Product Thinking
Part 2: Digging Deeper into SAFe with Eric Willeke
February 2, 2022
Melissa Perri welcomes back Eric Willeke for part two of this SAFe conversation on the Product Thinking Podcast. Eric and Melissa pick up where they left off and dive into the product management and portfolio management parts of SAFe, discussing how product management fits into the SAFe architecture and how it works at scale.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Eric talk about: Product management needs to create an organization that is capable of making strategy real. [4:04] "If you are impacting the market through your work, that's changing your strategy and you need that feedback loop," Eric tells Melissa. [6:36] Eric advises thinking of design strategies and guidelines like visual tables of contents. "What we're looking for when we look at the picture is an entry point, a place I can click; and if I know nothing about the product discipline, I can start to dig in and look at design thinking and understand," he remarks. [8:25] In Fortune 50 companies, for every agile technical domain there is usually only one expert. At the core, Eric stresses, it's about learning and teaching. "If we want to crack the product problem Fortune 50 scale...it starts with education and getting people to think differently, and creating an environment that can select for a different set of behaviors." [15:30] To change a company culture, leaders have to first ask themselves what must be true for the company to be a healthy environment. Think about the problem you're trying to solve then act as if it's the future when that problem is already solved. This mindset creates belief. [17:51] Companies that started with continuous deployment and architecting for flow, manage to avoid more problems than companies who didn't begin that way. [24:28]. Good portfolio implementation for SAFe is based on maintaining relationships and determining the money flow. Portfolio management is conveying strategy into a structure that can implement it. [28:28] Strategy is a continuous behavior leaders must immerse themselves in. Strategy cannot be mechanical, Melissa adds. "You can't get an inspired creative process nor can you get an evolving flow-based architecture out of a mechanical strategy and environment," Eric comments. [36:52] When asked what he would change about SAFe, Eric lists a few things: anchoring on the competency world view as opposed to the table of contents view, more emphasis on the customer as the center of the big picture, and making core values and mindset a priority. [45:32] Eric gives advice for companies just getting started with SAFe, and what they should look for before deciding to adopt the framework. [48:22] Resources Eric Willeke | LinkedIn | Twitter Elevate
Melissa Perri welcomes back Eric Willeke for part two of this SAFe conversation on the Product Thinking Podcast. Eric and Melissa pick up where they left off and dive into the product management and portfolio management parts of SAFe, discussing how product management fits into the SAFe architecture and how it works at scale.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Eric talk about: Product management needs to create an organization that is capable of making strategy real. [4:04] "If you are impacting the market through your work, that's changing your strategy and you need that feedback loop," Eric tells Melissa. [6:36] Eric advises thinking of design strategies and guidelines like visual tables of contents. "What we're looking for when we look at the picture is an entry point, a place I can click; and if I know nothing about the product discipline, I can start to dig in and look at design thinking and understand," he remarks. [8:25] In Fortune 50 companies, for every agile technical domain there is usually only one expert. At the core, Eric stresses, it's about learning and teaching. "If we want to crack the product problem Fortune 50 scale...it starts with education and getting people to think differently, and creating an environment that can select for a different set of behaviors." [15:30] To change a company culture, leaders have to first ask themselves what must be true for the company to be a healthy environment. Think about the problem you're trying to solve then act as if it's the future when that problem is already solved. This mindset creates belief. [17:51] Companies that started with continuous deployment and architecting for flow, manage to avoid more problems than companies who didn't begin that way. [24:28]. Good portfolio implementation for SAFe is based on maintaining relationships and determining the money flow. Portfolio management is conveying strategy into a structure that can implement it. [28:28] Strategy is a continuous behavior leaders must immerse themselves in. Strategy cannot be mechanical, Melissa adds. "You can't get an inspired creative process nor can you get an evolving flow-based architecture out of a mechanical strategy and environment," Eric comments. [36:52] When asked what he would change about SAFe, Eric lists a few things: anchoring on the competency world view as opposed to the table of contents view, more emphasis on the customer as the center of the big picture, and making core values and mindset a priority. [45:32] Eric gives advice for companies just getting started with SAFe, and what they should look for before deciding to adopt the framework. [48:22] Resources Eric Willeke | LinkedIn | Twitter Elevate

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