Food for Agile Thought #433: The Right Product Idea, Accountability & Safety, Mitigating Product Risk, Self-Management Transition

TL; DR: The Right Product Idea — Food for Agile Thought #433

Welcome to the 433rd edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 42,271 peers. This week, Jeanette Mellinger provides a guide for customer discovery to support your search for the right product idea, while Marc Abraham discusses building high-performing teams, as seen in Christina Wodtke’s book. Tom Hunsaker highlights execution gaps in change initiatives based on a study of 257 firms. Joost Minnaar suggests a self-management transition for organizations. Plus, we share strategies to navigate the Agile job crisis, emphasizing skill refinement, networking, and community support for growth and success in the Agile field.

Then, Paweł Huryn and Aakash Gupta interview Marty Cagan, sharing insights on transitioning to product operating models, stressing empowerment and product discovery. Jason Cohen addresses AI startups’ unique challenges against incumbents, underlining the need for innovative strategies, and Phil Vander Broek discusses AI development risks, advocating for technical research and iterative learning to enhance product education. Lastly, Ant Murphy discusses the power of niching down, using Square, Lululemon, and Amazon as examples, and introduces the Niche Canvas tool for market segmentation and strategic growth.

Lastly, Dr. Amy Edmondson and Dr. David Rock dismantle the myth that psychological safety and accountability can’t coexist in high-performing teams. Gabriel Robaina and Kieran Murphy share insights from their experiment on daily pair rotation in programming, highlighting its enhanced benefits and addressing common concerns. Moreover, Carmen DeCouto presents ten essential metrics for assessing freemium and free trial performance, focusing on comprehensive customer and product insights. Finally, we explore the concept of entropy, clarifying its role in increasing life’s complexity and its integral connection to the passage of time.

Food for Agile Thought #433: The Right Product Idea, Accountability & Safety, Mitigating Product Risk, Self-Management Transition - 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: #TeamMetrics can be game-changers—but do you track the right ones?!

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🏆 The Tip of the Week: The Right Product Idea

Jeanette Mellinger (via First Round Capital): How to Know if Your Idea’s the Right One — A Founder’s Guide for Successful Early-Stage Customer Discovery

Jeanette Mellinger offers a three-step early-stage customer discovery guide for founders. It focuses on rigorous research to build products users truly desire and emphasizes planning, unbiased interviewing, and reflective analysis.

🍋 Lemon of the Week

(via AgileGenesis): The Evolution of the Scrum Master in SAFe 6.0

In SAFe 6.0’s latest act of genius, we meet the “Scrum Master / Team Coach,” tasked with mind-blowing responsibilities like using Kanban for clarity and enhancing team collaboration. Groundbreaking, isn’t it? Apparently, classic Scrum basics are now “advanced expertise.” It seems we’re celebrating the rediscovery of the wheel.

➿ Agile & Scrum

Joost Minnaar (via Corporate Rebels): 5 Steps (and 9 Experiments) for a Successful Transition to a Self-Managing Organization

Joost Minnaar advocates for transforming work environments to foster self-management in organizations. His approach involves diagnosing current practices, simplifying workflows, defining roles, and promoting transparency to shift behaviors toward autonomy.

(via Harvard Business Review): How to Actually Execute Change at a Company

Tom Hunsaker’s analysis across 257 firms reveals only 60% of planned change initiatives achieve their goals due to gaps in communication, resources, alignment, and strategic measurement, highlighting the crucial role of execution in realizing potential

Marc Abraham (via Medium): 📖 ‘The Team that Managed Itself’ (Book Review)

Marc Abraham reflects on Christina Wodtke’s “The Team that Managed Itself,” which delves into the essence of forming high-performing teams through goal-setting and coaching.

🎓 🖥 🇬🇧 Advanced Professional Scrum Master Training w/ PSM II Certificate — April 23-24, 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 — April 23-24, 2024 — Berlin-Product-People.com

Learn more: 🖥 💯 🇬🇧 Advanced Professional Scrum Master Training w/ PSM II Certificate — April 23-24, 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

Pawel Huryn, Aakash Gupta and Marty Cagan: 📺 Marty Cagan on TRANSFORMED: Moving to the Product Operating Model

Paweł Huryn and Aakash Gupta discuss with Marty Cagan how to shift from traditional to product operating models, emphasizing empowerment, accountability, and the significance of product discovery for high-performing teams.

(via Dopt): How we mitigated product risk while building AI features

Phil Vander Broek emphasizes the inherent risks in developing AI features, contrasting them with traditional ones due to the unknown outcomes until built. They highlight the importance of technical research, risk quantification, and building as iterative steps to learn and mitigate risks, ultimately enhancing product onboarding and education.

Jason Cohen (via Jason Cohen): AI startups require new strategies: This time it's actually different

Jason Cohen highlights the unique challenge AI startups face, where traditional strengths like agility and innovation don’t counterbalance the incumbents’ advantages in data, talent, and existing innovation, requiring a rethought strategy for success.

Ant Murphy: ‘Niching’ Down

Ant Murphy highlights the importance of niching down for startups, showcasing Square, Lululemon, and Amazon’s journeys from narrow focuses to massive successes. He introduces a Niche Canvas tool to help define a product’s target market, emphasizing the importance of segmentation and strategic expansion possibilities.

📯 Navigating the Agile Job Crisis: Strategies for Success

While the current Agile job crisis is apparent, there is also hope for practitioners willing to refine their skills, share knowledge, and network with peers.

This article outlines actionable strategies for thriving in challenging times, emphasizing that growth and success are achievable by leveraging community strength and readily accessible resources. Check out also how I can support you on your journey below.

Navigating the Agile Job Crisis: Strategies for Success — Age-of-Product.com

📺 Read more: Navigating the Agile Job Crisis: Strategies for Success.

🛠 Concepts, Tools & Measuring

(via NeuroLeadership Institute): Psychological Safety and Accountability: Three Insights From NLI’s Conversation With Amy Edmondson

Dr. Amy Edmondson and Dr. David Rock discuss the synergy between psychological safety and accountability in high-performing teams, debunking misconceptions that they’re mutually exclusive.

Martin Fowler: What if we rotate pairs every day?

Gabriel Robaina and Kieran Murphy detailed an experiment on daily pair rotation in programming, revealing that it significantly boosts pairing benefits alongside a methodology to address common fears and insights.

(via Amplitude): Top 10 Metrics to Measure Freemium and Free Trial Performance

Carmen DeCouto outlines ten metrics for tracking freemium and free trial performance, emphasizing the importance of measuring beyond revenue to understand customer acquisition and product value.

🎶 Encore

(via Farnam Street): Entropy: The Hidden Force That Complicates Life

Entropy, often misunderstood as a mere disorder, underpins why life’s complexity escalates over time. It illustrates its pervasive influence from daily routines to cosmic phenomena, fundamentally intertwining with the fabric of time itself.


📅 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.

📺 Join 5,000-plus Agile Peers on Youtube

Now available on the Age-of-Product Youtube channel to improve learning, for example, about identifying the Right Product Idea:

Download the Remote Agile Guide for Free — Age-of-Product.com

✋ Do Not Miss Out and Learn About the Right Product Idea — Join the 19,000-plus Strong ‘Hands-on Agile’ Slack Community

I invite you to join the “Hands-on Agile” Slack Community and enjoy the benefits of a fast-growing, vibrant community of agile practitioners from around the world.

Why Agile Fails: Join the Hands-on Agile Slack Group

If you like to join all you have to do now is provide your credentials via this Google form, and I will sign you up. By the way, it’s free.

Help your team to learn to identify the Right Product Idea by pointing them to the free Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide:

Download the free Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide by PST Stefan Wolpers — Right Product Idea — Age-of-Product.com

🗞️ Last Week’s Food for Agile Thought Edition

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

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