Strong Product People

Strong Product People

Author
Petra Wille
Year
2020
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Review

This is a great book, packed with relevant frameworks and tools. It does a great job of outlining all of the activities you behind developing great product managers. However, the book takes on too much. It tries to describe product strategy and product discovery in just one chapter and fails to do those concepts justice. It would have been a better book if it focused just on hiring and developing Product Managers.

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Key Takeaways

The 20% that gave me 80% of the value.

  • Are you devoting enough time to influence all three p’s?
People
Hire
Applications, interviews, employer-branding
Onboard
Induction, onboarding, welcome, stakeholder intros, first few weeks
Grow
Reflection, empowerment, inspiration, performance, coaching, approachable
Product
Now
Evangelise, explain, clarity, transparency, alignment
Future
Vision, strategy, principles, goals, removing politics
Process
Discover
Discovery, user empathy, experimentation, data gathering, feedback, stakeholder alignment, storytelling
Deliver
Planning, agile, minimise waste, status updates, limiting distractions, celebrations
  • Developing people activities
    • Observe: collect anecdotes, provide feedback
    • Reflect: setting helpful expectations (based on needs of company and individuals)
    • Set expectations clearly
    • Plan your next steps for people (work packages)
    • Coach them and hold them accountable for their growth
  • What is a product manager?
    • Someone who is responsible for all faces of product development
    • Come up with a product solution that overcomes the four key risks:
      • Value, Usability, Feasibility, Viability
  • Key Product Manager Activities (PM wheel / spider diagram)
    1. Understand the problem (Problem Space)
    2. Find a solution (Solution Space)
    3. Do some planning (Planning / Roadmaps)
    4. Get it done! (Execution)
    5. Listen and learn (Monitoring, Evaluation)
    6. Team (Teamwork, Leadership, Motivation)
    7. Grow (Investing in personal growth)
    8. Agile (Agile values, principles, good ways of working)
  • You need a definition of a good Product Manager
    • To set expectations
    • To make the right hiring decisions
    • To onboard people successfully
    • Define if somebody is falling short
    • Show PMs their necessary areas of personal growth
  • The PM Wheel is a good competency model. There’s a downloadable PDF (here)
    • Get to know your PMs
    • Reflect on what you’ve learned and map to your ideal
    • Ask your PMs to assess themselves
    • Identify a plan for improvement
    • Ask them how they think they’re doing
  • The 5 most important leadership skills:
    • Inspire and motivate others
    • Display high integrity and honesty
    • Solves problems and analyses issues
    • Drives for results
    • Communicates powerfully and prolifically
Google 12 Question Manager Survey. This is a great resource. 😄
  • Answers in the Likert Scale:
  1. I would recommend my manager to others.
  2. My manager assigns stretch opportunities to help me develop in my career.
  3. My manager communicates clear goals for our team.
  4. My manager gives me actionable feedback on a regular basis.
  5. My manager provides the autonomy I need to do my job (i.e., does not “micromanage” by getting involved in details that should be handled at other levels).
  6. My manager consistently shows consideration for me as a person.
  7. My manager keeps the team focused on priorities, even when it’s difficult (e.g., declining or deprioritising other projects).
  8. My manager regularly shares relevant information from their manager and senior leadership.
  9. My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about my career development in the past three months.
  10. My manager has the domain expertise (e.g., technical judgment in Tech, selling in Sales, accounting in Finance) required to effectively manage me. The actions of my manager show they value the perspective I bring to the team, even if it is different from their own.
  11. My manager makes tough decisions effectively (e.g., decisions involving multiple teams, competing priorities).
  12. My manager effectively collaborates across boundaries (e.g., team, organisational) and fosters alignment.
  13. Optional additional questions:
    • What would you recommend your manager keep doing?
    • What would you have your manager change?
  • The culture of an organisation is shaped by the worst behaviour the leader is willing to tolerate
  • Competence: taking a skill and applying it in any given situation on the job
    • Knowledge: is just information that can be recalled later
    • Skill: learning something to do something
  • The Future Self Framework (Canvas)
    • As-is: the PMs current situation
    • To-be: where they’re at after working on gaining a competency in a skill
    • Actions: the list of actions that will take the PM to get there
    • Time frame: number and interval of follow-ups
  • There’s a spectrum from telling to asking…
    • As a HoP → you can’t be a pure coach, you need to provide advice from time to time
    • Telling →
      ← Asking
      Solve Problem
      Give Advice
      Make Suggestions
      Provide Feedback
      Challenge Thinking
  • High performing teams share 6x more positive feedback
  • It’s hard to get better if you don’t know what better looks like
  • Create a culture of psychological safety → then create a culture of continuous feedback
  • Give feedback as close to the event as possible
    • Give context, say it right away, transition to coaching, offer help, agree on next steps, follow up
    • Situation - Behaviour - Impact
  • What can you do to support your people:
    • Care about them and their goals
    • Create room for improvement
    • Not tolerating poor performance
    • Foster autonomy and empower people
    • Lead by example
    • Provide direction
    • Ensure good communication within the organisation
  • Order Clarification (Auftragsklarung)
User Perspective
Opportunity What’s the problem that’s worth fixing?
User Insights What about our users informs this initiative?
Hypothesis What must be true so that this new initiative changes user behaviour?
Future experience What does it feel like as a user when this is done?
Company Perspective
Overarching goal How does it contribute to company priorities?
Input What’s the investment?
Output What are you delivering in front of customers?
Outcome How do you measure success?
  • Clarification Manifesto
    • If you get stuck trigger escalation early
    • Present escalation jointly
    • Be clear about what’s unclear
    • Decision makers: decide, then hand it back
  • Hiring isn’t a problem → Hiring is an opportunity
  • Measure and optimise your funnel. Develop metrics, track them and make adjustments to your approach
  • Shape your practice intentionally
  • Invest as much time in onboarding your new PM as you do hiring them
  • Things a strategy should address
    • A diagnosis (the current situation)
    • The hard and critical problems we need to solve first
    • How we might tackle these problems
    • Things you’re not doing or stopping doing
  • Markting Eriksson strategy stack…
    • Asking how should move you down a level.
    • Asking why should raise you up a level.
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A talented leader identifies one or two critical issues in the situation - the pivot points that can multiply the effectiveness of effort, and then focuses and concentrates action and resources on them From Good Strategy / Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt
  • Consider using KPI trees → a great tool for capturing and discussing what are the right metrics to be focusing on
  • HEART Framework:
HEART
Goals
Signals
Metrics
Happiness
Engagement
Adoption
Retention
Task Success
  • Core concepts of product discovery:
    • Hypothesis-Driven approach (optimise this for cycle time)
      • Review existing data + make first hand observations
      • List and prioritise assumptions (importance vs evidence/confidence)
      • Write down a clear hypothesis
      • Examples:
        • We believe this problem exists for this persona and solving it will result in x
          • We will know this to be true if …
        • We believe this solution will generate value for persona Y
          • We will know this to be true if …
        • We believe this implementation of solution A for persona Y will deliver the value we want
          • We will know this to be true if …
      • Evaluate with experiments
      • Decide (accept or reject) or Refine / Take action
    • Getting the right idea vs getting the idea right
      • Exploring the problem space more than the solution space
      • Diverging and converging
      • E.g. the double diamond model
    • Don’t base decisions on one single experiment or data point
      • Data + User Feedback + Gut
        • All three is a strong signal
        • Two is still a signal
        • One is not enough, do more research
  • Four different boards to track your discovery and delivery flow:
    • Idea: Idea → Assessment → Opportunity
    • Overview: Opportunity → in discovery → in delivery → in validation → in sunsetting
    • Discovery: Opportunity → Problem Definition → Problem Validation → Ideation & Solutionising → Solution Validation → Synthesis and Requirements
    • Delivery: Open tasks→ doing → testing → done → validation
  • Four stages of team development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a team (Patrick Lencioni)
    • Absence of trust vs trust one another
    • Fear of conflict vs engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas
    • Lack of commitment vs decisions and plans of action
    • Avoidance of accountability vs holding each other to account
    • Inattention to results vs focusing on collective achievement -
  • Who communicates what via which channel to whom with reason and effect?
What
Accurate, complete, well structured, necessary, clear and concise?
How
Async or sync, remote or in person, through what medium? Check your attitude Ready to listen and open-minded Fully present Assertive not agressive Don’t make it personal
Why
Clear on what you’re trying to accomplish. What’s the end result you want?
Who
Including the right people and ONLY the right people
When
Timely, good time for the party you are communicating with, duration proportional to importance
Where
Think about place (security, privacy etc)
  • Henrik Kiniberg: Earliest testable product. Earliest Usable Product. Earliest Lovable Product.
  • Daniel Pink: Three elements of motivation:
    • Mastery: desire to continually improve at something that matters
    • Autonomy: the desire to direct our lives
    • Purpose: desire to do things in service of something larger than ourselves
  • How can you help PMs achieve these? How can you can you help them visualise success?
  • Appreciation, Recognition, Empowerment, Inspiration
    • Value individuals, celebrate achievements, provide opportunities, is there a career path for individual contributors?
  • McKinsey’s Nine Golden Rules for Reorganisation:
    1. Focus first on the longer-term strategic aspirations—dwelling only on pain points typically creates new ones.
    2. Take time to develop an accurate, verifiable picture of today’s structures, processes, and people.
    3. Select the right blueprint carefully by creating multiple options and testing them under scenarios.
    4. Go beyond lines and boxes; consider all three elements of organisational design.
    5. Fill well-defined roles in an orderly, transparent way
    6. Identify and actively change the necessary mind-sets. Do not assume that people will automatically fall in line.
    7. Use metrics to measure short- and long-term results.
    8. Make sure business leaders communicate, and create a powerful redesign narrative to inspire and mobilise the company.
    9. Monitor and mitigate transitional risks, such as interruptions to business continuity, loss of talent, and customer-care lapses
  • Foster bottom-up change:
    • Start small and make sure it works
    • Create a success story
    • Find the ally
    • Ask them to share their success story
    • Start to convince the org
    • Help everyone succeed
  • Understand and minimise the main reasons for conflict:
    • Competing goals
    • Limited resources without clear allocation
    • Competitiveness, toxic work environment, unhealthy workplace competition
  • To resolve conflicts you need to be able to
    • Manage stress quickly while remaining alert and calm
    • Control your emotions and behaviour
    • Pay attention to the feeling being expressed
    • Be aware of and respect differences
  • Steps to resolving conflict:
    • Don’t make it worse (avoid the boom)
    • Have a follow up meeting (after conflict is exposed)
      • Acknowledge the conflict → builds common ground
      • Listen to the other person(s)
      • Acknowledge similarities
      • Admit mistakes
      • Focus on the present
      • Stick to the issue, focus on behaviour not personality
      • Be willing to forgive and let go
      • Use a mediator if needed
  • Non-Violent Communication Framework (Marshall Rosenberg)
    • Observation → Feeling → Need → Request
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Deep Summary

Longer form notes, typically condensed, reworded and de-duplicated.

Part 1: What product managers do. Define your good.

1 Your Role in This Game

  • Key roles and responsibilities of a head of product
    • Translating business goals into a communicable product strategy
    • Building the product management team (hiring, developing, performance management)
    • Creating a great working environment for PM, making sure decisions get made
  • Shipyard metaphor (by Jeff Redfern)
    • You’re building a better shipyard
    • You’re not building the ships yourself
    • You’re just hiring the right people, providing the best environment and giving them the tools they need
  • As a leader your job is to get a result through others.
  • The 3p’s of organisational success
    • People
    • Product (or purpose if you’re pre-product market fit)
    • Processes
  • Are you devoting enough time to influence all three p’s
People
Hire
Applications, interviews, employer-branding
Onboard
Induction, onboarding, welcome, stakeholder intros, first few weeks
Grow
Reflection, empowerment, inspiration, performance, coaching, approachable
Product
Now
Evangelise, explain, clarity, transparency, alignment
Future
Vision, strategy, principles, goals, removing politics
Process
Discover
Discovery, user empathy, experimentation, data gathering, feedback, stakeholder alignment, storytelling
Deliver
Planning, agile, minimise waste, status updates, limiting distractions, celebrations
  • What are you doing well?
  • What do you need to more of?
🕜
Spending time on onboarding colleagues well is short-term painful, long-term effective
  • On developing people. Make your expectations clear. Let each person know where they’re at. Have a bigger vision for each PM. Help them grow toward this by assigning them the right work packages, through coaching, holding them accountable for their growth
  • Developing people activities
    • Observe: collect anecdotes, provide feedback
    • Reflect: setting helpful expectations (based on needs of company and individuals)
    • Set expectations clearly
    • Plan your next steps for people (work packages)
    • Coach them and hold them accountable for their growth

2. A Quick Team Assessment

  • Reflect on if your team is capable of doing the job to be done
  • Team Assessment Method (GWC - from Gino Wickman’s book Traction)
    • Do they get/understand the role and the expectations? (in terms of outcome and output)
    • Do they also want it? (what do they want to achieve in their personal and business life)
    • Do they have capacity? (mentally, physically, emotionally) (time, knowledge, resources)
PM
Get it
Want it
Capacity
Notes
A
Yes/No
Yes/No
Yes/No
B
Yes/No
Yes/No
Yes/No
C
Yes/No
Yes/No
Yes/No
  • Not getting it or wanting it are deal killers. Find another position for them.

3. The Role of Product Managers

  • Are you able to describe the role of a PM to your PMs in a way they will understand how you view it?
  • What is a product?
    • Something created and made available to somebody that brings value to customers/users (the market)
    • A product should meet business needs and constraints. It needs to generate enough value to be sustainable
  • What is a product manager?
    • Someone who is responsible for all faces of product development
    • Come up with a product solution that overcomes the four key risks:
      • Value, Usability, Feasibility, Viability
  • Key Product Manager Activities (PM wheel / spider diagram)
    1. Understand the problem (Problem Space)
    2. Find a solution (Solution Space)
    3. Do some planning (Planning / Roadmaps)
    4. Get it done! (Execution)
    5. Listen and learn (Monitoring, Evaluation)
    6. Team (Teamwork, Leadership, Motivation)
    7. Grow (Investing in personal growth)
    8. Agile (Agile values, principles, good ways of working)

4. Define your good

The only true measure of the product manager is the success of his or her product Marty Cagan
  • You need a definition of a good Product Manager
    • To set expectations
    • To make the right hiring decisions
    • To onboard people successfully
    • Define if somebody is falling short
    • Show PMs their necessary areas of personal growth
  • How to define your good.
    1. Define your PM essence.
      • The personality traits that you’re looking for. The author favours: curiosity, emotional intelligence, desire to make an impact, smart, adaptable, nice to spend time with.
    2. Define your responsibilities, skills and know-how
      • You can use the 8 PM Activities and the PM wheel as a prompt
    3. Add company values and other company factors
  • You can put them all together on a canvas if you like, to get things onto a single page
PM Essence
Skills, Know-How, Responsibilities
Values
  • This PM Wheel PDF that accompanies the book is essentially a competency model for PMs and questions that help you assess how good you are
  • 2020_PM_Wheel_ALL_v04.pdf596.5KB
  • Start using your definition of good
    • Reflect on each person in the team
    • Assign some scores
    • Do some calibration amongst team members
  • The first assessment meeting:
    • Present your definition of a good PM
    • Explain the framework
    • Invite the PM to score themself and reflect no the company values
    • Present your own ratings to the PM explain why
    • Identify and area of improvement to focus on
    • Ask them if they’d like to do this more often
    • Encourage comments and pushback on your approach
  • Pulling it all together:
    • Get to know your PMs
    • Reflect on what you’ve learned and map to your ideal
    • Ask your PMs to assess themselves
    • Identify a plan for improvement
    • Ask them how they think they’re doing

Part 2: Manage your team. Find your voice.

  • You should have an understanding of management and leadership
  • You should be aiming to improve your coaching skills

5. Being a Great Boss

  • You have to work at being a boss
  • You can develop your skills through experimentation, learning and improvement
  • The 5 most important leadership skills:
    • Inspire and motivate others
    • Display high integrity and honesty
    • Solves problems and analyses issues
    • Drives for results
    • Communicates powerfully and prolifically
  • The Great boss blueprint:
    • The human touch. Building relationships and trust. Show that you care. Appreciate people with all their differences. Assume positive intent. Be open to their concerns. Spot tensions and react early and appropriately (to avoid major issues)
    • Opinionated but adaptable. Have strong opinions about subjects like motivation, incentives and rewards, ethics, diversity, leadership vs management, common product management topics etc. Educate yourself to the point of having an opinion
    • Lead by Example. Be on time. Share your know-how. Focus on users and outcomes. Be positive. Delegate authority and responsibility. Be collaborative. Communicate and don’t hesitate to make decisions when necessary.
    • Healthy attitude toward work. Have a life outside of wok.
    • Impact on the organisation. Create a safe place. Ensure information flows. Find and remove obstacles to motivation.
  • Get feedback from people around you. Encourage feedback constantly. Make it part of your standard conversation.
Google 12 Question Manager Survey. This is a great resource. 😄
  • Answers in the Likert Scale:
  1. I would recommend my manager to others.
  2. My manager assigns stretch opportunities to help me develop in my career.
  3. My manager communicates clear goals for our team.
  4. My manager gives me actionable feedback on a regular basis.
  5. My manager provides the autonomy I need to do my job (i.e., does not “micromanage” by getting involved in details that should be handled at other levels).
  6. My manager consistently shows consideration for me as a person.
  7. My manager keeps the team focused on priorities, even when it’s difficult (e.g., declining or deprioritising other projects).
  8. My manager regularly shares relevant information from their manager and senior leadership.
  9. My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about my career development in the past three months.
  10. My manager has the domain expertise (e.g., technical judgment in Tech, selling in Sales, accounting in Finance) required to effectively manage me. The actions of my manager show they value the perspective I bring to the team, even if it is different from their own.
  11. My manager makes tough decisions effectively (e.g., decisions involving multiple teams, competing priorities).
  12. My manager effectively collaborates across boundaries (e.g., team, organisational) and fosters alignment.
  13. Optional additional questions:
    • What would you recommend your manager keep doing?
    • What would you have your manager change?
  • Get a mentor. Take a loose connection and slowly build on it.

Chapter 6: Identifying and Closing Product Manager Gaps

  • Identifying Product Manager Gaps
    • Some gaps are obvious to us, others we’re blind to
    • To close a gap
      • You need to be consciously made aware of them
      • Need to be willing to close them
  • How people do see gaps:
    • Compare themselves to others
    • Seek and get feedback from team members
  • The Spencer & Spencer iceberg model:
    • Competencies that are visible are most easily developed
    • Competencies that are hidden are most difficult to help
  • There’s a difference between getting somebody to competence vs further development
    • Competency gaps are easier to support
    • Further growth requires understanding what the PM wants for their future
      • E.g. individual contributor vs manager pathway
  • Typical graduation: execution → discovery → outcome orientated → strategy, vision
The culture of an organisation is shaped by the worst behaviour the leader is willing to tolerate Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker from their book School Culture Rewind
  • Deal with PMs who aren’t performing at the competent PM level (Product Execution) quickly
    • Don’t tolerate low PM performance.
  • Initial gap identification. Coaching should always start with a gap.
    • 3 questions to help you understand if they’re competent:
      • Can they describe their now? (what will they deliver in the next 4 weeks)
      • Can they describe their next? (what will they be working on over the next 5-15 weeks)
      • Can they describe their long-term vision? (articulate bigger opportunities for products, and when and how they can pursue them)
  • Closing the gaps:
    • Closing gaps often means learning or applying new techniques
    • Doing so requires lots of energy
    • You need to find a way for them to learn that triggers intrinsic motivation (that they respond to)
  • Training is the least effective way of people closing gaps
  • Competence is down to knowledge and skill.
    • Competence: taking a skill and applying it in any given situation on the job
    • Knowledge: is just information that can be recalled later
    • Skill: learning something to do something
  • First determine if they have a knowledge gap or a skill gap
  • Training is an OK option for knowledge gaps
  • Skills can only be learnt by:
    • Perform the action → inspect the results → adapting the action
  • The Future Self Framework (Canvas)
    • As-is: the PMs current situation
    • To-be: where they’re at after working on gaining a competency in a skill
    • Actions: the list of actions that will take the PM to get there
    • Time frame: number and interval of follow-ups
  • Get them to draft the future self canvas, then give feedback.

Ways to gain knowledge / competency / skills:

  • Courses, books, talks, side-projects, from doing, from peers, training, coaching sessions.

To deepen knowledge / competency / skills:

  • Write a blog post, do a talk, teach others

Chapter 7: The Power of Coaching

  • Investing in your reports learning and development pays off → in both retention and value
  • What coaches do:
    1. Gain clarity
      • What’s important now?
      • What’s this really about for me?
      • What needs to change?
    2. Create a strategy for success
      • Help them come up with tactics
      • Help them see what success looks like
    3. Act
      • Help them put it into actions
      • First step, next steps, commitment, follow-up
    4. Evaluate progress
      • Hold people accountable
      • Evaluate progress
      • Adjust tactics
  • There’s a spectrum from telling to asking…
Telling →
——
——
——
← Asking
Solve Problem
Give Advice
Make Suggestions
Provide Feedback
Challenge Thinking
No development
——
Some Development
——
Long-Term Dev.
  • As a HoP → you can’t be a pure coach, you need to provide advice from time to time
  • How to start a coaching habit: Commit to it, show you care, work on listening skills, focus on competence first, find good questions to ask, tame your advice monster, keep the dialogue going, learn to be patient and ditch the why

Structure of a typical coaching session

1) Check in
  • Build a connection by asking personal questions and getting into the listening zone
2) Find/Agree on topic

Focus on a real problem, not the first one that comes up. Author has a 52 card deck of questions.

  • What’s on your mind?
  • If you had to pick one to focus on?
  • What do you want related to that topic?
  • How can you get into a creative mode to find a solution?
  • If we could improve in anyway, how would we do it?
  • Are you happy working here?
  • What have you been wanting to learn more of, get better at, improve on?
  • Is there an area outside your current role where you think you could contribute?
  • If you could design your ideal role?
  • If there anything stopping you from doing good work?
3) Explore the topic
  • Take time to explore the topic, talk about opportunities, change perspectives and alternatives
    • What else could you do?
    • What different options do you have?
    • If you had a magic wand what would you do with it?
    • If you worked for the perfect organisation what would you do?
    • How do you stay true to your principles while working to reach your goals
4) Focus on one action and ask if you can help
  • Focus on action and commitment
  • Be precise find something they can act on right away
  • Create momentum
  • Questions:
    • Which option will you choose to action?
    • When are you going to start the first action?
    • What would you like to have as a first result?
    • What’s one thing you do today that would help you toward your goal?
    • What is your goal related to this issue?
    • When are you going to achieve it?
    • What are the benefits for you in achieving it?
    • Who else will benefit in what way?
    • What it be like if you achieve your goal?
    • If you’re saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?
    • Will this fit into your daily routine?
  • How can I help?
    • What could I do to support you better? What can I do more or less of?
    • What can I do to help unblock you?
    • Where can I support you best?
  • Commitment questions…
    • How committed are you to taking these actions?
    • What would make it a 10?
    • What will you commit to doing?
5) Check out
  • Seal your agreement
  • Leave the meeting on a positive note
  • Two important concepts to coaching:
    • Love it, change it or leave it: you can leave something but only after trying to change it and concluding you can’t
    • Disagree and commit: it’s okay to not agree, but you should still be able to contribute and work toward a common goal

Chapter 8: Monitoring performance and giving feedback

  • High performing teams share 6x more positive feedback
  • Tradeoff: Performance culture vs Family culture
    • Performance is all that matters vs Come as you are
  • Companies are about creating value together.
    • Value creation should be a shared goal
    • Performance obligations must be distributed evenly
    • Roles must be clearly defined, communicated and understood
    • Expectations for the individual contributions of each employee must be clearly communicated
    • Managers must support the employees in meeting expectations
    • Employees who do not live up to expectations should be supported to improve
      • It’s hard to get better if you don’t know what better looks like
  • Tackle poor performance quickly.
  • Create a culture of psychological safety → then create a culture of continuous feedback
  • Radical Candor → Care personally and challenge directly
  • Give feedback as close to the event as possible
  • Feedback is typically task related or behavioural
  • 5 steps to a feedback culture
    1. Ask for feedback and learn how to take it
      • Take it by… Listen, consider the source, ask for specific examples, evaluate the criticism, keep the useful information but let go of the negative feelings
    2. Create a habit. Collect and prepare.
    3. Ask if they want it.
    4. Give feedback (praise and criticism)
      • Tips on Giving Feedback
        • Give context, say it right away, transition to coaching, offer help, agree on next steps, follow up
        • Consider: Content + Attitude + Form + Setting + Timing
    5. Make sure you’re not the only source of feedback
  • Situation - Behaviour - Impact : Feedback Tool

Chapter 9: Motivation Do’s and Don’t

  • Employee motivation: level of energy, commitment, and creativity people bring to their jobs
  • It’s your job as a manager to motivate your employees
    • through incentives: rewards and recognition
    • through involvement and empowerment
  • People were motivated to join, they’re motivated to show up. You need to avoid de-motivating them:
    • Never push loyal people to the point that they don’t give a damn
14 ways to demotivate your employees
  • Micromanage
  • Fail to recognise achievements
  • Tolerate poor performance
  • Don’t encourage personal development
  • Don’t follow through on your commitments
  • Don’t care or don’t be present
  • No clear direction
  • Chaos reigns
  • Everyone is treated equal (people don’t want the same salary, they want fair compensation)
  • Pay is too low to make a living
  • Hire and promote the wrong people
  • The workload is unrealistic
  • Boredom is widespread
  • People feel a lack of job security
  • Your PMs might want:
    • Quality of life upgrade
    • Mastery / learning and growth
    • Autonomy / empowerment
    • Creativity and innovation
    • Purpose
  • Figure out what people want, make sure you’re not a barrier to them achieving it
  • What can you do to support your people:
    • Care about them and their goals
    • Create room for improvement
    • Not tolerating poor performance
    • Foster autonomy and empower people
    • Lead by example
    • Provide direction
    • Ensure good communication within the organisation

Chapter 10: Building Individual and Team Alignment

  • Three things that are needed for alignment
    • Clarify the underlying intent of activities.
    • Have alignment discussions quickly.
    • Make results of the alignment process transparent.
  • Directional clarity: vision, strategy, goals
  • Situational clarity: what’s going on now, who’s doing what
  • Role clarity: role expectations
  • Role Definition Canvas:
    • Role Name
    • Role Purpose (why have the role)
    • Goals and Mission (goals you pursue, measures of success)
    • Responsibilities (and responsibilities not part of role)
    • Decisions (what decisions does the role make)
    • Main Tasks (and tasks not part of role)
    • Skills and Know-How
    • Sharing with (how you interact with other roles)
  • A manual of me can help others work with you.
  • 3 dimensions of alignment
    • Upward: management
    • Inward: team
    • Laterally: peers and partners
  • Order Clarification / Auftragsklarung Canvas
    • The value comes from the discussion not the canvas
User Perspective
Opportunity What’s the problem that’s worth fixing?
User Insights What about our users informs this initiative?
Hypothesis What must be true so that this new initiative changes user behaviour?
Future experience What does it feel like as a user when this is done?
Company Perspective
Overarching goal How does it contribute to company priorities?
Input What’s the investment?
Output What are you delivering in front of customers?
Outcome How do you measure success?
  • Clarification Manifesto
    • If you get stuck trigger escalation early
    • Present escalation jointly
    • Be clear about what’s unclear
    • Decision makers: decide, then hand it back
  • Make results transparent. Write a summary and pass it around.

Chapter 11: How to find the time

  • Focus on small meaningful conversations
  • Make it a habit
  • Use time-boxing for preparation
  • Find a way that you love doing it
  • Focus on developing your people, make it a priority
  • People development is good for everyone involved. PMs will have a greater impact, be more motivated to stay, which means less hiring and onboarding activities.
  • Finding time for your own development
    • Remind yourself that learning will propel you forward
    • Set aside time for personal development
    • Be their friendly reminder
    • Ask them to figure out how they learn best (time, location, medium)
  • The four different types of learning:
    • Consuming material
    • Applying what you’ve learnt in your work
    • Reflect on if you’re development efforts are working
    • Contribute to the product community (helps you see what you’ve learnt)

Part 3. Find and recruit good product managers. Attract the best people.

12. Where to find great PMs

  • Hiring isn’t a problem → Hiring is an opportunity
  • Focus on finding both active and passive candidates
    • Active: actively looking for a job
    • Passive: open to being headhunted
  • Passive sourcing: posting a job ad, doing SEO, waiting for active candidates to find you
  • The Job Ad
    • Create an original job ad
    • Review the competition but don’t copy them
    • Put yourself in the candidates shoes
    • Use your competency model to define what you’re looking for
    • Give enough information about the company, the product and the customers
    • You don’t have to stuff the ad with criteria, you can simply use it to filter CVs
    • Get feedback from your PMs
    • Post on your website and on product job boards.
  • The Candidate Profile
    • The definition of what you’re looking for
    • Like a candidate persona (education, current situation, willing to travel, key skills and experience, experience in remote work and so on)
    • Titles, skills, location, experience, keywords for filtering (e.g. Discovery)
  • Unconventional ways to hire:
    • Hire ‘Deputy Product Managers’ → those working in a team without a PM who are already doing the work to a certain extent
    • People in customer care roles can transition easily too
    • Be cautious about hiring from your competitors. Their culture is different and you don’t want to copy them
    • Consultancies and agencies can be a good source of temporary product people
    • Product manager conferences and blogs
  • Measure and optimise your funnel. Develop metrics, track them and make adjustments to your approach
    • How many passive candidates do you need to speak to to get 10 applications?
    • How many active candidates are applying to job ads?
    • Are they of high quality?
    • How long is the hiring cycle?
  • Think about your employer branding and how the careers section of your website looks

13. Interviewing, assessing, and hiring candidates

  • Shape your practice intentionally
    • What would your ideal practice look like 12 months from now?
    • Reflect on: your role, your definition of a good PM, the shape of the team, skills of the team, the environment and culture
  • This should help you answer questions that will help with hiring…
    • How many?
    • Pioneers or town planners?
    • What level of experience?
    • What experience personality traits?
    • What experiences would help increase the diversity of your team?
  • Suggested hiring process
    • Scan applications → compare candidates → short phone interview → assign a take-home case → conduct a formal interview → make the offer
    • Phone screening tips
      • Explain the role (5 mins)
      • Questions for the candidate (15 mins)
        • Walk me through your CV
        • Highlight what you think is relevant
        • Talk about your favourite product and explain why you like it and how you would improve it
      • Did they manage the time well? Were they hard to follow? Did they show interest?
      Take home task tips
      • Allow 5 days
      • Take something you’ve recently been working on, and use that as the interview task
        • Ask them to assess it from the customer perspective?
        • Get them to reverse engineer the product?
        • Talk about your goals → then get them to come up with opportunities
    • For ad-hoc cases
      • How would you design, position and sell sunglasses for babies?
      • How would you redesign a grocery store for seniors or introverts?
      • Then ask what product development process they would use?
      • What metrics would they track?
      • What business model would they choose?
  • What the different stages tell you?
    • Take home task:
      • Interest, effort, frameworks they know, attention to detail vs getting it done, time management skills, presentation skills, stand up to critical questions, critical product eye
    • Ad-hoc case:
      • User empathy, toolbox, experiment mindset, can we work together
    • Formal interview:
      • Curiosity, emotional intelligence, wants to make an impact, intellectual horsepower, adaptability, nice to spend time with
  • The candidate experience:
    1. Submit CV
    2. Speak on phone
    3. Do homework
    4. Go to in person day
      • Introductions
      • Homework presentation and questions
      • Ad-hoc collaborative exercise
      • Competency questions
      • Lunch with peers
      • Closing (chance for them to ask questions, references, compensation
    5. Find out result
  • Questions to help you make the decision:
    • Do they fit your team? What about in 12 months?
    • How would you change onboarding to help them?
    • Could you guide, inspire, develop or coach this person?
    • Do you have a vision for them? Could you make them happy?

14. Effective Onboarding

  • Onboarding: integrating a new employee with your company and culture, getting them the tools and information needed to become a productive
It makes no sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do Steve Jobs
  • Invest as much time in onboarding your new PM as you do hiring them
  • Make a good first impressions
  • Think about what they need to learn
  • Make this a program → don’t reinvent the wheel for each person
    • Create a day 1, week 1, month 1, quarter 1 onboarding plan
  • Onboarding ideas:
    • First meeting should include key information about:
      • Company: people, mission, vision, strategy, role, domain
      • Communication: Tools and rules, emails culture, meeting culture
      • Collaboration: meet the team, meet the stakeholders, time management basics
    • Give them something to do quickly (small), use it as an example to coach how you want them to tackle problems:
      • Describe the situation / problem
      • Describe the solutions
      • Ask for advice
      • Offer a veto option and advise on deadline
    • Important aspects of onboarding:
      • Making good decisions
      • Building supportive alliances
      • Gaining early wins
      • Creating an informed strategy and vision
      • Increasing credibility

Part 4.Develop your existing product team. Train for excellence.

15. Help your Product Managers Create a Product Vision and Set Goals

  • Vision, Strategy, Goals and principles are all tools to help with decision making and alignment
  • Think of it as creating a framework for better decision making
  • One person needs to take the lead in creating the vision, strategy goals and principles
  • Vision: for purpose, meaning and alignment. Describes why we get up in the morning
  • Nail your mission before defining your vision.
  • Your vision should focus everyone on the customer and explains what you’re trying to accomplish.
  • Reflect on which of the 30 elements of value in the ‘Product Value Pyramid’ you aim to deliver
  • A strategy is what we hope will make the vision come true.
  • Things a strategy should address
    • A diagnosis (the current situation)
    • The hard and critical problems we need to solve first
    • How we might tackle these problems
    • Things you’re not doing or stopping doing
  • Markting Eriksson strategy stack…
    • Asking how should move you down a level.
    • Asking why should raise you up a level.
image
  • Where are you in the product life-cycle?
    • Research & Development → Introduction → Growth → Maturity → Retirement
A talented leader identifies one or two critical issues in the situation - the pivot points that can multiply the effectiveness of effort, and then focuses and concentrates action and resources on them From Good Strategy / Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt
  • Goals allow everyone to measure progress toward executing the strategy
  • Focus on 1-3 most important things you want to keep on.
  • Consider defining a North Start Metric (some use OKRs)
  • Consider using KPI trees → a great tool for capturing and discussing what are the right metrics to be focusing on
  • HEART Framework:
HEART
Goals
Signals
Metrics
Happiness
Engagement
Adoption
Retention
Task Success
  • Product Principles: rule-like statements that help you decide what to do. Follow the format, of if in doubt, do this instead of that.
    • Focus on the user, and all else will follow (Google)
    • Job seeks come first → Recruiters will follow (Monster)

Process: Create it → Share it → Live up to it → Refine it

  • Tips for sharing:
    • Review and test your storyline against the decision stack model
    • Start with a small audience. refine the story, try it again and go wider
    • Make sure the story brings clarity in the end.
      • Clarity = Transparency and understanding
    • Announce, explain and repeat
  • Living up to it tips:
    • Review staffing
    • Get PMs to review their objectives and goals
    • Quickly stop doing things not alignment to the strategy
    • Use it as a filter for your discoveries
    • Redo roadmaps and task boards
    • Start every meeting with a reminder
    • Avoid distractions, and focus on executing the strategy to get bigger rewards

Template:

  • In a time where …. Context
  • We believe …. Belief
  • and imagine a world, that … vision
  • This is why we are a…. organisation
  • that offers …. product/service/solution
  • for … customer/client/user
  • Who want … need / pain releif
  • and search … benefit / value
  • Other than … alternatives / competitors
  • we are able to … advantage / disruptive feature
  • and we will not stop until … mission
  • To make sure this becomes a reality we will have to tackle …. problems
  • We might tackle them by … first ideas
  • Therefore we no longer will … things we’re stopping, NOT TODOs
  • And we will know we’re making progress if … signals / goals

Chapter 16: Hypothesis Driven Product Development and Experiments

If you can’t confidently state why people are going to use your product, who those individuals are, what makes your product stand out from the crowd, and why it’s worthwhile for your business to develop and provide the product, then you are not in a position to build the actual solution. Roman Pichler
  • Product Discovery is all about eliminating risks (valuable, viable, usable, feasible)
  • Things you need for a successful product discovery:
    • A shared goal
    • A strategy
    • The right people (cross-functional team)
    • A culture that allows experimentation and time to experiment
  • Core concepts of product discovery:
    • Hypothesis-Driven approach (optimise this for cycle time)
      • Review existing data + make first hand observations
      • List and prioritise assumptions (importance vs evidence/confidence)
      • Write down a clear hypothesis
      • Examples:
        • We believe this problem exists for this persona and solving it will result in x
          • We will know this to be true if …
        • We believe this solution will generate value for persona Y
          • We will know this to be true if …
        • We believe this implementation of solution A for persona Y will deliver the value we want
          • We will know this to be true if …
      • Evaluate with experiments
      • Decide (accept or reject) or Refine / Take action
    • Getting the right idea vs getting the idea right
      • Exploring the problem space more than the solution space
      • Diverging and converging
      • E.g. the double diamond model
    • Don’t base decisions on one single experiment or data point
      • Data + User Feedback + Gut
        • All three is a strong signal
        • Two is still a signal
        • One is not enough, do more research
  • Discovery is all about learning, and learning as fast as you can.
  • You need a strong toolkit to be good at discovery
    • Know how to work with metrics and data (KPI trees)
    • Know how to interview
    • Know the basics of behavioural economics (The Paradox of Choice)
    • Know about different business models and pricing options
    • Know about the basics of funnels (Acquisition, engagement, retention, referrals)
    • Knowing about types of experiments and when to use each type
    • Ways to document and share results (story maps, JTBD)
    • Opportunity Solution Trees → can help navigate discovery too.

Chapter 17: Balancing Product Discovery and Delivery

  • Don’t operate at the extremes, get the balance right
  • Make sure you’re setting aside time for discovery tasks
  • Discovery activities you should be doing each week
    • Speaking to or observing customers
    • Looking at user data
    • Success metrics and goals
    • Spend time with your team
    • Reviewing and adjusting their short-term and midterm planning
  • Other checks:
    • Is there meaningful work on the backlog
    • How our your improving user’s lives this month?
    • Is there a way to improve your discovery work? To learn faster?
    • Move no longer needed ideas to the trash can
    • Accumulating tech debt just to get features out quickly
  • Draw out your weeks, days months.
    • In a stacked line plot, show how you’re splitting your time between different activities
  • Each quarter check in with your product strategy, collect and review open ideas, set goals and agree on key metrics.
  • Four different boards to track your discovery and delivery flow:

Idea: Idea → Assessment → Opportunity

Overview: Opportunity → in discovery → in delivery → in validation → in sunsetting

Discovery: Opportunity → Problem Definition → Problem Validation → Ideation & Solutionising → Solution Validation → Synthesis and Requirements

Delivery: Open tasks→ doing → testing → done → validation

Chapter 18: Time Management for PMs

Time Management Concepts:

  • Parkinson’s law: work expands to fill time available
  • Time-box: If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do
  • Be aware of the Pareto principle in everything you do
  • Find space to get into flow state during the day → to get work done
  • Beware the time fallacy: You think others are more productive because they have more time. So you work more hours.

Time Management Frameworks:

  • Learning to say no → give people context to take their requests down
  • Better Meetings. Be clear about what type of meeting you’re having (Update, Brainstorm, Decision) and facilitate accordingly.
  • Manager vs Maker Schedule: Makers need units of time in half day blocks.
    • 4 hours of uninterrupted work. 4 hours of meetings.
  • Eisenhower Matrix: Important / Urgent
    • Write everything down onto a TODO list (not about collecting tasks it’s about completing them → try to limit your WIP)
    • Find your delegation pool
    • Don’t let others define your priorities for you
  • Rock, Pebbles, Sand → Limit your work in progress, schedule time for the rocks early
  • Be an example:
    • Don’t disturb/distract everyone
    • Respect office hours
    • Make it clear when you need something by
    • Make time for sleep, food, water, bathroom, exercise, relaxation
    • Allocate time between product discovery and product execution

Chapter 19: Working with the cross-functional product development team

  • A team is a set of people with complementary skills committed to a common purpose
  • Empower the team → make sure you have the right skills, give people responsibility
  • Reduce the maker-to-user gap → encourage participation in research
  • Help your organisation adopt an agile mindset → foster the agile mindset
  • Four stages of team development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing
    • Bruce Truckman
  • Create shared values as a team. Get people to list an imaginary best and worst colleague, call out traits and vote → it will help you zoom in on values
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a team (Patrick Lencioni)
    • Absence of trust vs trust one another
    • Fear of conflict vs engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas
    • Lack of commitment vs decisions and plans of action
    • Avoidance of accountability vs holding each other to account
    • Inattention to results vs focusing on collective achievement
  • Help your PMs remove Obstacles
    • If the team isn’t delivering → it’s normally an issue of alignment or autonomy:
      • For alignment use Janet Fraser’s UBAD model to achieve buy-in:
        • Decision: Are they making decisions in support of it
        • Advocacy:Have you seen them speaking accurately, effectively, and supportively
        • Belief: Do they believe in it?
        • Understanding: Do they understand it?
      • For Autonomy:
        • Is the team cross-functional enough?
        • Lacking budget?
        • Can they make decisions on their own?
  • Things to check:
    • your team agrees with prioritisation
    • for conflict within the team
    • that the PM isn’t the bottleneck

Chapter 20. Communicating Directly and Openly

  • Communication is everyone’s job
  • Lead by example: Listen more than you talk, be transparent
  • You need psychological safety and trust
  • Communication Basics:
  • Who communicates what via which channel to whom with reason and effect?
  • Most communication is about expressing wants and needs
  • Before you start: What are you trying to accomplish? Why is the conversation taking place?
  • Decide on synchronous vs async.
  • Effective communication checklist:
What
Accurate, complete, well structured, necessary, clear and concise?
How
Async or sync, remote or in person, through what medium? Check your attitude Ready to listen and open-minded Fully present Assertive not agressive Don’t make it personal
Why
Clear on what you’re trying to accomplish. What’s the end result you want?
Who
Including the right people and ONLY the right people
When
Timely, good time for the party you are communicating with, duration proportional to importance
Where
Think about place (security, privacy etc)

Chapter 21. Planning and Prioritisation

  • Coaching Prioritisation to your PMs
    • Set your priorities
    • Explain and defend them
    • Stick to your priorities
    • Adjust your priorities as necessary
  • Prioritisation truths:
    • Always more work than capacity
    • There can only be one top priority at a time
    • You need to have a vision and strategy in place (as they’re the filters)
    • You need to find a way to kill ideas that aren’t winners early (discovery and delivery trash cans)
    • There will always be unforeseen work
  • An approach to planning and prioritisation:
    1. Analyse your throughput
    2. Collect all the items
    3. Filter (against strategy)
    4. Cluster and assess (classic prioritisation)
      • Impact + potential, cost, dependencies, assumptions, opportunity cost, parter?
    5. Do a reality check (against the capacity you have)
    6. Select (make your final selection)
    7. Put your list of priorities in order
  • Your PMs should be able to explain their priorities at each level (discovery, delivery, validation)
  • Have tactics for how to get there (prioritisation)
  • Being able to explain how you go there and what the priority is
  • Being able to explain why something is not a priority

Chapter 22. Increments and Iterations

  • Why use increments and iterations?
    • To ship as early as possible to start learning
    • Help our developers keep things easy
    • Have a business impact as early as possible
  • Minimum Viable Product: product maximum amount of learning for the least amount of effort
  • Henrik Kiniberg: Earliest testable product. Earliest Usable Product. Earliest Lovable Product.
  • Get to the point where the user can actually experience the value we have promised?
  • The art of omission:
    • What are our non-negotiabiles?
    • Do we need to develop this now? Does it contribute to learning or user value?
    • Do we need to create it, show it, update it, delete it?
    • Do we need to automate the function? Or could we do it manually in the beginning?
    • But can it be ugly/rough?
    • But does it scale? Does it need to yet?
  • The art of completeness:
    • Can the use reach their goal?
    • Customer support must be possible
    • Learning must be possible
    • Are we tackling the biggest riskiest problems first?

Chapter 23: Product Evangelising and Storytelling

  • Make your stories compelling
    • Paint a desirable future
    • Explain why someone should be part of the story (for you, for us, for all)
    • Assess the anticipated difficulties and why it’s worth the effort
      • See their world, appreciate them as human, communicate understanding
    • Present the shared goal
    • Create a sense of urgency and present information that enables action
  • Template… We want to X, in order to Y, because if we don’t Z
  • As you craft stories..
    • Aim to light up their brains (provoke emotion, trigger senses, make them laugh)
    • Make the story you’re sharing relevant, important, true
    • Show curiosity, passion and vulnerability
    • Speak to the hearts and minds
    • Don’t… use common phrases or buzzwords
  • Think about the audience, and what they need to achieve.
  • Use proven story telling structures
  • Make a short, medium and long version of the story
  • Make your story so good you can tell it without preparation

Chapter 24: Keep the senior PMs engaged

  • Daniel Pink: Three elements of motivation:
    • Mastery: desire to continually improve at something that matters
    • Autonomy: the desire to direct our lives
    • Purpose: desire to do things in service of something larger than ourselves
  • How can you help PMs achieve these? How can you can you help them visualise success?
  • Appreciation, Recognition, Empowerment, Inspiration
    • Value individuals, celebrate achievements, provide opportunities, is there a career path for individual contributors?
  • Individual contributor career path:
    • Bigger more important product.
    • Several products
    • A multi-team product
    • Manager other PMs
  • Big corporate → Management Career Path
    • CPO
    • SVP / VP PM
    • Director PM
    • Group PM (Decision point)
    • Senior PM
    • PM
    • Junior/Associate
  • Big corporate → Individual
    • Distinguished Fellow PM
    • Principal PM
    • Group PM (Decision point)
    • Senior PM
    • PM
    • Junior/Associate PM
  • Plan one big change for each of your PMs every year
    • Ask for their help with the practice
    • Get them involved in onboarding new PMs
    • Involve them in giving back to the product community
    • Get them to lead a special interest group
    • Create guidelines for less senior PMs
    • Offer a new title, product or more money

Part 5. Create the right environment. Build a great culture

Chapter 25: Product’s place in the Org Chart

  • PM’s need to balance viability, feasibility, usability and value. They must resist to over index on a certain direction because of their reporting lines (e.g. to the CTO)
  • Friction between business, technology and product is healthy when the PM balances them
  • This is the best setup:
  • image
  • In this setup PMs will have to protect all interests. They are never accountable to one department more than the other. The CPO can provide air cover. .
  • If the organisational structure isn’t ideal. Move it from a rigid, hierarchical structure to one that is organic, responsive, and agile.
  • Do you need to re-org?
    • Can you make decisions quickly?
    • Can PMs strike a balance and make decisions without being constantly overruled?
    • Does the structure allow you to achieve autonomy and alignment?
  • McKinsey’s Nine Golden Rules for Reorganisation:
    1. Focus first on the longer-term strategic aspirations—dwelling only on pain points typically creates new ones.
    2. Take time to develop an accurate, verifiable picture of today’s structures, processes, and people.
    3. Select the right blueprint carefully by creating multiple options and testing them under scenarios.
    4. Go beyond lines and boxes; consider all three elements of organisational design.
    5. Fill well-defined roles in an orderly, transparent way
    6. Identify and actively change the necessary mind-sets. Do not assume that people will automatically fall in line.
    7. Use metrics to measure short- and long-term results.
    8. Make sure business leaders communicate, and create a powerful redesign narrative to inspire and mobilise the company.
    9. Monitor and mitigate transitional risks, such as interruptions to business continuity, loss of talent, and customer-care lapses

Chapter 26: Change from Within

  • Encourage new ways of working. It can help the organisation become more efficient.
  • Encourage blanket adoption, to avoid frustration of split ways of working.
  • Foster bottom-up change:
    • Start small and make sure it works
    • Create a success story
    • Find the ally
    • Ask them to share their success story
    • Start to convince the org
    • Help everyone succeed
  • Some bottom-up change initiatives
    • Hypothesis-driven experimentation and decision making
    • The use of KPIs to make data-informed decisions
    • Adoption of OKRs
    • The adoption of show don’t tell
    • More agile ways of working

Chapter 27: Foster the Agile Mindset

  • VUCA: Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
  • If the world is VUCA you need to be adaptable
  • 4 characteristics of an agile company:
    • Forward thinking
    • Constant exchange with the environment
    • Lean structure and process
    • Draws on strengths (that are internal and different)
  • The Agile way of working:
    • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    • Working software over comprehensive documentation
    • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    • Responding to change over following a plan
  • Do a Prosci Agility Attributes Assessment.
  • How do your people react under pressure? Is there response to be agile?
  • Decide where to invest your time.
    • Mindset
    • Structures and processes
    • Methods and tools
  • Where to start?
    • Agile basics (know the principles)
    • Agile decision making (majority, discourse, consent, consensus, veto)
    • Hold retors
    • Task boards and stand-ups
    • Team dynamics and motivation

Chapter 28. Handling Conflict

  • How to setup for success:
    • People should be empowered and encouraged to resolve conflicts
    • People know how to personally deal with their first reaction / emotions
    • The system gets an update so that this ideally never happens again
  • Understand and minimise the main reasons for conflict:
    • Competing goals
    • Limited resources without clear allocation
    • Competitiveness, toxic work environment, unhealthy workplace competition
  • Second group of conflict:
    • Different context, knowledge, information
    • Unclear job expectations
    • Different opinions and perspectives
    • Different work styles
  • Third group (hiring related):
    • Different values
    • Toxic behaviours
    • Poor work habits
  • We respond to conflicts based on our perceptions of the situation
  • Conflicts trigger strong emotions
  • To resolve conflicts you need to be able to
    • Manage stress quickly while remaining alert and calm
    • Control your emotions and behaviour
    • Pay attention to the feeling being expressed
    • Be aware of and respect differences
  • Steps to resolving conflict:
    • Don’t make it worse (avoid the boom)
    • Have a follow up meeting (after conflict is exposed)
      • Acknowledge the conflict → builds common ground
      • Listen to the other person(s)
      • Acknowledge similarities
      • Admit mistakes
      • Focus on the present
      • Stick to the issue, focus on behaviour not personality
      • Be willing to forgive and let go
      • Use a mediator if needed
  • Non-Violent Communication Framework (Marshall Rosenberg)
    • Observation → Feeling → Need → Request