Finding customers and users to speak with in a B2B product company can be hard. Here are 5 ways to start that process right now.
In this short video I answer one of the most commonly asked questions I hear: what is shared understanding and why is it valuable?
Keeping track of your OKRs is a common issue for most companies. Here are 3 tools to help you get started based on size and maturity.
Many companies use SMART goals with their teams. Are OKRs a different system or are they compatible? Turns out they fit quite well together.
Airtable surveyed over 700 people to get a better understanding of the challenges product managers face daily. Here's my summary.
It's hard work getting a team to gel and be productive together. Once achieved, how long should we keep that team together?
Get the most relevant stories from your customers with this one, simple question.
Here are 7 simple questions to help you write the perfect pitch for your product or service.
Understanding when a feature stops delivering user value is crucial to prioritising where your team works. OKRs can help you decide. Here's how.
Key results are also assumptions. Here’s how to ensure you’re testing your goals as well as your feature hypotheses.
An agile organization learns and acts fast on what it's learning. The more agile an organization is the better chance it stands in a recession.
We always have an existing backlog. If we create new goals, we have to rethink our work plan, not create goals that reflect it.
Product managers are in high demand while their job descriptions vary greatly. Here are 5 things that product managers should never be asked to do.
If your teams' OKRs are turning into lists of tasks to complete that's a red flag that you're asking the wrong questions.
The biggest change a leader has to make if OKRs are to succeed is to stop telling their teams what to do.
OKRs require the psychological safety for teams to be wrong and a culture that celebrates the learning they bring from their product discovery work.
Setting up goals is the beginning of your OKR journey. The next step is understanding how you, as a leader, must support product discovery.
Leading teams with OKRs requires several changes to the way you manage. The first and most important is trusting the team you’ve hired to do their work. Here’s how to start.
It's easy to add an OKR for every activity. Instead work towards setting the fewest number of goals. Here's how to do it.
No designer should ever have to fear reviewing their work with a stakeholder. Here's one story of how it happened to me and what I learned.
It is no longer viable to design your organization around a centralised IT department. It's not agile. It's not customer focused. Here's why.
I've spent the last two years working from home. Here are 7 things I've learned about working and living remotely.
There are some products that have to be shipped as one big release. This article explains how to make big bang releases work with OKRs.
It's tempting to set a goal and never think about it again. It's also a huge mistake. Here's how to avoid doing that with OKRs.
Shared purpose and alignment come from a broad understanding of strategy. Here’s how to help your teams know why they are doing their work.
Visualizing the connection between what customers do and how the business fares ensures we're focusing on the most important goal. Here's how.
Teams that sandbag their OKRs set easily achievable goals. Here’s why this stifles innovation and what you can do about it.
Processes, methods and deliverables receive the heavy focus of product management training but without a compelling story they can all fail.
The Business Model Canvas is the high-level assumptions work you need to do before the Lean UX Canvas. Here's how to connect them.
Should you have personal goals in life and at work? Yes, you should. Should you use OKRs to set those goals in both contexts? No. Here's why.
My entrepreneurship journey has been different than many others'. Here are 10 things I've learned in the last 10 years.
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.
Can you practice OKRs in regulated environments, in multinational corporations and with leaders who don't give specfific goals. In short, yes.
Objectives and Key Results offer a new opportunity for user experience and design work to make a powerful impact on our products and services
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.
Managing to outcomes works well if we're also monitoring negative behavior. If we're not, we risk real world negative consequences.
Scaling OKRs can get messy quickly. Here's one quick trick to simplify OKRs at scale that also works for your scaled agile efforts.
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.
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.
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.
OKRs require fast learning but what if our cycle times are long. Here's how to reconcile OKRs with long cycle times.
Successful businesses know that making the customer happy is their only concern. Here's why.
Planning work with OKRs exposes the uncertainty in software-driven business planning. Here's how to deal with it.
The Lean UX canvas helps you create your objective and key result statements. Here's where to find them.
Here are some of the big highlights from the new 3rd edition of the lean ux book, available now.
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.
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.
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.
Your company’s digital transformation diet should consist of a mix of fast food type trainings and long-term transformation diets supported by coaches. Here’s why.
Being done with digital work no longer makes sense. Here's why.
Businesses are cyclical. Thinking about when you're going to plant vs harvest ensures we've always got new ideas to try and grow.
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.
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.
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.
This short video explains how to use the hypothesis prioritization canvas to determine which hypotheses you should test.
Every second you spend sharing your expertise you’re building equity in yourself and laying the foundation to becoming Forever Employable.
Don’t assume that telling your teams what their OKR goals should be is the best approach. Here’s a better way.
Here's how to set the proper level for your Objectives & Key Results so you can set goals your team can achieve.
This short video explains how to use the Lean UX canvas.
Decision making can cripple teams. Here’s how to unstick that process and get your ideas to market quicker.
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.
Ensuring the right fit is key to an abundance mindset Last month’s blog post about the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe as it’s known) not being agile was a real barn burner. Across multiple platforms it’s reached over 100k views and continues to be the most popular thing on my blog in recent memory. I didn’t … Continue reading How losing a client helped me find better ones
Online writing can change the flow of your career, attracting opportunities to you continuously. Here are 3 reasons why.
Scrum teams fail without dedicated designers. Here’s why.
If you're not getting the kind of creativity and innovation you know your team can deliver, reframe your requests to them in this one simple way.
SAFe - the scaled agile framework - attempts to bring agility and scrum to large enterprises. In my experience, it fails and is not agile.
Pablo Picasso had the right idea when it came to pricing his work. Here's what you can learn from him.
Do the work to define what will make your user interfaces and experiences, intuitive, compelling and successful.
Here are the top 10 questions asked in my recent masterclass on objectives and key results.
Humility is the key to leading and building agile teams and organizations. Here’s why.
Not everyone wants to do product discovery but everybody should. Here's a story about one way I convinced a group of reluctant developers to meet their users.
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
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.
Simon Mujamdar, writer, chef, podcaster and tv personality, shares his Forever Employable story on career change in your 40’s.
Do OKRs work with jobs to be done? They do. Here's how.
Los cinco pasos para convertiros empleables para siempre. Forever Employable.
Your next career move doesn't have to be risky. You can experiment your way to the best next move. Here's how.
Impostor syndrome never goes away. Here's how to mitigate it.
Leading with negativity -- as a victim of your agile transformation -- is a sure fire recipe for it failing.
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
One of the most powerful agile tactics is timeboxing. With remote teams it's hard to coordinate time keeping. These 10 fun web-based timers can help with that.
It's easy to blame HR for your team's shortfalls. In the end though, it's your fault and responsibilty.
Volkswagen's electric vehicle ambitions reveal how their manufacturing history gets in the way of their technological success.
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.
Finding the right community to help grow your career isn’t always easy. Sometimes the better path is to build your own community. Here’s how I did it.
Give your teams the best tools to do their best job.
Visualizing a system is the fastest way to build shared understanding. Here's why.
How to continuously reinvent yourself with Michael Bungay Stanier
Following recipes is the beginning of your agile transformation. To reach true agility you must become a chef.
Katie Saindon and David O'Malley took the ideas in Forever Employable and put them into action immediately.
Elite speaking coach Bill Smartt and I spend an hour discussing how to tell a compelling story, even from your home office.
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
If your team is struggling to deliver top-notch work, you'll need to revisit your definition of done.
I was lucky enough to meet Alisa Cohn by chance. Dorie Clark, who wrote the forward for Forever Employable, invited me to a virtual cocktail party a few months ago where Alisa was the co-host. We kept in touch over the subsequent months and recently I had a chance to catch up with Alisa one-on-one … Continue reading Forever Employable Stories: Alisa Cohn, #1 Startup Coach in the World
The work you do that you don't love to do is obvious to your customers and clients. Here's what to do about it.
The success of your org's agility isn't solely dependent on your executives. Teams have their part to do as well.
Just because it's part of The Process doesn't mean it's the best way to do things. Earlier this year I held a webinar panel with Sense & Respond Press author Randy Silver about his new book, What do we do now?. On that panel was my former colleague Selena Hadzibabic who, today, is the vice … Continue reading Optimize your process for decision-making, not dogma
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.
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
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.
“Unless you’re the founder and the product manager at the same time, you are not the CEO of anything.”
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.
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
If teams don’t feel safe sharing what they’ve learned, they’ll never be agile. Psychological safety ensures teams doing discovery can implement the feedback they learn in the process anda truly be agile.
Entrepreneur, educator, singer and youtuber Peter Hollens shares his Forever Employable career path and story
Objectives and Key Results - OKRs. 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 … Continue reading What is an OKR? A basic guide.
There's more to team leadership than just shipping it. What's your team's reason for being?
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
Writer, author and talent developer Tara Schuster shares how she built her platform and became Forever Employable.
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
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
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
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
Agile is great for product development. It can be great for your career as well. Here's how.
Celebrity photographer Mathieu Bitton is forever employable. Read his story.
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
I hope this finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. A month ago I was sitting in a restaurant in London with a group of friends enjoying dinner, catching up on what we’ve been up to and taking turns holding one friend’s new baby. It was a ton of fun and we were … Continue reading How are businesses pivoting in the pandemic? Here are 3 inspirational examples
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.
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?
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
How to prioritize your hypothesis so you know what to test first.
(Want to get this article in your inbox? I publish one article a month and share it in my newsletter first. You can sign up here and join 14k other subscribers.) Hey folks - Two weeks ago I found myself at the center of a debate with a client about the benefits and drawbacks of … Continue reading Velocity should be renamed “future tech debt”
It's been 3 years since the Lean UX Canvas was published. It was time for an update.
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.
Truly agile teams enjoy the ability, desire and safety to respond to change over following a plan.