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Using Bets, Boards and Missions to
Inspire Org-Wide Agility
QCon New York 2019
Joh Cutler
InfoQ.com: News & Community Site
• 750,000 unique visitors/month
• Published in 4 languages (English, Chinese, Japanese an...
Presented at QCon New York
www.qconnewyork.com
Purpose of QCon
- to empower software development by facilitating the sprea...
John Cutler
@johncutlefish
medium.com/@johnpcutler
Who is this for?
Anatomy of a failed change agent…
“Oh, this sounds interesting…”
“What is John saying? What does he want?”
“We need more of that! But how?”
“John is causing...
Professional Canary in a Coal Mine
Confusion (externally, and personally) between…
My personal needs (including a new to “fix”)
Advocating for participatory c...
Change agent V2(or 10)…
It is hard. For everyone.
Some are healthier than others.
OKRs?
Canvas X?
Canvas Y?
Discovery Sprints?
Research Sprints?
Google Sprint?
Jobs-to-be-done?
One-pagers?
Tribes and squa...
Respond
Sense
Respond
Sense
A whole universe of safe to fail hacks
Focus on the OS for “trying things”
Coherence and sense-making
Offer ideas occasiona...
The big ideas…
Product development is a beautiful, fractal, networked mess
Efforts to simplify or standardize often backfire
Treating it l...
Mirrors are powerful.
A quick Feature Factory detour…
Angst is easy (and easy to trigger)
People crave certainty (and uncertainty = opportunity)
People have a deep, deep need f...
Rapid feedback loops. More repeatable wins (and bigger wins). More with less complexity.
5 4 2 6 7 3
3 2 1
3 6 7 8 2 6 10 ...
Framing things as bets…
1
“So that is your bet? Let’s talk about it…”
Bets can be…
Big
Small
Risky
Safe
Prescriptive
Descriptive
Big batch
Increment friendly
Upfront gamble
Change bet over tim...
http://tiny.cc/you-betcha
Write some BetLibs
The work takes on different shapes…
2
A. Build exactly this [to a predetermined specification]
B. Build something that does [specific behavior, input-output,
in...
A B C D E F G H I
Dev
UX
PM
A. Build exactly this [to a
predetermined specification]
B. Build something that does
[specifi...
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
Team
PM
GM
Team
PM
VPoP
GM
Org 1 Org 2
Categorize a sample of work.
Make it visual.
The messy middle…
3
1-3h 1-3d 1-3w 1-3m 1-3q 1-3y 1-3decades
Sense
Respond
1-3h 1-3d 1-3w 1-3m 1-3q 1-3y 1-3decades
Sense
Respond Messy Middle
Map work along a time horizon.
Nest related work
Hack the language…
4
Problems/Solutions
Projects
Experiments
“Done”
“Done”
Dependency Wrangling
Debt
Opportunities/Interventions
Missions
Bets
...
Build

Measure
Learn 

Modulate
generates new
opportunities
discover & target
opportunities
Where should we intervene
to l...
Catalog language in use.
Try subtle changes.
Designing the work taxonomy…
5
What must you eventually know
about this work to make good
decisions at the right cadence?
How does work appear in these queues?
How often? With advance notice? Who puts work in these queues?
Dependencies on other...
“Got it! So we will have a PRD
template that EVERYONE needs to
fill in, and review it at each and
every handoff?”



Instea...
Try a “flexible design a one-pager”
exercise (or one-pager checklist)
Letter to the future…
6
A continuous artifact…
Kickoff
Revisit
Regularly
Review
Analysis and
Framing
A safe decision review.
Big maps of systems…
7
Just try it…
Flattening the model…
8A
3-9mo1-3y
Mid/Long
Term Value
North Star
Input
Input
Input
Health
Indicators
Level 1 BetsLevel 0 Bets
Value Creation Model...
Weekly Learning Users (WLUs)
# of Weekly Users who are active
and share a learning that is
consumed by at least 2 other pe...
North Star workshop
Layering in interventions and OKRs…
8B
3-9mo1-3y
Mid/Long
Term Value
North Star
Input
Input
Input
Health
Indicators
Level 1 BetsLevel 0 Bets
Value Creation Model...
3-9mo1-3y
Mid/Long
Term Value
North Star
Input
Input
Input
Health
Indicators
Level 1 BetsLevel 0 Bets
Value Creation Model...
Map work to Inputs.
A big, visual, hybrid board…
8C
Level 2 Bet
Target Input(s)
Level 3 Bet
Focus On

Next
To Try Trying Review
ReviewFocusing
To Try Trying Review
To Try Try...
North Star



1-3 year bets Inputs
Focusing Trying Review
Get out that tape.
Get those magnets.
Questions
Watch the video with slide
synchronization on InfoQ.com!
https://www.infoq.com/presentations/
bets-boards-missions-agile/
Using Bets, Boards and Missions to Inspire Org-wide Agility
Using Bets, Boards and Missions to Inspire Org-wide Agility
Using Bets, Boards and Missions to Inspire Org-wide Agility
Using Bets, Boards and Missions to Inspire Org-wide Agility
Using Bets, Boards and Missions to Inspire Org-wide Agility
Using Bets, Boards and Missions to Inspire Org-wide Agility
Using Bets, Boards and Missions to Inspire Org-wide Agility
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Using Bets, Boards and Missions to Inspire Org-wide Agility

Video and slides synchronized, mp3 and slide download available at URL http://bit.ly/2m3Yly0.

John Cutler talks about Bets, Boards, and Missions, and how to apply them in an organization, and why it is important to uplevel teams and become outcome-focused. Filmed at qconnewyork.com.

John Cutler currently works as a product evangelist at Amplitude. As a former UX researcher at AppFolio, a product manager at Zendesk, Pendo.io, AdKeeper and RichFX, a startup founder, and a product team coach he has a perspective that spans individual roles, domains, and products.

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Using Bets, Boards and Missions to Inspire Org-wide Agility

  1. 1. Using Bets, Boards and Missions to Inspire Org-Wide Agility QCon New York 2019 Joh Cutler
  2. 2. InfoQ.com: News & Community Site • 750,000 unique visitors/month • Published in 4 languages (English, Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese) • Post content from our QCon conferences • News 15-20 / week • Articles 3-4 / week • Presentations (videos) 12-15 / week • Interviews 2-3 / week • Books 1 / month Watch the video with slide synchronization on InfoQ.com! https://www.infoq.com/presentations/ bets-boards-missions-agile/
  3. 3. Presented at QCon New York www.qconnewyork.com Purpose of QCon - to empower software development by facilitating the spread of knowledge and innovation Strategy - practitioner-driven conference designed for YOU: influencers of change and innovation in your teams - speakers and topics driving the evolution and innovation - connecting and catalyzing the influencers and innovators Highlights - attended by more than 12,000 delegates since 2007 - held in 9 cities worldwide
  4. 4. John Cutler @johncutlefish medium.com/@johnpcutler
  5. 5. Who is this for?
  6. 6. Anatomy of a failed change agent…
  7. 7. “Oh, this sounds interesting…” “What is John saying? What does he want?” “We need more of that! But how?” “John is causing mass agitation!” “Ugh. Politics as usual…” “Danger! DANGER!” “I guess this will never change…” “It is! Happy to have you aboard JC!” “We should try this…”
  8. 8. Professional Canary in a Coal Mine
  9. 9. Confusion (externally, and personally) between… My personal needs (including a new to “fix”) Advocating for participatory continuous improvement (the process, not specific outcomes) Specific interventions (e.g. let’s do this)
  10. 10. Change agent V2(or 10)…
  11. 11. It is hard. For everyone. Some are healthier than others.
  12. 12. OKRs? Canvas X? Canvas Y? Discovery Sprints? Research Sprints? Google Sprint? Jobs-to-be-done? One-pagers? Tribes and squads? HEART? AARRR?
  13. 13. Respond Sense Respond Sense
  14. 14. A whole universe of safe to fail hacks Focus on the OS for “trying things” Coherence and sense-making Offer ideas occasionally
  15. 15. The big ideas…
  16. 16. Product development is a beautiful, fractal, networked mess Efforts to simplify or standardize often backfire Treating it like a factory often backfires Reflect on what is actually happening Create a flow of meaningful stories Embrace the mess
  17. 17. Mirrors are powerful.
  18. 18. A quick Feature Factory detour…
  19. 19. Angst is easy (and easy to trigger) People crave certainty (and uncertainty = opportunity) People have a deep, deep need for a sense of impact People have a deep, deep need for coherence More about a constant flow of impactful stories
  20. 20. Rapid feedback loops. More repeatable wins (and bigger wins). More with less complexity. 5 4 2 6 7 3 3 2 1 3 6 7 8 2 6 10 9 6 27 49 Well oiled feature factory. Reasonably usable features. Reasonably happy customers. Occasional wins. Difficult to get anything “out the door”. Extremely long feedback loops. Impact Total Time
  21. 21. Framing things as bets… 1
  22. 22. “So that is your bet? Let’s talk about it…”
  23. 23. Bets can be… Big Small Risky Safe Prescriptive Descriptive Big batch Increment friendly Upfront gamble Change bet over time Networked/connected Isolated
  24. 24. http://tiny.cc/you-betcha
  25. 25. Write some BetLibs
  26. 26. The work takes on different shapes… 2
  27. 27. A. Build exactly this [to a predetermined specification] B. Build something that does [specific behavior, input-output, interaction] C. Build something that lets a segment of customers complete [some task, activity, goal] D. Solve this [more open-ended customer problem] E. Explore the challenges of, and improve the experience for, [segment of users/customers] F. Increase/decrease [metric] known to influence a specific business outcome G. Explore various potential leverage points and run experiments to influence [specific business outcome] H. Directly generate [short-term business outcome] I. Generate [long-term business outcome]
  28. 28. A B C D E F G H I Dev UX PM A. Build exactly this [to a predetermined specification] B. Build something that does [specific behavior, input-output, interaction] C. Build something that lets a segment of customers complete [some task, activity, goal] D. Solve this [more open-ended customer problem] E. Explore the challenges of, and improve the experience for, [segment of users/customers] F. Increase/decrease [metric] known to influence a specific business outcome G. Explore various potential leverage points and run experiments to influence [specific business outcome] H. Directly generate [short-term business outcome] I. Generate [long-term business outcome]
  29. 29. A B C D E F G H I Team PM GM Team PM VPoP GM Org 1 Org 2
  30. 30. Categorize a sample of work. Make it visual.
  31. 31. The messy middle… 3
  32. 32. 1-3h 1-3d 1-3w 1-3m 1-3q 1-3y 1-3decades Sense Respond
  33. 33. 1-3h 1-3d 1-3w 1-3m 1-3q 1-3y 1-3decades Sense Respond Messy Middle
  34. 34. Map work along a time horizon. Nest related work
  35. 35. Hack the language… 4
  36. 36. Problems/Solutions Projects Experiments “Done” “Done” Dependency Wrangling Debt Opportunities/Interventions Missions Bets Decision Point Review & Measurement Playing Tetris Drag
  37. 37. Build
 Measure Learn 
 Modulate generates new opportunities discover & target opportunities Where should we intervene to learn/create value? intervene Let’s try this... make (some) sense of the system how is value created, stored, transferred? diverge converge diverge converge Observe Orient Decide Act diverge converge Betting on what we understand... Betting on where we focus... Betting on how we respond... generates new opportunities etc learn more 
 about system alters system 1 2 3 Build
 Measure Learn 
 Modulate
  38. 38. Catalog language in use. Try subtle changes.
  39. 39. Designing the work taxonomy… 5
  40. 40. What must you eventually know about this work to make good decisions at the right cadence?
  41. 41. How does work appear in these queues? How often? With advance notice? Who puts work in these queues? Dependencies on other groups Deadline? (real or not) Cost of being late (or not delivering feature) Size of effort Expect impact of item Ability to measure impact (and time) Data on existing usage Who is advocate? Who are stakeholders? What is solution certainty? (range) What is problem uncertainty? Impacting current customers? Type of design work Core improvements New feature development Bandaids/fixes Skills/functions required Customer visibility Collaboration model (e.g. contractor teams) Urgency (P0, P1, P2) Assumptions / beliefs Learning goal? Permanence? Risks willing to incur Needed / caused by / blocked by tech debt Background / prior story / veracity of data Headwinds / blockers Connected to core strategy? Reactive vs proactive Tech used Org visibility PIA factor / fun factor Do not disturb - focus required Solve tech debt / add new tech debt When do you need to know the info? Who needs to be around? Tags V1 Vs.
  42. 42. “Got it! So we will have a PRD template that EVERYONE needs to fill in, and review it at each and every handoff?”
 
 Instead consider…
  43. 43. Try a “flexible design a one-pager” exercise (or one-pager checklist)
  44. 44. Letter to the future… 6
  45. 45. A continuous artifact… Kickoff Revisit Regularly Review Analysis and Framing
  46. 46. A safe decision review.
  47. 47. Big maps of systems… 7
  48. 48. Just try it…
  49. 49. Flattening the model… 8A
  50. 50. 3-9mo1-3y Mid/Long Term Value North Star Input Input Input Health Indicators Level 1 BetsLevel 0 Bets Value Creation Model Beliefs, Assumptions, Strategy
  51. 51. Weekly Learning Users (WLUs) # of Weekly Users who are active and share a learning that is consumed by at least 2 other people in the previous 7 days. Activated Accounts Organizations that have reached at least 5 WLUs. Broadcasted Learning (BL) A chart, dashboard, or Notebook consumed by 2 or more people within a 7 day period. Consumption of Learnings (CoL) Total reach of BL in an organization within a 7 day period.
  52. 52. North Star workshop
  53. 53. Layering in interventions and OKRs… 8B
  54. 54. 3-9mo1-3y Mid/Long Term Value North Star Input Input Input Health Indicators Level 1 BetsLevel 0 Bets Value Creation Model Beliefs, Assumptions, Strategy Target Input(s) Level 2 Bets 1-3mo
  55. 55. 3-9mo1-3y Mid/Long Term Value North Star Input Input Input Health Indicators Level 1 BetsLevel 0 Bets Value Creation Model Beliefs, Assumptions, Strategy Target Input(s) Level 2 Bets 1-3mo OKRs Forecasted impact on input
  56. 56. Map work to Inputs.
  57. 57. A big, visual, hybrid board… 8C
  58. 58. Level 2 Bet Target Input(s) Level 3 Bet Focus On
 Next To Try Trying Review ReviewFocusing To Try Trying Review To Try Trying Review Team A Team B Team C 1-3mo 1-3w OKRs Impact 
 on
 Input 3-9mo1-3y Mid/Long Term Value North Star Input Input Input Health Indicators Level 1 BetsLevel 0 Bets Value Creation Model Beliefs, Assumptions, Strategy 3mo Observe continuously, revisit periodically
  59. 59. North Star
 
 1-3 year bets Inputs Focusing Trying Review
  60. 60. Get out that tape. Get those magnets.
  61. 61. Questions
  62. 62. Watch the video with slide synchronization on InfoQ.com! https://www.infoq.com/presentations/ bets-boards-missions-agile/
  • GurpreetSinghLooking

    Sep. 19, 2021
  • thanhbv

    Sep. 10, 2020

Video and slides synchronized, mp3 and slide download available at URL http://bit.ly/2m3Yly0. John Cutler talks about Bets, Boards, and Missions, and how to apply them in an organization, and why it is important to uplevel teams and become outcome-focused. Filmed at qconnewyork.com. John Cutler currently works as a product evangelist at Amplitude. As a former UX researcher at AppFolio, a product manager at Zendesk, Pendo.io, AdKeeper and RichFX, a startup founder, and a product team coach he has a perspective that spans individual roles, domains, and products.

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