Food for Agile Thought #411: Team Diversity Problems, Marginal Users’ Tyranny, Useful Agile Mantras, Shared Understanding?

TL; DR: Team Diversity Problems — Food for Agile Thought #411

Welcome to the 411th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 49,134 peers. This week, Christiaan Verwijs and Daniel Russo scrutinize the complex relationship between team diversity and performance, pointing to team diversity problems. Emily Webber identifies three collaboration anti-patterns sabotaging teamwork in organizations, and Jason Little takes us back to the foundational Agile principles that we should remember. Also, Jason Evanish dispels myths around introverted leadership, highlighting its unique strengths and benefits, and we enjoy a great interview with Jim Highsmith.

Then, Ivan Vendrov critiques the sacrifice of user experience for metrics in consumer software, while David Pereira distinguishes between genuine product management and its hollow counterpart, urging us to develop a “bullshit radar.” Leah Tharin cautions Airtable on its enterprise focus, potentially jeopardizing product-led growth for smaller clients. Moreover, Jenny Wanger showcases a food delivery company that has successfully integrated customer-centricity through operational choices.

Finally, Benji Huser-Berta underscores the importance of feature forecasting for effective planning in organizations with long release cycles. Chris Meyer delves into the Dunning-Kruger Effect, spotlighting its impact on self-awareness. Kai Hellström critiques superficial approaches to ‘Shared Understanding,’ advocating a more profound commitment to solving customer problems.

Food for Agile Thought #411: Team Diversity Problems, Marginal Users’ Tyranny, Useful Agile Mantras, Shared Understanding? —

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🏆 The Tip of the Week: Team Diversity Problems

Christiaan Verwijs (via The Liberators): In-Depth: The Double-Edged Sword Of Diversity In Teams

Christiaan Verwijs and Daniel Russo, Ph. D., conducted a study examining the effects of diversity in teams. The study found that diversity in gender, role, and culture isn’t straightforwardly beneficial to team performance. Age diversity showed positive effects, and gender diversity could increase conflict. The conclusion suggests that teams should focus on harnessing diversity effectively through coaching and support structures, emphasizing the moral and ethical imperatives of maintaining diverse teams.

🍋 Lemon of the Week

(via Pretty Agile): What is an Agile Release Tram?

The Lemon of the Week introduces the “Agile Release Tram,” a miniaturized SAFe construct. The idea amplifies SAFe’s existing flaws by forcing them into unsuitable smaller settings, making it an ill-advised solution.

➿ Agile & Scrum

Emily Webber (via InfoQ): Bridging Silos and Overcoming Collaboration Antipatterns in Multidisciplinary Organisations

Emily Webber sheds light on the growing trend of collaboration anti-patterns in organizations. She highlights three main culprits: individual specialists stretched across multiple teams, product vs. engineering conflicts, and skewed organizational focus. These anti-patterns hamper multi-disciplinary teamwork, leading to slow delivery and subpar outcomes.

Jason Little: 4 Old School Agile Mantras that Change Agents Should Be Stealing

Jason Little revives old Agile mantras to remind us of the core principles that make Agile effective. From “You Ain’t Gonna Need It (YAGNI)” to “Last Responsible Moment,” Little urges agile practitioners to revisit these timeless concepts to maintain the original spirit of agile.

Jason Evanish (via Get Lighthouse): Introverted Leadership: Ways to Shine as an Introvert Leader

Jason Evanish discusses the value of introverted leadership, countering stereotypes that introverts are shy and quiet. He highlights how introverted leaders excel in empathy, listening, and managing proactive employees, citing a study that supports these traits.

🎓 🖥 💯 🇬🇧 Professional Scrum Facilitation Skills Class w/ PSFS Certificate — October 4, 2023

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Professional Scrum Facilitation Skills Class w/ PSFS Certificate — October 4, 2023 —

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🎯 Product

Ivan Vendrov: The Tyranny of the Marginal User

Ivan Vendrov critiques the decline in user experience and agency in popular consumer software, attributing it to the “Tyranny of the Marginal User.” He argues that companies focus on metrics like Daily Active Users, sacrificing quality for broader appeal.

David Pereira: Pragmatism over Bullshitism

David Pereira confronts the fine line between “product management” and “bullshit management,” calling for a reality check. He argues that the latter is a wasteful pursuit focused on non-value-adding activities, while genuine product management aims for business and customer value. Pereira emphasizes needing a “bullshit radar” to identify and eliminate practices that don’t contribute to real value

Leah Tharin: When product falls under the (Air)table

Leah Tharin warns that Airtable’s enterprise focus could risk its product-led growth, especially for smaller clients. Also, she questions the wisdom of segmenting product teams by company stage.

📺 Wild West to the Agile Manifesto — Jim Highsmith at the 52. Hands-on Agile

On August 17, 2023, we had the opportunity to interview Jim Highsmith about his path to agile product development: From Wild West to the co-authoring the Agile Manifesto.

Jim has penned numerous books on the subject and was honored with the International Stevens Award 2005. He is a prominent figure in the Agile community, co-authoring the Agile Manifesto and the Declaration of Interdependence for Project Leaders. Jim was pivotal in establishing The Agile Alliance and co-founding the Agile Leadership Network, serving as its inaugural president.

Wild West to the Agile Manifesto — Jim Highsmith at the 52. Hands-on Agile —

📺 Watch the video now: Jim Highsmith & the Agile Manifesto — Hands-on Agile 52.

🛠 Concepts, Tools & Measuring

Chris Meyer: Dunning-Kruger Effect: How to Cringe Yourself to Success

Chris Meyer discusses the Dunning-Kruger Effect, a cognitive bias where people overestimate their skills. He highlights its origin in a 1999 study and notes it affects the unskilled most, robbing them of critical self-awareness.

(via Medium): What the Hell Is Shared Understanding Anyway?

Kai Hellström emphasizes the importance of ‘Shared Understanding’ in product development but warns that it’s often misunderstood. He critiques tick-box approaches that lack empathy and alignment, stressing that a truly shared understanding requires a more profound commitment to solving customer problems.

(via Medium): Using Probabilistic Forecasts for Feature Planning

Benji Huser-Berta emphasizes that feature forecasting is crucial for organizations with long release cycles or interconnected products to plan effectively and schedule acceptance tests.

🎶 Encore

Jenny Wanger: How to build a customer-obsessed product culture

Author Jenny Wanger discusses how a food delivery company successfully ingrained customer-centricity into its culture through operational choices, like rewarding customer-first actions and making customer engagement easy.

📅 Scrum Training & Event Schedule

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🗞️ Last Week’s Food for Agile Thought Edition

Read more: Food for Agile Thought #410: Best Product Teams, Communication in Low Trust, Killing Features, Stop Using ‘Failure’ When Learning.

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