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TL; DR: Dunbar’s Number — Food for Agile Thought #437

Welcome to the 437th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 42,378 peers. This week, Patrick O’Shaughnessy interviews Robin Dunbar on Dunbar’s Number, revealing insights into human connections and their relevance in organizational structures. Jim Doran links Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle with Agile, highlighting the balance between focus and speed, alongside the importance of collaboration between Product Managers and Technical Leads. Eric Barker offers strategies to enhance team performance, including keeping teams small and fostering mutual respect. Jutta Eckstein, Susan McIntosh, Craig Smith, Ben Linders, Rafiq Gemmail, and Shane Hastie discuss the latest tech industry trends, focusing on remote innovation, AI, inclusivity, and sustainability. Also, Derk-Jan de Grood tackles five dependencies that slow down agile teams and provides solutions to improve efficiency and delivery.

Then, Debbie Levitt criticizes feature-first mindsets, urging a shift to user-centered product development. Teresa Torres highlights the effectiveness of story-based interviews in grasping actual user needs, and Marcus Castenfors discusses overcoming “Discovery Illness” by refining product discovery processes. Moreover, Ant Murphy shares strategies for streamlining product backlogs to focus on impactful outcomes. Lastly, Ash Maurya advocates for a problem-discovery approach, emphasizing the value of genuine user insights in shaping solutions.

Lastly, Jim Morris critiques the integration of OKRs with conventional processes, advocating for an analytics-first mindset. Avi Siegel distinguishes between job stories and user stories, underlining their collective importance. Another piece dissects common mistakes in user journey mapping, advocating for SMART goals and ongoing updates. Finally, we delve into the evolution of prototyping, from basic sketches to advanced simulations, highlighting their role in refining design and development stages.

Food for Agile Thought #437: Dunbar’s Number & Team Building, Discovery Challenges, Heisenberg in Software, Job Stories vs. User Stories — Age-of-Product.com

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The most popular discussion on LinkedIn last week was: Why Is the Daily Scrum so often a Complete Waste of Time ?

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🏆 The Tip of the Week: Dunbar’s Number & Team Building

(via Colossus): 🎙 Robin Dunbar – Optimizing Human Connection

In this interview, Patrick O’Shaughnessy explores Robin Dunbar’s research journey to discovering Dunbar’s Number, illustrating its profound impact on understanding human connections, social circle layering, and its implications for organizational structures and personal well-being. Dunbar shares insights into homophily’s role in forming friendships and addresses modern challenges like technology’s impact on social interaction and the rising trend of loneliness.

🍋 Lemon of the Week

We are lemon-free this week.

➿ Agile & Scrum

Jim Doran (via Medium): How Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle Relates to Building Software

Jim Doran connects Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle to Agile software development, emphasizing the balance between project focus and development speed and the critical synergy between Product Managers and Technical Leads.

Eric Barker: 4 Secrets Of High-Performing Teams

To enhance team performance, Eric Barker advises questioning team necessity, keeping teams small, selecting the right members, ensuring mutual respect, including a constructive critic, and practicing supportive leadership emphasizing impact and progress.

(via InfoQ): 🎙 InfoQ Culture & Methods Trends in 2024

Jutta Eckstein, Susan McIntosh, Craig Smith, Ben Linders, Rafiq Gemmail, and Shane Hastie discuss 2024’s tech industry trends. They emphasize innovation in remote work, AI’s support role, inclusivity, the need for sustainability in development, and practices for reducing carbon footprint and e-waste in software projects.

Derk-Jan de Grood (via AgileConnection): 5 Types of Dependencies Slowing You Down (and How to Fix Them)

Derk-Jan de Grood discusses five dependencies—chain, stack, shared people, resources, and codebase—slowing agile teams. He suggests strategies like defining roles, enhancing collaboration, and adopting CI/CD to mitigate their effects and improve delivery.

🎓 🖥 🇬🇧 Advanced Professional Scrum Master Training w/ PSM II Certificate — April 23-24, 2024

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Enjoy the benefits of a live virtual immersive class with like-minded agile peers from 09:00 – 17:30 CEST.

Advanced Professional Scrum Master Training w/ PSM II Certificate — April 23-24, 2024 — Berlin-Product-People.com

Learn more: 🖥 💯 🇬🇧 Advanced Professional Scrum Master Training w/ PSM II Certificate — April 23-24, 2024 .

Customer Voice: “Since about 12 people have already asked me these last 2 days: Yes, taking one of Stefan Wolpers’ classes is a mind-blowing experience. He’s actually the most adroit facilitator I’ve met after Guy Kawasaki & Roland Busch. It all flows like a silk ribbon in a soft spring breeze but with a strong authenticity that prevents the thing from feeling all Del Monte Canned Corporate Facilitation(tm). It may be due to his seemingly effortless mastery of the Liberating Structures. He doesn’t “teach to the test,” yet when you take the open practice assessments; you somehow score 95+ the first time. I dunno, it’s magic or Mozart, you pick.” (Source .)

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🎯 Product

(via Medium): Shift From ‘Product First’ to ‘Product Last’

Debbie Levitt critiques the pitfalls of prioritizing product features over genuine user needs. She advocates for a “product last” process that starts with understanding user tasks, experiences, and pain points and ends with creating valuable, user-focused products.

Teresa Torres: Story-Based Customer Interviews Uncover Much-Needed Context

Teresa Torres advocates for story-based customer interviews, emphasizing their role in uncovering genuine user needs and behaviors over hypothetical scenarios that might lead in the wrong direction.

Marcus Castenfors (via Crisp): The Discovery Illness

Marcus Castenfors identifies “Discovery Illness” in product discovery and suggests solutions like focused collaboration, stakeholder management, and scope limitation to avoid inertia and enhance solution development efficiency.

Ant Murphy: Long Backlogs and Unmeasurable Work

Ant Murphy advises shortening product backlogs by focusing on measurable outcomes, having a clear strategy, and breaking down larger goals to align with strategic objectives for efficient prioritization.

Ash Maurya: Problems can’t be validated, only discovered

Ash Maurya argues for discovering rather than validating problems, focusing on actions over words, and understanding root causes through unscripted interviews and offers before building solutions.

📺 “Agile” Does Not Work for You? Tackling Fake Agility with Johanna Rothman at the 59th Hands-on Agile Meetup

Your team is supposed to use an agile approach, such as Scrum. But you have a years-long backlog, your standups are individual status reports, and you’re still multitasking. You and your team members wish you had the chance to do great work, but this feels a lot like an “agile” death march. There’s a reason you feel that way. You’re using fake agility—a waterfall lifecycle masquerading as an agile approach. Worse, fake agility is the norm in our industry.

Now, there is light at the end of the tunnel; let’s delve into Tackling Fake Agility with Johanna Rothman!

“Agile” Does Not Work for You? Tackling Fake Agility with Johanna Rothman at the 59th Hands-on Agile Meetup — Age-of-Product.com

📺 Watch the video now: “Agile” Does Not Work for You? Tackling Fake Agility with Johanna Rothman at the 59th Hands-on Agile Meetup .

🛠 Concepts, Tools & Measuring

Jim Morris: Our Half-Baked Adoption of OKRs

Jim Morris highlights the pitfalls of poorly integrating OKRs with traditional processes. He emphasizes the importance of an analytics-first culture and the active involvement of teams in data analysis to truly achieve business objectives. He proposes practical steps to effectively navigate the complexities of implementing OKRs.

Avi Siegel (via Entrepreneur’s Handbook): Job Stories vs. User Stories: The Misguided Debate

Avi Siegel argues job stories uncover user needs while user stories define solution actions, suggesting both are essential at different product development stages to meet user needs.

(via UX Planet): Top 10 Mistakes When Creating User Journey Maps

The author outlines ten critical errors in user journey mapping, from neglecting clear goals and user research to failing to update maps over time. They emphasize setting SMART objectives, incorporating thorough research, understanding emotional journeys, and regularly revisiting journey maps to reflect evolving user behaviors and market trends.

🎶 Encore

(via UXPin): Examples of Prototypes – From Low-Fidelity to High-Fidelity Prototypes

The author guides through the evolution of prototyping, from simple sketches to sophisticated interactive simulations, showcasing the power of each fidelity level in enhancing design and development processes.


📅 Scrum Training & Event Schedule

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Date Class and Language City Price
🖥 💯 🇩🇪 April 10-11, 2024 GUARANTEED: Professional Scrum Product Owner Training (PSPO I; German; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1,299 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 April 23-24, 2024 GUARANTEED: Professional Scrum Master (Advanced) Training (PSM II; English; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1,299 incl. 19% VAT
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🖥 💯 🇩🇪 May 14-15, 2024 GUARANTEED: Professional Scrum Product Owner Training (PSPO I; German; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1,299 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 🇬🇧 May 28-29, 2024 Professional Scrum Master (Advanced) Training (PSM II; English; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1,189 incl. 19% VAT
🖥 💯 🇬🇧 June 6, 2024 GUARANTEED: Hands-on Agile #62: From Backlog Manager to Product Manager: From Outputs to Outcomes w/ David Pereira (English) Live Virtual Meetup FREE
🖥 🇩🇪 June 25-26, 2024 Professional Scrum Product Owner Training (PSPO I; German; Live Virtual Class) Live Virtual Class €1,299 incl. 19% VAT

See all upcoming classes here .

Professional Scrum Trainer Stefan Wolpers

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✋ Do Not Miss Out and Learn About Dunbar’s Number — Join the 19,000-plus Strong ‘Hands-on Agile’ Slack Community

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Help your team to learn about Dunbar’s Number by pointing them to the free Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide :

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🗞️ Last Week’s Food for Agile Thought Edition

Read more: Food for Agile Thought #436: State of Agile 2024, Amazon Product Model, Innovation and Disaster, Dynamic Reteaming .

The post Food for Agile Thought #437: Dunbar’s Number & Team Building, Discovery Challenges, Heisenberg in Software, Job Stories vs. User Stories appeared first on Age-of-Product.com .

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