Food for Agile Thought #450: Agile’s Trial, Disruption Is Overrated, Lifecycle of Goals, Pessimistic Product Thinking

TL; DR: Agile’s Trial — Food for Agile Thought #450

Welcome to the 450th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 42,573 peers. This week, Sjoerd Nijland imagines Agile’s Trial, highlighting criticisms of Scrum Masters and chaotic environments while defending Agile’s focus on flexibility and continuous improvement. John Cutler reflects on teams losing touch with progress, suggesting tracking key metrics to address challenges, and Tobias Mayer emphasizes Scrum Masters’ roles in organizational transformation, not just team management. Also, Maarten Dalmijn explores SAFe’s popularity over LeSS, attributing its success to its appeal to C-level executives and a non-rebellious narrative comforting traditional businesses, and we gain insights into David Pereira’s approach to turning backlog managers into product managers.

Next, Jason Cohen argues against the obsession with disruption, advocating for useful, desirable products and incremental improvements for sustainable success. April Dunford warns against “overly pessimistic product thinking,” urging teams to leverage product strengths for growth. Meanwhile, Eira Hayward discusses the challenges product managers face in organizations that lack understanding of product management, offering advice from industry leaders on overcoming resistance and implementing effective processes. Moreover, Casey Winters shares insights on scaling and product growth in a podcast, discussing fundamentals, product-market fit, and acquisition strategies from his tech industry experience.

Lastly, Itamar Gilad emphasizes managing the lifecycle of goals through phases of research, discovery, delivery, and monitoring to steer organizations toward outcomes, and Jeff Gothelf breaks down OKRs, stressing the importance of outcome-based key results. Joost Minnaar highlights Mainfreight’s budgetless management model, emphasizing decentralized action, transparency, and culture for success. Dan Pilat and Dr. Sekoul Krastev explain the planning fallacy and suggest strategies like AI, specific goals, and task segmentation to mitigate its effects. Finally, Marc Andreessen shares the journey from co-inventing the web browser to founding Netscape.

Food for Agile Thought #450: Agile’s Trial, Pessimistic Product Thinking, Lifecycle of Goals, Disruption Is Overrated —  Age-of-Product.com

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This week, the most popular discussion on LinkedIn was: There Are Many Ways to Undermine Software Development.

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🏆 The Tip of the Week: Agile’s Trial

Sjoerd Nijland (via Medium): Agile on Trial. The Case That’s Shaking the Tech World

Sjoerd Nijland imagines a mock trial of Agile, with critics targeting Scrum Masters and chaotic work environments. Defenders argue for Agile’s focus on flexibility, accountability, and continuous improvement, emphasizing its role in modern product management and adapting to dynamic environments.

🍋 Lemon of the Week

We are Lemon-free this week.

➿ Agile & Scrum

John Cutler: Staying In Touch

John Cutler reflects on how teams, like individuals, can lose touch with their progress over time. He suggests tracking key metrics and qualitative observations to effectively understand shifts and address challenges.

Tobias Mayer: Who needs scrum masters?

Tobias Mayer asserts that Scrum Masters are essential for organizational transformation, not for long-term team management, emphasizing their role in restructuring, reducing waste, and increasing autonomy within the organization.

Maarten Dalmijn: Why Isn't LeSS (Large Scale Scrum) More Popular?

Maarten Dalmijn explores why SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) is more popular than LeSS (Large Scale Scrum), likening it to the marketing failure of “Fight Club.” SAFe succeeds by appealing to C-level executives, avoiding rebellion against the status quo, and crafting a non-shocking, comforting narrative that traditional businesses embrace.

🎓 🖥 🇬🇧 Advanced Professional Scrum Master Training w/ PSM II Certificate — August 20-21, 2024

Discover Scrum’s four success principles in this official Scrum.org Advanced Scrum Master training class including the industry-recognized PSM II certification. The PSM II training class is designed as a live virtual class and will be offered in English.

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

Advanced Professional Scrum Master Training w/ PSM II Certificate — August 20-21, 2024 — Berlin-Product-People.com

Learn more: 🖥 🇬🇧 Advanced Professional Scrum Master Training w/ PSM II Certificate — August 20-21, 2024.

Customer Voice: “Dear Stefan, Thanks a lot for two intense and mindblowing days. Your way of teaching suites me perfectly. I must admit that all the positive feedback you have gotten is spot on! I would any time a day recommand your class to a Scrum Master who wants to add a whole new level to his/her scrum game. To all of you reading this. You have to experience Stefans class to understand how good it is.” (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 would like to be notified about these opportunities, please register here.

🎯 Product

(via Jason Cohen): Not disruptive, and proud of it

Jason Cohen argues against the obsession with disruption, advocating instead for creating useful, desirable products. He emphasizes that modest, incremental improvements often lead to sustainable success and personal fulfillment.

(via Mind The Product): Successful product management in companies where it's least understood

Eira Hayward discusses the challenges product managers face in organizations that don’t understand product management, sharing advice from industry leaders on overcoming resistance, gaining advocacy, and implementing effective product processes.

April Dunford: Positioning and Pessimistic Product Thinking

April Dunford discusses “overly pessimistic product thinking,” where teams fixate on perceived deficits, undermining effective positioning and commercial success. She emphasizes recognizing and leveraging product strengths to drive growth and success.

Casey Winters (via First Round Capital): 🎙 How to build and scale winning marketplaces

In this podcast, Casey Winters shares insights on scaling and product growth. He discusses marketplace fundamentals, product-market fit, scaling strategies, and methods for acquiring demand and supply, drawing from his experience with leading tech companies.

📯 Hands-on Agile #62: From Backlog Manager to Product Manager w/ David Pereira

What does product success mean? In this energizing Hands-on Agile Meetup, David Pereira talked about the challenges of being a product manager and how to move from managing the Product Backlog to driving value. You can expect provoking thoughts, actionable insights, and a bit of unconventional product management.

From Backlog Manager to Product Manager w/ David Pereira — Hands-on Agile #62 — Age-of-Product.com

📺 Watch the video now: From Backlog Manager to Product Manager w/ David Pereira — Hands-on Agile #62.

🛠 Concepts, Tools & Measuring

Itamar Gilad: The Lifecycle of Goals: Research, Discover, Deliver, Monitor

Itamar Gilad emphasizes managing the lifecycle of goals—from definition to completion—through phases of research, discovery, delivery, and monitoring to effectively steer organizations toward business and user outcomes.

Jeff Gothelf (via YouTube): 📺 What is an OKR?

Jeff Gothelf explains OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), breaking down the process into Objectives and Key Results, emphasizing that key results must be outcomes, and providing a practical example.

Joost Minnaar (via Corporate Rebels): Budgetless Companies: The Case of Mainfreight

Joost Minnaar highlights Mainfreight’s budgetless management model, emphasizing decentralized action, transparency, and a unique culture to achieve business success, proving rigid budgeting isn’t necessary for extraordinary results.

Dan Pilat and Sekoul Krastev, PhD (via The Decision Lab): Planning fallacy

Dan Pilat and Dr. Sekoul Krastev explain the planning fallacy, which is our tendency to underestimate time, costs, and risks for tasks. This leads to poor planning and systemic impacts, but they suggest strategies like using AI, setting specific goals, and segmenting tasks to mitigate it.

🎶 Encore

Marc Andreessen: 📺 The true story — as best I can remember — of the origin of Mosaic and Netscape.

Marc Andreessen shares the origin of Mosaic and Netscape, highlighting the unexpected journey from a small-town background to co-inventing the web browser, navigating early internet challenges, and ultimately founding Netscape.


📅 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
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 August 20-21, 2024 GUARANTEED: Professional Scrum Master (Advanced) Training (PSM II; English; 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
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 August 29-September 26, 2024 GUARANTEED: Advanced Product Backlog Management Cohort (English; Live Virtual Cohort) Live Virtual Cohort €399 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 💯 🇩🇪 September 3-6, 2024 GUARANTEED: Professional Scrum Product Owner Training (PSPO I; German; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1,299 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 September 4, 2024 GUARANTEED: Hands-on Agile #64: Mastering Work Intake Jeremy Willets and Tom Cagley (English) Live Virtual Meetup FREE
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 October 9, 2024 GUARANTEED: Hands-on Agile #65: The Lean Tech Manifesto with Fabrice Bernhard (English) Live Virtual Meetup FREE

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 about Agile’s Trial by pointing them to the free Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide:

Download the free Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide by PST Stefan Wolpers — Agile’s Trial — Age-of-Product.com

🗞️ Last Week’s Food for Agile Thought Edition

Read more: Food for Agile Thought #449: Lean Mindset, Building Product Sense, Trust Unveils Reality, When Will It Be Ready?

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