Tag Archives: communication

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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How to Get Noticed at Work? Become More Fascinating



Are you struggling to get noticed at work? Stuck in a mode of fear and self-doubt leading to silly mistakes and miscommunications? In a recent interview, Sally Hogshead, the author of the #1 WSJ Best Seller of How the World Sees You offered a few tips on discovering what makes you distinctly valuable to others, so you can foster your natural strengths and communicate more effectively in your work and personal life.

Her unexpected insights on why some people succeed emerge from decades of advertising for the world’s most well-loved brands. She spent the first half of her career as a copywriter where she discovered “when a brand has the perfect words to describe itself, it becomes more valuable and admired.” She promises that her new book will do the same for her readers.

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Storyboard It



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 alexandercowan.com. In this first entry of his series on storyboarding posts, Alex lays out the basics and explains how storyboarding can help anyone, in any career path.

Communicating is hard and arguing is worse. And we’re probably much less effective communicators than we think — possibly as much as 20x less effective. In 1990 a Stanford researcher performed a study where on one party (“tapper”) tapped out a simple song a a counterparty (“listener”) tried to interpret the song. The tapper thought their listener had recognized the song 50% of the time where they’d actually only got it 2.5% of the time (this from the book ‘Made to Stick’). Unlike rhythmic tapping, storyboards inherently make us better communicators.

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InnovateNYP: GA Alumni Hack the Best Online Patient Care Experience


Health warriors

Last month, a group of GA Alumni took part in InnovateNYP: a hackathon hosted by NY Presbyterian Hospital. The challenge was to create the best online patient care experience, and our group of alumni didn’t disappoint as they took home first place for best overall prototype. We had some time to sit and chat with them about their experience, here’s their story.

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Managing Excellence at Your Startup



Basic management techniques don’t sound fun, but can exponentially increase employee efficiency and satisfaction at your startup. To make your product or service world class, a culture of excellence must be ingrained at every level. Check out our upcoming class on Managing Excellence at Your Startup.

A lifetime ago in a galaxy far, far away my cofounder Michael came to me and gave me an intervention. We had a problem, he said, employees were unhappy. People were getting burned out and there was an increasing rate of attrition. “What do you want from me?” I replied exasperated, as our conversation became heated. But he didn’t have any answer, outside of seeing the symptoms of something deeply wrong.

As our most important conversations typically go, I eventually got over my wounded ego and realized that he had a key insight here. The things he mentioned were serious and indicative of a lack of leadership that was caused as much by the things we weren’t doing as were doing. We had created the startup equivalent of Lord of the Flies, complete with new employees getting thrown into a foreign environment they are completely unequipped to survive in and then getting bashed in the head with a rock. We the founders had operated the company with little direct management for years, under the pretense that we were empowering employees by letting them work on things they wanted to do. In reality, we were often stepping back just enough to been seen out of the eye’s periphery, often to jump in without warning when things weren’t following unsaid directions. Anyone who has experienced this before knows that it is liable to make you a bit twitchy.

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