The IT industry, you will agree, is quite famous for its buzzwords, and most definitely, agile is one of many.
More often than not, these buzzwords are, in a nutshell- fake exhausts (an analogy from the auto industry). The real exhausts are somewhere underneath, hidden. And in the case of Agile, what is hidden is Waterfall.
All great product teams focus on solving problems, not building features- outcome vs output.
However, if the solving problem looks like this: a PM defines requirements and then gives them to a designer who creates workflows, who then gives them to engineers- well, you are practising Waterfall. The longer you wait to introduce a product idea to engineers, the greater the chance of failure.
Instead, we should prompt cross-functional collaboration (PM/PO + Engineers + Designers) sooner.
Solving problems within given constraints is what engineering is all about. Therefore, leave feature roadmaps aside for a bit and hear your engineers. Your engineers are the single best source of innovation!
Finally, one more analogy I like- there are two types of engineering teams, the team of mercenaries and the team of missionaries. 10/10 times I’d choose to be a part of the latter.
What comes next is enhancing engineering teams with tools like CI/CD, TDD, and other mechanisms that create better software faster. Those will be the topics for my future rants.