3 Agile Lessons Learned in 2016

Posted on January 8, 2017 | Tagged as: , , | 0 comments

The start of a new year is always a good point of time to reflect about the way you work. What went good, what went wrong. Well, for me, I identified three simple insights from my agile work in 2016 I will keep in mind for this year.

Don’t be dogmatic and adapt the agile process

Almost everything in life is different. Companies and their strategies, products (even if the same type of products) and their roadmaps and especially the group of people you work with. Even if you start form the ground, a process can not be adopted as described by letters in a book. It must be adapted to fit the context and situation you are working in.
Trying to implement a framework like Scrum letter by letter will work in some aspects, but it will also lead to discussions and interpretations. You can stick to this discussions and talk about how to do something or you can skip it an go back to get something done. The important thing is to find a way the whole team can work with and feels great and comfortable. A way that allows everyone to perform best and have fun with their work.
Working software is the main goal. Create customer value and improve your product. No one will care if you differ in some process definitions. Just be agile, learn and don’t fear to adapt.

Be a servant leader not an authoritarian

As a product owner you should not have a leading authority over the member of the team you work with. Don’t try to get it, don’t accept it and even don’t feel authoritarian responsible. In contrast: be a servant leader (or a servant member) for your team. Do everything that is necessary to improve the team and your product.
This may sound contradictory – and it is. It’s a narrow path to follow but there is one important difference: an authoritarian leader will lead by position and power, a servant leader will lead by vision and empowerment of the people.
Give your team the feeling of control and responsibility and support them wherever necessary and possible. It’s important to be a team member and work with the team. And always keep the product and the product goals in mind.

Try to fail but don’t fail to try

Try. Fail fast. Learn. Move on. Every decision you make as a product owner gives you some insight. A decision can’t be wrong as it shows you the way it won’t work.
This does’t mean you don’t have to think and try your best with every step you take. But if you do so, failing is an important part of the game. You only can loose if you don’t give it a try.
In an agile manner, it’s important to react fast and turn things the other way if necessary. You can reset the activities with every sprint you make.
And always keep in mind: not every idea you have must result in tasks for the development team. A product owner himself has some tasks to be done. Create a concept, do some user research, talk to some stakeholder. The more information you gather, the more clearly the way gets. If you see your idea doesn’t develop as good as you thought – stop it, learn and move on.

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