Last time, I ended by summarising that to progress you need to quickly iterate, and threw in a link to the wiki page on Fail Fast. A couple of posts ago I was waxing lyrical about bass players, and ended saying “Print that 7″, and move on.“. The theme here is obvious:
- Do something
- Pay attention to what happens
- Use your new knowledge to do the next thing
When speaking about doing agile, especially when migrating away from outdated methodologies, people often focus on the individual side of it, the most obvious being differences between Command-and-Control Project Management versus Servant-Leader facilitators. Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, etc
But from a Product perspective, hubris is often king. We all know Product people who think they are the second coming, are absolutely indispensable, and have some sort of perfectly unique take.Ed: You really want to open that door, huh? When you consider that an agile approach to Product requires you to run experiments and accept that you’ll make mistakes in order to learn, this is in direct conflict with corporate cultures which reward (perceived) perfectionism by way of arrogance, bravado, and the safe space afforded by feature-and-revenue led project plans. This can lead to people who have been moved in to Product positionsOften from previous “decision making” roles, such as a member of SLT, Programme Managers, Project Sponsors, etc as part of a transformation piece deciding that while everything else is changing, they don’t need to.I’ll cover this in greater depth in a future post, for now let’s put a pin in this and move on, but do keep it in mind.
The other part is the wider side – what are others doing?
If you consider a market of similar software products, there will be multiple companies and competitors, each making changes and learning from successes and failures. While no one has perfect knowledge, other people making mistakes for you is extremely cost-effective. And much like how you will look to take advantage of your competitions’ weaknesses, they will do the same, as their aim is to take money out of your pocket and put it in theirs.
If you’re able to learn from the mistakes of others, as well as your own, and act on them quickly, then you’ll have a better chance at staying ahead.
To fully learn from these collective mistakes, Product needs to do something particularly painful, they need to go out with the intention of killing their product. They must view their creation through the lens of a competitor, and rather than make excuses, they must pick it apart, highlight its flaws, and ruthlessly remove them.
You need to get over your own bullshit, because if you don’t kill your product, someone will gladly do it for you.
|↑1||Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, etc|
|↑2||Ed: You really want to open that door, huh?|
|↑3||Often from previous “decision making” roles, such as a member of SLT, Programme Managers, Project Sponsors, etc|
|↑4||I’ll cover this in greater depth in a future post, for now let’s put a pin in this and move on, but do keep it in mind.|