Food For Thought #80: Brilliant Jerks Kill Agile Culture, Slicing User Stories, Prototyping, Scaling Product

Age of Product’s Food for Thought of February 26th, 2017—shared with 6,488 peers—focuses on brilliant jerks and the havoc they cause on culture. You may have heard of Susan Fowler and her working “experience” as a software engineer at Uber. The case is symptomatic of everything that goes wrong when building a truly inclusive, non-discriminating—and thus innovative—culture is sabotaged by the leadership.

On the product side, we dive deep into slicing & dicing of user stories, how to up your prototyping game, twelve lessons learned about product/market fit, and your organization has to scale the product team.

Last but not least: New kinds of work require new ideas—and new ways of organizing work altogether. The New York Times Magazine has more on it.

Jerks Kill Agile Culture

Susan Fowler: Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber

Susan Fowler reflects on her year as an engineer with Uber: a strange, fascinating, and slightly horrifying story that turned into a nightmare for Uber over the course of the week.

(via The New York Times): Inside Uber’s Aggressive, Unrestrained Workplace Culture

The New York Times reports on Uber’s workplace culture that some current and former Uber employees describe as largely unrestrained.

Priya Anand (via Buzzfeed): Uber Women To CEO Travis Kalanick: We Have A Systemic Problem

Priya Anand reports on an hourlong Thursday meeting with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, during which a group of more than 100 female engineers called on the company to address issues of sexism and sexual harassment.

(via Retrospective.co): Brilliant Jerks Cost More Than They Are Worth

Anonymous explains why keeping a 10x team member who happens to be a ‘brilliant jerk’ is hurting the team’s morale, and consequently also its productivity, and cohesion.

Corinna Baldauf: How teams form and break up when there are no managers

Corinna Baldauf describes how people join and leave Scrum teams in their organization in an entirely self-managed manner.

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Product & Lean

Ellen Gottesdiener: Slicing User Stories, Delivering Value

Ellen Gottesdiener summarizes a webinar with Jeff Sutherland which helped teams manage their backlogs, improve sprints and release planning, and increase delivered value.

Caitlin E Kalinowski (via First Round Capital): Six Steps to Superior Product Prototyping: Lessons from an Apple and Oculus Engineer

Caitlin Kalinowski, now at Oculus and formerly the technical lead for Apple’s MacBook Air and Mac Pro, on how she became a master of the prototyping process.

Tren Griffin: A Dozen Lessons About Product/Market Fit

Tren Griffin shares a list of twelve lessons learned on Andy Rachleff’s idea of product-market fit.

Roman Pichler: Making Consensus-based Product Decisions

Roman Pichler believes that consensus is a powerful approach to generate strong buy-in and shared ownership of a decision. But it can also create mediocre results.

(via UserVoice): When and How to Scale your Product Team

UserVoice shares key moments that indicate that growing the product team of your organization is no longer optional.

The Essential Read

Barbara Ehrenreich (via The New York Times): Divisions of Labor

Barbara Ehrenreich on the future of work: New kinds of work require new ideas — and new ways of organizing work altogether.