How Software Outsourcing Can Empower Digital Transformation

Feb 6 8:00:28 by

Businesses are constantly readjusting themselves to become more agile and innovative while maximizing their opportunity in today’s digital economy. This is especially true for up-and-coming businesses with limited budgets that need to think ahead of the curve to find additional resources to fuel their digital transformation. Software outsourcing is no longer perceived as a choice […] The post How Software Outsourcing Can Empower Digital Transformation appeared first on

#1   45%      3
What is Business Agility?

Feb 11 9:28:51 by

I was approached to speak at a startup event for a local Business Agility Institute user group here in the Raleigh/Durham area. I was quite pleased to be approached and am more than willing to present an agile topic to the group.  But the request made me think… I’ve been engaged in agile approaches for nearly twenty years. So, I have quite a lot of experience with the core methods, practices, scaling, agile leadership, cultures, etc. But what the heck is “Business Agility” and what sorts of topics would that group be interested in? The answer escaped me and I realized I had to do some research. Basic Definitions Here’s what CA (Rally Software) had to say regarding a definition and 3 key aspects: A company’s way to sense and respond to change proactively and with confidence to deliver business value—faster than the competition—as a matter of everyday business. 1.     It’s making the customer the central focus of your organization 2.     It’s driving value faster, better, and more efficiently 3.     It’s transforming how your business operates to achieve successful outcomes

#2   21%      2
Scrum Tools of 2019 for Agile Project Management

Feb 12 13:01:01 by

Over the past few years, Scrum has become the default face of Agile project management. One of the most popular Agile frameworks, Scrum is widely adopted by software and non-software development teams alike. Due to its growing popularity, there are numerous tools that have jumped on the bandwagon and have started to recognize themselves as the best Scrum tools. The criterion for the best Scrum tools is simple enough: the best tool is the one that fits perfectly with your project needs, helps you in effectively achieving your sprint goals, and doesn’t put a dent in your budget.

#3   103%      0
Developers love Agile, but is it right for content marketing?

Mar 13 14:42:35 by mktingland

Some swear by the highly iterative process for creating marketing content. Others say it's not a fit. The post Developers love Agile, but is it right for content marketing? appeared first on Marketing Land. Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

#4   691%      1
Why Product Thinking is the Future for Product Management

Feb 12 12:30:00 by

I believe the future of product management is product thinking. And product coaching is how we get there. I have worked with in product for most of my career. Building products for big corporates, small startups and scale-ups. Mostly I have been on the consulting side, meaning I have always had to hand over what I have built to someone else. What I have seen, is that both startups and big corporates have issues in understanding how to be more product-led without the right mindset and framework. Just adding more product managers, is not the answer. We are a nuanced bunch and I don’t think this is going to scale in the future The Hypothesis In 2015, Martin Eriksson wrote an article about the history of product management. He said: This may, in time, require fewer people called product managers in a company, but it puts even more emphasis on the importance of the craft of product management. Our understanding of our craft has come a long way since 2015. I believe that it is now a good time to evolve product management into product thinking. A philosophy, mindset, a common knowledge. But primarily, something that can be acquired by anyone in the organisation. The people in charge and at the forefront of this change will be product coaches. They will be the custodians of product thinking within an organisation, and tasked with getting people, teams, and organisations to become more product led through product thinking. In summary; product management will become product thinking, product managers will become product coaches, and this will lead to organisations being more product led. Design, UX, Agile Have Already Done the Hard Work I spend a lot of time looking at other industries for inspiration in how I can evolve my craft. We can learn from our peers and communities that have already made such a transition. The design, user experience, and agile communities have all evolved from a role and a skillset to something bigger. Design became design thinking through the great work of IDEO, creating a framework and mindset that can be used by everyone. User experience has gone from being a job to a requirement for any product. It’s now a measurement for how good a product is and of how well we do our jobs from a service, design, and product perspective. Agile jumped directly into claiming it was more than a way of working into a mindset, creating frameworks that have completely changed how we operate as teams and as organisations. Being agile is now also something not just a handful of developers can be, but a state that every organisation and team aspires to be. Even if they don’t fully understand it, they all want a piece of it. I see a big opportunity for product management to learn from these communities. Product management can become a “thinking” and a methodology that will be so intertwined with how we run businesses that it will be impossible to avoid. I have given a first go at defining what product thinking is and what I believe product coaching is, and the role it will play in the future of product management. First Part of the Hypothesis: Build the Right Thing, the Right way At Founders Factory, I’ve started to focus on giving businesses tools to try themselves and iterate, rather than holding their hands all the time. This means having more than just the founder involved in learning what product thinking is and becoming more product led. I want the definition of product thinking to encompass more than being the glue that keeps everything together. It should include both the hard skills of creating a strategy and understanding user experience and the soft skills of how to get the best out of a team and stakeholder management. My first stab at a definition is a set of core principles that I believe incorporates these criteria: – Being outcome-focused instead of output-focused – Focus on value creation for my business and for our customers – Thriving in uncertainty through problem-solving – Focus on creating a happy and empowered team and organisation Or it could be put in a sentence: “Thriving in uncertainty and problem solving to achieve business and customer value through scalable solutions and continuous delivery with an empowered and happy team.” Or maybe just something simple like: “Build the right thing, the right way.” This is my first version of a definition of what product thinking could be – a set of principles and a simple way to explain it. It needs to evolve from here, and that’s where our community of product people comes in. It should be a living thing, something we all can sign off on and evolve together! Second Part of the Hypothesis: Product Coaching For our craft to evolve and become more scalable, I foresee an organisation where product covers more borders than it does now. Not as a function, but as roaming experts in product thinking, helping everyone to think like product managers and whole organisations becoming more product led. My Coaching Framework At Founders Factory I work with all types of founders and different types and sizes of businesses. I’ve had to put together thoughts and frameworks for myself to scale my support as we grow our portfolio and grow the business.  I have therefore created a coaching framework that I work with for every startup at the Factory. The framework consists of three main parts: – Uncertainty – Empathy – Resilience Uncertainty – for you Thrive in and for People to Embrace At the outset, I try to map the team’s knowledge of product thinking as a whole. This helps me to figure out how much time and what tools to give a founder and a business in order to be as efficient as possible in my job, but also to create a coaching plan for the company. We product managers have always prided ourselves in mastering the ability to thrive in uncertainty. However, how do we get whole teams and organisations to embrace it? Luckily my teacher girlfriend has books and research on getting pupils from the known to the unknown. To help with uncertainty I stole a theory called the Zone of Proximal Development, or “scaffolding” as introduced by Wood, Bruner, and Ross (1976) from the teaching profession. For some reason, there seems to be synergy in the behaviour of 12-year-olds and startup teams. It’s simple. You map out the known, let’s say “I know how to make a lasagne” and what is unknown to you – “how to make the best lasagne in the world”. The Zone of Proximal Development is the area where you need guidance to reach the skills you desire. Or if you are a startup founder and you have reached a plateau and need to understand how to achieve better momentum, you might need guidance, or, in this case, product coaching. Empathy – How to Show and use More Understanding, and Install it in Your Team and Business Being empathetic is one thing, but how do you use empathy as part of your product practice? For me, it involves acquiring more knowledge about your business and your customers from a human perspective than one purely based on data. You can also use this to generate more empathy within your organisation as well, for your stakeholders, teams, investors, and so on. I use two main activities: – Empathy Mapping – Product Radical Listening Empathy Mapping is used widely in the design industry as a way to form a clearer picture of what we believe is in our customers’ minds Using the map, you can form an understanding of what customers say, feel, think, etc, and then map your product to meet those needs. You can also use it internally, mapping your team, your stakeholders, your investors, maybe your whole organisation. If your team was a person, how would they think, what would they say, and how can you help with their needs? It’s an excellent way to give everyone – you, the team, customers – a better understanding of each other in business. Product Radical Listening is a straightforward activity that over time can give excellent results. Built on Marshall Rosenberg’s theory about non-interruptive sessions – how to use it is explained in this blog post – you can practise this internally with stakeholders or team members who you feel need to show or have more empathy for what you’re trying to achieve. Set up a weekly meeting with the person you have in mind. You gather data from your team in the form of one-to-ones. This data together with data from customers in whatever way it takes (preferably comments, or interview answers). You then present this data to the person, and don’t allow them to interrupt or talk back. Over time, you will see a change in manner, leadership, and decisions, based on this activity happening continuously. Working with startup founders, this is something I see working very often. Founders are notoriously busy, but also working hard at fundraising, meaning there is little time to get a full understanding of everything happening in the business. Spending an hour doing this repeatedly has helped plenty of businesses and founders I’ve worked with to make better decisions. Building empathy takes many forms. A framework and a few activities will help you to get started and will lead to the whole organisation making better more product lead decisions. It can be as easy as having all team members exposed to customer data and access to stakeholders in the business to understand business goals. Resilience – Being and Creating More Resilient Businesses If you haven’t realised already, getting teams and businesses to become more product led is a repetitive and lengthy process. The best framework I’ve come across is similar to when you create self-organising teams, where the long-term goal is clear and the way to get there is by structured smaller tasks. If we go back to the lasagne, we have mapped out that your Zone of Proximal Development is that you need guidance to reach the skills of making the best lasagne. We need to break it into manageable items for you to get there, maybe watching three Jamie Oliver videos a week or signing up for a cookery course. Long-term goals and smaller tasks in a repeated fashion are how you create more resilience for yourself and for people you coach. For example, as I mentioned earlier, at work I try to get startups into a better place of momentum. Activities for reaching that goal can include playing with the cadence of your development. It might feel you’re moving more quickly if you work to a weekly schedule, while actually you can be more productive working fortnightly. Regular more transparent data sharing with the team and setting regular indicators and metrics are also great ways to create a sense of momentum in teams. Over time, the coaching effort will decrease as product thinking increases. The goal being you not having to be involved at all in the day to day, as they grow their knowledge and you can move your efforts and focus to other parts and people of the business. This is, ultimately, how we scale product management. Becoming an integral part in how to build the best businesses that will create more value for customers. By moving product management to product thinking, product managers to become product coaches and this leads businesses to become more product led. My ask of you I want us as a community to build on the knowledge we have to evolve into what I believe is the most scalable solution to the future of product management. Consider this the start and a hypothesis that will need to be validated, by us, and the businesses and customers we represent. The first step is to define what we believe product thinking is and how we can share it in a way that makes businesses excited by the prospect of being more product led. Excited to hear what you think, so please let me know either through the Mind the Product Slack channel (where I’m @sebsab) or in the comments below. Look forward to hearing from you. The post Why Product Thinking is the Future for Product Management appeared first on Mind the Product.

#5   3%      1
4 Reasons Why You Must Consider Exploratory Testing Within Agile

Feb 19 10:01:01 by

Creating an application is no longer an easy task. There are a number of factors that you must consider while conceptualizing an application and finally getting it into motion. The user interface, technology, user profile, and devices are some key considerations that application makers consider before diving into the application development process. Nevertheless, the times are changing and so are the expectations and preferences. This means that you need a process that enables you to keep exploring, learning, and executing constantly. That's where exploratory testing blends in within the Agile environment. If you just begin to understand the benefits of exploratory testing, you will realize how business critical it is, especially in the current scenario of absolute digital chaos. In a practical sense, it enables testing teams to keep up with the Agile development process. 

#6   95%      0
Working with Design Thinking, Lean and Agile

Feb 28 18:00:54 by

Design Thinking is the latest buzz phrase to have taken over the business and technology world. In seems like the phrase is popping up in nearly every context. A few years ago, Lean UX was all the rage, following a few years focused on the Lean Startup. A few years before that, every tech company I knew was rushing to implement Agile development processes. Experts like Lou Rosenfeld are already making predictions about what new approaches are coming next. It’s not that any of these approaches have become less useful over time, but people are experimenting with new ways to build products and successful techniques to get attached to as “The Next Big Thing” that will prove to be a magical solution for everyone. The problem is that in the excitement of discussing something new, we don’t always connect the dots of our existing methods and people can be left confused as to how to best implement things all together. Read on to better understand Design Thinking, Lean UX, and Agile, and how to implement elements of each for your team. Before we get too far, let’s take a step back to understand each approach. Agile Let’s be clear: Agile is a software development approach. It was born out of frustration with traditional “waterfall” software practices, with a long period of upfront requirements gathering and design work, then a long development stage of implementing said designs but without the ability to understand or respond to changing needs. The outcome was that teams were spending a long time building things that people didn’t really want or need, and companies were struggling. Software developers started experimenting with new ways to build, and came up with a set of shared values and principles to guide teams to do better work. The official Agile Manifesto was released in 2001, and called for valuing: individuals and interactions over processes and tools working software over comprehensive documentation customer collaboration over contract negotiation responding to change over following a plan The Agile Alliance has also defined 12 detailed principles to follow, but does not prescribe any particular processes, so dev teams often end up using specific frameworks, like Scrum or Kanban, to help them figure out how to organize, plan, and execute their work. There’s a strong focus on teams’ independence to self organize, so no two Agile teams look the same, even within the same departments or organizations. In theory, Agile approaches not only play well with UX practices, but actively require ongoing UX research to constantly understand the changing needs of the customers. However, in practice, teams can get caught up on trying to release more working code faster, and it can be hard to dedicate any time at all to conducting research or focusing on design decisions. Agile teams often struggle with how to best incorporate UX team members and their work into their practices. Lean UX Lean UX was born out of the struggle that so many teams had incorporating UX best practices as they adjusted their development processes to Agile methods and attempted to speed up time from idea to implementation. Lean UX is the umbrella term for altering traditional UX methods to fit faster timeframes, which often means shifting focus away from detailed deliverables. But beware: you may also hear about Lean and Lean Startup, which often get conflated but do have specific meanings and distinct elements. Lean is derived from manufacturing best practices and focuses on general business and management practices to reduce waste and maximize value. Lean Startup is a broader business and product development approach that suggests incorporating periods of experimentation in order to reduce waste and risk. The terms aren’t mutually exclusive but nor are they interchangeable. Back to Lean UX: the core idea is to alter traditional UX design methods to become faster. Rather than spending a lot of time thoroughly designing and documenting each element, the team is meant to quickly and collaboratively visualize ideas and gather feedback as soon as possible, from both other team members and stakeholders and the users. Jeff Gothelf lays out the following Lean UX process: concept, prototype, internal validation, external validation, learn, iterate, and repeat. This process mirrors the “regular” UX process but each step is shortened. Let’s say a team is working on integrating a new feature. The team might first have a quick whiteboarding session to flesh out the core workflow. Once the group agrees on a direction, they can show a low-fidelity design to users and incorporate the feedback found during a joint sketch session where they sort out more interaction details. You’ll notice this example doesn’t have any fully functional prototypes or detailed test reports, but Lean UX isn’t an excuse to skip steps. Rather, it’s an invitation to do just enough to build a shared vision and get feedback, scaling up and back different tools or methods as it makes the most sense for your specific context. Lean UX also doesn’t suggest you completely abandon documentation, nor that the experience decisions are taken away from UX professionals. Rather, it suggests that the whole team is involved with the design process so there are no surprises or unforeseen technical challenges. Feedback is collected early and often, and if changes need to be made, they can be done quickly and easily before much time has been invested in final designs. The post Working with Design Thinking, Lean and Agile appeared first on SitePoint.

#7   21%      1
Article: 2019 Scrum Master Trends Report Published

Feb 23 13:44:00 by

The 2019 Scrum Master Trends Report has been published by and Age of Product. The report explores salary trends, agile adoption patterns, and gender equality within the Scrum master role, based on the responses from over 2100 participants across 13 countries. By Stefan Wolpers, Dave West, Ben Linders

#8   615%      0
A Simple Introduction to Lean UX

Feb 7 12:00:00 by

Lean UX is an incredibly useful technique when working on projects where the Agile development method is used. Traditional UX techniques often don’t work when development is conducted in rapid bursts – there’s not enough time to deliver UX in the same way. Fundamentally Lean UX and other forms of UX all have the same goal in mind; delivering a great user experience it’s just that the way you work on a project is slightly different. So let’s take a look at how that might work. Lean UX – What is It?Lean UX is focused on the experience under design and is less focused on deliverables than traditional UX. It requires a greater level of collaboration with the entire team. The core objective is t...

#9   64%      0