TL; DR: Firing Agile Coaches? — Food for Agile Thought #413
Welcome to the 413th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 49,263 peers. This week, Anthony Mersino reflects on firing agile coaches due to financial constraints and urges a focus on continuous improvement to prove value. David Rodenas discusses the misguided adoption of “Agile” due to a lack of understanding, and Marty Cagan emphasizes holistic organizational involvement in digital transformations. Joost Minnaar advocates for subtraction over addition in workplace transformation, promoting identifying and eliminating unnecessary tasks for more effective change.
Then, Sam Gimbel addresses the general disdain towards ‘feature factories,’ advocating for a more nuanced approach and customer-centric development. John Cutler delves into the tendency of teams to overcommit, attributing it to a culture of affirmative bias and advocating for realistic engagement in work commitments. Moreover, Kilian Butler narrates Papercup’s experience in machine learning product development, offering practical insights to help others navigate this challenging yet rewarding domain.
Lastly, Jimmy Janlén explores blending Scrum and Kanban for optimized workflows, providing a roadmap for an informed choice or fusion of these agile frameworks. Oscar Ibars discusses the art of saying ‘no’ in Product Management to maintain realistic project scopes. Paweł Huryn delves into Product-Led Growth strategies, emphasizing customer-centric approaches for product growth. Also, David Perell shares 50 insightful ideas focusing on critical thinking, human behavior understanding, and system optimization, introducing principles like Inversion, Doublespeak, and the Theory of Constraints.
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🏆 The Tip of the Week: Firing Agile Coaches?
Vitality Chicago Inc.): Should We Fire All the Agile Coaches?(via
Anthony Mersino discusses the downsizing of agile coaching staff due to cost-cutting, Agile saturation, coaching quality, and scrutinized ROI. He urges coaches to focus on continuous improvement, mastery, and setting clear exit criteria to demonstrate value and avoid unexpected termination.
🍋 Lemon of the Week
(via Reddit): I’m really fed up with Scrum please enlighten me
This week’s Lemon’s author, a developer with eight years of agile experience, expresses frustrations over Scrum’s demanding meeting schedule, lack of time for unplanned work, and rigidity, ignoring the fact that someone sold them snake oil disguised as Scrum.
➿ Agile & Scrum
Medium): Smart People Take Dumb Decisions When Applying Agile(via
David Rodenas points out the irony of smart individuals making misguided decisions in adopting “Agile.“ By analyzing an influential article laden with poor practices masked as Agile requisites, he underscores the necessity of a genuine understanding and humble approach to harness Agile’s potential effectively.
Silicon Valley Product Group): Transformation Fail(via
Marty Cagan delves into the common pitfalls of digital transformations. He underscores the crucial roles of holistic organizational involvement, competent product teams, and real-world, experienced guidance in navigating toward a fruitful outcome.
Corporate Rebels): Rethinking Workplace Transformation: The Art of Subtraction(via
Joost Minnaar highlights the importance of subtraction over addition in workplace transformation. Through exercises, he encourages people to identify what to stop doing, emphasizing that removal often leads to more effective organizational change than the common tendency of adding tasks or policies.
🎓 🖥 💯 🇬🇧 Professional Scrum Facilitation Skills Class w/ PSFS Certificate — November 28, 2023
The Professional Scrum Facilitation Skills (PSFS) training by Berlin Product People is a guaranteed one-day official Scrum.org class for advanced Scrum practitioners and agile coaches, including the industry-acknowledged PSFS certification. This PSFS training class is in English.
Enjoy the benefits of a compact immersive class with like-minded agile peers from 09:00 – 17:30 o’clock CEST.
Learn more: 🖥 💯 🇬🇧 Professional Scrum Facilitation Skills Class w/ PSFS Certificate — November 28, 2023 .
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When is a Feature Factory…not?:
Sam Gimbel critiques the broad-brush derision of ‘feature factories,’ urging a nuanced understanding. He proposes reflective questions to differentiate mere output focus from genuine customer-centric development, thus aiding leaders in identifying and navigating the real issues.
Why Didn’t They Say No?:
John Cutler explores the complex dynamics leading teams to overcommit despite apparent unfeasibility. Through a myriad of scenarios, he unravels a culture of affirmative bias driven by fear, lack of experience, miscommunication, and the dire need for a more assertive, realistic engagement in work commitments.
(via Papercup): Building machine learning products: lessons from Papercup’s product team –
Kilian Butler shares Papercup’s journey in developing a machine learning-centric product, emphasizing the uniqueness of such endeavors. Through practical insights, he hopes to guide others in navigating the exciting yet challenging realm of ML product development.
Harvard Business Review): How Software Companies Can Avoid the Trap of Product-Led Growth(via
Jeffrey Bussgang and Oliver Jay discuss the pitfalls of Product-Led Growth (PLG) in software companies, highlighting the importance of early transition planning to an enterprise model, using MongoDB’s evolution as a case study for successful scalability beyond PLG.
📯 Minimum Viable Library (3) — Agile Leadership Edition
A new edition of the Minimum Viable Library on Agile Leadership is available! Explore a series of carefully curated collections of essential books, newsletters, podcasts, and tools to elevate your agile expertise.
Read on and learn how the recommendations for agile leaders cover a wide range of topics, from the importance of self-managing teams and trust-based environments to the crucial roles of accountability and resilience. While “servant leadership” as a term may be fading, its principles of empowerment and collaboration endure. Stories of transformation in traditional settings underscore the value of decentralized leadership and quick communication.
Learn more: Minimum Viable Library (3) — Agile Leadership Edition .
🛠 Concepts, Tools & Measuring
YouTube): Scrum and or Kanban, a pragmatic comparison(via
Jimmy Janlén explains Scrum and Kanban’s unique and common features, guiding teams in melding elements from both to craft an optimized workflow. By delving into their origins, core principles, and practical application scenarios, he lays out a roadmap for an informed, context-driven choice between, or a blend of, these agile frameworks.
Medium): The Art of the ‘Nope’ in Product Management(via
Oscar Ibars humorously navigates the crucial yet delicate art of saying ‘no’ in Product Management, ensuring a balance between nurturing ideas and maintaining realistic project scopes.
Product-Led Growth 101 (1/2):
Paweł Huryn outlines Product-Led Growth (PLG) strategies emphasizing customer value, covering customer acquisition and activation, and underscoring the universal applicability of discussed methods for achieving product growth.
50 Ideas That Changed My Life:
David Perell shares 50 life-changing ideas, emphasizing critical thinking, understanding human behavior, and optimizing systems. He explores principles like Inversion, Doublespeak, Theory of Constraints, and others, aiming to provoke curiosity and enhance thinking processes.
📅 Scrum Training & Event Schedule
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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, how to avoid firing Agile Coaches:
- Hands-on Agile 52: From Wild West to the Agile Manifesto with Jim Highsmith.
- Hands-on Agile EXTRA: How Elon Musk Would Run YOUR Business with Joe Justice.
- Hands-on Agile 50: The Product Community of Practice with Petra Wille.
- Hands-on Agile 46: The Agile Fluency Model ® with Diana Larsen.
- 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.
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