Beyond #Lean and #Agile

Beyond Lean and Agile

Marty Cagan inspired me to write two cents about my view of “beyond lean and agile“. I don’t have the experience like Marty, only 10 years in product management and 3 years as a product owner. Marty also pointed out how important the understanding of product managers vs product owners really is and how essential they are for building good products.

Lean and agile folklore

Lean and agile are being used very inflationary in daily business. People cover a lot of their actions under the cloak of lean, agile, scrum or whatever buzzword, which has nothing to do about it. And I totally agree with Marty from my experiences on user groups that “Agile is actually practiced in most product companies is hardly Agile in any meaningful sense“. Most companies introduce agile workstyles based on an agile framework, but they only live a “folklore” in the style of “scrum, but(t)…“.

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Example for an agile process: http://agilitrix.com/2015/10/structure-of-kanban-energy-of-scrum/

I really don’t like fundamental discussions, it is not everything about participating the regular ceremonies. For me it is a lot of accountability about the product and self organisation of the team to maximise the outcome for customers, who really use the product. Please be fair and stay save to be able to look into a mirror.

“ScrumAnd…” is more experienced while using multiple agile methodologies for your daily work. I’ve found a great overview about agile methodologies which I’d like to share:

Empowerment

So, I am asking myself about the stories of product managers and owners. What I am observing is the lack of empowerment into product managers and owners to do their job. A colleague of mine once came from an event with the right question:

Are you as a product owner in the position to discontinue the work on the product and cancel it? If you’re not legitimate to do so, you’re not the real owner of the product.

This definition might be extreme and wide, but the question absolutely describes the influence and power a product owner role needs. On the other hand, I hardly even met people with the title and the empowerment to do so. Marty Cagan described two more ways in his post behind every good product which lead to success. For myself, I prefer to do my job, but this is an utopia, because real world scenarios need coordination with the CEO/CTO and other stakeholders. At least this must be possible to build a good product.

Decision making

Another important dimension is the way how decisions are made. Again, decision making comes with the empowerment of the team and lead. From my perspective again decision making is business critical. The more accountability the team has, the more freedom and trust in their work is needed to let go. This usually come with a top-down vs bottom-up culture. Delegation boards might help to make the degree of empowerment transparent and grow the maturity in the future through regular revisits. Michael Sahota also shared his thoughts in a presentation on slideshare:

Intrinsic motivation and attitude

Motivation is the most important impact for the team as an individual. It all comes with intrinsic motivation taking responsibility for the product and the team. You need people and colleagues with the right attitude to help and serve each other and the customer first. Of course every day is different, but I highly recommend working on your daily attitude. This creates the company culture and which is read only. Everything which is extrinsic motivated like orders through authority of how and what to do, might frustrate the individual and violates the team structure and motivation. It is not about making people accountable for something. You’ll find more literature about positive error management and how to celebrate them in agile practises like for example at M3.0.

Conclusion and recommendations

  1. There is no blueprint nor right way to practise and introduce agile. Be careful about losing people within an agile mindset and don’t waste your time in living a folklore rather than focussing on what really is valuable for the team, customer and organisation. Agile is a mixed form of multiple methodologies that work out for you. Agile is not about maximising the output of a team, it is about maximising the outcome for the customers.
  2. How empowered is the team and your product owners? Are they only administrating a backlog and requirements or are they able to tackle and solve difficult problems for your customers and your business? It’s not all about the team, make sure to strengthen your product owner. Find a way to delegate and balance decision making. It is the most important way to make progress.
  3. Motivation and attitude are very important for teams and individuals. Find ways to support team members and colleagues. If they don’t fit, talk with them and find a way how to to solve it, even an exit might be a good answer.

I’d really like to read more about different experiences and would be happy to hear and discuss about it.

Thanks,

Patrick

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Journey to be continued…

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The open gilded cage

A colleague of mine @frankgollas inspired my working situation at Matrix42 in a perfect illustration: the open gilded cage. The door is open free to leave or stay.

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Image: Cover of “Bird in a Gilded Cage: A Suffragette Story” by Susan Griffin

I am working at Matrix42 now since April 2006 and have experienced multiple organisational changes through the years. The most influencing events for my work have been building a new product for managing Citrix challenges and the agile transition. Both gave me an incredible boost in personal growth for what I am really thankful.

At the end of 2013 I was working for the Empirum flagship again for the area of OS installations, back where I started 2006. Client management is a kind of “old school” in case of product and technology. The industry of client management was retired by Gartner and moving to the next level with unified endpoint management. Don’t get me wrong, I love endpoint management and described the progress in a special post in November 2016: Matrix42 EPE 4 click like clockwork – 30+ releases in 2016. But after restructuring the area and teams with a new lead, I was asking myself if I wanted to work in this topic for the next two years and how to grow personally. I felt stuck – not only because of my career didn’t change since 2012.

Within the gilded cage, I finally found a well known and simple formula for my decision:

“Love it, leave it or change it.”

Of course it is not that easy in a complex world, but I was asking myself this question more often in the past year. After all changes in 2016 I came to the result, that life offers many more opportunities for me and my lifetime is too short to stay in this position. Seth Godin who really inspires and influences me described this in a short article a few days ago:

Thank you very much for everything!

So after 10 years working for Matrix42, I’ve decided to leave the company with the end of February 2017 for a new journey. It is hard to describe my feelings about the decision, because after such a long time in a company you’ve seen so many things, met so many people and I am connected to the company, because I care.

Matrix42, the people, my colleagues and former colleagues, my team, the customers, partners made me to where I am standing today with my experiences. I feel deeply thankful about everything! Without you I won’t be there, where I am today. Therefore I’d like to use a quote from Dr. Seuss:

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

At least an impression from the Matrix42 kick-off, which was an unexpected group presentation outcome of our brain factory. It was a 30 second pitch in front of the company about “what was good in 2016 and should be kept and fully developed?”, what I really enjoyed. Thanks to all group members for this opportunity.

Company Kick-Off Matrix42 2017: Patrick Sauerwein 30 second pitch

Image: Matrix42 Kick-Off event 2017 at Klassikstadt Frankfurt

What’s next?

A lot of colleagues, partners and customers asked me, where are you going? Are you starting at a competitor? I will answer this question soon and some of you won’t be surprised. The facts so far:

  • I won’t change to a competitor.
  • I won’t stay in the industry of unified endpoint management nor ITSM.
  • I will continue to work as a product owner.

More to come in another post.

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Image: “Back to the Future” ending

For those who are interested to stay in contact personally, please add me through the social networks like LinkedIn, Xing or Twitter.

Thank you, looking forward to see you.

All the best wishes,

Patrick

 

 

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Impression of the exclusive Matrix42 Customer Round Table 2016

Last Tuesday we offered an exclusive round table for Matrix42 customers working with Empirum in our headquarter in Frankfurt. We initially invited all existing customers registered at the Matrix42 Marketplace at least subscribed products from the client management, compliance or service management category. Interested customers then needed to apply for this exclusive workshop with the senior management and product team. We offered two days with two focus areas:

  • November 22nd: Client Management and Unified Endpoint Management
  • November 23rd: Service Management and Compliance

The reason for the application is simple and candid: we wanted all customers to have the chance to exchange with the senior management and product team. I was honored to host this event for our costumers throughout the day by moderating and organising the Empirum and Unified Endpoint Management workshop.

 

matrix42-customer-round-table-2016-hagridThe picture shows our group split into three to generate insight of challenges in a gallery walk (Image credits to Oliver Klünter).

What happened and who participated?

Overall eleven customers exclusively joined our workshop this day and we discussed their daily challenges and impressions working with our products. It was clear, not all applicants were able to participate – but at least everybody had a chance to.We invited customers from all segments starting with 300 devices up 10,000+ devices and multiple locations which were a good representation for our customer base. Listening and networking were main goals for the product managers this day. We presented our actual backlog, discussed and validated it by writing down the major challenges of them.

What’s next?

The next step for us is to reorganise our product backlog and enrich the epics with more details. The good news as well, we are going to solve important challenges for our customers in the rest of this year and 2017. If you’ve missed the Matrix42 customer round table in 2016, don’t worry, there will be another one next year. We also think to increase the frequency for such an event. There will always be a good mix between customer events, individual interviews and talks as well as customer surveys to provide your feedback. We love to here from you!

ROTI (Return On Time Invested)

This day was really excellent for us, the outcome was worth more than the time spent on the workshop. After the Matrix42 Customer Day in Hamburg and Mainz this really was an important event for us to gain more customer insights and feedback.

Have a great week!

Patrick

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Matrix42 EPE 4 click like clockwork – 30 releases in 2016

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Since February 3rd 2016, we now shipped up to 30 releases with the Matrix42 Bootimage Upgrade To EPE 4 to ensure OS installations with the latest and greatest hardware with Intel Skylake architectures. The EPE releases click like clockwork not because of challenges with the EPE, but due to the reorganisation in production to agility. We are able to ship each increment to our customers – and that’s exactly what we do from day one on. We wanted to give our customers the chance to use new features instantly and give us feedback about it. I’ve perceived the feedback from the Matrix42 Customer Day in Mainz, that this was not clear to our customers and a release each week was to much. That was the reason, why we’ve changed the release cycle in a timeframe between one to four weeks.

I’ve posted the article “Microsoft Windows 7 Challenges for Enterprises and the Hardware Dilemma with Intel” before, please have a look at it for further details and background.

Latest EPE releases

With the release today, we deliver PXE Self Provisioning in the familar way. The feature set works now a little bit different because of the boot menu on the client, so we do have one manual selection more, but the main benefit comes with existing functionality of self provisioning familiar with EPE 3. You are now able to use Self Provisioning for UEFI and BIOS devices with the EPE 4.

With the release of version 4.3.x we also support PXE secure boot for 64bit clients. This version supports virtual guests on Microsoft Hyper-V hosts Generation 2 too. We also added the latest Linux Kernel in 64bit, so kernel parameters for the Microsoft Surface 4 and Surfacebook are no longer needed. There might be more hardware models where no kernel parameters are needed like e.g. the Lenovo Carbon X1. I highly recommend testing your convertibles or tablets with the new version.

Matrix42 Hardware Profile Editor

At the Matrix42 Customer Day in Mainz, we proudly announced another tool to simplify the hardware profile and driver view with the tool [Technical Preview] Matrix42 Hardware Profile Editor. The tool is only supported now for Empirum 16.1.1 and higher, but we are working on this tool in parallel to finally release it for all Empirum version 16.x. We’d like to point out that the Matrix42 Hardware Profile Editor isn’t replacing the driver management in Empirum, but helping to simplify search and adding drivers to hardware profiles. We’ve planned to deliver a new version of the driver management in the first half of 2017. Since then we hope the Hardware Profile Editor is helping you in your daily business.

Powerpoint from the Matrix42 Customer Day 2016 in Hamburg

In case you’ve missed my session about “Best Practises for the OS Installer and EPE 4” from the UEM breackout sessions, I’d like to share it with Sliedeshare. It is in German only, apologies for the English audience.

Call to action: Get in touch!

I hope this post was valueable for you. Please leave a comment or try to connect with me for further conversations.

Thank you very much for reading and all the best,

Patrick

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Impressions of the Matrix42 Customer Day 2016 in Hamburg

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On Oktober 27th I had the honor to represent Matrix42 for the second Customer Day in 2016 for the track “Unified Endpoint Management” – in short UEM. The day started with the keynotes from our new CEO Oliver Bendig and Nico Pfaff who is leading the German business. The house was fully booked with a beautiful audience of Matrix42 customers.

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The customer day had four different breakout sessions after the keynotes and presentation of the Fraunhofer Institut:

  • Unified Endpoint Management
  • Enterprise Service Management
  • Cloud and Mobile
  • Hands on labs

Together with my colleagues Oliver Klünter and Matthias Vogt, we where driving this day with a lot of interesting sessions for our customers and had one customer presentation from Meko-S, how their experiences have been, how they are managing PCs and mobile devices with Matrix42. Oliver and me had to joined sessions about client and mobile device management, where we tried to show how to use our products and what is possible. Of course we gave and outlook of the current and upcoming initiatives to show our customers the value of our products.

The most valuable time of the day was in between the session while receiving direct feedback from customers.

Overall, we perceived really valuable feedback from our customers – a great day! I am really thankful for all the conversations and this experience. Especially the days since then I had such intense customer conversations which led to real value for both sides.

If you missed both events in Mainz and Hamburg, there is still another chance next year 2017 or please apply for our Customer Round Table in November.

Thank you and all the best,

Patrick

P.S.: Credits and many thanks for the photos Madelyn Hernandez and Fabian Henzler.

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[Repost] 16 Mobile Theses

Today I read an older blogpost from Benedict Evans and I am so impressed, that I’d like to share it within my blog. It is a must read from my perspective for all people working in the IT today and builing software. Benedict Evans was painting a market picture in the end of 2015 of IT trends about mobile, PCs, IoT, Cars, Watches combined with all big players. He supports his theses with fundamental posts and data from him and A16Z, that I highly recommend reading and following his blog.

Original blog post from Benedict Evans: 16 Mobile Theses

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Malteser Social Day 2016 – thanks for this great experience

Since the last three years Matrix42 is volunteering once a year for the Malteser Social day. This year we were volunteering at several projects and we had the pleasure to organize a festivity for elderly people at theSankt Katharinen und Weißfrauenstift Frankfurt-Niederursel.

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The day started at 10am with setting up the room with tables, chairs and decoration. During this process the local TV station came along with filming our work during the day which was broadcasted at hessenschau the same day. At 11am we did a short breakfast break with the final instructions for the day. We decorated the room, prepared the food and drinks. The first clients arrived before 1pm and were able to choose the best seats for this day.

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The entertainment for this day started his show directly after the official salutation of the institution and the Malteser official. The Italian musician was great in entertaining the people while we were serving the meal and drinks to the people. We also had enough time to talk to the people and listen to their stories which was the best experience. At 4pm the first clients left the party and we started to wash the dishes and clean the room. Our service included serving food and drinks, as well as clearing the tables and good conversations. We helped the people getting back to the transportation and cleaned up the room and dishes. At 5:30pm we had a short debriefing with the organization hosts and received a thank-you gift for the day.

The biggest gift of that day was participating the social day, having the possibility to volunteer for elderly people, the conversations and getting in touch with them, being part of them for at least some hours and listening to their stories. Thank you very much for having us and the possibility to give back. It was a marvelous day and absolutely one of my favorites.

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