Food For Thought #51: Scrum in Relationships, Kill Backlogs, Customer Centricity

Age of Product’s Food for Thought of July 25th, 2016—shared with 3,558 peers—offers a rich summer buffet of topics: Spotify wants to be good at failing, or—one of my favs in this issue—how to apply Scrum to relationships. (Better start stocking Post-Its…) And you should consider joining the revolution and kill backlogs and roadmaps, or at least be inspired to make them usable.

We also learn how to avoid being driven into bankruptcy when estimating software projects, and someone’s actually claiming that sales guys can be more than a coin-driven pain in the [fill in the blanks].

We then dive deep into marketplaces and network effects, kudos to a16z for that, and learn that customer centricity is the new Agile—courtesy of the guy who made Hubspot a unicorn.

Last, but not least, I could not restrain myself from adding at least one Pokémon Go article, and to offset this childish behavior, we end with the story of an underdog, challenging its industry’s behemoth. Will there be a happy ending? Read on and have a great Sunday!

Essential Reads

Ben Thompson (via The Stratechery): Dollar Shave Club and The Disruption of Everything

Ben Thompson of the Stratechery shares another brilliant analysis of a deal, that saw a truly disruptive force—Dollar Shave Club—being swallowed up the industry’s behemoth—Unilever—, unable to innovate at the same pace. A good example, how an agile underdog can outperform the market-leader.

Jeff Jordan, Anu Hariharan and Sonal Chokshi (via Andreessen Horowitz): Getting Network Effects

Jeff Jordan, Anu Hariharan, and Sonal Chokshi discuss one of the biggest misconceptions around network effects: Confusing growth with engagement. So, how does one tell the difference between viral growth and network effects? And how does one create network effects in different businesses?

Agile & Scrum in Relationships

Ben Linders (via InfoQ): Spotify Wants To Be Good at Failing

Ben Linders explains why Spotify, according to Marcus Frödin, Spotify’s Director of Engineering, wants to be really good at getting it wrong quickly and thus optimized for experimentation. (Probably a necessity, when Apple is breathing down your neck.)

John Cutler (via Medium): Be the Laziest Team and Win

Be the Laziest Team and Win

John Cutler asks you to run a thought experiment: If you were to stop shipping new stuff, WHAT would happen and WHEN would it happen? Would you miss a sales goal or growth goal? Would churn increase? Would the competition trounce you? And how do you know?

Roman Pichler (via Medium): 10 Tips for Creating an Agile Product Roadmap

Roman Pichler shares ten practical tips to helps you create an actionable agile product roadmap, from “Focus on Goals and Benefits” to “Regularly Review and Adjust the Roadmap”.

Paul Barnes (via Agile Nightmare): Software Costs Estimation In Agile Project Management

Paul Barnes, Toptal’s Head of Projects, shares insight into planning, estimating and defining a price for an agile software project: “Follow these guidelines and you’ll be sure to find a satisfactory route to bring your software product to life”.

Alanna Krause (via Medium): Running Agile Scrum on our Relationship

Running Agile Scrum Relationships

Alanna Krause shares her learnings on running Scrum on her relationship. Okay, she mentions that her partner and she are both process nerds, and that Scrum is a set of tools and vocabulary they already share anyway.

Summer Reading List

Product & Lean

Scott Sehlhorst (via Tyner Blain): Minimum Valuable Problem

Scott Sehlhorst explains why defining and building a good minimum viable product is much harder than it sounds. Because the MVP is a combination of solving the minimum valuable problem and all of the other things that go with it.

Boris Wertz (via Andreessen Horowitz): A Guide to Marketplaces

Boris Wertz compiled a free handbook, that contains many of the insights he has learned from working with great marketplace companies and analyzing the industry. If your product is a marketplace, this slidedeck, or PDF, is a must-read.

David Cancel (via Medium): How A Modern Product Team Should Work

David Cancel, CEO of Drift and formerly at Hubspot, shares in this podcast episode, why agile and waterfall just don’t cut it anymore, why small, autonomous teams are the future, and what this “customer centricity” model is all about.

Sara Aboulafia (via UserVoice): How Product Management Can Work Effectively with Sales

Sara Aboulafia provides nine proven tactics to turn the proverbial pain in the butt—yes, we are talking about the coin-driven sales people, pushing you for new features to save their bonuses—into a valuable ally of product management.

Nis Frome and Cindy Alvarez (via This Is Product Management): Customer Development is Product Management

Cindy Alvarez, Director of User Experience at Yammer (a Microsoft company), shares how she advocated for Lean methodologies at her organization and how to gain meaningful insights from customer interviews.

(via Mind The Product): The Explosion of Pokémon Go: A Product Designer’s Perspective

The Explosion of Pokémon Go: A Product Designer’s Perspective

Jenny Wanger analyzes the overnight success of Pokémon Go beyond its strong game mechanics and good brand from. (By the way, you did you invest in Nintendo prior to Pokémon Go’s launch? No? Me neither, happens to the best of us…)

Nis Frome (via UX Magazine): Calculating the ROI of Digital Prototyping

Nis Frome suggests how to align rapid prototyping—useful to generate feedback from users about product concepts before committing resource building them—with your company’s financial processes.

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