1. Your Product Development setup involves tough choices and trade-offs. What would you choose to optimise for? 1. Predictability (“on time, on budget”) 2. Throughput (Storypoints or maybe # of stories) 3. Speed (cycletime from idea to live) Of these three, a lot of organisations choose to optimise for predictability. Not only is that what they […]

  2. Some guiding principles that have emerged for me over the years of inheriting somewhat broken Product Development organisations – and the approach that has worked well for me. 1. Start where you are If you’re relatively new, or taking on a new area, first do no harm. Chesterton’s Fence applies. Without a good understanding of the local […]

  3. This is from a while ago, written as an attempt to provide an overview of how these three roles have changed and how a large and complex organisation might transition from a more traditional setup to a more modern “fighting fit” one. Posit: the Business Analyst role is fading The role of Business Analysts in […]

  4. Best to break this into a couple of key areas: a) major investments, and b) baseline risks, things you as an Exec team and/or Board of Director’s should probably be aware of. Major Investments tend to get a lot of focus up front, but often go sideways in similar ways and for similar reasons. Baseline […]

  5. Hard agree with Cyd Harrell: Launching is not success. Success is your product solving the problem it’s intended to solve, for the people you intended to help, without harming other people. If you can’t state what you’re solving, who it helps, & who could be hurt, you’re not ready to build let alone launch – […]

  6. Cost of Delay is a very different animal to many of the concepts that people try to shoe-horn it into. Sometimes those are useful analogies. Other times, it’s not helpful, and leads to confusion, missing the actual power of Cost of Delay. A Is Cost of Delay like a really high NPV discount rate? For […]

  7. This Ethan Hawke clip makes an important point that also applies to what we do in developing products. I think that most of us really want to offer the world something of quality, something that the world will consider good or important. And that’s really the enemy, because it’s not up to us whether what […]

  8. Here’s a perfect illustration of how organisational culture works: Something underneath the surface (not explicit or visible to individual actors) quietly amplifies conformity and dampens outliers. This is of course, a paradox. It’s a “good” thing when it comes to mission, vision, and rejecting toxic behaviour. It’s a “bad” thing if it means conforming thinking, […]

  9. CBDC discussions seem to be heating up. Be interesting to see where each of these four work streams at the European Central Bank lead to: “First, we will test the compatibility between a digital euro and existing central bank settlement services (such as TIPS),” outlines Panetta. Second, we will explore the interconnection between decentralised technologies, […]

  10. Improving the product along obvious parameters of value as defined by your customers today tends to lead to overserving. At some point, it becomes more than they can absorb. Remember the “Advanced Photo System”? You have to be careful about Overserving. It’s tempting to offer all the bells and whistles that customers ask for or […]

  11. The second key lesson you might have already spotted in the example from Lesson 1: The JOB doesn’t change, The Product we hire does. Consider the previous JTBD, “sharing a moment with others”… Below is a (totally science fiction today) product from Magic Leap, an Augmented Reality startup working on overlaying 3D images on your […]

  12. As a Product team, it’s tempting to look at the product itself and focus almost entirely about how to make it “better” along parameters that we already measure, especially the ones that existing customers ask for. This is what Christensen calls “sustaining innovation”. What Jobs To Be Done suggests, however, is that we focus on […]

  13. Jobs to be Done is a way of thinking about products and services. Using JTBD as a way of thinking brings a different perspective that helps us: Avoid building things that no one wants. Understand at a deeper level what a product needs to do Reveal why and how people choose a product or service […]

  14. The late Clayton M. Christensen researched and wrote one of the most frequently referenced books on innovation: “The Innovator’s Dilemma – when new technologies cause great firms to fail“. In it, Christensen outlines how companies tend to do everything “right” but in doing so, fail to successfully adopt new technologies. The book’s thesis is the […]

  15. In Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, Satis House (from the latin for “enough”) is a wonderful metaphor for technology in organisations today. So often, what you hope will satisfy you and be “enough”, quickly decays into dashed dreams and bitter disappointment. Why? Mostly culture, and a paradigm that’s completely broken, unsuited for the context and the […]

  16. “Technical Debt” is NOT the result of poor programming – it is the cost of not refactoring as you learn more about a solution. Like all things popular, “Technical Debt” has become a widely misunderstood and abused term. In some cases, Tech Debt is everything done by those who have gone before, “OPC”: Other People’s Code. Other times, […]

  17. TL;DR: Poorly. Not recommended! If you want to delve into the details, read this. (The main problems are that it uses some made up relative terms and then combines them in a way that is illogical.) If you’ve already started using the made up relative terms that SAFe suggests, all is not lost. At least […]

  18. Years ago, I wrote about funding teams instead of projects. That covered a really common big-batch funding and approval problem: the feast and famine – and the learning curves that teams go through before they’re really effective. In it, I also suggested some alternatives to big-batch project funding, giving you smoother flow of value plus […]

  19. A Backlog is different to a Buffer. In short, a Backlog should be a safe waiting place, where it is: a) cheap and b) fast for ideas of all sizes and complexities to flow to. The purpose of a Backlog is to have just enough information to do a very rough triage of a potentially […]

  20. Ever been “held accountable” for something that you had no control or power over? I’ve previously spoken about how corrosive the words we use in organisations can be. Words matter. And some words tell you quite a lot about an organisation. One thing I’ve observed is the use of the phrase “hold to account” tends […]

  21. I rather rudely butted in on an interesting twitter exchange yesterday, which started off about assessments. John Cutler was sharing what he has learned from doing and iterating on them recently. Having done quite a few assessments over the last decade (and iterated and improved how we go about it) the observation I shared was […]

  22. What is a product backlog? What problem is it supposed to solve? What problems sometimes arise when using one? So many questions, and not a lot of guidance out there for Product Managers and Product Owners. What is a Backlog? The Agile Alliance’s definition starts off as follows: “A backlog is a list of features […]

  23. “How to generate the highest Return On Investment toward strategic priorities — across multiple teams that need to work together.” I get asked this question a lot. I’ve also seen lots of slow, disjointed, unresponsive and generally painful ways to approach this — and in lots of different organisations. Rather than poking holes in alternatives, […]

  24. Part One looked at Velocity, what it is, how it gets abused and what the typical result of that is – and therefore the need for an alternative. Part Two then considered what “agility” means, with three overlapping principles that we want to try and find some measures for. Now we want to look at […]

  25. So, we’ve briefly looked at Velocity, what it is, how it gets abused and what the typical result of that is – and therefore the need for an alternative. Now we’re going to look what “agility” means, with the intention of figuring out some measures that are better aligned with that. What does Agile really […]

  26. Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time with senior Executives of different organisations. Along the way, I’ve noticed a tendency for them to latch onto, and misuse, the concept of “Velocity”. Too often, I’ve heard someone say something along the lines of “We need to increase our Velocity.” Whilst the terminology here really […]

  27. Someone asked the above question, and whilst it seems facile, I couldn’t resist… Short answer: because there’s no profit in it. Slightly longer answer… This quote from Tim Cook (emphasis mine) may seem to contradict the shorter answer, but bear with me: “Stock price is a result, not an achievement by itself. For me, it’s […]

  28. Had an interesting conversation with John Cutler yesterday to discuss the idea of having a single prioritised Backlog for an organisation. The genesis for the chat came from a tweet that John posted, to which I responded: In the spirit of exploration and “strong opinions, weakly held, I’d love to debate this one with you. […]

  29. This is a really interesting read on Loose Threads. It talks about how the world of retail clothing has shifted from being supply-constrained to demand-driven. It looks at how Zara operates in the new world, and how others are struggling because they’re still setup on the basis on the old world, which is how they got […]

  30. Applying Product Management to “Internal Products” can be a bit strange. Sometimes it feels a bit like trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole. Having observed lots of organisations (mostly large, some small) struggle with aspects of this, it’s something I’ve been mulling over for years now. Earlier this month I […]

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