TL; DR: Why Teams Estimate, the HiPPO Effect — Food for Agile Thought #343
Welcome to the 343rd edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 35,304 peers. This week, we point to good reasons why teams estimate: ‘credibility, deeper thinking, prioritization, and insight.’ Also, we explore six ways of avoiding the 💩 sandwich when providing critical feedback, and we watch a classic: Henrik Kniberg visualizes the cost and consequences of moving from single-piece flow to simultaneously working on multiple work items.
Then, we suggest dealing with resistance from stakeholders, such as the sales folks, who fear meeting their quotas, and we highlight some of the ‘dysfunctions around decision making and offer ways to overcome them.’ Moreover, we delve into the strange effects of the highest-paid person’s opinion, from manifestations to impact to suggestions on how to deal with them. (High impact release notes may be one helpful tactic; learn how to author them.)
Also, we enjoy Sachin Rekhi’s take on Jeff Bezos’ June 2004 instruction: ‘From now on, your presentation software is Microsoft Word, not PowerPoint. Get used to it.’ Finally, ‘Programmers are also human’ celebrates McBoston’s Josh Doe, formerly Agile Consulting, Inc.
TL; DR: Sprint Retrospective Anti-Patterns
What event could better embody Scrum’s principle of empiricism than the Sprint Retrospective? I assume all peers agree that even the simplest form of a Retrospective—if only held regularly—is far more helpful than having a fancy one once in a while, not to mention having none. Moreover, I am convinced there is always room for improvement; just avoid dogmatism. Hence, learn more about 21 common Sprint Retrospective anti-patterns that will hold back your Scrum team.
TL; DR: Agile Laggards, Fireside Chat with Marty Cagan — Food for Agile Thought #342
Welcome to the 342nd edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 35,264 peers. This week, we point to Geoffrey Moore’s ‘Technology Adoption Life Cycle,’ and that ‘Agile’ has entered the laggards segment. We also delve into an essential team success factor — stakeholder trust — and reflect on ‘balancing long-lived teams with short term coordination and alignment.’
Then, we learn how to determine best whether an idea is worth pursuing and define six ‘first principles’ for product leaders to deal with team topology, from ownership to alignment to autonomy. Moreover, we follow Behzod Sirjani, who believes that NPS has been turned into a useless vanity metric while it has actual value for measuring ‘word-of-mouth loops.’
Also, we advocate not focusing on productivity but, for example, on value, quality, speed, and flexibility, as they may lead to higher productivity later on. Lastly, we enjoy a fireside chat with Marty Cagan, where he addresses empowerment, adopting a product-led mindset, and why project-oriented companies should consider becoming product-oriented.
TL; DR: How to Pass the Product Owner Certification — Scrum.org’s PSPO I to III
The first article of this mini-series established that you do not need a certificate to become good at what you do, for example, working as a Scrum Master or Product Owner. However, getting certified may be a piece of sound investment advice. If you want to take advantage of the signaling power that Scrum certificates seem to have, the question is how to pass the Product Owner certification?
TL; DR: Adopting Agility, Failure to Scale Ideas — Food for Agile Thought #341
Welcome to the 341st edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 35,206 peers. This week, we learn about adopting agility with a research initiative of Thinkers 50 and Capgemini Invent, and we delve into the difficulties of answering a typical question: ‘What are the pros and cons of Agile?’ Moreover, we analyze the challenges of collaboration after switching to product-based funding, pointing at Conway and Brooks, and end with observations on how the subtleties of an organization influence the effectiveness of internal and external agile coaches, respectively.
We then identify five causes why some products peter out when they grow, from false positives to biased representation to cost traps, and outline three tactics for stakeholder collaboration and inclusion. Additionally, we share Jason Cohen’s framework for Product Management that defines what ‘great’ concerning product managers means in practical terms. We also shed light on the nature of the Scrum team regarding its product capabilities, namely its lack of stakeholder inclusion.
Then, we listen to Jeff Gothelf regarding his advice on adopting the goal-setting OKR framework to measure success, and we learn how Pendo practices continuous discovery, from recruiting interviewees to designing and running experiments. Finally, we are closing this edition with Tim Ferriss interviewing Tony Fadell, covering “Steve Jobs on ‘Vacation,’ Product Design and Team Building, Good Assholes vs. Bad Assholes, Investing in Trends Before They Become Trends, The Hydrogen Economy, [and] The Future of Batteries.”
TL; DR: Scrum Master Anti-Patterns
No other role in Scrum can contribute to mediocre outcomes like the Product Owner—garbage in, garbage out. Therefore, the following list of some of the most common Product Owner anti-patterns might be a starting point to reflect on the role; maybe, there is room for improvement?
If you recognize some anti-patterns in your daily work, why don’t you ask the rest of the Scrum Team for support? For example, run a Retrospective with teammates and stakeholders on how the team is doing regarding figuring out what is worth building.