Food For Thought #54: Scrum Sucks, Agile = Change?, Love Your Problem, Poker & PM, Zappos Revisited

Age of Product’s Food for Thought of August 14th, 2016—shared with 3,929 peers—finally explains why Scrum sucks, sort of, and whether agile is really about change. We learn to better understand Scrum aficionados, and that we have had so far a completely twisted understanding of technical debt.

We also learn how to build teams that can cope with today’s complexity, and that we should avoid falling for the innovator’s bias. The good news is, though, that poker is great training for product management. (I knew it…)

We then dive deep into product roadmap strategies, and that the senior leadership needs to embrace Steve Blank, too, and get out of the building to test new ideas.

Last, but not least, we revisit the state of holacracy at, and get a better understanding of what companies can learn from the human immune system to last at least a century. Enjoy a great Sunday!

Agile & Why Scrum Sucks

afroisalreadyin: Why I'm not a big fan of Scrum

Ulaş Türkmen, Berlin-based developer, provides a detailed analysis on why Scrum—in his eyes—is an overrated process to develop software that ultimately leeds to micro-management.

Leon Tranter: Is agile really all about being able to change?

Leon Tranter on the common notion that on an agile project, we can do whatever we like: Change direction, change product, change focus. Change our scope, change our timelines, change our priorities, right?

Dan Sloan (via What Does This Retweet Tell Us About Agile and Scrum?

Dan Sloan shares his two most important take-aways from Agile 2016: a) The misconception that Scrum is a problem solving framework (while it is really good at finding problems), and b) that in a culture of fear, no fancy practice or process will bear fruit in the end.

Barry Overeem (via What Connects You To Scrum?

Barry Overeem shares feedback from the retrospective with the participants of the 5th Scrum Day Europe, this time concerning the question “What connects you to Scrum?”. Spoiler alert: The #1 reason is about addiction.

Andrea Goulet (via First Round Capital): Forget Technical Debt — Here's How to Build Technical Wealth

Andrea Goulet, software remodeling evangelist and CEO of Corgibytes, shares her view that startups need to shift their mindset away from paying down debt toward building technical wealth, and away from tearing down old code toward deliberately remodeling it

David J Bland (via Medium): Designing Modern Teams

David J Bland, CEO of Precoil, on how to create cross-functional, dedicated, data-driven, customer centric, and diverse teams, that get the job done.

Summer Reading List

Product & Lean

Ash Maurya: Love the Problem, Not Your Solution

Ash Maurya on the oldest pre-disposition of entrepreneurs and makers: The “Innovator’s Bias”, this very personal need to love their own solution more than the problem they want to solve.

Clayton Christensen (via Harvard Business Review): Know Your Customers’ ‘Jobs to Be Done’

Know Your Customers’ ‘Jobs to Be Done’

Clayton Christensen, Kim B. Clark Professor at Harvard Business School, analyzes why many organizations have unwittingly designed innovation processes that produce inconsistent and disappointing outcomes.

Latif Nanji (via Roadmunk Blog): How poker helps you win at product management

Latif Nanji, CEO of Roadmunk, shares his take on the similarities between poker and product. As we know, both require endurance, risk calculation and chill under pressure. But he also shares some of the other, less-obvious facets of poker that have shape his career in product.

Alex Osterwalder (via Strategyzer): Webinar Replay: How To Get Senior Leaders Out Of The Building To Test Ideas

Alex Osterwalder and ‘Moments of Impact’ author Lisa Kay Solomon discuss in this webinar replay the importance of senior leadership interacting with customers to validate new business ideas.

John Cutler and Jim Semick (via Why Good Product Managers Practice Roadmap Strategy

John Cutler interviews Jim Semick of ProductPlan. Jim details his views on how to build your strategy chops, and using accessible roadmaps that stress vision and adaptation rather than being a prescriptive list of epics and features.

Nis Frome and Joe Lalley (via This Is Product Management): Rallying Stakeholders is Product Management

Nis Frome interviews Joe Lalley, Digital and Social Strategy Director at PwC, who shares how to align stakeholders and make the case for key product decisions based on his experience building PwC’s homepage.

Essential Reads

Adrian Swinscoe: Zappos: Customer and employee experience, culture and holacracy

Adrian Swinscoe interviews Rob Siefker, Senior Director of Customer Service Operations at, about the School of Wow at Zappos Insight, what Wow service means to, and how employees experience holacracy.

Martin Reeves (via TED Talks): How to build a business that lasts 100 years

How to build a business that lasts 100 years

Martin Reeves, Director of the BCG Henderson Institute—BCG's think tank for new ideas in strategy and management—, shares startling statistics about shrinking corporate life spans and explains how executives can apply six principles from living organisms to build resilient businesses that flourish in the face of change.

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