Best of PPM: November 2020

Every month, a selection of the top PPM articles from around the Web.

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The past month saw a particularly good run of articles about Product Management, together with the publication of a new version of the Scrum Guide (the last one was in 2017). Good reading!


Briefing a senior executive is an art. Focusing on the interpersonal dynamics ahead of time and improving your situational awareness once in the room will make you more effective. (6 min read)

Your metrics can help you, even if you never use them. Even before you start collecting them, you can use metrics to shift your thinking towards a data-driven approach. (6 min read)

Empowered product teams depend not on less leadership, but on better leadership. And product leadership is hard(10 min read)

Senior leaders can accelerate and derive more benefits from data programs, even if they don't understand the data. They can initiate successful data strategies by focusing on data quality, building organizational capabilities, and putting data to work in new ways. (7 min read)

You should be careful about innovation best practices. Studies often suggest that if you copy the best practices they identified, your company can become high-performing, just like the best. But there are two problems. (8 min read)

Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of Zappos and unorthodox management thinker, passed away. To celebrate his leadership and artistry, Gapingvoid reflects on the top ten insights they gained from their work with Tony. (4 min read)

A pretty burn-down chart usually means an ugly Scrum. If you’ve managed to produce perfect burn down charts every single Sprint, maybe it’s time to consider dropping Scrum. You can decide, plan, and predict everything up-front. You don’t need to be Agile, as you’re not doing complex work. (4 min read)

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) can be used for Product management too. If they help you set and track the relevant goals and if the they can be easily understood by the stakeholders and development teams, then they can be a strong tool to facilitate execution. (5 min read)

Engagement arises from safety. “How can I engage my team during a remote retrospective? People tell me things they think we could change. Then, we get into the retro and I know people are looking at their phones, not engaged. Got ideas?” Johanna Rothman does have a few, and they all refer to safety. (4 min read)



We aren't really bad at estimating. What we are really bad at is enumerating all the assumptions that lie behind our estimates.

― Paul Rook, from his keynote on risk management, European Conference on Software Methods, London, October 1994
courtesy of Herding Cats