product development

Agile Approaches Offer Strategic Advantage; Agile Tools are Tactics, Part 1

A number of my clients confuse their strategic ideas with tactical work. They think that the agile tools they use, such as boards, offer a strategic advantage. So they build or customize their tools. However, they adopt or “install” an agile framework or process without customization. Those actions lead to organizational brittleness. Instead, agile organizations …

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Large Features and Long Deadlines Mean You Have a Gantt Chart, Not a Roadmap

Several of my clients have internal struggles about how to internally see the future of the product. The teams want to use an agile approach so they can incorporate learning. The managers want rigid roadmaps. Why? Because the managers want to “know” the teams will deliver it all. However, the managers create a roadmap similar …

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Why Shared Services “Teams” Don’t Work with Agility

One of my clients wants to use shared services “teams” as they start their agile transformation. Their developers work on a product for months and years at a time. However, the testers and UI people are part of pools of people. The organization calls these testers and UI people, “shared services.” Shared service-thinking denies the …

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Want Business Agility? Rethink Your Easy Career Ladders, Part 4

You want business agility. The teams have worked hard to change how they work. And you realize your current career ladder isn’t working for you—or the people you serve. The people and teams continue to experiment with agile behaviors. You would like more lateral, not just vertical options to support any person’s growth. What can …

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Encourage Lateral and Vertical Movement in an Agile a Career Ladder, Part 3

As people gain experience, they often want new and different responsibilities. In a typical career ladder (Part 1), they had one direction: up. That often creates a problem: great technical people become insufficient managers. Let’s not blame these people—many of them didn’t want to become managers However, if people want more responsibility, the career ladder …

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Define Agile Behaviors We Want to Reinforce in an Agile Career Ladder, Part 2

Part 1 discussed a typical career ladder. I said that when we focus on individual achievements and deliverables, we ignore the agile system of work. Worse, when we reward individual achievements we prevent an agile culture. That’s because agile teams learn together as they create the product. We need career ladders that reward working together. …

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Why the Popular & Easy Career Ladder Prevents an Agile Culture, Part 1

As I’ve been speaking about the Modern Management Made Easy books, people ask these questions: We’re pretty good with our agile approach. It’s time for performance reviews. How do we reward someone based on individual work when we want teams to work together? What do we do? Can we extend whatever that is to our …

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Feedback Loops Help When to Centralize or Decentralize Product-Based Decisions

When I think about agile approaches to work, I think about how fast we can change and the cost of those changes. We can change the next decisions about the work because we finish the current work and release it. Multiple deliverables allow us to change what we do and what we plan next. That’s …

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Low Tech Way to Visualize Your Percentile Confidence for Forecasts

Michael Mahlberg taught me something cool last week. We’re writing an article together. Part of the article is about forecasts. I was ranting and raving about how to help people see their confidence levels. He pointed me to this slideshare: Lightweight Kanban Metrics (in German).  (Don’t worry about the language.) Go to slides 24, 25, …

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Failure Is Always An Option

I’ve been working with teams that feel a ton of pressure. On top of the pressure, a senior manager says these words:  “Failure is not an option.” When managers say that, they ignore all the possibilities for success. They put their heads down, ignoring ways to manage risk. When managers don’t collaborate to manage risk, we …

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