Agile vs Lean vs Design Thinking

There’s an unforgettable scene in my favorite movie, Goodfellas, where Joe Pesci, Robert DeNiro and Ray Liotta pay a late night visit to Pesci’s mom. Despite their best efforts to leave quickly she invites them to eat something. During the late-night meal, they discuss a painting in her kitchen. The painting is of a man … Continue reading Agile vs Lean vs Design Thinking

Maintaining the winds of change

  I’m often asked how to get executives on board with cultural and process change. It seems that product teams buy into the ideas of lean and agile relatively quickly but convincing management is an order of magnitude more difficult. We’ve discussed several reasons for this in previous newsletters. But let’s just assume that you’ve … Continue reading Maintaining the winds of change

Agile is not a substitution for vision

  In his blog post from 2011, Mike Cottmeyer, an agile consultant and coach, listed off the 13 most common reasons his clients began their agile transformation. The list contains reasons like, “faster time to market”, “early ROI” and “risk reduction and predictability.” My sense is that this spectrum of drivers falls along a timeline … Continue reading Agile is not a substitution for vision

7 Steps to Giving the Best Presentation of Your Life

  I give a lot of talks. I’d like to think I’m pretty good at it at this point. But it hasn’t always been this way. Sure, years of playing in bands gave me a level of stage comfort that many must overcome but I was the keyboard player – a sideman. When you’re giving … Continue reading 7 Steps to Giving the Best Presentation of Your Life

Agile doesn’t have a brain

  My friend Bill Scott once said at a conference, "Agile doesn't have a brain." What he meant by that is due to Agile's software engineering roots many organizations that have adopted Scrum, XP and similar methodologies have done so through their engineering departments. This has led to the creation of amazing software development departments that … Continue reading Agile doesn’t have a brain

Do you really have executive buy-in?

Seven years ago I moved back to the East Coast and took a job at an agency. Before accepting my offer I asked my potentially new boss how much support she believed the agency had for interaction design (they were strong on visual design and content). She replied with a note from the President of … Continue reading Do you really have executive buy-in?

11 Things I Learned About Product Development from Spinal Tap

When it comes to cult classics, few movies have created a legend on par with This Is Spinal Tap. This 1984, Rob Reiner mockumentary follows the fictitious band Spinal Tap from its humble roots through its meteoric rise to success and then back down to Earth. Along the way they contributed some of pop culture’s … Continue reading 11 Things I Learned About Product Development from Spinal Tap

I have no idea what I’m doing

The difference between successful teams and leaders and those less so boils down to humility. Specifically, it's being humble enough to admit they don't know the answer up front. That simple admission changes the dynamic of the team immediately. It levels the playing field by letting everyone else admit that they're not confident in their … Continue reading I have no idea what I’m doing