Seven Reasons why Darth Vader is a Terrible Product Manager

Chris Lukassen

It’s not that I have run out of Samurai parallels but I ran into this blog called: “Darth Vader - The Best Project Manager in the Galaxy” and since it’s my sincere belief that this sword wielding (see there is a samurai parallel!) manager actually displays some pretty terrible Product Management Skills:

Here are 7 examples, which should help you, gauge in what side of the force your product management skills lay.
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Scrum Day Europe 2016

During the 5th edition of Scrum Day Europe, Laurens and I facilitated a workshop on how to “Add Visual Flavor to Your Organization Transformation with Videoscribe.”

The theme of the conference, “The Next Iteration,”  was all about the future of Scrum. We wanted to tie our workshop into the theme of the conference, so we had a creative brainstorming session and identified four key elements that we think are important in the future of Scrum.

Scaling: Do Scrum well first, before scaling Scrum.  You should only scale when needed and if the organization is ready.

Done: A “done” increment means actually done, all the way into production. We hope that future Scrum teams will be able to put things into production themselves. We still see a lot of teams with dependencies on other teams for delivering increments to production.

Product Owner: We’re still searching for great Product Owners who understand the product and the market. These Product Owners work well with teams and are empowered, mandated and have a product vision.

Scrum everywhere: We already see Scrum in construction, health care, schools, marketing and many other places. In the future, we see Scrum used everywhere.

Since Laurens is such a great drawer, he sketched out the four elements, and we made a VideoScribe of them. You can find our video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKYjWS4H26I

During our presentation at Scrum Day Europe, we demonstrated each of the seven steps required to produce this video. To bring Videoscribe to life, we asked the attendees to suggest a fifth element for the video on the future of Scrum. They came up with “Happiness.”   We then went through the steps to make a video, asking for different volunteers to record a voice over and draw pictures for the message. Here are the results: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWlSaC3K9Kg

The attendees were impressed and amazed to see that they could produce a very smart looking Videoscribe themselves.  Overall, the workshop feedback was very positive. We also received some tips for improving it, such as showing examples of how real companies have used this method. But because Videoscribes are usually made for internal use only, we could not show these at the conference.  For our next session, we probably  make an example Videoscribe for a non-existing company which is shareable with the audience.

One of our attendees was so inspired by our session that we are invited to facilitate a workshop for her management team!

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The Ultimate Tester: Wrap-Up

Maaike Brinkhof

ultimate_tester1

To everyone who has read all or some of the past blog posts in this series: thank you so much for reading. I hope I have given you some food for thought on where you can improve as a tester (or developer who tests!). 

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Our Answer To the Alert Storm: Introducing Team View Alerts

As a Dev or Ops it’s hard to focus on the things that really matter. Applications, systems, tools and other environments are generating notifications at a frequency and amount greater than you are able to cope with. It's a problem for every Dev and Ops professional.

Alerts are used to identify trends, spikes or dips in your metrics and events – for example to detect low free memory, high page-fault errors or unavailable database servers. With the right alerts in place you can get notifications or signals of problems before they escalate or respond quickly before it takes a business service down which could affect your customers.

But most companies don’t have the right alerts.

When problems occur, they have to manually correlate all alerts, metrics, events and log files from different tools to get contextual information and to understand the problem they are dealing with. How do you know which alert you have to focus on and which not?

To read the full blogpost, please visit blog.stackstate.com. 

 

Verbal Aikido for Product Managers

Chris Lukassen

"Well eh ok, I guess so" mumbled the student in the training exercise where he was practicing how to say no to feature gluttony. I decided to give the class an additional exercise to awaken their inner diplomat.

“Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.” - W.S. Churchill

All sweet and well, but how do we say NO?

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The Purpose Alignment Model

Chris Lukassen

When scaling Agile/Scrum, we invariably run into the alignment vs. autonomy problem. In short, you cannot have autonomous, self-directing teams if they have no clue what direction they should go. Or, even shorter, alignment breeds autonomy.

But how do we create alignment? And what tools can we use to quickly evaluate whether or not what we want to do is part of the mission? Niel Nickolaisen, chief technology officer at OC Tanner, created the purpose alignment model. I use it with innovation labs in large enterprises to determine what aspects of innovation to keep, and what to leave to others.

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The Ultimate Tester: Sharing Knowledge

Maaike Brinkhof

sharing_knowledge_small

In the past three blog posts we have explored some aspects of being an Ultimate Tester: How we can add value, how our curiosity helps us to test the crazy stuff and how we can build quality in. We learn a lot about these things during work time (and hopefully during personal time as well), but as the Ultimate Tester we want to take this as a step further. What do we have beyond learning? Sharing knowledge!

In this post I urge you all to become a quality ambassador; to share more about the things you’ve learned. Help the testing community further by giving back what you know. Don’t say “but others know so much more than I do, what can I possibly add to it?”. You know more than you think and you can share knowledge in many ways. I will give you some options, ranging from very easy to needing a lot of effort.  Read more

How to Keep flowtype Running and Report Errors on Save

wvenema@xebia.com

We use flow from Facebook to run type checking on our codebase. When you run ‘flow status’ it starts a flow server in the background and keeps it running. That way after the first run the results of each next run are almost instant. The only thing currently lacking is a watch mode, but there is a nice trick you can use.
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Filtering objects to Optionals

Lammert Westerhoff

A while ago I stumbled upon a Blog post by Natascha the Robot about Configuring a Constant Using Shorthand Argument Names in Swift. Which by itself is a great post, but I was most inspired by the Then library mentioned at the end of her post. Seeing how such a small amount of code could change the way we configure constants everywhere gave me the idea to create something in a very similar fashion. But instead of configuring a variable it’s used to filter one based on a condition. Because why should filter only be applicable to collection types?

The usage of it is extremely simple and very useful:

extension String: Filter {}

"12345".filter { $0.characters.count > 4 } // Optional("12345")
"12".filter { $0.characters.count > 4 } // Optional(nil)

Only very little code is required to make this work:

extension Filter {

    /// Allows filtering of non sequence types.
    ///
    ///     let label = UILabel().then {
    ///         $0.textAlignment = .Center
    ///         $0.textColor = UIColor.blackColor()
    ///         $0.text = "Hello, World!"
    ///     }
    public func filter(@noescape condition: Self -> Bool) -> Self? {
        return condition(self) ? self : nil
    }

}

extension NSObject: Filter {}

Not enough code to make a library out of it in my opinion. Just copy this code into your project. I did create a GitHub Gist which I will update if needed.

With this code, any object that inherits from NSObject will work by default. For pure Swift objects, just add the one liner to let the object adhere to the Filter protocol.

I’d love to hear your comments and hear about alternatives to this.

Behind the Scenes: A Minimal Viable Setup for Creating Video Scribe

Chris Lukassen

I'm getting a lot of questions about my previous blog post. Fortunately also about the content, but mostly about how I created the video. So in this episode we will look at the MVP (Minimal Viable Product) version of a video scribe and the lessons learned. This way you can make a better video scribe based on my learnings.

Simple Tools are Key

Simple Tools are Key

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