TL; DR: Waterfall vs. Agile — Food for Agile Thought #419
Welcome to the 419th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 49,633 peers. This week, Henrik Mårtensson challenges the supposed conflict of Waterfall vs. Agile, advocating for a fresh understanding of software methodology. Heidi Musser urges reevaluating and expanding Agile principles to better align with evolving business landscapes. Joost Minnaar presents Elon Musk’s pragmatic, five-step strategy to cut through bureaucracy effectively. Lastly, Ivar Jacobson and Alistair Cockburn reaffirm the enduring significance of use cases in software development, highlighting their benefits across various stakeholder groups.
Then, we delve into pivotal insights from tech giants. Lenny Rachitsky’s interview with Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky reveals insights into Airbnb’s product management and innovative culture. John Cutler and Melissa Perri analyze Airbnb’s strategic evolution from a startup to a market leader. Moreover, Cedric Chin’s discussion with former Amazon executive Colin Bryar uncovers Amazon’s distinct “Weekly Business Review” management style. Finally, Rich Mironov navigates the AI hype, advocating for thoughtful integration of AI into products, distinguishing genuine value from mere ‘AI-washing.’
Lastly, Jeff Patton identifies five prevalent mistakes in story mapping, advising on maintaining narrative and outcome focus. Ideo presents a comparison between Systems Thinking and Design Thinking, highlighting their distinct approaches to problem-solving. Also, Jason Yip critiques McKinsey’s perspective on measuring developer productivity, advocating for direct observation and multifaceted metrics. Finally, Teri Musick champions the inclusion of neurodiversity in Agile teams, emphasizing recognizing and accommodating diverse thought processes and communication methods.
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🥇 The most popular discussion on LinkedIn last week was: #ScrumMasters are no #ProjectManagers! 🤬
Did you miss the previous Food for Agile Thought’s issue 418?
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🏆 The Tip of the Week: Waterfall vs. Agile
Waterfall vs. Agile: Battle of the Dunces or A Race to the Bottom?:
Henrik Mårtensson critically dissects the misconception of a ‘Waterfall vs. Agile’ battle in a recent HBR article, debunking the existence of Waterfall as a methodology and warning against reviving it in modern software development.
🍋 Lemon of the Week
We are lemon-free this Week.
➿ Agile & Scrum
Corporate Rebels): Musk's 5 Step Algorithm to Cut Internal Bureaucracy at Tesla and SpaceX(via
Joost Minnaar outlines Elon Musk’s five-step algorithm to eliminate bureaucracy: question every requirement, delete unnecessary process parts, simplify and optimize, accelerate cycle time, and automate, emphasizing its significant organizational impact.
(via Agile Alliance): Reimagine Agile: Back to Basics, Forward to the Future
Heidi Musser calls for the Agile community’s active involvement in reimagining Agile, emphasizing the need to update and extend its principles to meet contemporary challenges.
(via Agile Alliance): Neurodiversity and invisible disabilities in Agile
Teri Musick urges Agile teams to embrace neurodiversity, offering practical tips for creating inclusive environments that recognize diverse thinking and communication styles.
🎓 🖥 💯 🇬🇧 Product Backlog Management Cohort Class of Jan 23 to Feb 20, 2024
Discover the Product Owner success principles in this engaging Product Backlog Management cohort class and accelerate your professional growth and career perspective with tried & tested, hands-on practices:
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The class will be offered in English.
Enjoy the benefits of an immersive cohort class with like-minded agile peers on the following dates:
- Tuesday, January 23, 2024, from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm o’clock CET.
- Tuesday, February 6, 2024, from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm o’clock CET.
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Learn more: 🖥 💯 🇬🇧 Product Backlog Management Cohort Class of Jan 23 to Feb 20, 2024.
👉 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.
Brian Chesky’s new playbook for product, leadership, and growthand :
Lenny Rachitsky interviews Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, discussing Airbnb’s approach to product management, combating bureaucracy, setting ambitious goals, and new feature releases.
The New Airbnb (Lenny's Podcast) w/Melissa Perriand :
John Cutler and Melissa Perri explore Airbnb’s leadership and strategy evolution, raising critical questions about the company’s transition from startup to industry leader and its approach to product management.
Commonplace): 📺 Colin Bryar on the practice of Amazon's Weekly Business Reviewand (via
Cedric Chin interviewed Colin Bryar, ex-Amazon leader and ‘Jeff’s shadow,’ who co-wrote ‘Working Backwards.’ Colin offers an insider perspective on Amazon’s unique management practice of the ‘Weekly Business Review.’
Rich Mironov discusses the AI hype cycle, urging a strategic approach to integrating AI in products, differentiating between superficial ‘AI-washing’ and meaningful, value-driven AI applications.
📯 Overcoming Product Backlog Management Traps — David Pereira at the 54. Hands-on Agile
How teams manage their Product Backlog often makes or breaks their value creation chances. Poor backlog management leads to a feature factory trap, while a mindful strategy enables the team to drive value steadily. During the 54th Hands-on Agile meetup, David Pereira shared tried and tested practices to avoid the feature factory fate.
📺 Watch the video now: Overcoming Common Product Backlog Management Traps — David Pereira at the 54. Hands-on Agile.
🛠 Concepts, Tools & Measuring
Five Common Story Mapping Mistakes:
Jeff Patton highlights five common mistakes in story mapping: losing the narrative, over-detailing, flow fixation, over-mapping for single features, and not anchoring releases to outcomes.
Medium): Yes, You Can Measure Software Developer Productivity… But Are You Sure That’s What You’re Measuring or Want to Measure?(via
Jason Yip responds to McKinsey’s article on measuring developer productivity, stressing the importance of direct observation, nuanced metrics at different levels, and recognizing the value beyond just coding in software development.
(via IDEO U): Systems Thinking vs Design Thinking, What’s the Difference?
Ideo contrasts Systems Thinking, which focuses on understanding entire systems for change, with Design Thinking, a human-centered approach for creating products and services.
No Time for Discovery? Here’s How to Fix It.:
Teresa Torres emphasizes that product discovery doesn’t hinder delivery but should occur alongside it for optimal product development, addressing common objections to incorporating discovery into busy schedules.
📅 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|
|🖥 💯 🇬🇧 December 6, 2023||GUARANTEED: Hands-on Agile #57: Humble Planning: How To Make Your Plans Suck Less with Maarten Dalmijn (English; Live Virtual Meetup)||Live Virtual Meetup||FREE|
|🖥 💯 🇩🇪 December 11-12, 2023||GUARANTEED: Professional Scrum Master Training (PSM I; German; Live Virtual Class)||Live Virtual Class||€1,299 incl. 19% VAT|
|🖥 💯 🇩🇪 December 13-14, 2023||GUARANTEED: Professional Scrum Product Owner Training (PSPO I; German; Live Virtual Class)||Live Virtual Class||€1,299 incl. 19% VAT|
|🖥 💯 🇬🇧 December 18-19, 2023||GUARANTEED: Professional Scrum Master (Advanced) Training (PSM II; English; Live Virtual Class)||Live Virtual Class||€1,299 incl. 19% VAT|
|🖥 💯 🇬🇧 Jan 23-Feb 20, 2024||GUARANTEED: Product Backlog Management Cohort Class (English; Live Virtual Class)||Live Virtual Class||€499 incl. 19% VAT|
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 Waterfall vs. Agile:
- Hands-on Agile 54: Overcoming Common Product Backlog Management Traps with David Pereira.
- Hands-on Agile 53: An Agile Coaches Guide to Storytelling with Bob Galen.
- Hands-on Agile EXTRA: How Elon Musk Would Run YOUR Business with Joe Justice.
- Hands-on Agile 50: The Product Community of Practice with Petra Wille.
- Hands-on Agile 43: Outcome-Based Product Planning with Jeff Gothelf.
- Hands-on Agile 42: Lean Roadmapping and OKRs with Janna Bastow.
- Hands-on Agile 38: The Product Owner with Roman Pichler.
✋ Do Not Miss Out and Learn More About Waterfall vs. Agile — 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.
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 about Waterfall vs. Agile by pointing them to the free Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide: