Food for Agile Thought #432: Agility Creates Valuable Firms, Product Focus, Down Paying Tech Debt, Balancing LTV and CAC

TL; DR: Agility Creates Valuable Firms — Food for Agile Thought #432

Welcome to the 432nd edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 42,247 peers. This week, Steve Denning reveals how agility creates valuable firms by focusing on customer value and empowerment. Matt Van Itallie and Cassidy Williams discuss the importance of addressing tech debt for improved outcomes. Also, Tom Kerwin and John Cutler present strategies for leaders in complexity, advocating for innovation through embracing uncertainty. Stephanie Ockerman critiques productivity culture’s impact on agility, suggesting a shift towards outcome-focused approaches.

Then, Richard Mironov emphasizes the importance of product leaders providing support for product managers to focus by using strategic refusals. David Pereira explains the necessity of balancing customer lifetime value and acquisition costs for sustainable growth and profitability. Moreover, Lea Hickman and Marty Cagan critique the “theater” in product management and leadership that blocks true transformation, while Itamar Gilad critiques the “hype economy” in tech, arguing for an evidence-guided approach over salesmanship for smarter product decisions and a healthier organizational culture.

Lastly, Tanmay Vora addresses the pitfalls of misapplying metrics in line with Goodhart’s Law, advocating for a balanced approach of qualitative and quantitative measures to ensure desired behaviors. Douglas Squirrel introduces the “Elephant Carpaccio” concept from his talk, and Wes Kao champions the practice of Super Specific Feedback (SSF) on work outputs, underlining the importance of precise, actionable advice for elevating team performance and decision-making skills.

Food for Agile Thought #432: Agility Creates Valuable Firms, Product Focus, Down Paying Tech Debt, Balancing LTV and CAC — Age-of-Product.com

🎙 The backstory of the Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide book is explored in my interview with Dave West.

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The most popular discussion on LinkedIn last week was: Dealing with #VUCA Is Challenging for Product People!

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🏆 The Tip of the Week: Agility Creates Valuable Firms

Steve Denning (via Forbes): Surprise! The World’s Most Valuable Firms Are Agile

Steve Denning explains how Agile principles, beyond applying mere frameworks and methodologies, drive the success of the world’s most valuable firms, emphasizing customer value and employee empowerment.

🍋 Lemon of the Week

There is no Lemon this week.

➿ Agile & Scrum

Matt Van Itallie (via Stack Overflow): 🎙 How to convince your CEO it’s worth paying down tech debt

Matt Van Itallie discusses convincing CEOs of the value of addressing tech debt for better outcomes for users, companies, and developers with Cassidy Williams.

John Cutler and Tom Kerwin: How Capable Leaders Navigate Uncertainty and Ambiguity

Tom Kerwin and John Cutler outline key capabilities for leaders navigating complexity, emphasizing the need for holistic approaches, embracing uncertainty, and fostering collaborative environments for innovation and problem-solving.

Stephanie Ockerman: 5 ways productivity culture kills business agility

Stephanie Ockerman highlights how productivity culture, prioritizing output over outcomes, undermines business agility, creativity, and collaboration, suggesting a shift towards value-driven approaches.

🎓 🖥 🇬🇧 Advanced Professional Scrum Master Training w/ PSM II Certificate — March 26-27, 2024

Discover Scrum’s four success principles in this official Scrum.org class for Advanced Scrum Masters, including the industry-acknowledged PSM II certification. This PSFS training class is in English.

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

Advanced Professional Scrum Master Training w/ PSM II Certificate — March 26-27, 2024 — Berlin-Product-People.com

Learn more: 🖥 💯 🇬🇧 Advanced Professional Scrum Master Training w/ PSM II Certificate — March 26-27, 2024.

Customer Voice: “Since about 12 people have already asked me these last 2 days: Yes, taking one of Stefan Wolpers classes is a mind-blowing experience. He’s actually the most adroit facilitator I’ve met after Guy Kawasaki & Roland Busch. It all flows like a silk ribbon in a soft spring breeze but with a strong authenticity that prevents the thing from feeling all Del Monte Canned Corporate Facilitation(tm). It may be due to his seemingly effortless mastery of the Liberating Structures. He doesn’t “teach to the test,” yet when you take the open practice assessments, you somehow score 95+ the first time. I dunno, it’s magic or Mozart, you pick.” (Source.)

👉 From time to time, we can offer last-minute seats for training classes at cost to individuals who do not have access to a corporate training budget. If you like to be notified about these opportunities, please register here.

🎯 Product

Rich Mironov: Permission To Stay Focused

Richard Mironov highlights the role of product leaders in providing organizational support for product managers to maintain focus and avoid overload by saying ‘No’ or ‘Later.’

David Pereira: Understanding How to Balance Customer Lifetime Value and Acquisition Costs

David Pereira details how optimizing business health by balancing customer lifetime value (LTV) and acquisition costs (CAC) is essential for strategic planning, growth, and profitability.

Itamar Gilad: The Hype Economy

Itamar Gilad discusses the detrimental “hype economy” in tech, advocating for evidence-guided development over salesmanship for better product decisions and a healthier company culture.

Marty Cagan and Lea Hickman (via Silicon Valley Product Group): Transformation Theater

Lea Hickman and Marty Cagan discuss typical “theater” in product management and leadership, hindering fundamental transformation and advocating for evidence-guided development and genuine stakeholder collaboration.

📯 Scrum Anti-Patterns GPT — Useful or a Gaming Exercise?

Can a Custom Scrum Anti-Patterns GPT align teams with Scrum principles? Dive into how leveraging custom GPTs might offer a novel path through Scrum’s common hurdles, focusing on creating actual customer value in the face of organizational and team-level challenges.

Scrum Anti-Patterns GPT — Useful or a Gaming Exercise? — Age-of-Product.com

📺 Read more: Scrum Anti-Patterns GPT — Useful or a Gaming Exercise?.

🛠 Concepts, Tools & Measuring

Tanmay Vora: Measuring Right: Understanding Goodhart’s Law

Tanmay Vora warns against misusing metrics due to Goodhart’s Law, suggesting holistic measures and a mix of qualitative and quantitative metrics to foster correct behaviors.

(via XKCD Comic): Goodhart's Law

More on Goodhart’s law, cartoon-style.

Douglas Squirrel (via YouTube): 📺 Elephant Carpaccio – Talk Highlight from Are My Engineers Doing Anything?

Douglas Squirrel highlights “Elephant Carpaccio” from his talk “Are My Engineers Doing Anything??” focusing on breaking down tasks for efficiency and clarity in engineering work.

🎶 Encore

Wes Kao: Super Specific Feedback: How to give actionable feedback on work output

Wes Kao advocates for Super Specific Feedback (SSF) on work output, emphasizing detailed, actionable coaching to improve team performance and judgment.


📅 Scrum Training & Event Schedule

You can secure your seat for Scrum training classes, workshops, and meetups directly by following the corresponding link in the table below:

Date Class and Language City Price
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 April 23-24, 2024 GUARANTEED: Professional Scrum Master (Advanced) Training (PSM II; English; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1,299 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 May 7, 2024 GUARANTEED: Hands-on Agile #61: Toyota Kata Coaching f. Agile Teams & Transformations—Fortune Buchholtz (English) Live Virtual Meetup FREE
🖥 💯 🇩🇪 May 14-15, 2024 GUARANTEED: Professional Scrum Product Owner Training (PSPO I; German; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1,299 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 🇬🇧 May 28-29, 2024 Professional Scrum Master (Advanced) Training (PSM II; English; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1,189 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 June 6, 2024 GUARANTEED: Hands-on Agile #62: From Backlog Manager to Product Manager: From Outputs to Outcomes w/ David Pereira (English) Live Virtual Meetup FREE
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 June 13-July 11, 2024 GUARANTEED: Advanced Product Backlog Management Cohort Class (PBM; English; Live Virtual Cohort) Live Virtual Cohort €399 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 🇩🇪 July 9-10, 2024 Professional Scrum Product Owner Training (PSPO I; German; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1,299 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 🇩🇪 August 27-28, 2024 Professional Scrum Master Training (PSM 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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Help your team to learn why Agility Creates Valuable Firms by pointing them to the free Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide:

Download the free Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide by PST Stefan Wolpers — Agility Creates Valuable Firms — Age-of-Product.com

🗞️ Last Week’s Food for Agile Thought Edition

Read more: Food for Agile Thought #431: Custom GPTs, Leah’s Team Guide, Agile Rehab, Inescapable Deadlines.

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