TL; DR: Taming Complexity — Food for Agile Thought #366
Welcome to the 366th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 36,188 peers. This week, we identify five practical ways of taming complexity to avoid feature creep and pushing away users and share “examples of organizations that operate beyond the traditional set of agile practices and have been able to break down the bureaucratic hierarchy by adopting radical forms of consent, participation, and self-management.” Also, we have a look at building high-trust teams at Shopify in a remote working world, and suggest shifting “from leading with goals to leading with questions,” referring to Nobel laureate Richard Feynman.
Then, we point out that many companies may run experiments to test product ideas with users and customers; however, they fail to follow up with meaningful action. Following this example of failing innovation, we share lessons learned from a 100-plus-year-old company that is still a market leader, trying to innovate itself out of decline. Moreover, we appreciate a global benchmarking survey on activation rates with participants from Expedia, Grammarly, Canva, Duolingo, and others and examine the Lean UX Canvas in detail, pointing to shortcomings such as the need for a root cause analysis or mapping dependencies.
Finally, we share a primer on why “interviewing stakeholders provides helpful information about their context, [allowing] us to identify business goals they are concerned with, and increases their support.” And we close this edition of the newsletter with a video that explains what it takes to successfully use OKRs and points to common anti-patterns in their application, from tying them to compensation to excessive use.
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🏆 The Tip of the Week: Taming Complexity
Five Ways to Address Complexity In Your Product:
Following on Scott Belsky’s notion that users flock to simple products, Casey Winters sketches five practical ways of taming complexity to avoid feature creep and pushing away users.
There is no easy way out of the product lifecycle. Like scaling a culture, it requires a lot of intentionality to scale a product without losing the simplicity that drove so many people to it in the first place.
➿ Agile & Scrum
YouTube): 📺 We’re stuck in agile bureaucracy – but there is hope!(via
Jurriaan Kamer shares “examples of organizations that operate beyond the traditional set of agile practices and have been able to break down the bureaucratic hierarchy by adopting radical forms of consent, participation, and self-management.”
InfoQ): Building High-Trust and High-Performing Teams at Shopify in a Remote Worldand (via
Jesse McGinnis shared lessons on building high-trust teams at Shopify in a remote working world.
How to Thrive in a World of Uncertainty:
Tiago Forte claims that “the future has become so uncertain that goals are now obsolete” and suggests shifting “from leading with goals to leading with questions,” referring to Nobel laureate Richard Feynman.
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The Build-Measure-LooksGood! Loop:
Itamar Gilad shares his observation that many companies may run experiments to test product ideas with users and customers; however, they fail to follow up with meaningful action. Learn more from Itamar on how to avoid this failure.
A Simple Map for Innovation at Scale:
Steve Blank shares lessons learned from a 100-plus year-old company that is still a market leader, trying to innovate itself out of decline.
Crisp): 📺 An intro to Holistic Product Discovery(via
Marcus Castenfors introduces his framework, sharing background information from product discovery first principles to a proven risk mapping technique.
📺 FAST Scaling: An Innovative Way to Scale Agile with James Shore — Hands-on Agile #45
In this energizing 45th Hands-on Agile session, James Shore shared his experiences with scaling “agile:” first with traditional approaches and, more recently, with FAST scaling. Learn in this deep-dive what works, what doesn’t, and how you can try FAST in your organization.
📺 Watch the video now: James Shore: FAST: An Innovative Way to Scale — Hands-on Agile #45 .
🛠 Concepts, Tools & Measuring
📈 What is a good activation rate:
Lenny Rachitsky and Yuriy Timen ran a global benchmarking survey on activation rates with participants from Expedia, Grammarly, Canva, Duolingo, and others.
(via Medium): Critical Thinking About The ‘Lean UX’ Canvas
Debbie Levitt examines the Lean UX Canvas in detail, pointing to shortcomings such as the lack of a root cause analysis or mapping dependencies.
Nielsen Norman Group): Stakeholder Interviews 101(via
Sarah Gibbons shares a primer on why “interviewing stakeholders provides helpful information about their context, allows us to identify business goals they are concerned with, and increases their support.”
Mind The Product): 📺 The good, bad, and ugly of OKRs(via
In this video, Jenny Herald explains what it takes to successfully use OKRs and points to common anti-patterns in their application, from tying them to compensation to excessive use.
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📺 Join 4,000-plus Agile Peers on Youtube
Now available on the Age-of-Product Youtube channel to improve learning, for example, about fixing toxic cultures:
- 🆕 Hands-on Agile 45: FAST: An Innovative Way to Scale with James Shore.
- 🆕 Hands-on Agile 44: Honey, I Shrunk the Backlog with Allan Kelly.
- Hands-on Agile 43: Outcome-Based Product Planning with Jeff Gothelf.
- Hands-on Agile 42: Lean Roadmapping and OKRs with Janna Bastow.
- Hands-on Agile 38: The Product Owner with Roman Pichler.
✋ Do Not Miss Out and Learn more about Taming Complexity — Join the 12,000-plus Strong ‘Hands-on Agile’ Slack Community
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Help your team with taming complexity by pointing them to the free Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide :