Safety not guaranteed: How successful teams ignore the rules to create successful products

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Published on February 23, 2014

Author: comakers



If you’re looking for simple solutions for building successful products, you won’t find them in this talk. This is the talk about how hard it really is to succeed, and how the best way to succeed is to ignore the best practice and avoid playing it safe.
In this talk, you’ll hear about companies that started with the best of intentions. But in the end, deliberately broke their process and learned a few counter-intuitive things along the way: The most user-centric companies learned to lie to their customers, skip research, trust their guesses, and stop worrying about usability. The most agile companies learned to deliberately ship bad code, and to stop planning more than a few hours in advance. Design Thinking advocates adopted Lean Startup thinking. And, Lean Startup advocates adopted Design Thinking. In the end the most successful companies end up with a process soup that’s not true to any single process style, and definitely not simple to explain to anyone. They learned that to really win the product development game, they’ve got to worry a lot less about safely delivering on time.
If you attend, you might end up with a few clever ideas to try in your organization. But what I hope you take away is a willingness to abandon the false security of any process approach, keep the best ideas and abandon the rest to focus on succeeding in spite of your process.

SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED How  great  teams  break  the  rules  to   create  successful  products   Jeff  Pa'on Chief  troublemaker,  Comakers  LLC,  twi'er:  @jeffpa'on

SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED How  great  teams  break  the  rules  to   create  successful  products   Jeff  Pa'on Chief  troublemaker,  Comakers  LLC,  twi'er:  @jeffpa'on

1. Process is more about safety than success 2. Play like a team 3. Focus on outcome 4. Build a learning culture  ::

1 Good process isn’t tidy  ::

What does process mean to you? 5




Process 9

Process  ::

What’s  wrong  with  this  model? Winston  Royce  first  published  this  model  in  1970  as  an   interim  figure  on  the  way  to  his  ideal  approach  ::  

Royce  explained  you’ll  need  feedback   cycles  between  phases Handing  off  documents  and  moving  on  doesn’t  work  ::  

You’ll  need  feedback  all  the  way  back  to   design  and  requirements Why do we still believe we can get by without collaboration & iteration today? It’s  only  aCer  tesDng  that  we  understand  if  either  design   or  requirements  were  good  ::  

This  is  Royce’s  real  model Effective process looks messy Royce’s  model  had  lots  of  collabora2on,  “involving  the  customer”,   recommended  itera2vely  building  the  product  -­‐  “do  it  at  least  twice.” “If  the  computer  program  in  ques2on  is  being  developed  for  the  first   2me,  arrange  maBers  so  that  the  version  finally  delivered  to  the   customer  for  opera2onal  deployment  is  actually  the  second  version   insofar  as  cri2cal  design/opera2ons  areas  are  concerned.  ::  

No matter what Royce tried to say, this is what we keep falling back to 15

Successful  product  companies  use   different  approaches  ::  

Takeuchi  &  Nonaka  saw  three  process   models “Under the rugby approach, the product development process emerges from the constant interaction of a handpicked, multidisciplinary team whose members work together from start to finish.”  ::  

What does “game” mean to you? 18

It’s  all  just  a  game,  Jeff  Pa'on, 19

Games  have Simple  Rules Almost  anyone  can  learn  to  play The  sophis2ca2on  comes  from  strategies  and   tac,cs  used  by  skilled  players  and  coaches,  Jeff  Pa'on,   20

Games  have Posi6ons  not  Roles Players  on  a  sports  team  build  deep   specializa,on but  maintain  general  skills  to  play  many  posi2ons,  Jeff  Pa'on,   21

Process  ≠  skill No  one  expects  to  be  good  without  prac2ce It  takes  a  diverse  set  of  skills  to  be  successful,  Jeff  Pa'on,   22

Brought  to  you  by  the  le'er  “T” Breadth of skills T Depth of expertise Fast  Company,  Strategy  By  Design   hBp://­‐strategy.html,  Jeff  Pa'on, 23

The  broken  comb Wide  breadth  of  skills  along  with  varying  depth  in   a  variety  of  skills *  The  broken  comb  is  an  idea  from  Jared  Spool,  Jeff  Pa'on, 24

Games  have Clear  Goals Finishing  on  2me  isn’t  success Playing  our  posi2on  well  while  our  team  loses   isn’t  success,  Jeff  Pa'on,   25

output outcome we build this we want this ©  2009-­‐2011  Jeff  Pa'on,  all  rights  reserved, 26

Process ≠ Skill knowing how doesn’t make you good Roles ≠ Positions You might primarily do one thing, but you can’t win by doing only one thing Finishing On Time ≠ Winning Keep score, don’t just keep time 27

c “Simple, clear purpose and principles give rise to complex and intelligent behavior. Complex rules and regulations give rise to simple and stupid behavior.” -- Dee Hock 28

Keep rules to a minimum Allow teams freedom to control their own strategies and tactics We need enough rules to be playing the same game 29

Effective process is more like a team sport, and less like an assembly line  ::

2 Liquidnet plays like a single team ©  2009-­‐2011  Jeff  Pa'on,  all  rights  reserved, 31

Liquidnet  feature  team  at  a  daily  standup Liquidnet  builds  soWware  for  large  ins2tu2onal  stock  traders  such  as   banks,  hedge  funds,  pension  funds,  and  mutual  funds.     The  next  major  revision  of  their  flagship  product  use  a  single  team  with   over  40  total  team  members  and  would  take  over  a  year  to  release.,  Jeff  Pa'on,   32

The  team  used  Scrum,  but  to  them  it  felt   like  waterfall  ::

They  used  a  common  staggered  sprint   model  ::

A  product  owner,  BAs  and  UX  designers   get  stories  ready  for  planning  ::

While  the  team  works,  the  product  team   get’s  ready  for  the  next  sprint  ::

The  team  alters  their  sprint  to  stay   together  ::

The  team  gets  ready  together  and  sprints   together Fewe sprintr days same ing, but veloc ity! *  2009,  Frank  &  Hartel,  Feature  Teams  Collabora2vely  Building  Products  from  READY  to  DONE  ::

Scrum is an agile strategy, not the rules of the game  ::

But  ::

3 Even if you are on time, you’re probably wrong anyway  ::

Your  guesses  about  the  future  are   probably  wrong Typically  about   50%  to  80%  of  all   soCware  we  ship  fails  to   accomplish  it’s   objecDves. People  like  Marty  say  this  stuff  is  hard (Marty  Cagan,  author  of  Inspired,  How  to  Create  Products  Customers  Love),  Jeff  Pa'on,   42

Is  it  as  simple  as  building  only  the   features  people  will  use? “Clippy”  -­‐  Booed   off  the  MicrosoW   Office  stage  as   seldom-­‐used  and   oWen  despised. It  seemed  like  a   good  idea  at  the   2me....,  Jeff  Pa'on,   43

It’s  only  aCer  delivery  that  we  really   understand  value opportunity:   integrated  music   management  and   portable  music   player “There were plenty of weak spots that led to Microsoft's disastrous December quarter, but one that didn't get much attention Thursday was how badly the Zune did.” --Ina Fried, CNet News, January 2009  ::

Adding design thinking to fix agile  ::  has  mastered   Agile,  but  it  doesn’t  maWer Eugene  Park  is  the   director  of  product   management  at Edmunds  was  founded  in  1966   as  a  publisher  of  printed   booklets  consolidaAng   automoAve  specificaAons  to   help  car  shoppers  make  buying   decisions.    Today  they’re  one   of  the  most  trusted  sources  on   the  web  for  auto  buyers  and   enthusiasts.  ::

We’d  like  to  adopt   design  thinking Design thinking focuses whole teams on solving customer and user problems 47

IDEO  Pioneered  Design  Thinking,  schools  like  Standford’s  and  the  HPI  School  of  Design  Thinking  teach  it IDEO’s  Tim  Brown,  author   of  Change  by  Design IDEO’s  “Shopping  Cart  Video”:  hQps://  ::

Design  &  Design  Thinking Design  follows  a  basic  flow  from  research  to  soluon  design [It  can  somemes  be  seen  as  an  “ivory  tower”  acvity  for  select  individuals] Design  thinking  leverages  diverse  teams,  lots  of  collaboraon,   and  user  parcipaon   [Design  thinking  asks  everyone  to  parcipate,  but  sll  relies  on  strong  leadership]  ::  

Design thinking seems like common sense, right? Understand the problem you’re solving & focus on specific problems Consider lots of possible solutions There is nothing more uncommon than common sense. Make sure it’ll work before investing big Sco,sh  Mathema3cian   Thomas  Chalmers 50

Different ways of thinking NOT process roles, hand-offs, sequence and phases 51

Designers  act  as  experts  and  guides “Design isn’t a product that designers produce, design is a process that designers facilitate.” -- Leah Buley Leah  Buley  ::

(Almost)  everyone  at  Edmunds  spends   Dme  with  users  ::

Ateeq  has  an  epiphany I’ve  always  been  confident  I  can   tell  you  precisely  what  users  do.     But  it’s  not  un9l  today  that  I  realize  that  I   could  never  tell  you  why.  ::

Teams  work  together  to  make  sense  of   what  they’ve  learned  ::

They  build  simple  lightweight  personas   synthesizing  their  user  understanding 56,  Jeff  Pa'on,  

They  ideate  by  sketching  independently  ::  

They  ideate  by  sketching  independently,  Jeff  Pa'on,   58

Everyone  shares  their  results  ::  

Everyone  shares  their  results  ::  

They  start  to  imagine  soluDons  using   paper,  scissors,  and  tape,  Jeff  Pa'on,   61

They  start  to  imagine  soluDons  using   paper,  scissors,  and  tape,  Jeff  Pa'on,   62  shares  the  product’s  story   for  all  teams  in  an  internal  “trade  show”  ::  shares  the  product’s  story   for  all  teams  in  an  internal  “trade  show”  ::  shares  the  product’s  story   for  all  teams  in  an  internal  “trade  show”  ::  shares  the  product’s  story   for  all  teams  in  an  internal  “trade  show”  ::  

We’ve  found  simple  ideas   that  now  generate  millions  in   revenue  every  year Edmunds teams stopped worrying about velocity and started focusing on success 67

The secret to effective software development 68

It’s not about software It’s about changing the world 69

We’ve  go'en  a  lot   be'er  at  measuring  outcomes We’re   sll  wrong  most  of  the   me,  but  now  we  pull  out   socware  that’s  not  gedng  us   the  outcomes  we  want. 71

4 Adding Lean Startup to fix Agile 72

Validated learning over working software (or comprehensive documentation) In  May  of  2010,  Kent  Beck   gave  a  keynote  speech  at  the   first  Lean  Startup  conferences   where  he  revised  the  agile   manifesto  from  his  perspec2ve  :: Working  socware   isn’t  enough  to  ensure   product  success

Eric  Ries,  author  of  The  Lean  Startup Important concepts Dumb title 74

The  Lean  Startup  Validated  Learning  Loop Learn Build Measure  ::  

The  Lean  Startup  Validated  Learning  Loop Simple  models  to   dis2ll  findings Idea2on Prototype  &   evaluate  inside   the  team ideas Learn Build data Metrics  from  a   live  applica2on Direct  observa2on Poll  or  survey test Measure  ::   Simple  prototype Live  data  prototype Value  test  (like  a   landing  page) 404  Test  (like   unimplemented   features)

The  Lean  Startup  Validated  Learning  Loop Simple  models  to   dis2ll  findings Idea2on Prototype  &   evaluate  inside   the  team ideas Learn Build harsh reality data Metrics  from  a   live  applica2on Direct  observa2on Poll  or  survey tests Measure  ::   happy, hopeful, hypothetical stuff Simple  prototype Live  data  prototype Value  test  (like  a   landing  page) 404  Test  (like   unimplemented   features)

Does  anyone  want  your  product? Customer  Discovery § Find  customers  who  have  a   problem  your  product  can   solve Customer  Development § Iteravely  test  soluons  with   target  customers  unl  you   have  a  soluon  they’ll  buy   and  recommend  to  others  :: Steve  Blank,  author  of   The  Four  Steps  to   Epiphany

Explicit  release  step Explicit  measure  step  &  metrics Nothing  leaves  the  board  unl   there’s  been  a  discussion  on   what  we’ve  learned Snag-­‐a-­‐Job’s  board  courtesy  of  David  BiBenbender  ::

Nordstrom  InnovaDon  Lab’s  Learning  Loop hBp://­‐study-­‐nordstrom-­‐innova2on-­‐lab.html  ::

Nordstrom  InnovaDon  Lab’s  Learning  Loop hBp://­‐study-­‐nordstrom-­‐innova2on-­‐lab.html  ::

Nordstrom  InnovaDon  Lab’s  Learning  Loop hBp://­‐study-­‐nordstrom-­‐innova2on-­‐lab.html  ::

Nordstrom  InnovaDon  Lab’s  Learning  Loop hBp://­‐study-­‐nordstrom-­‐innova2on-­‐lab.html  ::

Nordstrom  InnovaDon  Lab’s  Learning  Loop hBp://­‐study-­‐nordstrom-­‐innova2on-­‐lab.html  ::

SnagaJob  uses  experiments   in  their  live  site  to  learn We  believe  all  these   ads  turn  people  off. SnagAJob uses “404 Tests” or “buttons to nowhere.”  ::

Adding Design Thinking to fix Lean Startup 92

Nordstrom  recognizes  something  is   missing... Jeremy  Lightsmith  speaking  at  CodeLab:  hBp://  ::

Adding Lean Startup to fix Design Thinking 94

It’s  easy  to  fool  yourself To  validate   Price  Promise   invested  lots  of   me  and  money  ::

We’re  now  willing  to  spend   money  &  me  to  learn Before,  we   would  have  spent  a  lot  of   me  arguing  about  what  to  do.   We  wouldn’t  have  spent   money  and  me  to  learn.     Now  we  do. 96

“We had the misperception that the process, the practice, or the methods will automatically produce success. Occasionally that’s the case, but most of the time it isn’t”  ::

The fastest way to failure is to believe you’re safe  ::

Recognize process as a game strategy and play to win Invest in understanding the problems you’re solving Invest in validating your solutions Minimize output, maximize outcome  ::

SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED How  great  teams  break  the  rules  to   create  successful  products   Jeff  Pa'on Chief  troublemaker,  Comakers  LLC,  twi'er:  @jeffpa'on

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