agile Tag Archives - General Assembly Blog

How Blending Lean, Agile, and Design Thinking Will Transform Your Team


Lean vs Agile vs Design Thinking Jeff Gothelf

Jeff Gothelf’s new book, Lean vs. Agile vs. Design Thinking

The following is an adapted excerpt from Lean vs. Agile vs. Design Thinking by designer, team leader, and business coach Jeff Gothelf.

In 2016, I was preparing with clients for an upcoming training workshop focused on coaching a cross-functional team of designers, software engineers, product managers, and business stakeholders on integrating product discovery practices into their delivery cadences. During our conversation, my client said to me, “Our tech teams are learning Agile. Our product teams are learning Lean, and our design teams are learning Design Thinking. Which one is right?”

The client found the different disciplines at odds because these seemingly complementary practices forced each discipline into different cadences, with different practices and vocabularies targeting different measures of success.

The engineering teams, using Agile, were focused on shipping bug-free code in regular release cycles (many teams call these “sprints”). Their ultimate goal was an increased velocity — the quantity of code they could ship in each sprint. Product managers, using Lean, were most interested in driving efficiency, quality, and reduction of waste through tactical backlog prioritization and grooming techniques.

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What is agile?



Our students are encountering buzzwords all the time. One term that we are asked about most often is “agile.” What does agile mean? And how can you leverage it to help your team and your business? Continue reading

What Every Product Manager Should Know About Agile Development


Agile Product Management

Agile product management was first developed as a reaction to various challenges that occurred in more sequential forms of project organization. As technology projects became increasingly complex, many product developers needed to replace their old style of management with a more iterative and flexible one–leaving room to refine long term requirements as the product advanced.

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7 Essential Skills for the Full Stack Product Person


Meet Alex Cowan, entrepreneur (5x), intrapreneur (1x), author, and instructor at General Assembly. He’s also the author of ‘Starting a Tech Business’. When he’s not teaching at GA, he’s often found advising companies and posting instructional materials for innovators and instructions on

I’m always pushing myself to be the best possible product person I can be, and these days I tend to earn a lot through my work as an instructor. My classes are on the interdisciplinary topics of product design and venture creation, so I get to work with business people wanting to understand the technical side and engineers wanting to learn the business side.

Often times, students from the business side are thinking of learning to code and students from the engineering side are thinking of going to get an MBA. While both might be advisable in certain situations, I’ve found that there are a few simple foundation skills that drive the interdisciplinary cooperation at the heart of so many successful projects:


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Scrum and Story Points


How long does it take to cook a perfectly soft-boiled egg?

I have a son who loves boiled eggs for breakfast, so I know for a fact that it takes exactly 6 minutes AFTER the water is already boiling. Common sense, right? You would think we’d all be able to estimate how long this task would take.

My son is 3 years old. This means I have to be incredibly efficient with my time in order to make him breakfast and still get to the office on-time and stain-free. If you asked me to estimate how long it would take me to boil an egg, serve it to him and clean up, I would estimate 20 minutes. And I would be wildly wrong. Sometimes it takes 20 minutes just to boil the water. Sometimes he’ll take his time to eat the egg. Sometimes he paints pictures on the table with it. Sometimes he wont eat it at all.

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