TL; DR: Resistance to Agile Transformations
Stakeholders often revert to resistance to agile transformations due to fears about job security, perceived loss of control, comfort with established practices, and misconceptions about Agile.
However, we can help: Agile practitioners can ease the change process by employing techniques such as empathetic listening, co-creating the change process, introducing incremental changes, offering targeted education, and showcasing internal success stories. Addressing resistance with understanding and respect is pivotal to a successful agile transformation.
TL; DR: How to Be Unproductive — Food for Agile Thought #409
Welcome to the 409th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 48,883 peers. This week, we explore several provocative perspectives: John Cutler delves into factors affecting developer productivity, or: how to be unproductive, suggesting the environment plays a more substantial role than individual aptitude. Kris Brandow makes a case for the undervalued potential of the Waterfall method. Stephan Schmidt pinpoints the unintentional merger of Scrum and Waterfall into “Scrumfall” due to external pressures. Lastly, Ben Biran shares insights from Zapier’s Interfaces team, emphasizing how shifting prioritization duties to engineering leaders can catalyze team performance and culture.
Then, Jason Cohen critiques the widely adopted MVP approach for sidelining the user experience and calls for its reevaluation. In conversation with Lenny Rachitsky, Tim Holley of Etsy unfolds his ten-year odyssey with the e-commerce giant, touching on various facets, from handling the pandemic-induced surge to fine-tuning marketplace dynamics. Meanwhile, Arne Kittler brings product maven Teresa Torres into the spotlight, who, in dialogue with Petra Wille, clarifies the essence of product discovery grounded in customer feedback.
Lastly, Mike Cottmeyer tackles the growing disillusionment among leaders with Agile, offering ways to reignite their interest and commitment. Mikkel Krenchel sheds light on the rising societal apprehensions around AI, emphasizing the often-overlooked importance of ethnographers in shaping AI’s ethical trajectory. Lastly, Nick Ianetta puzzles over the marked distinction between Research Operations and Market Research Operations, probing the reasons behind their strategic organizational separation.
TL;DR: Scrum Master Salary Report 2024 — An Anonymous Poll by the Community for the Community
The purpose of this anonymous Scrum Master salary report is to create a clear, data-backed benchmark that allows everyone in the Agile community to understand whether their compensation is adequate. The report will cover Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches, both employed and freelancing.
The goal is to have at least 1,000 replies by the end of November 2023 to create the report in time for January 2024. Of course, the report will be available for free.
TL; DR: Developer Productivity — Food for Agile Thought #408
Welcome to the 408th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 48,813 peers. This week, Kent Beck and Gergely Orosz dispute McKinsey’s measure of developer productivity, underscoring the essence of tailored metrics. Dave West at Agile 2023 notes a perceived halt in Agile’s evolution, highlighting issues from wavering executive support to misdirected investments. Maarten Dalmijn debates Scrum’s pitfalls, suggesting an organizational focus rather than dictating team dynamics. Meanwhile, Pim de Morree shares the Dutch National Police’s transformative journey from top-down to bottom-up methods, providing valuable takeaways for aspiring changemakers. Also, we ask why SAFe® is so successful, although many agile practitioners despise it.
Then, Jayendran Gopalsami exposes biases, like groupthink and popularity bias, that stealthily skew product trajectories. Scott Sehlhorst pinpoints a frequent product management error: addressing symptoms over root causes. Meanwhile, a riveting discourse between Chad McAllister and Atif Rafiq showcases a tripartite formula for expedited innovation. Rafiq, leveraging insights from industry giants, unveils “Decision Sprint,” bridging the chasm between strategy and tangible results.
Lastly, Ciera Jaspan and Collin Green explore the “technical debt” metaphor’s human-centric origins and its implications on software engineering. Lars Jerichau challenges the trend of collaborative ideation, spotlighting studies that laud the superior results of individual brainstorming over group efforts. Additionally, Andy Budd reshapes the revered “Double Diamond” design process, presenting a version more aligned with actual project executions, emphasizing optimal design leverage.
TL; DR: SAFe® — Despised, Yet Successful?
Many in the Agile community consider the Scaled Agile Framework designed by Dean Leffingwell and Drew Jemilo as unagile, violating the Agile Manifesto and the Scrum Guide. “True agilists” would never employ SAFe® to help transition corporations to agility. SAFe® is an abomination of all essential principles of “agility.” They despise it.
Nevertheless, SAFe® has proven not only to be resilient but thriving. SAFe® has a growing market share in the corporate world and is now the agile framework of choice for many large organizations.
How come? Learn more about nine reasons for this development.
PS: I have no affiliation with SAFe® whatsoever and consider it harmful. Yet there are lessons to learn.
TL; DR: The Costs of Agile — Food for Agile Thought #407
Welcome to the 407th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 48,702 peers. This week, Matt Rickard offers invaluable leadership lessons from his aerospace design experiences; Henrik Mårtensson explores the overlooked facets of the costs of Agile, and Jeff Langr and Nick Goede remind us that true agility stems from core values, not mere practices. Also, Chris Combe delves into the complexities of performance reviews in Agile settings. Moreover, once again, our lemon tries to measure Developer productivity.
Then, Austin Yang underscores the significance of the decision-making process over mere outcomes in product management, and Marty Cagan provides a roadmap from traditional product management to empowered product teams. Meanwhile, Jeff Gothelf points out the rare yet essential cross-functional collaboration in product discovery, emphasizing the combined effort of product management, design, and engineering.
Lastly, Lenny Rachitsky and Bob Moesta dive deep into the JTBD framework, using captivating examples from Snickers and Milky Way. Also, John Davidson sheds light on the complexities of stakeholder alignment, sharing ten indispensable lessons. Meanwhile, Johanna Rothman navigates the murky waters of project estimations, presenting a variety of techniques and highlighting the unpredictability of timeframes.