ProdDev playbook

We are all tired. Tired of chasing the “best” ProdDev strategy. Dual track, agile, scrum, kanban, lean, design thinking, doesn’t matter what you choose, if you look hard enough there is someone waiting to tell you at you are “doing it wrong”.

The reality is instead of tearing each other down, we should be maturing as a science, an art, a community. We should be using the Context * Guiding Principles equation. We first need to group the Guiding Principles in a way that allows us to compare apples to apples instead of throwing out generic meaningless terms to make ourselves sound smart.

I hope that we evolve similarly to how many sports have evolved… they organized around playbooks. #ProdDevPlaybooks

What makes up a ProdDevPlaybook?

Flow of work: Why, What, How

— This is the natural flow of ProdDev work. Somehow, someway, someone comes up with a thing they want to do. Regardless of the reason they want to do it… this is The Why. This is the trigger that sets off the ProdDev chain reaction. The What is the response to the why… the thing that is going to be built… I would say it is the design, but that word is too loaded. Finally, The How is what happens to make the what a reality.

Regardless of what playbook you use, you have a process to handle how the why, the what, and the how are decided, interplay with one another, who is responsible for what, how defined the phases are, and the size of each aspect.

Operational: Past, Present, Future

Past: How you handle/communicate/measure what was shipped already. Regardless of if you “fire and forget” or if you “stage release” everything. Every playbook handles the past.

Present: How you handle/communicate work in progress. How much of it you allow, how you coordinate it, how it is assigned. There are a number of different strategies, and regardless of if you can name yours, you have one.

Future: How you handle/communicate what is coming up next. Don’t care if you are a card carrying member of the #NoEstimates and #NoRoadmaps community or you have a well-documented and story-estimated-and-decomposed roadmap that you can set our watch to… how you handle what is next is a major part of a ProdDevPlaybook.


— This is the Organizational Design. The makeup of the “team(s)”. Who reports to whom, and what skills are needed for maximum efficiency. Probably the most important of any of the playbook concerns.

In future posts I’ll dig into the different aspect of the ProdDevPlaybook. In the end I hope to be able to construct a survey that we can all use to better indicate what playbook we are currently implementing as well as better to identify what style of ProDev we are best suited for.

We are still in the infancy of ProdDev, and one of the best ways for us to continually mature is to improve our lexicon, our language, the way we describe what we do.

I hope you will help me on this journey of comparing apples to apples to better understand where we have been… where we are presently… and where we are going.