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Making Consensus-based Product Decisions

Consensus is a powerful approach to generate strong buy-in and shared ownership of a decision. But it can be challenging to apply and if used incorrectly, it can create mediocre results. This post helps you leverage consensus to make successful product decisions. It explains when and how to use it, and it discusses common traps and how to avoid them. ...

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User Story Reflections

Users As its name suggests, a user story describes how a user or customer uses the product–a digital product is captured from the perspective of the users. This avoids a solution-centric view where we worry more about how to provide and implement the product features than why and how people will use them. Understanding who the users are and how the product ...

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It’s all digital, stupid.

I’m the stupid one. For years now I’ve heard people talk about “digital” but I failed to grasp the significance. It started with “digital agencies” which I took to be advertising agencies which did websites, although the websites they were trying to build contained a lot of functionality. These odd advertising agencies seemed to offering services more akin to Logica ...

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5 tips for using Retrospectives as a tool for dissent

I recently shared this article on twitter from HBR, True Leaders Believe Dissent is an Obligation – the spirit of which I wholeheartedly agree. Effective leaders should not be surrounding themselves with yes-people because you need a diverse set of opinions, perspectives, skills and experiences to effectively problem solve. You can read more about How Diversity Makes Us Smarter, Research ...

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Tips on When Product Backlog Grooming should Take Place

Option 1: In the Sprint Review Meeting Your first option is to work on the product backlog in the sprint review meeting. Assuming that the development has developed a “done” product increment and the right people are present, you can use the attendee’s feedback to make the relevant product decisions and update the backlog, as the Scrum Guide suggests and the following picture shows.   ...

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What’s Minimum: Thinking About Minimum Viable Experiments

When I talk about Minimum Viable Products or Minimum Viable Experiments, people often tell me that their minimum is several weeks (or months) long. They can’t possibly release anything without doing a ton of work. I ask them questions, to see if they are talking about a Minimum Indispensable Feature Set or a Minimum Adoptable Feature Set instead of an ...

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Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Delivery Managers

​From time to time questions show up in my mailbox from people asking questions. I like to post the questions and answers here in the hope that others might benefit. I’ve done this a few times before (“Agile Clinic: problem with our agile…”) I’m always glad to help but it can be hard to find time, plus, not everyone wants ...

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A sad Cobol story

This isn’t a happy story, it has no happy ending, I suffered personally, its personal but I want to share. Its about trying to solve a problem with the fashionable solution rather than rolling back the last fashionable solution you applied which created the problem to start with… A long time ago, well, the best part of 10 years ago, ...

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Project vs product teams

One of the hardest things for companies trying to be agile is how to structure teams. Back in the bad-old days, teams would form around a project. Then six months later, everyone would dissipate and go onto new teams. By the time a team has formed and become effective it is ripped apart again. You get no sense of ownership, ...

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Cross-functional teams

Cross-functional teams aren’t a new idea. And yet, somehow, we still don’t seem to have got the memo. I was listening to the excellent Scott Hanselman’s podcast “Hanselminutes” last week, he had Angie Jones on to talk about automation. Among all the great advice around ensuring that automation is a first-class citizen in your development process one thing stood out ...

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