Food For Thought #44: Agile Impact, Scrum Moms, PM Rookie Mistakes, Disruption Ain’t Strategy

Age of Product’s Food for Thought of June 5th, 2016 provides Mary Meeker’s epic 2016 Internet Trends report, lists traits of Scrum moms, shows eight ways how to measure your success as an agile coach, stresses the importance of impact over velocity, and asks: Is “Agile” jumping the shark with SAFe?

We also explore the Agility Readiness Canvas, how we got stuck with the waterfall methodology in the first place, and how to stay focused by grounding product decisions with simple convictions. Wait, the best is yet to come: Facebook’s VP of Product Design shares her long list of lessons learned.

Last, but least, we understand that disruption is not a strategy, and how to avoid the eight classic rookie product management mistakes. We learn, when to stand firm and when to pivot, and we relax with an epic interview: Tim Ferriss is joined by Marc Andreessen of a16z.

Essential Reads

Ina Fried (via Re/code): Mary Meeker's 2016 internet trends report: All the slides, plus analysis

Ina analyzes the 2016 edition of Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report. (Mary Meeker is partner at VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.) Ina’s top three take-aways: The internet is slowing down, messaging is taking on the home screen, and voice search is big.

Tim Ferriss and Marc Andreessen: Marc Andreessen—Lessons, Predictions, and Recommendations from an Icon

Tim Ferriss is joined in this interview by Marc Andreessen, co-founder and general partner of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, one of the legendary figures in Silicon Valley. (Even if you will not listen to the episode, the links in the show notes are epic!)

Agile & Scrum

Len Lagestee: 8 Ways to Measure Your Impact as an Agile Coach

Len on how to know if you—the agile coach—really have an impact? How do we assess if we’re making enough of a difference to cause positive and lasting change? How do we know if the seeds being planted will flourish and grow long after we are gone?

Rob Wortham: Impact Over Velocity

Rob on why velocity is not a suitable metric for the success of a sprint, and why impact is a much better performance/success indicator.

Leon Tranter: Agile is dead: Isn’t SAFe a sign that Agile has jumped the shark?

Leon tries to solve the urban myth that agile is dead—a rumor which has been surfacing recently more and more often.

(via Happy Melly): Agility Readiness Canvas: Small Steps for Change

Happy Melly deals with the question of how to best overcome a lack of understanding to transform an organization’s environment into one more conducive to agile. The agility readiness canvas offers concrete ways to take smaller steps to let various parts of companies slowly take steps toward a more agile and thus successful future.

(via Artemis Agile Consulting): The History of Waterfall

Bill DeVoe sheds some light on the origins of the waterfall methodology and its creator Dr Winston Royce.

From the Blog: Scrum Moms & Pops

Trying to be supportive and do good, is most of the time an honorable thing. This is particularly true in your capacity as a Scrum master. However, doing too much good can quickly have the opposite effect. It’s a known Scrum anti-pattern, often referred to as the Scrum mom syndrome.

Disclaimer: Of course, this post is in no way intended to be gender-specific. To my experience, there are as many Scrum pops as Scrum moms. This post is all about Scrum helicopter parenting.

Age of Product: Scrum moms and agile helicopter parenting

Read more in: Scrum Master Anti Patterns: Beware of Becoming a Scrum Mom.

Product & Lean

Martin Eriksson and Scott Belsky (via Mind The Product): Grounding Product by Scott Belsky

Scott Belsky, general partner at Benchmark, on how to stay focused by grounding product decisions with simple convictions. Scott’s favourite simple convictions is that we all have the same currency at the end of the day: Time.

Julie Zhuo (via Medium): Building Products

Building Products

Julie, Facebook’s VP of Product Design, provides a long lists with lessons learned on Facebook’s product development process, from framing the problem, via execution and measuring success, to team dynamics.

Jerry Neumann: Disruption is not a strategy

Jerry on why there are better ways than disruption to think about whether you can succeed at building a business with a new technology. In fact, there are few worse ways.

Cargo cults are fascinating because they mirror our own tendencies to confuse cause and effect, but they have real costs. They misdirect resources to ineffectual ritual from actual problem-solving.

Rich Mironov: 8 Mistakes You’ll Make in Your First Months as a Product Manager

Rich on how to avoid some mistakes that most product managers sooner or later will make—even after coursework, certificates, and online tutorials. The articles focuses on soft skills, product strategy, organizational savvy, and market insight.

Myk Pono (via Medium): How To Track Customer Acquisitions

Myk walks you through the customer acquisition funnel of SaaS companies to help you design, analyze, and optimize your customer acquisition process. (Well applicable best practices for product managers, too.)

(via Chargify): Finding Product/Market Fit: When to Stand Firm & When to Pivot

Chargify on how to determine if your product/market fit is setting your business up for success, when you should say no to random feature requests in order to stay focused and on track, and when you need to make a significant pivot.

Dan Nessler (via Medium): How to apply a design thinking, HCD, UX or any creative process from scratch

Dan shares a comprehensive how-to article that aims at providing designers, creative thinkers or even project managers with a tool to set up, frame, organise, structure, run or manage design challenges, and projects: The Double Diamond revamped.

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