Introducing Feature Debt – the unconventional sibling of Tech Debt

We have all heard of Tech Debt, and we're probably terrified of building so much debt that our team stops being able to deliver. However, a less commonly discussed, but just as powerful issue also exists - Feature Debt. Feature Debt is simply the accrued cost of constantly adding new functionality into your product or system instead of building better, more complete solutions. At best you have more expensive product delivery and, at worst, you run the risk of losing your customers and your team because of Feature Debt. The number of features that can ultimately cause Feature Debt will differ for each organization given different resources, velocity, architecture, etc., but none are immune to building too much. For the purposes of this discussion, I will use the term "feature" to be functionality, both big and small, that is a new and/or separate capability.

 
 

Outline/Structure of the Talk

Introduction

What is Feature Debt

How you Amass Feature Debt

The Impact of Feature Debt

How to Avoid Feature Debt

Wrap Up

Learning Outcome

Ultimately, the goal is to help transform product development practices to deliver great products by avoiding the pitfalls created by Feature Debt. Getting started, this will help teams be mindful of adding new features before the existing ones are achieving their outcome. As the product grows, it will help to be on the lookout for the common pitfalls and impact of Feature Debt to change how they are building products.

Target Audience

Product Managers, Product Owners, and Product Leaders. This will also be helpful for those in Engineering or UX positions.

Prerequisites for Attendees

While there are no specific prerequisites, it would be best if attendees have at least a couple years of experience in building products, ideally software products, in any environment (startup, growth, mature). Many of these concepts are based on the principles defined in the book "Inspired, How to Create Tech Products Customers Love," so reading that book would help provide context.

schedule Submitted 7 months ago

  • Liked Lynn Winterboer
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Lynn Winterboer - Grow Your Competence with Communities of Practice

    Lynn Winterboer
    Lynn Winterboer
    Agile Coach
    Cigna
    schedule 7 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 Mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    What is a Community of Practice (CoP) and how can it benefit you?

    A community of practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. Engaging this way with your peers stimulates a growth mindset among the participants. This session will introduce the practice of building community around an agile role, as well as answer the following questions:

    - How does a CoP provide value to the participants (Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches. Product Owners, Agile Developers, etc.) and to their organizations?

    - What are some different approaches to creating a CoP?

    - How does one get started?

    Lynn Winterboer will tell us about different types of Communities of Practice and share her experiences with several CoPs she’s been involved with over the years. She will engage session attendees in discussion about their own experiences with communities of practice, as well as provide guidelines you can use to start your own community.

    Lynn Winterboer is an agile educator, coach and mentor. She teaches and coaches data-focused teams on how to effectively apply agile principles and practices to their work. Lynn has been working on agile teams since the mid-1990’s when she was a software developer in the telecom industry. Since then, Lynn has worked as product owner, scrum master, business analyst, and tester as well. She co-chaired Mile High Agile in 2016 and 2017, and remains an active member of the Agile Denver community.

  • Liked Joel Tosi
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Joel Tosi - Growing a Learning Organization

    Joel Tosi
    Joel Tosi
    Dojo & Co
    schedule 9 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    How do you grow a continuously learning organization? If certifications and wikis were enough, organizations would be crushing it. In this session we look at how we learn in complex domains - focusing on tacit vs explicit knowledge; context learning; and growing coaches and teachers.

    This session is an evolution of our talks around growing Dojos (though awareness of dojos is not necessary for this talk).

    In this session we will look at the challenges facing organizations and people today trying to learn new skills (committment, context, multitude of needs).

    From there we will look at how we learn exploring explicit vs tacit knowledge.

    We will wrap up with tangible ways you can start growing an organization that continuous learns - looking at addressing the whole value stream to provide context and growing an organization that has internal coaches and teachers (along with models for that).

  • Liked Pete Behrens
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Pete Behrens - One-word Culture Shaping

    Pete Behrens
    Pete Behrens
    Agile Leadership Coach
    Trail Ridge
    schedule 8 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    How micro-moments, small tweaks and even a single word shape culture towards (or away from) agile ways of working.

    For most organizations, embarking on an agile transformation is a daunting prospect fraught with resistance, conflict, risk and likely failure. Pete shares his experiences and stories from the roads less traveled by leaders and organizations who are shifting their cultures through these simple, yet impactful, culture hacks.

  • Liked Tricia Broderick
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Tricia Broderick - Challenges Leaders Face Personally

    Tricia Broderick
    Tricia Broderick
    Principle
    Agile For All
    schedule 10 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Am I doing anything right? It’s a question, most professionals – especially leaders – have asked themselves at least once in their career (for some of us on a regular basis). Obviously, the answer is yes but that doesn’t mean the weight and pressures don’t occasionally start to tip the scale in the wrong direction mentally. As leaders, we spend most of our time focused on the challenges of others, of teams, and of the organization. Yet, when do we take care of ourselves as leaders and the problems we directly face? In this session, expect raw honesty of acknowledging the common patterns of challenges leaders face such as 'but I am the expert', 'am I adding value", etc. For each common challenge, you'll walk away with numerous tools and concepts to help you be the best leader you can be.

  • Liked Bob Hartman
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Bob Hartman - It Isn't Agile Without Engagement!

    60 Mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    Have you ever seen an agile team that is "just going through the motions" and wondered how many more of those teams are out there in the world? There have been numerous articles in the past year about how agile doesn't work. The examples those articles give are all teams looking like they are doing various agile practices, mostly Scrum, yet for some reason no one is happy, productivity is down and agile gets flushed down the toilet. Agile is NOT easy, but it is also not just a set of practices to be executed. Agile was created to make the lives of software developers and their customers better. There is clearly something missing when that isn't happening.

    So what is the answer? A lot of expensive research studies have been done, and the answer is the same regardless of industry or methodology. Employee engagement is ALWAYS the number one reason for success or failure. According to Gartner, only 32% of the workforce in the United States is considered "engaged" at work. Worse yet, 17% are actively disengaged! Think about that for a moment. 1 of every 6 people in the average company are actively disengaged from their work. The average Scrum Team has 6 people plus a ScrumMaster and a Product Owner. This means the average team has at least one member that is actively disengaged. Oh, and to make this worse, one disengaged person will dramatically reduce the effectiveness of an entire team!

    This interactive presentation is all about exploring the mysterious topic of engagement. We'll explore primarily in 3 areas:

    1. What is meant by employee engagement?
    2. How does engagement magnify the results achieved with agility?
    3. What can we do to increase engagement on our agile teams?

    You will learn through interacting with others in exercises designed to help us all see the nuances of engagement in practice. You will be challenged to explore your own mindset about work and both how that is holding you back and how it is enabling your success. Finally, you will take home valuable insights about how the interaction between play, purpose, potential, small wins and connection increase engagement, while emotional pressure, economic pressure and inertia kill engagement. Those insights will also include specific actionable things you can do to help increase positive engagement factors and reduce negative engagement factors.

    Agility by itself is insufficient. Let's explore how to combine agility with engagement and really change the world!

  • Liked Colleen Johnson
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Colleen Johnson - Evolutionary Patterns in Portfolio Kanban

    Colleen Johnson
    Colleen Johnson
    ScatterSpoke
    schedule 7 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 Mins
    Talk
    Advanced

    So you’ve optimized Kanban at the team level but true to the Theory of Constraints its uncovered new challenges. Cross team dependencies block progress for one team at the expense of another. Individual backlogs create competing priorities for critical resources. Roadmaps for what to work on next are out of date before you can hit print.

    Sounds like you need to expand your Kanban. While this may seem like the solution to all the same problems you had at the team level, lets dig into what patterns are different at the portfolio level. Soloed team expertise, fear and hidden work, lack of visibility across projects, and optimization for one problem without regard for another. But as the system matures you will see status meetings disappear, impromptu gatherings around the board, organizing around the highest priority work and more informed decision making.

    There are clear patterns in the evolution of portfolio Kanban, let's break down what you can expect along the way.
  • Liked Doug Durham
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Doug Durham - Managing Complexity: Integrating Lean Practices and Software Engineering

    Doug Durham
    Doug Durham
    CEO
    Don't Panic Labs
    schedule 7 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    A midwestern startup incubator was developing and launching multiple products and companies with a single development team. But how to do this AND maintain business agility? This session demonstrates how a disciplined software design/architecture methodology, integrated with modern lean development principles, enabled this team to maintain the quality and velocity of feature development.

    This session will be a case study on our experience trying to integrate tools and techniques from both lean practices and software engineering to improve our ability to effectively manage complexity and achieve more predictable outcomes and quality.

    If your development teams have struggled with successfully balancing agile methods with software architecture and engineering best practices, then this session will provide an example that you can use as a guide in your own journey.

  • Liked Greg Selvin
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Greg Selvin - Breaking out of the Drama Triangle

    Greg Selvin
    Greg Selvin
    Agile Coach
    WWT
    schedule 7 months ago
    Sold Out!
    120 Mins
    Workshop
    Beginner

    Unhealthy workplace drama lowers trust and creates a culture of learned helplessness, doing the bare minimum, meetings-for-the-sake-of-meetings, misalignment, etc. The Drama Triangle is an evidence-based model that describes the root causes of such dysfunction. Luckily, there are things you can learn to break the pattern, with spectacular results for yourself, your team, and your entire organization. The "Breaking Out of the Drama Triangle" workshop introduces you to these basic concepts with some practical takeaways you can apply immediately.

  • Liked Tricia Broderick
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Tricia Broderick / Jake Calabrese - Expert: Friend or Foe for Teams?

    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    We go to school to increase our learning and solve problems. We enter the workforce with the expectation of increasing our skills to be the “go to” problem solver. Over time, we have received a very clear message: become a problem-solving expert to be promoted and valuable in organizations. This expert mindset often crashes into the concept of self-organizing teams. Can the expert on a team succeed? Can the expert lead a team? The challenge is that while agile organizations want high-performance teams, we have encountered team after team struggling because of perceived conflicting perspectives: be the expert – but be cross functional, be the expert – but share ownership, be the expert – but be collaborative, be the expert – but your team is accountable. In this session, expect challenge the reasons, personal value, and consequences of the expert role within a team. You’ll walk away with a technique that increases your understanding and appreciation for the value of not quickly fixing it yourself.

  • Liked Christen McLemore
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Christen McLemore - People Leadership Workshop

    Christen McLemore
    Christen McLemore
    Founder
    HeyMac Consulting
    schedule 7 months ago
    Sold Out!
    120 Mins
    Workshop
    Beginner

    Based on the work of best-selling leadership author, Steve Farber, this powerful and transformational experience explores the key tenets of the Extreme Leadership Framework—LEAP: Cultivating Love, Generating Energy, Inspiring Audacity, and Providing Proof—and guides you in applying them to your personal and professional leadership challenges.

  • Liked Alex Yakyma
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Alex Yakyma - Interaction Maps: Identifying and Removing Performance Bottlenecks for Organizations and Teams.

    Alex Yakyma
    Alex Yakyma
    Transformation Coach
    Independent
    schedule 7 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    What is constraining your organizational or team performance? Is it poor deployment practices, bad product ownership, inattention to outcomes, silo’d team structure, geographical distribution or something else? We will talk about a tool—interaction maps—that will help you answer this crucial question as well as provide some strategies to addressing the problem. As a result of the presentation you will learn how to:

    • Identify crucial interactions that govern your group performance
    • Discover disconnects that impede performance
    • Address underlying causes of disconnects

    The audience for this talk includes for leaders, facilitators (SMs, RTEs), customer proxies (POs, PMs) and coaches.

  • Sweta Mistry
    Sweta Mistry
    Agile & Organization Coach
    Bloomberg
    schedule 10 months ago
    Sold Out!
    120 Mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    So, you’ve been certified as a ScrumMaster or have accepted the role.
    For some time, you’ve been in the rhythm of facilitating events, ensuring artifacts are in a good state and actively supporting the team.

    You’re considered a mentor, a coach, a facilitator and a servant-leader. Yet, you’re now wondering “how do I take it to the next level?”

    Beyond the day-to-day Scrum activities, a Scrum Master’s toolkit will contain various facilitation tools, teaching techniques, systemic understanding, exercises and practicing certain qualities. Over time, this toolkit will continue evolve and grow. That’s continuous improvement after all!

    In this hands-on circuit training style workshop, come explore various techniques, qualities and tools that a ScrumMaster has in their toolkit to engage their teams in fun and interactive ways.
    You’ll learn and practice key elements of each technique to help cultivate camaraderie, provide clarity and increase the collaboration of your teams.

    You’ll not only enhance your learning, but also find ways to motivate your teams to improve interactions that lead to self-organization and the enthusiasm to take themselves to the next level.