Blog

What is Agile?

Posted on January 3, 2022.

You can laud the idea and still be critical of the implementation. That is the true spirit of Agile. Here’s how I came around to this idea.

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3 Questions About OKRs

Posted on December 27, 2021.

Can you practice OKRs in regulated environments, in multinational corporations and with leaders who don't give specfific goals. In short, yes.

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UX and OKRs

Posted on December 20, 2021.

Objectives and Key Results offer a new opportunity for user experience and design work to make a powerful impact on our products and services

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What if your OKRs are wrong?

Posted on December 13, 2021.

Your objectives and key results are assumptions. At times they will be wrong. Here's how to handle a situation where your goals aren't right.

Incentives vs The Right Behavior

Posted on December 6, 2021.

Managing to outcomes works well if we're also monitoring negative behavior. If we're not, we risk real world negative consequences.

example of OKRs at scale graphic

OKRs at Scale

Posted on November 29, 2021.

Scaling OKRs can get messy quickly. Here's one quick trick to simplify OKRs at scale that also works for your scaled agile efforts.

handwritten marketing exit notebook

Should we use OKRs for everything?

Posted on November 22, 2021.

We use OKRs to set goals. Should all of our goals then use OKRs? This article discusses which goals make sense and which don't.

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Why does planning require a “season?”

Posted on November 15, 2021.

We spend a tremendous amount of time planning next year's work. We don't need an entire season to do this. Here's a better way to plan work.

scren capture of the okr tracking spreadsheet

OKR Tracking Tool (free template)

Posted on November 8, 2021.

Here is a simple, free tool to track your objectives and key results. It's designed to help get your teams started with setting and tracking goals.

two women having a meeting inside glass panel office

Planning work with OKRs

Posted on October 18, 2021.

Planning work with OKRs exposes the uncertainty in software-driven business planning. Here's how to deal with it.

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The Highest Paid Person’s Opinion

Posted on September 27, 2021.

Every company makes decisions based on the highest paid person's opinion. It turns out it's just a hypothesis. Here's how to tame it.

curious shiba inu with with champion trophy and medal

Performance management criteria for OKRs

Posted on September 20, 2021.

If we're going to set new goals with OKRs, we need to change how we measure the performance of our teams. Here are 6 ways to do that.

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the relationship between okrs and strategy

Posted on September 13, 2021.

Objectives and Key Results can do a lot of things. One thing they can't do is determine your strategy. Here's how to reconcile OKRs and strategy.

amazon distribution center with big amazon logo lit up on the side of the building at night

When is Amazon done?

Posted on August 30, 2021.

Being done with digital work no longer makes sense. Here's why.

a field of yellow sunflowers with green stalks. the flowers are facing away from the camera.

Planting Season vs Harvest Season

Posted on August 23, 2021.

Businesses are cyclical. Thinking about when you're going to plant vs harvest ensures we've always got new ideas to try and grow.

metrics of user behavior pointing to the metrics they lead to

Output, Outcomes, Impact and KPIs

Posted on August 16, 2021.

There is a lot of confusion around the terms output, outcome, impact and KPI. Here is what each one means and how they relate to each other.

How to become a magnet for career opportunities

Posted on August 9, 2021.

Why do you continue to climb the career ladder? Because you’ve been told to do so. To future proof your career you have to rethink how to attract career opportunities.

Inspect and adapt, with respect

Posted on August 2, 2021.

We all know go to the gemba tell us to go and see and we inspect and adapt. But there’s another part to it — showing respect to the people we seek to improve. Here’s why.

The Work

Posted on June 14, 2021.

There’s so much more to product development than writing code. Here is what The Work consists of and why you should make time to do it.

One of the many diagrams that explain SAFe - the Scaled Agile Framework

SAFe is Not Agile

Posted on May 10, 2021.

SAFe - the scaled agile framework - attempts to bring agility and scrum to large enterprises. In my experience, it fails and is not agile.

flow chart of the two questions listed in this article

How to get executive buy-in for Agile using two popular product development approaches

Posted on March 29, 2021.

One of the most common complaints from teams going through an agile transformation is that their bosses don’t get it. The teams are asked to change how they work but the demands coming from stakeholders and executives continue to demand fixed time and scope commitments. The vocabulary changes but the language stays the same.  In … Continue reading How to get executive buy-in for Agile using two popular product development approaches

Becoming Forever Employable: Demo Day 1

Posted on March 24, 2021.

How do you plant your flag and start telling compelling stories that cement your position of expertise in the market? Here’s how four folks did it.

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OKR anti-pattern: reverse engineering key results to match your backlog

Posted on February 15, 2021.

I work with teams around the world every day helping them implement objectives and key results. I’ve written about OKR here a lot over the last few years and now, as the goal-setting framework is catching on broadly, the anti-patterns have become increasingly obvious. One such anti-pattern I’ve noticed recently is teams reverse engineering their … Continue reading OKR anti-pattern: reverse engineering key results to match your backlog

Constraints are the hidden source of innovation

Posted on January 18, 2021.

There are always excuses for why our teams can’t innovate or be agile. Constraints shouldn’t be one of them. In fact, they can be the source of these desired qualities. Here’s why.

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Forever Employable Stories: Lindsey Pollak, NYT best-selling author and multi-generational work expert

Posted on November 16, 2020.

Just ask for what you want. It sounds simple and straightforward and yet so few of us actually do it. It's something I've had to practice doing, shushing the voice in my head, "you're just going to bother that already-busy person, leave them alone." Well, it turns out just asking pays off. That's how I … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Lindsey Pollak, NYT best-selling author and multi-generational work expert

Box 1 from the Forever Employable assumptions canvas, What problem do you help people solve?

What problem do you help people solve?

Posted on October 12, 2020.

Your core value is the thing that won't change in 10 or even 20 years. How you deliver on that core value will evolve with the times, your career and your personal choices.

How to use OKRs to set goals for your professional and personal development

Posted on October 5, 2020.

Image credit: https://greatist.com/ A few weeks ago I shared with you the most basic description of Objectives and Key Results -- the goal-setting trend sweeping the business world -- I could come up with. The basic idea is that you set aspirational qualitative goals for your teams, products or business (objectives) and measure whether you’ve … Continue reading How to use OKRs to set goals for your professional and personal development

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12+ Icebreakers to kick off your next zoom meeting

Posted on September 28, 2020.

One of the critical pieces of getting a team in the right frame of mind and comfortable with the tools available to them is kicking off the meeting with a proper icebreaker technique. I’ve put together a list below of icebreakers I’ve crowdsourced, participated in and used myself to help you get your distributed collaboration sessions off on the right foot.

There are infinite ways to solve your business problems. Which one is right?

Posted on September 14, 2020.

The team works for multiple weeks, sometimes months. And we launch, fingers crossed, looking daily (sometimes hourly) to see if our predictions were correct. But the customers don’t come at the level we predicted, and the numbers don’t move quite in the directions we’d hoped.

Danny Thompson - software developer and community leader

Forever Employable Stories: Danny Thompson, software developer and community leader

Posted on September 8, 2020.

I stumbled across Danny Thompson’s twitter account not too long ago. Immediately I noticed that this was no ordinary software developer. Not only was he humbly sharing his learning journey online with his followers, he was giving back to them by helping them get hired in the software industry. In the meantime he’d grown his … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Danny Thompson, software developer and community leader

What is an OKR? Here are the basics.

Posted on August 20, 2020.

Objectives and Key Results. Ask around, and you’ll hear a level of adoption across industries and domains similar to the big wave of Agile adoption in the late 00’s into the 10’s. For a 40-year-old goal-setting framework, OKRs are having quite an impact on the business world. There are increasingly more books on the topic, … Continue reading What is an OKR? Here are the basics.

Forever Employable Stories: Jared Kirby, Traditional fencing master and fight director

Posted on June 29, 2020.

In anticipation of the launch of my new book, Forever Employable, I’ll be sharing a series of interviews and stories from people from all different professions who have created a platform for themselves to make them forever employable. In this episode, I speak with Jared Kirby, traditional fencing master and fight director. An amazing teacher … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Jared Kirby, Traditional fencing master and fight director

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Forever Employable Stories: Nir Eyal, best-selling author of Hooked and Indistractable

Posted on June 16, 2020.

In anticipation of the launch of my new book, Forever Employable, I’ll be sharing a series of interviews and stories from people from all different professions who have created a platform for themselves to make them forever employable. In this episode, I speak with Nir Eyal, best-selling author of Hooked and Indistractable. The cake is … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Nir Eyal, best-selling author of Hooked and Indistractable

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Forever Employable Stories: Stephen Shedletzky, Brand Director and Igniter at Simon Sinek

Posted on June 10, 2020.

In anticipation of the launch of my new book, Forever Employable, I’ll be sharing a series of interviews and stories from people from all different professions who have created a platform for themselves to make them forever employable. In this episode, I speak with Stephen Shedletzky, brand director and igniter at Simon Sinek. We succeed … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Stephen Shedletzky, Brand Director and Igniter at Simon Sinek

Forever Employable Stories: Tendayi Viki, innovation consultant, author and professor

Posted on June 3, 2020.

In anticipation of the launch of my new book, Forever Employable, I’ll be sharing a series of interviews and stories from people from all different professions who have created a platform for themselves to make them forever employable. In this episode, I speak with Tendayi Viki, an academic turned innovation consultant and author. Leading with … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Tendayi Viki, innovation consultant, author and professor

Forever Employable Stories: Alden Mills, ex-Navy Seal, entrepreneur, author & speaker

Posted on May 28, 2020.

In anticipation of the launch of my new book, Forever Employable, I’ll be sharing a series of interviews and stories from people from all different professions who have created a platform for themselves to make them forever employable. In this episode, I speak with Alden Mills, ex-Navy Seal, entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. Nobody defines … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Alden Mills, ex-Navy Seal, entrepreneur, author & speaker

Forever Employable Stories: Joel Hoekstra, Guitarist for Whitesnake

Posted on April 22, 2020.

In anticipation of the launch of my new book, Forever Employable, I'll be sharing a series of interviews and stories from people from all different professions who have created a platform for themselves to make them forever employable. I couldn't be more thrilled that the first one of these is with guitarist extraordinaire Joel Hoekstra, … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Joel Hoekstra, Guitarist for Whitesnake

There’s no guarantee your product strategy will work. Here’s how to de-risk it.

Posted on March 2, 2020.

Recently, a long-term client of mine sent me an email with the question below (scrubbed for anonymity) after we’d spent close to a year together building a set of objectives and key results (OKRs) for the entire organization along with, what I believed to be, a clear sense of how to at least start working … Continue reading There’s no guarantee your product strategy will work. Here’s how to de-risk it.

If we're managing to outcomes, how do we know we're doing a good job?

Posted on January 12, 2020.

Part of the reason organisations struggle to switch to managing to outcomes is that its difficult to measure employee performance. Once that becomes difficult, how do we know someone did a good job? How do we know if that person should receive a raise? A promotion?

Metrics Mountain: A realistic visualisation of any customer lifecycle metrics

Posted on December 13, 2019.

For as long as I've been working professionally the visual metaphor for moving customers through an experience has been The Funnel. The idea being that we have the most amount of people engaged at the beginning of an experience and as the experience goes on, fewer and fewer people are still participating in it. You've … Continue reading Metrics Mountain: A realistic visualisation of any customer lifecycle metrics

Lean UX Canvas V2

Lean UX Canvas V2

Posted on September 9, 2019.

It's been 3 years since the Lean UX Canvas was published. It was time for an update.

3 examples of non-product work reframed with outcomes

Do HR, Finance and Legal make products?

Posted on July 18, 2019.

Teams that don't make customer facing work still work on "products" and have "customers." This article explains how to think about this kind of work - from HR, Legal, Finance et al - in a new light.

Episode 23 — Startups, Brands, and Community with Julia Lemberskiy

Posted on December 21, 2021.

Julia Lemberskiy is co-founder and Managing Director at JJ Studio Agency, and Principal at Frontier Values. Ex-Uber executive turned investor and startup consultant, Julia helps startups of all sizes launch new products & markets, scale their operations, and acquire new users through world-class marketing & sales.  Julia joins Jeff Gothelf to talk about her rapid … Continue reading Episode 23 — Startups, Brands, and Community with Julia Lemberskiy

Episode 22 — Incredible Content Creation with John Cutler

Posted on December 14, 2021.

John Cutler is a product evangelist, coach, and Head of Product Education at Amplitude. As an accomplished writer, John has an amazing ability to create, record, and produce content at an incredible rate. He is passionate about wrangling complex problems and answering the why with qualitative and quantitative data. John joins Jeff Gothelf to share … Continue reading Episode 22 — Incredible Content Creation with John Cutler

Episode 20 — Forging Online Connections with DanikaXIX

Posted on November 30, 2021.

DanikaXIX is a YouTube personality and adult model known for her commentaries on comics, films, books, and television shows. She has been featured in Cosmopolitan, TEDx, and various other online outlets. Despite coming from an entire town of engineers, Danika’s passions lay in art and media. She spread her wings when she was just 18 … Continue reading Episode 20 — Forging Online Connections with DanikaXIX