Food For Thought #50: Product Strategy, Kick-Off Agile, Waterfall, Scrum Alliance Trouble, Company Culture Design, Future of Work

Age of Product’s Food for Thought of July 18th, 2016—shared with 3,410 peers—reports on the recent resignations from the Scrum Alliance board over strategy, and dares to ask the heretic question: Is there actually a place where “Waterfall” might be useful?

We then learn how to kick-off your agile transition—absolutely Waterfall-free—, talk about cognitive biases and how these interfere with our perception of velocity, and check the anti patterns that relate to each of the twelve principles of the agile Manifesto.

We also dive really deep into product strategy—from the role of product vision to herding stakeholder—, understand why yelling at developers offers room for communicative improvements, and we discover seven product owner archetypes.

Last, but not least, we learn about the future of work from the guys at Oxford University, and which industries automation will turn upside down first from McKinsey, and whether we will still have a job in 2021. Have a great Sunday!

Essential Reads

Jamie Condliffe (via Oxford University): The future of work

The future of work

Jamie Condliffe of Oxford University provides an overview of researchers, who are investigating how technology will shape the future of work — and what we can do to ensure everyone benefits.

(via McKinsey & Company): Where machines could replace humans — and where they can’t (yet)

McKinsey delivers a comprehensive study on how the technical potential for automation differs dramatically across sectors and activities. See for yourself, if your industry—and your profession—will be prone to automation.

Agile & Scrum

Shane Hastie (via InfoQ): Scrum Alliance Directors Resign Due to Commercial Direction Colliding with Principles of the Agile Manifesto

Shane Hastie on Steve Denning’s and Stephen Forte’s resignation from the Board of Directors of the Scrum Alliance, citing the change in direction that the current leadership has taken as being "inconsistent with principles of the Agile Manifesto and the Scrum Alliance mission of transforming the world of work".

Leon Tranter: When to use Agile versus Waterfall

Leon Tranter on why agile is a good methodology for building software under conditions of uncertainty. However, Agile isn’t a silver bullet, it doesn’t guarantee success, and it isn’t always appropriate.

Mark Levison: Forecasting, Metrics and the Lies that a Single Number Tell Us

Forecasting, Metrics and the Lies that a Single Number Tell Us

Mark Levison on our mental models and their often make false assumptions due to cognitive bias, and how the classic Agile number ‘Velocity’—the average rate at which your team delivers work—fits into that fallacy.

Alex Osterwalder (via Strategyzer): Don’t Let Your Company Culture Just Happen

Alex Osterwalder on why a happy and engaged workforce is the result of an intentionally designed company culture. It's not something that you just let happen.

Yegor Bugayenko (via DZone): 12 Mistakes in Agile Manifesto

Yegor Bugayenko on why most software teams misunderstand the 12 agile principles, providing a list of anti patterns as well as an interpretation.

From the Blog: How to Kick-Off Your Agile Transition

How to Kick off Your Agile Transition: Scrum Team #1 – Age of Product

A hands-on, practical guide on how to kick-off an agile transition: Embrace the agile mindset and scale your engineering and product organization to harvest your organization’s full potential.

Read more in: How to Kick-off Your Agile Transition (Part 1)

Summer Reading List

Product Strategy & Lean

Marty Cagan (via svpg): Vision vs. Strategy

Marty Cagan, founder of the Silicon Valley Product Group, on why outcome-based objectives are the keys to sustainable product success, and the role of the product vision. He also stresses how important the role of product strategy is in delivering on the latter one.

Melissa Perri: What is Good Product Strategy?

What is Good Product Strategy?

Melissa Perri on why most companies fall into the trap of thinking about Product Strategy as a plan to build certain features and capabilities and how to avoid it.

Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré (via ProductPlan): Better Product Strategy Meetings in 5 Steps

Nikki DeMeré on why successful product strategy meetings don’t happen by accident. They require planning and expert execution, for example with this 5-step formula to help make your meetings run more smoothly and effectively, and round up those maverick (stakeholder) cats.

Roman Pichler: 8 Tips for Collaborating with the Development Team

Roman Pichler shares eight tips to make your collaboration with the development team even more effective, thereby increasing the chances of creating a successful product.

John Cutler (via Medium): 7 Product Manager / Product Owner Archetypes

John Cutler identifies seven product manager—or: product owner—archetypes in this infographic.

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