Resources For Leaders

These are the articles and videos I commonly share as I’m coaching leaders.

Leadership Mindset

  • Greatness by David Marquet (10mins) – The best video on what it means to lead in an agile environment. This is from David Marquet who wrote the excellent book “Turn the Ship Around”.
  • Locating Yourself by the Conscious Leadership Group (3.5mins) – A great video on a fixed (below the line) and growth mindset (above the line). This is a quick and powerful reminder that our mindset has the greatest impact on whether we see a change as an opportunity or a threat.
  • How to Impose Agile by Ron Jefferies – A fantastic article on how leaders can influence change by setting clear outcomes. It isn’t really about ‘imposing’ agile, but it effectively demonstrates how desired outcomes drive behavior (in a healthy way).
  • Lean Software Development: The Backstory by Mary Poppendieck – The best explanation I’ve found for why focusing on customer value over other other measures yields more powerful results. The whole article is great, however I usually ask leaders to focus on the first 8 paragraphs. They demonstrate why letting go of ‘resource utilization’ can lead to better value for the customer.
  • Team #1 by Patrick Lencioni (3mins) – Shows the power of the ‘First Team’. Leaders often prioritize the team they lead over the leadership team they are a part of. This leads to putting the needs of their departments over the holistic needs of the business. Here is a short article on the concept as well.

Product Ownership

  • Making Sense of MVP by Henrik Kniberg – The origin of the ‘agile skateboard’. MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is about putting features into the hands of customers so that you can learn what their next needs are. This article shows an effective way to deliver value iteratively while learning. And don’t miss that the first MVP was something they didn’t even have to build to test (a bus ticket).
  • The MVP is dead. Long live the RAT by Rik Higham – A different way to think about MVP. Because the term ‘MVP’ can set expectations of a full, complete, and final product, an alternative way to look at the concept of iterative development is to think of the RAT (Riskiest Assumption Test). Every solution depends on assumptions. Some assumptions are riskier than others. An example would be integrating your product with another product. Your riskiest assumption is that you’ll be able to connect to the other product and pass data. If you can’t do that, none of your other features matter. So, you build to the RAT first.
  • Agile Product Ownership in a Nutshell by Henrik Kniberg (15mins) – A great overview of the role of the PO as well as how work flows through an agile team.