Working Backwards
Working Backwards

One of the many legacies of Steve Jobs was his annual product launch keynotes. It was (and still is, to a certain extent) at these events where Apple would showcase its latest innovations designed to make customers more successful and revolutionize communication, computing, and creativity.

These keynotes were the culmination of years of work and preparation. They were intended as the last step in the launch of a product that had been secretly developed and was now being revealed for the first time. Apple’s hope was that this would be enough to send products flying off the shelf. …


Earlier this week I published my 4th book, Forever Employable: How to stop looking for work and let your next job find you. It is semi-autobiographical look at how to build a platform of recognized expertise and thought leadership in order to drive inbound opportunities to you, rather than having to go out and chase them down.

In the book, I offer up the path that I took to build this platform and network and how it has helped me build a consulting, writing and speaking career over the past 12 years. The book is short (106 pages) and practical…


Moving away from Medium and Publishing on my blog again

With all the recent discussions over privacy, content ownership, ethics of the services we use daily and the ethics of…


At this point in its lifecycle, Agile is in the mass adoption phase. Whenever I’m in front of an audience or teaching a workshop and I ask, “How many of you work using Agile processes?” 100% of the hands in the room go up. The honest people in the room will still hold their hand up but will wave it from side to side indicating they’re doing something agile-ish.

(This post appeared first in my once-monthly newsletter. Sign up here and join 13k others.)

The majority of large companies employ at least a few agile coaches and scrum vocabulary is…


After more than a year of work, I’m thrilled to announce the launch of this joint effort between Scrum.org, Josh Seiden and myself. The Professional Scrum with UX certified class starts to answer the questions scrum practitioners from all disciplines have been asking. How does design work fit into sprints? What does “done” mean for non-software tasks? How many backlogs should we have? What is dual-track agile? All these questions are answered in the class and they are being offered worldwide now. See you there? Learn more.

(This article is a sequel to Here is How UX Design Integrates with Agile and Scrum published in October 2018. It also appeared first in my once-monthly newsletter. Sign up here and join 12k others.)

When I started my career, software came in a box. If that sounds weird to you, know that when I was a kid my dad would bring home the punchcards on which software came in the 1970’s. In both of those cases, more than 20 years apart, software was static. It had an end state. Fast forward another 20 years and these concepts seem ridiculous…


Late last month, after a particularly frustrating meeting I posted the following tweet:

It turned out, not surprisingly, that I wasn’t the only one dealing with this failed project management approach. Many people reached out with virtual “high 5’s” and, more importantly, questions about how this could be so obvious to those of us who have been and are currently in the trenches and still such a commonly-used tactic to those in positions of leadership. The answer to the former seems obvious. Fixed time, fixed scope initiatives give managers the perception of predictability and control. With a clear timeline, milestones…


One of my favourite questions to ask any new client is, “How do you measure success?” I pose this question to product teams, discipline heads and executives to understand what the organisation values and what they reward. One hundred percent of the time the initial response is, “That’s a great question.”

After giving it some thought the responses evolve into some variation of “we shipped a [thing]” where [thing] is whatever that person is responsible for creating — a product, a feature, a system, a policy or an initiative. My follow-up question is then always, “How do you know that…


Ask any executive what the top 3 metrics they watch in their company are and you’ll get some combination of revenue and sales metrics and, of course, the company’s NPS. Net Promoter Score, a measure of customer satisfaction and loyalty, is so widespread and common that over two-thirds of the Fortune 1000 claim to use it. It’s popularity might lead you to believe it was introduced decades ago, forged in years of trial and error and scientifically tuned to become the “one metric to rule them all” in enterprise and startup alike. It turns out it was introduced in 2003…


One of the biggest challenges in product management is planning the work in a linear, visual way. Sure, we’ve had “roadmaps” for a long time but they betray the true nature of software development. Digital product development is not linear. It is iterative. We build some things. We ship them. We see how they impact customer behaviour. We iterate them and ship again.

The traditional linear roadmap model, one where there is a starting point and clear, feature-specific endpoint (almost always with a fixed date) is outdated. It reflects an output-focused mode of operating a digital business. Instead, today, successful…


(Part 2 of this post can be found here.)

Despite having co-written an award-winning book on the topic and lecturing, teaching and coaching on the topic for nearly 10 years now, I still get many questions — mostly from product managers, executive leaders, and technical managers — on how to integrate UX and Design into the scrum process. It’s a challenge that continues to plague most organisations mainly because the reason scrum was brought in was not to do more thoughtful, customer-centric work but rather to ship more code faster.

I have worked first-hand on and with teams that have…

Jeff Gothelf

Author: Lean UX, Sense & Respond and Forever Employable. I help build great organizations.

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