Agile & Entrepreneurship Meetup - Part 1: Jeff Gothelf

"Shipped doesn't mean done" & other lessons any developer can apply today.

Lean UX book Jeff Gothelf

Recently I went to an “Agile & Entrepreneurship Dublin” Meetup featuring Jeff Gothelf, co-author of the best-selling Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience book, (via Skype) and Sean Finlay, who is Head of Propositions at Ammeon who spoke in person. Sean writes a DevOps and Lean-Agile blog.  In this post I’m going to describe the group, the venue, the talks, and the key take aways I took to heart from the talks.

The Group (Agile & Entrepreneurship Dublin)

The meetup group was started by 3 colleagues of mine, and I wanted to support their efforts as well as the fact that I’m interested in the subject matter.  The focus of the group is based on Agile/Lean/KanBan/Scrum software and business development, as well as topics of interest to the entrepreneurial community.  The group was started on “Jul 20, 2015” and at this writing (31st January 2016) has 412 registered members.

“This Meetup group is for Agilistas, startups and innovators, who are interested in discussing how to fuse Agile with Entrepreneurship.

Come along to learn from top guest speakers, network, pitch for new job opportunities, have a beer and have some fun along the way.” - From their “about” on meetup.com

The Venue

Bank of Ireland on Grand Canal Square have a great looking space they offer to startups for meetings and as a work area.  They kindly offer this space to the meetup group.  As well as having some refreshments available including more wine and beer.

Bank of Ireland - Grand Canal Square

Good

  • Great looking space
  • Very nice people assisting with the setup
  • Top of the line A/V equipment
  • Convenient central location

Bad

  • Though my seat was comfortable since I arrived early, mostly they had stools that I heard some people were a bit dissatisfied with.
  • Unfortunately a pillar somewhat blocks the view of the screen for a portion of the room.

The Talks Introduction by A&E Organisers One of the most interesting things said in the welcome and introduction was that the organisers described themselves as experimentalists.  Saying that the the venue, the Skype presentation, and even the meetup group itself were all experiments and they are testing, learning, and adjusting as they went along.  I’d say we could all use a bit more of this attitude.

Jeff Gothelf

Ship, Sense, and Respond: A Culture Of Continuous Learning

Jeff gave a fantastic talk via Skype.  The talk was so good in fact I hardly even noticed he wasn’t in the room.  You can see much of the content of the talk in this video:

 

The biggest takeaways that really had meaning to me were as follows:

  • Create a culture of continuous learning (this is learning what your customer responds too, not just learning how to do something)
  • Shipping isn’t done. Done is when a meaningful change in customer behaviour happens.
  • Implement something and then study it.  Was the change used? Was it used again? Are your customers more successful in using your product?
  • You can ship all the features in the world but they can still suck.
  • Continuous deployment is ultimately about continuous conversations with your customers.
  • Deliver is not the end goal, discovering emergent ideas and improvements.
  • Radical transparency, bring everything in to the light.  Don’t hide things from each other, management or the customers.
  • The software is never finished so show it in its current state without fear.  If we all know this is only a point in time for the constant evolvement of the product, then there is no need to be embarrassed by its current state.
  • Prioritise learning over delivery.  It’s more important to learn more about what will help your customer become more successful using your product that to ship more features.
  • Maintain a position of humility, no one truly KNOWS the exact path forward so don’t act like you do.
  • Humility drives agility. This removes stagnation and allows you to be more responsive.
  • 3 changes to make this a reality
    • Change people’s motivation.  Customer focused incentive structure (an iPhone app team is really the mobile commerce team) This requires objective measures of success (Did we change customer behaviour?)
    • Change what gets funded (Evidence based funding decisions)
    • Change how work is assigned. Give teams a problem to solve not a solution to implement (autonomy/transparency/learnings)
  • Process is a reflection of culture, if the process is broken you need to fix the culture first.
  • Shift culture of delivery to culture of learning

This may have been one of the most inspiring presentations I’ve been to in years (and I went to the Web Summit!).  I’ll definitely be buying Jeff’s books.   You can find out more of his upcoming book at sensingbook.com

You can read part to at: Agile & Entrepreneurship Meetup – Part 2: Seán Finlay

Let me know what you think, or if you have any questions.

~ Dave

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