Food for Agile Thought #423: How to Ditch the Project Mindset, Who Rules Product, Thoughtful HIPPOs, Radical Candor

TL; DR: How to Ditch the Project Mindset — Food for Agile Thought #423

Welcome to the 423rd edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 49,908 peers. This week, Janna Bastow discusses how to ditch the project mindset, emphasizing user-centric development, and Annie Duke and Howard Marks explore decision-making in uncertainty. At the same time, John Cutler examines the value of top-down decision-making, and Martijn Oost critiques the “SpotiSAFe®” model’s harmful effect on transformations. Also, I highlight pitfalls in the Scrum Framework from my book, “Scrum Anti Patterns Guide.”

Then, Itamar Gilad advocates for evidence-based leadership in product development, critiquing Airbnb’s approach. Noah Desai Weiss of Slack reveals his bold overhaul of user experience, while Jeff Gothelf discusses the effectiveness of empowered product teams over output-driven feature teams. Stay SaaSy contributes practical tips to enhance team velocity, focusing on removing dependencies and streamlining project narratives.

Lastly, Kate Leto highlights the importance of conflict resolution and emotional intelligence in product development. Also, Kim Scott and Lenny Rachitsky explore Scott’s books “Radical Candor” and “Radical Respect,” focusing on leadership and feedback. Ben McRedmond discusses principles for increasing startup product velocity, and Chris Lewicki recounts a near-miss incident at NASA, emphasizing resilience and learning from mistakes. Finally, we unravel the secrets of what makes a Scrum Master not just good but amazingly outstanding. From regularly achieving Sprint Goals, delivering value to customers, and building stakeholder rapport easily, discover the traits that set apart successful Scrum Masters.

Food for Agile Thought #423: How to Ditch the Project Mindset, Who Rules Product, Thoughtful HIPPOs, Radical Candor — Age-of-Product.com

📖 Preorder the Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide book now for delivery in January 2024!

🥇 The most popular discussion on LinkedIn last week was: You Will Join a New Team as a #ScrumMaster? Then speed up w/ 20 questions for your #Developers!

Did you miss the previous Food for Agile Thought’s issue 422?

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🏆 The Tip of the Week: How to Ditch the Project Mindset

Janna Bastow (via ProdPad): From Project to Product Mindset: How to Make The Change

Janna Bastow elaborates on transitioning from a project to product mindset, focusing on evolving from mere task completion to strategic, insightful product development driven by user needs and market dynamics.

🎙 Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide

Stefan Wolpers: 🎙 ‎The Podcast by Agile Coaching Round Table (ACRT): Anti-Patterns of Scrum with Stefan Wolpers

I discuss my brand-new book, the “Scrum Anti Patterns Guide,” exploring elements of the Scrum Framework and identifying common anti-patterns within each element on the Agile Coaching Round Table podcast.

➿ Agile & Scrum

Annie Duke (via Oaktree): 🎙 Conversations – Special Episode with Annie Duke and Howard Marks

The author Annie Duke, alongside Howard Marks, delves into luck, decision quality, and uncertainty, inspired by her book “Thinking in Bets” and Howard’s memo “You Bet!” in a compelling podcast.

John Cutler: The Thoughtful HIPPO

John Cutler highlights the often-underrated value of top-down decision-making in uncertain situations, using vacation analogies to illustrate the challenges and solutions in leadership dynamics.

Martijn Oost (via Medium): Stop SpotiSAFe®: The havoc-wreaking bastard child of SAFe® and the Spotify model must be stopped

Martijn Oost criticizes the hybrid “SpotiSAFe®” model, a blend of the Spotify model and SAFe®, for its convoluted structure that fails to capture the strengths of either approach, leading to ineffectiveness and disillusionment in Agile Transformations.

🎓 🖥 💯 🇬🇧 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:

  • Excel at delivering value regularly — your #1 career success factor.
  • Learn to distinguish between valuable and useless ideas.
  • Abandon the feature factory. Instead, learn to contribute to customer and organizational success.
  • Gain actionable insights, learn supportive tools, and practice everything in a safe community of like-minded peers.
  • Learn to say no and build trust and rapport with stakeholders while focusing on creating value.
  • Create engaging feedback loops.

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.
  • Tuesday, February 20, 2024, from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm o’clock CET.
Product Backlog Management Cohort Class of Jan 23 to Feb 20, 2024, with Stefan Wolpers — Berlin-Product-People.com

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.

🎯 Product

Itamar Gilad: Who Should Rule the Product?

Itamar Gilad debates the optimal decision-making authority in product development, citing Airbnb’s controversial shift and advocating for balanced, evidence-based leadership over traditional top-down or discipline-centric approaches.

Noah Desai Weiss (via First Round Capital): How to take bigger, bolder product bets

The author narrates how Slack’s CPO, Noah Desai Weiss, transformed the user experience by daring to overhaul it completely, illustrating his approach to bold, informed product decision-making.

Jeff Gothelf: Ego killed the empowered product team

Jeff Gothelf contrasts feature teams, driven by output and lacking autonomy, with empowered product teams, highlighting the latter’s effectiveness in solving problems and achieving outcomes. This approach requires humility and trust, often hindered by leadership ego.

staysaasy: Practical Ways To Increase Product Velocity

Stay SaaSy offers practical strategies to enhance product and engineering team velocity, emphasizing the importance of eliminating dependencies, requiring clear project narratives, and improving deployment and incident metrics for increased efficiency.

📯 Successful Scrum Masters

In this article, I unravel the secrets of what makes a Scrum Master not just good but amazingly outstanding. From regularly achieving Sprint Goals, delivering value to customers, and building stakeholder rapport easily, discover the traits that set apart successful Scrum Masters.

Moreover, we also shed light on the pitfalls to avoid if you want to keep the respect of your teammates and probably your job.

Successful Scrum Masters — Age-of-Product.com

Learn more: Successful Scrum Masters.

🛠 Concepts, Tools & Measuring

Kate Leto: Conflict is not the secret sauce to building a great product

Kate Leto dispels the myth that conflict is essential for great product development, advocating for conflict resolution and emotional intelligence in teams to foster better outcomes.

Lenny Rachitsky and Kim Scott: 🎙 Radical Candor: From Theory to Practice

Kim Scott, acclaimed author of “Radical Candor,” and Lenny Rachitsky discuss her influential framework and upcoming book “Radical Respect,” exploring leadership, feedback strategies, and the balance between kindness and effectiveness.

Ben McRedmond (via Equals): How to ship fast

Ben McRedmond shares eight principles for maintaining product velocity in startups: focus on momentum, customer closeness, design involvement, decision speed, task ownership, detailed planning, quality-speed balance, and capturing inspiration.

🎶 Encore

Chris Lewicki: My $500M Mars Rover Mistake: A Failure Story

Chris Lewicki recounts a harrowing experience at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where a testing error on the Spirit Mars Rover nearly resulted in a $500M failure, teaching valuable lessons about resilience and learning from mistakes.


📅 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
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 Mar 5, 2024 GUARANTEED: Hands-on Agile #59: “Agile” Does Not Work for You? Tackling Fake Agility w/ Johanna Rothman (English; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Meetup FREE
🖥 💯 🇩🇪 Mar 5-6, 2024 GUARANTEED: Professional Scrum Product Owner Training (PSPO I; German; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1,189 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 🇩🇪 Mar 12-15, 2024 Professional Scrum Master Training (PSM I; German; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1,189 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 🇬🇧 Mar 26-27, 2024 Professional Scrum Master (Advanced) Training (PSM II; English; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1,189 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 April 2-30, 2024 GUARANTEED: Product Backlog Management Cohort Class (English; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €499 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 April 9, 2024 GUARANTEED: Hands-on Agile #60: A Q&A on Dynamic Reteaming with Heidi Helfand (English) Live Virtual Meetup FREE
🖥 🇩🇪 April 10-11, 2024 Professional Scrum Product Owner Training (PSPO I; German; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1,189 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 🇬🇧 April 23-24, 2024 Professional Scrum Master (Advanced) Training (PSM II; English; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1,189 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 🇬🇧 May 7, 2024 Professional Scrum Facilitation Skills Training (PSFS; English; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €749 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 Human Misjudgment:

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

✋ Do Not Miss Out and Learn More About Ditching the Project Mindset — 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.

Ditching the Project Mindset: 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 about ditching the Project Mindset by pointing them to the free Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide:

Download the free Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide by PST Stefan Wolpers — Ditching the Project Mindset — Age-of-Product.com

🗞️ Last Week’s Food for Agile Thought Edition

Read more: Food for Agile Thought #422: Human Misjudgment, Evaluating Product Managers, Fake Agile, Scaling Simplified.

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