Food for Agile Thought #417: Working Backward at Amazon, “Marty Cagan’ization?” Agile Contracts, AI to Analyze User Feedback

TL; DR: Working Backward at Amazon, “Marty Cagan’ization?” — Food for Agile Thought #417

Welcome to the 417th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 49,538 peers. This week, we delve into Working Backward at Amazon with Lenny Rachitsky and Bill Carr and explore Viktor Cessan’s proposition of borrowing ecology’s “Interspecific Interactions” framework to enhance workplace interactions. Peter Stevens sheds light on ten agile contract models, evaluating their alignment with operational agility. Further, Alexey Krivitsky and Roland Flemm provide insights on transitioning from Component Teams to more flexible organizational designs, drawing from James Shore’s talk. Lastly, we uncover the detrimental Scrum anti-patterns across planning, communication, and quality adherence that often lead to underperformance in Scrum teams.

Then, Bandan Jot Singh’s critical take on the global ‘Marty Cagan’ization’ in the product domain urges a balanced evaluation of its impact on product professionals. Scott Belsky explores AI’s potential to disrupt business models, hinting at a meritocratic shift in creative fields yet posing questions on brand perception. Lenny Rachitsky delves into a discussion with Eric Ries on the Lean Startup methodology, while Michael H. Goitein highlights the perilous ‘Product Gap’ in organizational transformations, drawing a vivid analogy to point at the dangers of assigning critical Product roles to the inexperienced.

Lastly, Paulo Caroli illuminates the ‘Design Ahead’ technique to synchronize design and development phases. Moreover, Kyle Byrd explores the subtle effects of OKRs on strategic choices, delving into the dichotomy of causal and effectual reasoning. Also, Aatir Abdul Rauf introduces an efficient method for PMs to harness AI tools to sift through customer feedback, refine product strategies, and gauge competitive standing. Conversely, Steven Sinofsky critiques the President’s Executive Order on AI as an impulsive move, potentially thwarting innovation while bypassing democratic scrutiny and lacking accountability and transparency.

Food for Agile Thought #417: Working Backward at Amazon, “Marty Cagan’ization?” Agile Contracts, AI to Analyze User Feedback —

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🏆 The Tip of the Week: Working Backward at Amazon

Lenny Rachitsky and Bill Carr: 🎙 Unpacking Amazon’s unique ways of working

In this podcast, Lenny Rachitsky interviews Bill Carr. They clarify Amazon’s ‘working backward’ approach, the essence of ‘single-threaded leaders,’ and how to foster a culture of risk-taking and innovation.

🍋 Lemon of the Week

Sam Haynes (via gitconnected): Ditch Scrum and Switch to Kanban: Why Kanban is the Superior Agile Methodology

Sam Haynes misinterprets Scrum’s flexible framework while overly praising Kanban’s alignment with Lean principles. His narrow view overlooks Scrum’s adaptability and underestimates its potential for cross-functional collaboration and continuous improvement in agile environments.

➿ Agile & Scrum

Viktor Cessan: Enhancing Organizational Performance with Ecological Models

Viktor Cessan discusses the untapped potential in improving workplace interactions for enhanced performance, citing various methodologies. He suggests learning from ecology’s “Interspecific Interactions” framework to observe better and evaluate interactions in organizational settings.

Peter Stevens: Ten Agile Contracts Infographic

Peter Stevens evaluates ten common contract models for agile product development, categorizing them from “Not Agile/Fake Agile” to well-aligned with operational agility, highlighting the merits and drawbacks of each.

Alexey Krivitsky and Roland Flemm: Case Study: from Component Teams to Team Topologies to FaST Agile

Alexey Krivitsky and Roland Flemm analyze James Shore’s talk on transitioning from Component Teams to Team Topologies to a FaST Agile ecosystem, emphasizing the pitfalls of component-focused teams and the merits of stream-aligned and flexible organizational designs.

🎓 🖥 💯 🇬🇧 Professional Scrum Facilitation Skills Class w/ PSFS Certificate — November 28, 2023

The Professional Scrum Facilitation Skills (PSFS) training by Berlin Product People is a guaranteed one-day official class for advanced Scrum practitioners and agile coaches, including the industry-acknowledged PSFS certification. This PSFS training class is in English.

Enjoy the benefits of a compact immersive class with like-minded agile peers from 09:00 – 17:30 o’clock CEST.

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

Learn more: 🖥 💯 🇬🇧 Professional Scrum Facilitation Skills Class w/ PSFS Certificate — November 28, 2023.

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🎯 Product

Bandan Jot Singh: The dark side of Marty Cagan'ization

Bandan Jot Singh critiques the widespread influence of Marty Cagan’s methodologies—termed ‘Marty Cagan’ization’—on the global product domain, acknowledging its clarity but also urging a mindful appraisal of its costs on product managers and leaders.

Scott Belsky: Strange Ways AI Disrupts Business Models, What’s Next For Creativity & Marketing, Some Provocative Data

Scott Belsky discusses the unconventional ways AI might alter business models, from challenging time-based billing to shaking the core and periphery model in entertainment, suggesting AI’s potential to bring meritocracy to creative fields while questioning its impact on brand perception in purchase decisions.

Lenny Rachitsky and Eric Ries: 🎙 Reflections on a movement

Lenny Rachitsky interviews Eric Ries on Lean Startup methodology, MVPs, handling uncertainty with AI, structuring companies around core values, and his current project: the Long-Term Stock Exchange.

Michael Goitein (via Medium): How ‘The Product Gap’ Has Already Doomed Your Transformation To Failure

Michael H. Goitein discusses the ‘Product Gap’ in organizational transformations, highlighting the peril of assigning inexperienced individuals to critical Product roles, likening it to a receptionist suddenly tasked with doctor duties.

📯 Scrum Team Failure — Scrum Anti-Patterns Taxonomy (3)

Scrum team failure addresses three categories from the Scrum anti-patterns taxonomy that are closely aligned: Planning and process breakdown, conflict avoidance and miscommunication, and inattention to quality and commitment, often resulting in a Scrum team performing significantly below its potential.

Learn how these Scrum anti-patterns categories manifest themselves and how they affect value creation for customers and the organization’s long-term sustainability.

This is the third of three articles analyzing the 183 anti-patterns from the upcoming Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide book. The other two articles, see below, address adhering to legacy systems, processes, practices, and communication and collaboration issues.

Scrum Team Failure — Scrum Anti-Patterns Taxonomy (3)

Learn more: Scrum Team Failure — Scrum Anti-Patterns Taxonomy (3).

🛠 Concepts, Tools & Measuring

Paulo Caroli: Design Ahead: Harmonizing Design and Development Timelines for Optimal Results

Paulo Caroli sheds light on the ‘Design Ahead’ approach, aimed at aligning design and development timelines by enabling a thorough design phase before development, beneficial in complex or iterative projects, and noting its limitations in highly agile or resource-constrained environments.

Kyle Byrd (via UX Collective): Are OKRs improving or inhibiting decision-making?

Kyle Byrd delves into the nuanced impact of OKRs on strategic decision-making, exploring the balance between causal rationality and effectual reasoning and highlighting potential pitfalls like goal-induced blindness and distorted incentives.

Aatir Abdul Rauf: How PMs can use AI tools to analyze customer feedback

Aatir Abdul Rauf shares a method for PMs to utilize AI tools, specifically Browse AI and Claude, to efficiently analyze customer feedback from review sites like G2, streamlining the gathering of insights to improve product offerings and compare with competitors.

🎶 Encore

Steven Sinofsky: Regulating AI by Executive Order is the Real AI Risk

Steven Sinofsky critiques the President’s Executive Order on AI as a premature, pessimistic political move, arguing it circumvents democratic processes and might stifle innovation while lacking the accountability and transparency inherent in legislative actions.

📅 Scrum Training & Event Schedule

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🗞️ Last Week’s Food for Agile Thought Edition

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

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