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Strategy in an Agile Environment


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Slides Chris Butler recently used in his discussion w/ mentees of The Product Mentor.

Synopsis: The team makes progress sprint-over-sprint, but how do they know if you are always headed the right direction? Strategy for agile teams is about how they link the high level decisions that leaders make with the day-to-day actions that team members make.

The Product Mentor is a program designed to pair Product Mentors and Mentees from around the World, across all industries, from start-up to enterprise, guided by the fundamental goals…Better Decisions. Better Products. Better Product People.

Throughout the program, each mentor leads a conversation in an area of their expertise that is live streamed and available to both mentee and the broader product community.

Published in: Career
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Strategy in an Agile Environment

  1. 1. Strategy in an Agile Environment The Product Mentor Season 6
  2. 2. Chris Butler Senior Product Strategist TBPP 2016, TPM 4 and 6 Philosophie in NYC Over 15 years of product and BD Microsoft, Waze, Horizon Ventures, KAYAK Started my own company, failed @chrizbot
  3. 3. What we will talk about today ● Cautionary tale ● Why does agile work? ● What is strategy? ● Why does agile need strategy? ● How do you create a good strategy? ● What can you do to test the strategy? ● How to link it to day-to-day?
  4. 4. The “Quality” Sprint
  5. 5. What is strategy?
  6. 6. What is bad strategy? ● Failure to face the challenge ● Mistaking goals for strategy ● Bad strategic objectives - just a list of things to do ● Fluff
  7. 7. Why is bad strategy bad? ● Doesn’t link high level with day to day action ● Focuses the team on the wrong things ○ Or doesn’t focus the team ● Avoids tough decisions ● Makes the wrong tradeoffs ○ Or assumes that you have to make tradeoffs at all
  8. 8. “No strategy” == each person’s own strategy
  9. 9. How do I create a good strategy?
  10. 10. Strategy kernel A diagnosis: an explanation of the nature of the challenge. A good diagnosis simplifies the often overwhelming complexity of reality by identifying certain aspects of the situation as being the critical ones. A guiding policy: an overall approach chosen to cope with or overcome the obstacles identified in the diagnosis. Coherent actions: steps that are coordinated with one another to support the accomplishment of the guiding policy.
  11. 11. Strategy kernel canvas
  12. 12. What can you do to test the strategy?
  13. 13. Saying ‘no’ exercise
  14. 14. Bizzaro strategy exercise
  15. 15. Common weaknesses audit
  16. 16. Common weaknesses Linked to coherent action plan Devoid of bias Balances commitment and flexibility - highest response in McKinsey survey Group is convicted to act on strategy - 2nd highest response in McKinsey survey Embraces uncertainty - 2nd lowest response in McKinsey survey Depends on privileged insights - lowest response in McKinsey survey Ahead of trends Granular about where to compete Taps a true source of advantage It beats the market Obeys strategic ‘laws of gravity’ - from Exec McKinsey article KPIs match strategy - from Exec McKinsey article Balances growth and risk - from Exec McKinsey article Anticipates the changing future landscape - from Edge Perspectives
  17. 17. How can product people link strategy to their day-to-day?
  18. 18. What is great strategy?
  19. 19. Remember ● Strategy is key to agile groups’ success. ● Strategy isn’t something that you just create, you iterate on it. ● Have that conversation about strategy, write it down, and make it part of your process every day.
  20. 20. Thank you For more information: