Troubleshooting Agile – Jeffrey Fredrick & Douglas Squirrel on The Product Experience "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs May 05 2020 True accountability, Communication, Leadership, product management teams, Trust, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 629 Product Management 2.516

Troubleshooting Agile – Jeffrey Fredrick & Douglas Squirrel on The Product Experience


Jeffrey Fredrick and Squirrel

One of the tropes we’ve heard again and again is that product people don’t actually build anything. We’re not designers (except when we are) or engineers (unless we can code) or anything actually, y’know, useful. What that viewpoint misses is that we build understanding, alignment, and purpose – and that our best tool is conversations. Jeffrey Fredrick and Douglas Squirrel know this well, and their new book Agile Conversations, focuses on the five critical conversations you’ll have and how to perfect them.

Quote of the Episode

Actually people do behave this way (transparent and curious) all the time, when they don’t care about the topic. Everyone understands that if you’re having a group discussion diversity is strength, the more ideas we get the better, and they’re very curious and wonderful – as long as it’s not about anything they care about. But as soon as it’s something they care about, as soon as there’s the potential for threat or embarrassment, now it’s something different. Now differences are a threat, and now they’re trying to win. And that idea of being attached to the idea of wanting to win, causes the destructive negative conflict, and instead of productive conflict between ideas, you end up with destructive conflict between individuals.

Listen if you’d like to learn more about

  • Creating a healthy culture of accountability
  • Good communication
  • Defensive vs productive reasoning
  • How to build trust within teams

Links mentioned in this episode


The Product Experience is hosted by Lily Smith and Randy Silver.

Lily enjoys working as a consultant product manager with early-stage and growing startups and as a mentor to other product managers. Lily has spent 13 years in the tech industry working mainly with startups in the SaaS and mobile space. She has worked on a diverse range of products – leading the product teams through discovery, prototyping, testing and delivery. Lily also founded ProductTank in Bristol, the Product Managers’ meetup with regular events and talks on Product now with 800+ members and growing. Now the Head of Innovation at Go Compare, Lily also runs ProductCamp in Bristol and Bath.

A recovering music journalist and editor, Randy has been working as an interactive producer and product manager across the US and UK for nearly 20 years. After launching Amazon’s music stores in the US and UK, Randy has worked with museums and arts groups, online education, media and entertainment, retail and financial services. He’s held Head of Product roles at HSBC and Sainsbury’s, where he also directed their 100+-person product community. Now a trainer, Discovery and Leadership consultant, he’s spoken at Mind the Product Engage (Hamburg and Manchester), the Business of Software, Turing Festival, a number of ProductTanks (London, Zurich, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Oxford, and Brighton… so far!) and at conferences across the US and Europe.

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