Food For Thought #81

Age of Product’s Food for Thought of March 5th, 2017 focuses on the subtlety of transitioning organizations to agile ways of working. Jurgen Appelo believes in shapeshifter like flexibility, we unbundle our usual nemesis, the “agile” middle management, and we borrow some insights from Crisp’s decision to go without a CEO.

On the product side, we dive deep into handling the “we know what build syndrome,” and recall the learnings from the innovator’s dilemma and minimum viable product concepts. And we learn to stop fooling ourselves by acknowledging that we are caught in mental models.

Lastly: Behavioral economist Dan Ariely explains why we so often sabotage ourselves — despite knowing better.

Agile Middle Management

Jurgen Appelo (via Medium): Stop Your “Agile” Transformation! Right. Now.

Stop Your “Agile” Transformation! Right. Now.
Image from medium.com

Jurgen Appelo asks: Are you thinking about implementing Holacracy? Don’t do it! Are you planning to copy the “Spotify model”? Hold it right there! Are you busy introducing SAFe, LeSS, or Nexus? Forget it!

Source: Medium: Stop Your “Agile” Transformation! Right. Now.

Author: Jurgen Appelo

Venkatesh Rao: Unbundling the Manager

Venkatesh Rao analyses in this (highly recommended) newsletter the role of the middle management and its vicinity to moral hazard. Great background for anyone involved in agile transitions.

Source: Unbundling the Manager

Author: Venkatesh Rao

Katie Hope (via BBC News): No CEO: The Swedish company where nobody is in charge

Katie Hope reports on Crisp — well-known to all agile practitioners — and their lessons learned following their decision to abandon the CEO role three years ago.

Source: BBC News: No CEO: The Swedish company where nobody is in charge

Author: Katie Hope

Adrian Kerry: You get out what you put in: the role of QA in Agile teams

Adrian Kerry on how companies that are trying to transform to an Agile way of working undertake Quality Assurance (QA) and testing. Meet Adrian in the Hands-on Agile Slack community.

Source: You get out what you put in: the role of QA in Agile teams

Author: Adrian Kerry

Dean Latchana: The PMO has the Power to Support your Organisation’s Revolution

Dean Latchana believes that the project management office could be an ally in an agile transition. This first post details typical dysfunctions of the PMO concept.

Source: The PMO has the Power to Support your Organisation’s Revolution

Authors: Simon Powers and Dean Latchana

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Product & Lean

Hiten Shah: What to Do When You Know Exactly What to Build

Hiten Shah recommends that you exercise extreme skepticism with all of your assumptions and convictions if you believe to know what product is worth building.

Source: What to Do When You Know Exactly What to Build

Author: Hiten Shah

Abhishek Madhavan (via Medium): Why you should kill your cash cow

Why you should kill your cash cow
Image from medium.com

Abhishek Madhavan reflects on the innovator’s dilemma: the danger of continuing selling to your laggard customers, while two guys in a garage already killed your business.

Source: Medium: Why you should kill your cash cow

Author: Abhishek Madhavan

Tren Griffin: A Dozen Lessons about Minimum Viable Products

Tren Griffin shares another post of his “A Dozen Lessons” series, this time on the importance of getting the minimum viable product right.

Source: A Dozen Lessons about Minimum Viable Products

Author: Tren Griffin

Nils Davis (via Mind The Product): Mental Models for Product Managers

Nils Davis points at product managers’ mental models that drive our decision-making, the way we communicate and collaborate with others, and how we prioritize.

Source: Mind The Product: Mental Models for Product Managers

Author: Nils Davis

Sarah Doody (via Medium): How to Get Stakeholders to Buy Into User Research

How to Get Stakeholders to Buy Into User Research
Image from medium.com

Sarah Doody recommends a four-step framework to get executives, clients, stakeholders, and colleagues on board with user research.

Source: Medium: How to Get Stakeholders to Buy Into User Research

Author: Sarah Doody

The Essential Read

David Burkus and Dan Ariely — On Why We Actually Work

David Burkus interviews Dan Ariely — Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University — on why we so often fail to act in our best interest.

Source: Dan Ariely — On Why We Actually Work

Authors: David Burkus and Dan Ariely

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Stefan Wolpers

Stefan Wolpers

I have worked for 16-plus years as anScrum Master, Product Owner, and agile coach. Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) with Scrum.org.