Food for Agile Thought #313: The Problem-Solving Trap

TL; DR: The Problem-Solving Trap, Beloved DoD — Food for Agile Thought #313

Welcome to the 313th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 33,207 peers. This week, we offer valuable advice on staying cognitively open, thus avoiding the problem of killing new ideas too early while being open to feedback at the same time. We also point at five good reasons to embrace the DoD, from having a quality standard to simplifying communication to providing clarity, and we delve into a well-known fallacy of decision making and how we confuse probability with propensity.

We then share a compact introduction to user stories, covering the “card, conversation, confirmation” approach to templates to the importance of keeping the Pareto principle in mind when creating new things. Moreover, we walk you through the appropriate levels of detailing product roadmap items, from “thing happening now” to “far-off things” to avoid creating noise, and we talk about bugs, refactoring, and their implication on product strategy and the flow within your product team.

Lastly, we talk about metrics and goals on the path to becoming an agile organization, and we introduce the tool Miro used to weather the pandemic-driven massive influx of new users by structuring product discovery and retrospectives in the process.

Did you miss the previous Food for Agile Thought’s issue #312?

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🏆 The Tip of the Week

Jeremy Utley (via Radical Candor): How To Avoid The Problem-Solving Trap

Jeremy Utley offers valuable advice on staying cognitively open, thus avoiding the problem of killing new ideas too early while being open to feedback at the same time.

Source: Radical Candor: How To Avoid The Problem-Solving Trap

Author: Jeremy Utley

➿ Agile & Scrum

Michael Küsters: Five reasons for having a Definition of Done

Michael Küsters points at five good reasons to embrace the DoD, from having a quality standard to simplifying communication to providing clarity.

Source: Five reasons for having a Definition of Done

Author: Michael Küsters

Kurt Bittner (via InfoQ): Speed, Efficiency, and Value: Using Empiricism to Achieve Business Agility

Kurt Bittner talks about metrics and goals on the path to becoming an agile organization and how the right metrics can help move forward at an organizational level.

Source: InfoQ: Speed, Efficiency, and Value: Using Empiricism to Achieve Business Agility

Author: Kurt Bittner

Steven Pinker (via Behavioral Scientist): Why You Should Always Switch: The Monty Hall Problem (Finally) Explained

Steven Pinker delves into a well-known fallacy of decision making and how we confuse probability with propensity.

Source: Behavioral Scientist: Why You Should Always Switch: The Monty Hall Problem (Finally) Explained

Author: Steven Pinker

Joost Minnaar (via Corporate Rebels): Zappos’s Evolution: From Holacracy To Market-Based Dynamics

Joost Minnaar delves into Zappos’ “post-Holacracy” journey.

Source: Corporate Rebels: Zappos’s Evolution: From Holacracy To Market-Based Dynamics

Author: Joost Minnaar

📅 Hands-on Agile #36: Real Cross-functional Teams — Jutta Eckstein & Maryse Meinen

At the core of agile development are self-organizing cross-functional teams. Yet, this is often understood as e.g., backend & front-end developers working together.

If an organization is aiming for company-wide agility, to fully benefit from agility it has to enable teams as value centers that are truly cross-functional by bringing in different perspectives from business, markets, cultures, beliefs etc. This way cross-functional teams overcome not only the limitations of organizational silos but also of a singular view on the market.

Join Jutta Eckstein & Maryse Meinen in this exciting session on the advantages of diversity and inclusion, first given at the Agile Camp Berlin 2021!

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🎯 Product

Bill Wake: What Is a User Story?

Bill Wake shares a compact introduction to user stories, covering the “card, conversation, confirmation” approach to templates to the importance of keeping the Pareto principle in mind when creating new things.

Source: What Is a User Story?

Author: Bill Wake

John Cutler: Suitably Detailed Roadmap Items

John Cutler walks us through the appropriate levels of detailing product roadmap items, from “thing happening now” to “far-off things” to avoid creating noise.

Source: Suitably Detailed Roadmap Items

Author: John Cutler

Janna Bastow (via ProdPad): Bugs and Debt in the Product Flow

Janna Bastow talks about bugs, refactoring, and their implication on product strategy and the flow within your product team.

Source: ProdPad: Bugs and Debt in the Product Flow

Author: Janna Bastow

📯 The Obsession with Commitment Matching Velocity

Despite decades-long efforts of the whole agile community — books, blogs, conferences, webinars, videos, meetups; you name it — we are still confronted in many supposedly agile organizations with output-metric driven reporting systems. At the heart of these reporting systems, stuck in the industrial age when the management believed it needed to protect the organization from slacking workers, there is typically a performance metric: velocity.

In the hands of an experienced team, velocity might be useful a team-internal metric. But, when combined with some managers’ wrong interpretation of commitment, it becomes a tool of oppression. So when did it all go so wrong?

Learn more: The Obsession with Commitment Matching Velocity.

🛠 Tools & Measuring

Farbod Saraf (via Coda.io): Product Alignment Framework: How Miro navigated explosive growth to 20 million users

Farbod Saraf introduces the tool Miro used to weather the pandemic-driven massive influx of new users by structuring product discovery and retrospectives in the process.

Source: Coda.io: Product Alignment Framework: How Miro navigated explosive growth to 20 million users

Author: Farbod Saraf

(via Mind The Product): The (Def)inition Lab: Our recipe for reducing the risk of product failure

Isabelle Berner and Katie Cladis share the process they use with clients to avoid building features no one is interested in using.

Source: Mind The Product: The (Def)inition Lab: Our recipe for reducing the risk of product failure

📅 Training Classes, Meetups & Events 2021

Upcoming classes and events:

See all upcoming classes here.

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Food for Agile Thought #313: The Problem-Solving Trap, Suitably Detailed Roadmap Items, Beloved Definition of Done, Miro’s Product Alignment Framework was first published on Age-of-Product.com.

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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.

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