TL; DR: Agile First Principles — Food for Agile Thought #402
Welcome to the 402nd edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 48,061 peers. This week, Maarten Dalmijn unravels Agile first principles without the usual labels, while Steve Jobs elucidates the importance of ‘no.’ Pierre Pureur and Kurt Bittner propose incorporating sustainability into a team’s DoD, and Pete Hodgson examines the nuances of effective collaboration within platform teams. Additionally, we delve into health checks for agile teams.
Then, Saeed Khan advises on ensuring lasting business success beyond mere feature delivery, Packy McCormick’s challenge to tech industry beliefs regarding the need for ‘moats’, and Jin Leem’s intriguing parallels between Roman military innovation and modern design thinking principles.
Finally, Jason Cohen discusses the importance of a comprehensive metric system over a singular metric; Catherine Norris stresses the art of saying ‘no’ in product management, and Ash Maurya critiques the traditional experimental approach, arguing it often leads to unproductive cycles. Lastly, Ethan Mollick notices the AI industry’s neglect of user documentation despite fast-paced advances.
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🏆 The Tip of the Week: Agile First Principles
Maarten’s Agile From First Principles Guide V0.8:
Maarten Dalmijn ponders how to communicate the core of Agile principles without referencing the Agile Manifesto or even using the term ‘Agile.’
🍋 The Lemon of the Week
(via Reddit): SCRUM is Bullshxt: Another SCRUM is BS Thread
Beetleman, despite his (claimed) experience with Scrum, misses the essence of the framework altogether. The comments are fun, too.
➿ Agile & Scrum
(via YouTube): 📺 ‘Focusing is about saying no’ — Steve Jobs (WWDC’97)
Listen to Steve Jobs’ excellent short answer on the importance of ‘no’ to get focused.
InfoQ): Enhancing Your “Definition of Done” Can Improve Your Minimum Viable Architectureand (via
Pierre Pureur and Kurt Bittner suggest integrating sustainability criteria into a team’s ‘Definition of Done’ to enhance the quality of architectural decisions within Minimum Viable Architectures (MVAs).
How platform teams get stuff done:
Pete Hodgson points to the crucial role of effective collaboration within platform teams, delving into the dynamics of platform migration, consumption, and evolution. Success, they argue, is dependent on adapting suitable collaboration models and patterns per phase.
🎓 🖥 🇬🇧 Advanced Professional Scrum Master Online Training w/ PSM II Certificate — August 29-30, 2023
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Medium): Product Management: It’s a System for Business Success, not Product Features(via
Saeed Khan emphasizes that Product Management isn’t solely about delivering features but rather about ensuring lasting business success by building a system.
When to Dig a Moat:
Packy McCormick challenges the tech industry’s belief that superior products, talent, and growth prevent the need for competitive advantages or ‘moats.’ On the contrary, he asserts that such companies are precisely those most needing moats.
(via IBM Design): Design Thinking and Relentless Innovation: The Legacy of the Roman Legion
Jin Leem explores the innovative mindset of the Roman military, drawing parallels to design thinking principles. She shows how practicality, persistence, and determination drove the Romans’ military success and how these insights can shape successful enterprises today.
📯 Health Checks for Agile Teams — From Spotify to The Liberators to Self-Made
Agile teams thrive on continuous improvement and adaptability. Self-assessment isn’t just a health check measuring tool but a compass guiding teams toward their potential. It enables teams to understand their strengths, identify areas of improvement, and delve deeper into work dynamics beyond mere output.
The true essence of self-assessment in Agile is fostering transparency, collaboration, and relentless improvement. It’s not an audit; it’s a mirror reflecting a better version of your Agile team.
This article comprises a few well-known self-assessment tools; use them or have them inspire you to create your own assessment.
🛠 Concepts, Tools & Measuring
Jason Cohen): Selecting the right product metrics(via
Jason Cohen delves into the complexity of selecting metrics that meet the diverse needs of various stakeholders. He advocates for a comprehensive system over a singular metric, asserting that it enhances stakeholder comfort and provides a holistic view for product teams.
(via Collato): How to Say No As a Product Manager: Insights from the Experts
Catherine Norris highlights the importance of saying ‘no’ as a product manager, considering it an essential skill in handling feature creep, resource management, and competing priorities.
The Art of Experiment Design:
Ash Maurya argues that merely running experiments is insufficient for continuous innovation. He critiques the conventional approach of formulating a hypothesis, running an experiment, and refining it.
How to Use AI to Do Stuff: An Opinionated Guide:
Ethan Mollick critiques the lack of user documentation despite the rapid release of increasingly sophisticated AI systems. He offers his own guide to navigating the evolving landscape of AI.
Medium): Six Maestros in Search of Creative Design: Liberating Structures and AI LLMs(via
Keith McCandless discusses the mixed feelings regarding using AI LLMs with Liberating Structures among practitioners, encapsulated in a paradoxical ‘Wicked Question.’
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📺 Join 5,000-plus Agile Peers on Youtube
Now available on the Age-of-Product Youtube channel to improve learning, for example, about product thinking:
- Hands-on Agile EXTRA: How Elon Musk Would Run YOUR Business with Joe Justice.
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