Food For Thought #34: Agile Is Dead, Don’t Hire PMs, Design in Tech, Tech Debt

Food For Thought #34: Agile Is Dead, Don’t Hire PMs, Design in Tech, Tech Debt

Age of Product’s Food for Thought of March 27th, 2016 covers why Agile is dead, and why you shouldn’t hire product managers. A16Z general partner Lars Dalgaard explains how to scale a company and its culture, and that it’s possible to run 12 user tests per week, and design has an impact on technology in Silicon Valley.

We talk about how to tackle technical debt, what Peter Drucker means for Scrum, and that Agile is at least causing problems.

Apropos problems: #34 provides tips for better backlog refinement and sprint planing ceremonies, points to a great poster on Agile coaches/ Scrum masters, and reports in the increasing troubles of on-demand startups. And finally, we talk about Jeff Bezos’ leadership principles.

Product & Lean

David Cancel (via Medium): This Is Why I Never Hire Product Managers

David shares his learnings on how to best hire product managers. (Spoiler alert: Don’t hire people that previously worked as product managers.)

Ben Horowitz and Lars Dalgaard (via Andreessen Horowitz): a16z Podcast: Scaling Companies… and Culture

Ben interviews a16z general partner Lars Dalgaard about SuccessFactors, one of the earlier software-as-a-service companies.

Edmond Lau: How a Small Team Iterated Rapidly by Running Up to 12 User Tests Per Week

Edmond shares a success story from Quip on continuous user testing with a small team and an insanely high user testing cadence.

(via Kleiner Perkins): Design in Tech Report 2016

Kleiner Perkins provides the latest trend report on the impact of design on technology in Silicon Valley.

Kimber Lockhart (via First Round Capital): Shims, Jigs and Other Woodworking Concepts to Conquer Technical Debt

Kimber deconstructs technical debt and offers woodworking techniques that will better help you manage it.

Agile & Scrum

Bob Hartman (via Agile For All): Peter Drucker’s view is integral to the values of Scrum

Agile Bob on the importance of decade old views for agile principles.

Concentration is the key to economic results. No other principles of effectiveness is violated as constantly today as the basic principle of concentration.

Steven Hoober (via Medium): More Agile, More Problems

Steven shares 21 practical issues he's experienced so far working on agile projects—a comprehensive list of familiar agile anti patterns.

Dave Thomas: Agile is Dead

Dave on the bleak outlook of ‘Agile’ — the video was recorded at the GOTO Amsterdam 2015 conference.

Marco Mulder (via Scrum Alliance): 5 Tips to Optimize Backlog Refinement

Marco shares his remedy to counter overly long sprint planning meetings.

Mike Cohn: Teams Don't Need to Think of Everything During Sprint Planning

Mike advocates to consider allocating ‘unplanned time” in each sprint planning to deal with issues that will be discovered during the upcoming sprint.

Mishkin Berteig: Refactoring: 4 Key Principles

Mishkin shares his take on refactoring—refactor or go out of business—from an engineering perspective.

Sebastian Radics: Tasks of an Agile Coach as poster

Tasks of an Agile Coach as poster – Agile is dead
Image from

Sebastian explains the tasks of an Agile Coach or ScrumMaster in 8 sections and with 31 stickman pictures. The poster-file is available for free.

Farhad Manjoo (via The New York Times): The Uber Model, It Turns Out, Doesn’t Translate

Farhad reports on the increasing stress on on-demand startups beyond the mother of all on-demand services: Uber.

Adam Lashinsky (via Fortune): How Jeff Bezos Became a Power Beyond Amazon

Adam provides a lengthy, yet worthwhile profile of Amazon's founder and his leading principles.

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