A Focus on Output is Teaching People to Stop Thinking for Themselves

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I generally don’t like being told what to do. It started during my childhood and continued into my professional life. Although my defiance wasn’t always popular with teachers, I am not a rebel who has problems with authority. Neither was it anything to do with laziness. Only quite recently, I finally realised what triggers this defiant feeling in me: I can’t stand being told what to do when I don’t understand why I’m supposed to do it.

This same feeling triggered the professional allergy I have developed toward…

Build better Products by Rewiring your Brain and Adopting a Growth Mindset.

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“Why are you asking for this? It is impossible!” is what I wanted to shout when I was asked to estimate all the work for the next two years and prepare a detailed delivery plan. My more diplomatic answer was that “I would see what information there was and that I would get back to them”. If there is one thing I have learned throughout my career is that the two-step approach to saying “No” is a far better strategy for avoiding conflict. Nevertheless, I continue to be baffled by the many requests Scrum teams receive to predict the future.

If you want your organisation’s agile transformation to be successful, breaking down silos should be a top priority.

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If you have been around project and product delivery for a while, you will be accustomed to the concept of hand-offs or hand-overs. Handovers are an inherent part of the waterfall delivery process, as described by Winston Royce in the late 1960s.

In his model, requirements are passed down the cascading steps of an incremental waterfall. Analysts hand over their work to designers, designers to developers, developers to testers, and testers to support staff. Finally, at the end of this chain of hand-overs the user receives the end-product.

I have a confession. I used to think agile was nonsense, an “all fun and games” fad built on thin air. Having worked with a waterfall model for over ten years, I was convinced of its superiority, offering clarity and predictability. Up until a year ago, I would have always chosen waterfall over agile.

Now, I am not so sure. Having recently worked on a successful agile transformation, I have seen agile work. Moreover, I have experienced its positive impact on team morale, efficiency and the overall product. At the same time, I have become increasingly skeptical about waterfall. …

Over the past year, I have been fortunate to help drive the agile transformation of a digital programme. This transformation was — unintentionally — realised in two phases. In the first phase we moved from a waterfall to an ‘agifall’ model, also commonly referred to as ‘agifail’. We were ‘doing agile’ and we had all the agile ceremonies and roles. However, we weren’t ‘being agile’ and were still delivering in the waterfall mode we had always known. …

In our scrum team, we face new issues and challenges each day. In most cases, we are able to solve these issues in such an efficient manner that we can still fully deliver the sprint goals and key features expected by our stakeholders. When attending the sprint review, stakeholders are generally unaware of the many challenges we faced. What’s more, we often receive the feedback that “we make it look easy”.

Although we communicate openly and frequently about the issues we overcome, it clearly remains a challenge for people outside of the scrum team to fully grasp the level of…

The Key to Turning a Great Idea into a Brilliant Product: Execution.

Have you ever noticed how in many organisations there seems to be a gap between ideation and execution resulting in — at best — suboptimal products?

Imagine a number of highly intelligent product managers and strategists locking themselves up in a room. They brainstorm, map customer journeys, do user research and come up with the most amazing ideas on how to achieve much sought-after business success. They have a long list of “MVP” features but a short window to market.

In the room next door you have a number of highly intelligent analysts, developers and testers. They are already stretched…

Annelore Arnold

Fascinated by digital transformation, working with agile teams and building great products.

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