Food for Thought #52: Scrum Frustrations, How to Say ‘No’, Dark Patterns, Zappo’s Holacracy in Practice

Age of Product’s Food for Thought of July 31st, 2016—shared with 3,722 peers—explores Scrum frustrations, we ask whether the Agile Manifesto’s time may have come, and why agile scaling frameworks so often are not delivering on their promises.

We also learn eight ways to say “No” with grace & style, and ten proven tactics on how to improve talking to stakeholders.

We then dive deep into dark design patterns, how to make data-backed decisions, and why the lean mantra of “failing fast” shouldn’t be a badge of honor.

Last, but not least, we listen to an interview with Zappo’s transition lead on how a flat, self-managed organization works in practice, and we learn how Pokémon GO’s Hanke turned his company into Earth’s most popular location-based game creator. Enjoy a great Sunday!

Essential Reads

Ethan Bernstein (via Harvard Business Review): The Zappos Holacracy Experiment

Ethan Bernstein, Harvard Business School professor, and John Bunch, holacracy implementation lead at Zappos, discuss the online retailer’s transition to a flat, self-managed organization.

Ryan Mac (via Forbes): The Inside Story Of 'Pokémon GO's' Evolution From Google Castoff To Global Phenomenon

Ryan Mac of Forbes tells the story, how Pokémon GO’s Hanke took his company, Niantic, from an overlooked gaming skunkworks—lost in the Google empire—, to Earth’s most popular location-based game creator.

Agile & Scrum Frustrations

Barry Overeem (via What is Your Frustration with Scrum?

Barry Overeem shares the results of the retrospective at the Scrum Day Europe 2016: All Insights and improvement suggestions generated by the community for the Scrum framework.

Jez Humble (via GOTO Conferences): Why Scaling Agile Does Not Work

Jez Humble, author of the “Lean Enterprise”, explains the flaws in several frameworks designed for scaling agile, why they so often fail to produce the desired effects, and what we should do instead.

Bilgin Ibryam (via DZone): From Fragile to Antifragile Software

Bilgin Ibryam explains his take on the concept of anti fragility proposed by Nassim Taleb, describing some software development principles and architectural styles.

Dan Sloan (via Is it Time to Evolve Beyond the Agile Manifesto?

Dan Sloan asks whether the manifesto’s time might have come: Are the principles in the 2001 Agile Manifesto still relevant in 2016, given the challenges of scaling agile at enterprise level?

(via Farnam Street): Eight Ways to Say No With Grace and Style

Shane Parrish recommends Greg McKeown’s book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”, that includes a great section called “The No Repertoire”, where the author offers eight responses you can try yourself when you talk to stakeholders next time.

From the Blog: 10 Proven Stakeholder Communication Tactics

Stakeholder communication: It is simply not enough for an agile product development organization to create great code and ship the resulting product like a clockwork. You also need to talk about it, particularly at the beginning of your agile transition. Marketing the agile journey of product and engineering to the rest of the organization—and thus getting their buy-in—is a critical success factor to step up the game: You want to become agile, not doing “Agile”:

10 Proven Stakeholder Communication Tactics during an Agile Transition

Scrum frustrations: 10 Proven Stakeholder Communication Tactics

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

Summer Reading List

Product & Lean

andrea saez (via ProdPad): Why Every Product Manager Needs A Flux Capacitor

Why Every Product Manager Needs A Flux Capacitor

Andrea Saez urges product managers to make data-driven decision, for example, when you’re looking at features to improve or retire. But how do you know which data to track?

Yael Grauer (via Ars Technica): Dark Patterns are designed to trick you (and they’re all over the Web)

Yael Grauer explains the dark side of user experience: The methodical approach, why some user interfaces today intentionally want to trick, confuse, and enroll users. (Includes a great presentation by Harry Brignull.)

Alex Schleifer (via First Round Capital): Defining Product Design: A Dispatch from Airbnb's Design Chief

Alex Schleifer, VP of Design at Airbnb, addresses his fellow designers: “We find ourselves in an accidental profession.”

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