Revisiting Agile: Definition of Done, Metrics & More

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I recently accepted additional responsibilities after a Product Leader left our organization, and out of necessity I’ve had to dig in and immerse myself in a new world.  So it shouldn’t surprise me when I see it has been just over a month since my last post.  What a powerful reminder of how easily you can lose focus on being intentional when you get sucked into the day-to-day activities of the business.

As part of this transition, I’ve been thrust back into the mix of what it means to be Agile, so I’ve recently spent some time digging back through a few concepts.  It was helpful for me to revisit these, so I thought re-sharing would be a good idea.  Enjoy.

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Digital, Value, & Process

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Over the course of the past several weeks, my attention has been captured by three articles in particular.  I’m just getting the chance to get caught up with post-vacation reading, sodigital as I am processing them myself I thought I’d share as well.

All of the articles focus on a common theme … and you’ll generally see it in articles from McKinsey, Accenture, Gartner, Forrester, etc … how is digitization radically changing the dynamics of the markets in which we operate and the speed at which we need to move to remain competitive? How do we create value in this new ecosystem as Product Management leaders? And how do we shift our focus from a strategic standpoint from the complex to the simple?

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The Vacation Paradox

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Take a look at any number of articles or posts about successful leaders, and you will likely find a common idea shared amongst many of them. Whether you call it rejuvenating occasionally, recharging the batteries, striking a work/life balance, or some other description, they all speak to the idea of getting away from the office for a spell.

So why is it so hard to heed the advice of these successful leaders when it comes to our own calendavacayrs and taking a vacation? Why is it so many Product Management leaders can’t seem to let go of the seemingly endless tasks even for a short spell? Why are we as Product Management leaders so willing to forgo any time away from the office at the expense of potentially hitting the proverbial wall?

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Product Management Leader Don’ts

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I read an interesting article recently about the relationship between success and confidence. The article centered around the latter, but the implication (although not mentioned until the very end) was about success.  In his conclusion, the author makes this bold statement …

Embracing the behaviors of confident people is a great way to increase your odds for success, which, in turn, will lead to more confidence. The science is clear; now you just have to decide to act on it.

After several decades in the Product Management world, I can say there certainly is a lot of wisdom here. And while I encourage you to read the article and form your own conclusions, here is a synopsis of the 10 points with a few thoughts of my own.

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The Fruits of Complacency

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Ok, I admit it!  I am one of those World Cup lunatics.  If you walk by my office, you will likely see a game streaming on my mobile device.  Or if I am in a meeting, I will be following 281px-2018_fifa_world_cup-svgvia a live GameCast.  And yes, I was one of those back in 2002 when the tournament was held in Korea/Japan who was up at 2 a.m. watching the US team play.

So, having grown up in Germany as a pseudo-military brat (my dad worked for a defense contractor with the Air Force), yesterday was not a very good day.  The US team hadn’t even qualified (eliminating one of my teams), and now my other team in the tournament (Germany) is done.  And while there are plenty of differences between the two teams and the context of their exits, I perceived one thing that was the same:  a complacent approach.

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“What would you say … you do here?”

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As software products have moved to the cloud, and product expectations have been shaped by the elegant and intuitive experiences of consumer and mobile apps, great product leadership is at a premium.

Last week I came across a post on the State of Product Leadership based on a research study by Pendo and Product Collective. Over the years, I have enjoyed analyzing these types of viewoffice space.pngs (from Pragmatic Marketing, 280 Group, and others) as a way to gauge my own experiences and assumptions shared in this blog.  I wasn’t surprised by any of the findings in this report, but there are a few interesting topics worth having a conversation about.  Here are 3 I felt compelled to pursue.

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Hold Your Opinion to Yourself

Two converging thoughts this morning as I reflect on the weekend, from two completely different sources on leadership, both pointing to the same tenet. The first a reminder I received about being quick to listen, and slow to speak.  The second an edict to actually be the last to speak.

As Product Management leaders, how important do you perceive active listening to be?

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#IfIOnlyKnew

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A few articles caught my attention over the course of the week, so I set them aside to read when I had the chance.  The chance came this morning, and at the top of one of the articles on the Forbes site was this hashtag statement.  An innocuous reference most people probably didn’t even pay attention to.  But these are the types of insights I would either reiterate or share with my twenty something self.  Enjoy.

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Focusing on the Right Things

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We’ve all heard it said Product Management is akin to being CEO of your own product line.  In prior posts, I compared/contrasted the roles/responsibilities of a CEO and the Product Manager, and even took the bait on an article that lead with the provocative statement Product Managers, you aren’t the CEO of anything.

Regardless of where you stand with the conversation, I am a firm believer it’s not the title, or the perceived authority with the role, that defines leadership.  You are a leader when you start acting like one.  But if you do aspire to achieve a CEO role, you should know what to expect going in.

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Horizons, Patterns, & Surfing

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I will prepare and someday my chance will come.

If you’ve read many of my posts, you will know I am a big Abraham Lincoln fan. In fact, I have probably used this quote in prior posts.  And while I don’t think President Lincoln had surfing in mind when he crafted these words of wisdom, they do offer a wonderful perspective leading into the discussion at hand.

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