe Justice.
- Hands-on Agile 50: The Product Community of Practice with Petra Wille.
- Hands-on Agile 46: The Agile Fluency Model ® with Diana Larsen.
- Hands-on Agile 43: Outcome-Based Product Planning with Jeff Gothelf.
- Hands-on Agile 42: Lean Roadmapping and OKRs with Janna Bastow.
- Hands-on Agile 38: The Product Owner with Roman Pichler.
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Help your team to explore how to avoid to be unproductive by pointing them to the free Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide: