Radical Candor: My Go To Feedback Routine

The Reflective Leader and Learning Organization Guide In search of better feedbacking As a coach and mentor, challenging people is a natural part of my work, and sometimes they are in the form of tough messages. Not always though, the messages go down well with the recipient. This is particularly the case for conversations with startup entrepreneurs that I see are stuck in the trap of what I call “just do it” leap of faith product development. For years I’ve … Read More

Try Design Thinking + Scrum: A Powerful Hybrid Agile Approach

The Lean & Agile Practitioner Classic Scrum’s Achilles’ heel One of the weak areas of classic Scrum, in my opinion, is the relative simplicity of the ideation phase. “What to build” is sometimes an arbitrary discussion during the Scrum Backlog building and Sprint Planning exercises, and too frequently I see people just listing up things “to do” in linear fashion, resulting in what Jeff Patton calls a “flat backlog”. Not enough thinking is put in to “what to build: why, … Read More

Knowing to Stop – A Confucius Teaching

The Reflective Leader and Learning Organization Guide Confucius’ 7 spaces of learning Knowing to stop – is a simple notion but difficult to practice skill. In “Great Learning (大学)”, written around 2,500 years ago by one of his first disciples Zengzi (曾子), Confucius (孔子) teaches the following: 知止而后有定 定而后能靜 靜而后能安 安而后能慮 慮而后能得 When you know to stop, you have stability When you have stability, you find tranquility When you are tranquil, you can be at ease When you are at … Read More

Lean, Lean Manufacturing, Lean Startup: Clarified

The Lean & Agile Practitioner Lean: not just a hype word for efficiency Yah sure, we do “lean” here and we operate a tight ship with just a few of us doing everything – you know, everyone is multi-taskin’. “Lean” is such a convenient term, everyone uses it in their own definition. People frequently use “lean” in place of “efficiency”, probably because it sounds more cool. Another round of cost cutting? Sure, let’s tell everyone we’re “going lean”, again! Lean … Read More

Sprint Till You Drop, and three other tales of Scrum gone wrong

Scrum can easily go wrong. Let’s take a look. (This post is an excerpt from our earlier article A Pretty Good Summary of Lean, Agile, Scrum.) ‣ The Spiritless Scrum: Sprints as Mini-Waterfalls Often, User Stories become mini specification documents. With that, coding or whatever activity gets executed, and then a UAT (user acceptance testing) or other sign-off process takes place. At first glance this doesn’t sound wrong, and a lot of teams fall into this trap. The problem is, … Read More

Vision Hierarchy in Scrum: Making Your Vision Connected with Your Team

Sharing your Vision Leaders, why is it all so often that when you “share” your vision to your people, you don’t really feel it’s shared? They listen to you and agree, but you can almost tell they are taking it as yet another directive or instruction from you, and not taking it to heart. What is missing is relevance. Stepping in the shoes of staff, it’s easy to understand how they feel: “the vision sounds great, but it’s an idealistic … Read More

Great product, but not selling (And how to fix it with Scrum)

Sound familiar? Let’s talk about product market fit. Your angel investor invested in your idea. Your VC and series A investors gave you money to make the product and bring it to market. You bootstrapped yourself and made a lot of sacrifices to make it happen. Finally, the day has come. Launch. But then, silence. Or some initial success here and there, but things start to tail out. Oops, we just built something nobody wants. As comical as it may … Read More

Fixing Startup Marketing with Lean & Agile

Four Areas of Focus We focus on the following four areas to help startups build strong foundations for marketing and enterprise success: Make marketing more approachable and easier to grasp Embrace third party specialist marketing resources and platforms Nurture marketing leaders Adopt Lean and Agile Each of these four points contribute to building what I like to call as “marketing infrastructure“. The objective is not to just get marketing right once, but consistently right against a “moving target”: startup marketing … Read More

The 3 Challenges Of Startup Marketing

My name is Takeshi. I am the founder of Lifecycle. We help startups succeed with better marketing. After a long banking career, I started my startup marketing life in 2011, first involved in a portfolio of Maker Movement type of startups, and the last three years as the business guy for Singapore based fintech Canopy. I am now in the third chapter of my life as a startup marketer. Startups fail at an alarmingly high rate, some even saying at … Read More

Start From Here: 5 Recommended Reads For Learning Lean & Agile

Actually, 2 + 3 books; one each on Lean and Agile (Scrum), two on the changing nature of marketing across your enterprise and customer lifecycle, and one on positive psychology. The Lean Startup, Eric Ries, 2011 Scrum, Jeff Sutherland, 2014 The Startup Owner’s Manual, Steve Blank and Bob Dorf, 2012 Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey A. Moore, 2014 (3rd edition) All of these books are wisdom from our great forerunners. They point out to known, common issues and suggest practical approaches … Read More

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