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BONUS: The Agile-Product Continuum: Phillip Starke’s Blueprint for Becoming a Product Coach

This episode was triggered by Phillip Starke’s blog post titled “Why agile coaches should strive to be product coaches”. You can read that blog post here, and listen in this episode to Phillip’s perspective and why he reached those conclusions.

Agile to Product Coaching Transformation

“Agile Coaches are already product coaches in essence, they just need to realize and embrace it fully.”

Phillip reflects on why agile coaches should also consider themselves product coaches. He argues for a unified approach to coaching that encompasses both agile and product development principles.

A Pivot Towards Product-Centric Coaching

“I had a turning point when I realized, despite our success, how much more impactful we could have been with a stronger focus on user interaction and discovery.”

Phillip shares his experience transitioning from an agile-focused to a product-centric coaching approach, highlighting a project where greater emphasis on user discovery would have led to even more significant outcomes.

Enhancing Product Development Through User Engagement

“Talking to users directly is eye-opening. Watching real users interact with your product not only breaks down assumptions but also greatly motivates the team.”

Phillip delves into the core of his coaching philosophy, which centers on the importance of direct user engagement for insightful product development, emphasizing how real user interactions can dramatically inform and motivate the development process.

The Hurdles to Product Coaching Evolution

“The leap to product coaching is often hindered by a lack of experience and a narrow focus on feature delivery within organizations.”

In this segment, Phillip discusses the barriers that prevent agile coaches from evolving into product coaches, including a lack of holistic product development experience and organizational tendencies to prioritize feature delivery over comprehensive product strategies.

Missing Links: Skills and Practices for Agile Coaches

“Getting close to your users is key. Regular interactions and adopting a mindset of continuous discovery can significantly shift how we approach product development.”

Phillip outlines the skills and practices that agile coaches often lack, emphasizing the importance of user interaction and a continuous discovery mindset for effective product coaching. In this segment, we refer to the book Continuous Discovery by Teresa Torres.

Marty Cagan’s Principles for Success: A Closer Look

“Successful teams address risks early, build collaboratively, and focus on solving problems, not just adding features.”

Phillip highlights the principles for successful teams as outlined by Marty Cagan, stressing the alignment between these principles and the goals of both agile and product coaching.

Deeper Insights and Common Oversights

“A common pitfall is designing first without involving engineering early on. To truly focus on problems, we need to run experiments and learn from them as early as possible.”

In this segment, we discuss some common oversights in agile coaching, particularly the separation of design and engineering, and Phillip advocates for early experimentation to address problems efficiently.

Actionable Steps Towards Becoming a Product Coach

“Start small but think big. Engage with users regularly, increase deployment frequency, and aim for outcomes over outputs to begin transforming into a true product coach.”

Phillip offers practical, actionable steps for agile coaches to start their transition towards becoming product coaches, focusing on user engagement and outcome-oriented development.

Future of Agile Coaching: Evolution and Challenges

“Agile coaches must broaden their focus from delivery to a holistic product development approach, embracing continuous learning and adaptation.”

What is the future of Agile coaching? Phillip discusses the future evolution of agile coaching, emphasizing the need for coaches to adopt a broader perspective that includes all aspects of product development.

Imagining the Ultimate Product Development Process

“Imagine a world where product development is driven by continuous experimentation, where collaboration is seamless, and decisions are quickly validated through user feedback.”

Phillip envisions an ideal product development process characterized by continuous experimentation, seamless collaboration, and rapid validation, encouraging listeners to adopt these practices to enhance their development efforts.

In this segment, we refer to the BONUS episodes on experimentation.

About Phillip Starke

Phillip is a Scrum Master, Agile Coach, and Product Owner who blends technology and team dynamics to deliver valuable products. He writes about product development on his newsletter, The Backlog. With a background in mechanical engineering and experience in the automotive, software, and data analytics industries, he now freelances to enhance team success in product development.

You can link with Phillip Starke on LinkedIn.

 

 

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