Food for Agile Thought #416: Feature Team Fallacy, Measuring Product Discovery, Forget the Spotify “Model,” Working Backwards

TL; DR: Feature Team Fallacy — Food for Agile Thought #416

Welcome to the 416th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 49,471 peers. This week, we dive into compelling critiques and analyses: Bryan Finster assesses the LeSS approach to team structures, pointing at the Feature Team Fallacy, while Mark Levison sheds light on misconceptions about the “Spotify Model.” Johanna Rothman highlights the pitfalls of dehumanizing metaphors in software development. Additionally, a collaborative piece delves deep into the implications and nuances of the Agile Mindset in decision-making and its role in organizational behavior. Moreover, we address how to Say No without burning bridges.

Then, Jeff Gothelf discusses the actual indicators of product discovery’s effectiveness, cautioning against vanity metrics. Charles Lambdin parallels Gandalf’s adventures and Agile’s inherent adaptability, questioning traditional roadmaps. Dan Collins underscores the pivotal role of churn prevention in SaaS, emphasizing customer-centric strategies. Lastly, Laura Morgan provides a personal account, highlighting three transformative moments in her professional journey.

Finally, Paulo Caroli introduces a Press Release template inspired by Amazon’s customer-centric approach. Also, Jim Morris tackles the challenges of sharing group dynamics techniques to combat dominant voices and foster inclusivity. Marcus Castenfors laments the absence of robust product visions in companies and champions the Design Sprint process for alignment. Lastly, Tim Harford at #mtpcon London 2023 enlightens on common tech innovation missteps, emphasizing the transformative power of simple solutions and AI’s impending influence on employment.

Food for Agile Thought #416: Feature Team Fallacy, Measuring Product Discovery, Forget the Spotify “Model,” Working Backwards —

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🏆 The Tip of the Week: Feature Team Fallacy

Bryan Finster (via Medium): The Feature Team Fallacy

Bryan Finster critiques the LeSS approach to team structure, specifically the debate between organizing teams around features or product capabilities. While acknowledging LeSS’s advocacy for feature teams, he leverages his decades-long developer experience to challenge their stance, dissecting various claims and emphasizing that team structure should align with business needs and delivery goals rather than rigid methodologies.

🍋 Lemon of the Week

Matteo Bianchi (via Medium): Scrum sucks.. Breaking news: Scrum is bad.

In another tragic moment of following the herd instinctively, this Week’s Lemon attempts to prove that Scrum is inadequate, ignoring that his experience may be influenced by people selling snake oil.

➿ Agile & Scrum

Mark Levison: The Spotify Model of Scaling – Spotify Doesn’t Use It, Neither Should You

Mark Levison discusses the misconceptions surrounding the “Spotify Model.” This structure, showcasing Squads, Tribes, and Guilds, is frequently misapplied in organizations, resulting in mere label changes without the necessary cultural shift. The original intent of fostering collaboration and minimizing dependencies often gets lost in the process.

Johanna Rothman: Retire These Metaphors & Reframe the Discussion to be More Effective

Johanna Rothman critiques traditional metaphors in software development, emphasizing their dehumanizing effects. She advocates for recognizing the uniqueness of individuals, avoiding construction metaphors, and retiring outdated comparisons, especially those perpetuating sexism.

Kent Beck: Private Estimates, Public Progress

Kent Beck critiques traditional software projects and proposes weekly planning. He stresses actual deliverables over metrics and emphasizes aligning Agile with business through shared goals.

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Professional Scrum Facilitation Skills Class w/ PSFS Certificate — November 28, 2023 — PST Stefan Wolpers

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🎯 Product

Laura Morgan (via Agile On The Beach): 📺 My three favourite product discovery mistakes

Laura Morgan shares three critical moments in her professional life that helped her become more experienc

Jeff Gothelf: How do you measure product discovery?

Jeff Gothelf claims that product discovery’s effectiveness is measured by evaluating its implementation, its impact on work processes, and the quality of products/services produced. Vanity metrics can mislead, so focus on insights generated, sustained discovery practices, and clear customer behavior changes.

Charles Lambdin: Roadmaps and Twyman’s Law

Charles Lambdin argues that while many blindly follow traditional roadmaps, true Agile emphasizes adaptability and learning, suggesting that a more exploratory approach, akin to Gandalf’s adventures, is needed over rigid planning.

(via ProdPad): Churn Prevention: A Product Manager’s Guide

Dan Collins emphasizes the importance of churn prevention in SaaS, highlighting the need to understand and address customer dissatisfaction while continuously adapting to their evolving needs and preferences to ensure business longevity.

📯 Saying No as a Product Owner or Product Manager

Are you navigating the delicate art of saying No as a Product Owner or product manager? Actually, it’s more of a strategic ‘yes’ to higher priorities, turning down lower-level requests without shutting down communication.

This article will dive into various approaches, from reframing conversations and fostering stakeholder collaboration to being transparent to data-informed rationale and empathetic engagement. Discover how to maintain a harmonious balance between driving Product Goals and nurturing professional relationships with your stakeholders.

Saying No as a Product Owner or Product Manager —

Learn more: Saying No as a Product Owner or Product Manager.

🛠 Concepts, Tools & Measuring

Paulo Caroli: Working Backwards – Press Release Template

Paulo Caroli shares his Press Release template, modeled after Amazon’s ‘Working Backwards’ approach, streamlining product development by emphasizing the end-user experience.

Jim Morris: Facilitation Skills: Avoid Groupthink and One-Sided Discussions

Jim Morris discusses facilitating group sessions, emphasizing the pitfalls of dominant voices stifling conversation. He offers techniques to counter groupthink, encouraging full participation and diverse input in team discussions.

Marcus Castenfors (via Crisp): How to facilitate a Product Vision Sprint

Marcus Castenfors highlights most companies lack a compelling, tangible product vision, leading to misalignment. To overcome this, he advocates collaboratively using the Design Sprint process to craft an inspiring, aligning product vision.

🎶 Encore

Tim Harford (via Mind The Product): 📺 What we get wrong about technology

Tim Harford underscores two tech innovation errors: overvaluing complexity and underestimating simple, affordable solutions. Moreover, he emphasizes societal change and AI's potential impact on jobs at #mtpcon London 2023.

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🗞️ Last Week’s Food for Agile Thought Edition

Read more: Food for Agile Thought #415: Product Nightmares, Assumption Testing Guide, Freemium Fiasco, Agile Inflection Point?

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