Food for Thought #33: Feature Bloat, Users = Animals?, Scrum & LeSS, Agile too Costly?

Age of Product’s Food for Thought of March 20th, 2016 covers how to get out of the feature bloat epidemic, Intercom’s product prioritization rules, and how to spot a problem worth solving.

Also: How to use basic psychology to build a customer base, product management at the enterprise level, how to tame engineers—a 12 min crash course, scaling agile with LeSS, and the 9th Annual State of Agile™ Survey. Speaking of which: is agile costing too much? And how do we spot new technology trends? And why will blockchain change the billions of lives?

The Sunday Essays

Saku Panditharatne (via Andreessen Horowitz): Hunting What’s Next in High Tech

Saku shares best practices how to spot important ideas for new technologies when those ideas come from the fringes.

Ben Schiller (via FastCoExist): How The Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Going To Change The Lives Of The Bottom Billion

Ben on why blockchain will create huge benefits for the world's poorest people, from financial access to property rights to controlling their identities.

Ross Baird (via Medium): Silicon Valley’s Unchecked Arrogance

In its mind, Silicon Valley creates the future, while the rest of the world will soon become the “idle class.” What if they instead helped people build wealth for themselves?

Product & Lean

Mike Fishbein and Melissa Perri (via This Is Product Management): The Build Trap is Product Management

Melissa and Mike discuss how to balance getting to market quickly with validating that there’s demand for what you’re building, the importance of focusing on outcomes rather than outputs, and how to squash a poor performing featur

Sean McBride (via Intercom): RICE: Simple prioritization for product managers

Sean introduces RICE – the four factors Intercom uses to evaluate each project idea: reach, impact, confidence, and effort.

Bram Kanstein (via Medium): The product before the business

Bram on product discovery: how to get an idea of viable product—what pain will it solve—before start building it.

Cindy Alvarez (via First Round Capital): Build Your User Base with These Human Behavior Hacks

People are unpredictable. And they are animals—use that psychological truth for your advantage and build a customer base.

Blair Reeves (via Medium): Product Management for the Enterprise

Blair outlines the different product management requirements for enterprise products by comparison to their hip B2C counterparts

Alberto Savoia (via Stanford ECorner): A More Tactical Way to Prototype

Alberto on the challenge of knowing if what you’re building is exactly what customers want before you’ve blown all that capital on hiring top talent and building the actual product

Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré (via Mind The Product): Product Managers: Don’t just Build Products – Build Bridges

Nikki’s post on overcoming the organizational silos when building products by including not just product development, but also sales, marketing, customer success and customer service

Agile, Scrum & LeSS

John Cutler (via Medium): How To Tame Engineers, Be A Rockstar, and Ship ****ing Product

John provides a complete agile and product management training in a single blog-post—the best invested 12 min of your career!

Bas Vodde (via InfoQ): LeSS of a Story: An Introduction to Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS)

An hour long video with Bas, introducing the LeSS framework, how it was created and how it works: Scrum & LeSS.

(via Version One): The 9th Annual State of Agile™ Survey

Recommended reading: Free download of Version One's 2015 edition of its great survey.

More companies—and bigger companies—are scaling and embracing agile as part of the larger vision to deliver software faster, easier, and smarter.

Gojko Adzic: The most important lesson to improve software delivery

Gojko on how important it is to spend time observing people actually using the software that we were building

Michael McCalla (via Scrum Alliance): Conservatives, Liberals, and Agilists

Michael on three categories of people in organizations, that—by his observation—tend to fall into during the agile adoption process.

Conservatives are the folks who protect their turf and are loyal to a traditional culture. Conservatives are set in their ways and not interested in change. They will most likely resist Agile. The words empowerment, self-organization, and flexibility tend to make them cringe.

David Anderson (via Medium): Is Agile Costing You Too Much?

David looks at an alternative path to agility and identifies the problems that are evident in the market with Agile methods and their adoption, particularly at enterprise level.

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