This has been a tough year for the technology industry. In March we lost Andy Grove, and in April we lost Bill Campbell. Sadly, in May we lost Bruce Williams. Bruce had been fighting Pancreatic Cancer for the past year and a half. He had been in an experimental program at UCSF, which extended his life at least a year.
There is a very common fallacy about developers in our industry, and I think it hurts countless companies.
Exactly a year ago I was invited to give a keynote at the Craft Conference in Budapest and I discussed the 10 biggest reasons why product teams fail. You can watch that talk here, or read the narrative article here.
Note 1: I’m focusing in this article on women, however, my points here are intended to apply to all under-represented groups.
In my last article on Discovery Sprints I mentioned the concept of Discovery Coaches and several people asked me about that, so I thought I’d describe more about what this role is and when it’s helpful.
I find that many teams, especially those new to modern product techniques, are looking for a structured introduction to modern product discovery. In this article, I’d like to describe the concept of a discovery sprint, and also introduce you to a new book that goes into depth on this technique.
NOTE: I was invited to write the foreword for Christina Wodke’s new book on OKR’s, Radical Focus, and I am sharing the foreword here.
Lots of people have written about the challenges of managing growth. Especially about the importance of working hard to maintain staff quality as you scale the organization. There is little question that most organizations become worse in their ability to rapidly deliver consistent innovation as they grow, yet most people attribute this to staff quality and also process and communication issues of scale. Some believe that this is unavoidable.
NOTE: This article is from the foreword to the new 2nd Edition of The Art of Scalability by Marty Abbott and Michael Fisher. I’m reprinting it here because quite a few people have written me asking how to get their old-style company to start behaving more like a modern technology-powered business.
One of my all-time favorite quotes in our industry comes by way of the legendary VC, John Doerr, where he argues that "we need teams of missionaries, not teams of mercenaries.” This point captures so much, and gets right to the heart of the most important trait of strong leaders, strong organizations, and strong product teams.