Badass – Making Users Awesome – Book Tip

cover_badassOh wow, where do I even start? “Badass – Making Users Awesome” by Kathy Sierra is a truly enlightening read. It contains ideas I’ve never heard before in the very accessible style of the “Head First” books. Sierra makes the case that in order to build a great product and a loyal customer base you have to make your users better in the use of the domain your product is in. If you make a marketing tool, make your users better marketers. IDE? Help them advance their coding craft.

Badass-Master-Any-Skill_Wall-SkillsTowards that end she devotes about half the book to explain how humans acquire skills and become experts. I got so carried away that I condensed it into a Wall-Skills 1-pagers. But it can’t possibly do justice to the book, so read it. It’s very insightful!


1-Pagers: Minimum Viable Product, Planning Origami, Product Owner Role, Powerful Questions, Ways to Vote, Brainstorming, ngrep

There are 7 new 1-pagers over at that you might have missed:



These are all part of my new book “Skills for Successful Product Owners”. Well, except for “ngrep” 😉

Favorite Quotes from Joy, Inc. – Menlo #1

Cover of Joy, Inc.What a blast! We (sipgate) just hosted Richard Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations and author of “Joy, Inc.”. Both, the real life Rich and his book are very entertaining and inspiring. So much so, that I’ll write a small series. I want to help spread the word about:

For starters, here are my favorite quotes (okay, passages) from the book:

“You can’t invite users into your office and ask them what they want, because they don’t actually know what they want. It’s not because they are stupid; it’s quite the opposite. They are unconsciously competent at what they do all day, so they can no longer deliver the most important minute details simply because they are unaware of them. The only way to get around this limitation is through keen and patient observation.” – Page 111

That’s where High Tech Anthropologists come in handy.

“To truly run an experiment, you need to try something out more than once, because at first –  no matter what you try – it will probably be bumpy.” – Page 132

“[A]n aspect of scaling that no one ever considers: scaling down.” – Page 195

Indeed, when do we ever consider scaling down? “Scaling” in everyday tech use only knows one direction.

“We have always felt that our contracts […] should be ones we’d be comfortable signing no matter what side of the table we were sitting on. When we receive contractual terms from our clients, many of them are completely one sided; it is left as a difficult exercise for us to add in terms that protect our interests. We see this as incredibly wasteful and a terrible way to begin a relationship between two companies.” – Page 224

In other words, ye olde “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” is universal, even and especially for contracts 🙂

Have you read the book? What’s your take on it?

Agile & Scrum – Wall-Skills Compilations

For a long time I’ve wanted to group the helpful 1-pagers on into books (well, PDFs), so that it’s easy to study or display all those for a certain topic.


The topic currently dearest to my heart is a collection for Product Owners that are just starting out. That one’s still in the making but 2 sub-collections (they are gonna be chapters in the big one for Product Owners) are done and live on LeanPub: Facilitation (free!) and Agile & Scrum. Let me know what you think!

Update January 24th, 2016: “Skills for Successful Product Owners” is available 🙂

1-Pagers: Elevator Pitch Template, Fancier Sketchnotes & Configuration Management

There are 3 new 1-pagers over at that you might have missed:

An elevator pitch captures what makes your product a great solution. This elevator pitch template reminds you of all the important parts of an elevator pitch.

Want to spruce up your flipcharts and sketchnotes? 80% fancier sketchnotes & flipcharts.

Last but not least, something DevOps-y: Configuration Management – Ansible, Salt, Chef, Puppet.

Wall-Skills: Design the Box, Japanese Terms in Lean, User Stories, less +F

Recent 1-pagers on

Is the vision for your product rather fuzzy? Design the box is an awesome technique to bring clarity and focus.

If you’re in a Scrum environment you’ll might encounter Lean at one point. Here’s a vocab cheat sheet: Japanese Terms in Lean

User Stories in a nutshell 1 page

Does your job entail keeping an eye on log files? Try less +F for viewing logs

3 Horizons, find, Coaching Cards – 1-Pagers

New 1-pagers on during February 2015:

Are you sometimes stuck as a PO or Scrum master? Geoff Watts created Coaching Cards with questions meant to “unstuck” you. Get a feeling for them here:

But that’s not all, here’s more:

Mini Design Studio, Simplicity Rules, INVEST, Sprint Goal – 1-Pagers

There are a couple of new 1-pagers I created for

A Mini Design Studio is a short workshop to design single elements such as a graphical interface, short text, etc. It’s useful for product teams that jointly want to shape their product’s face.

Simplicity is 1 of 5 core values in eXtreme Programming, but what does “simple” mean exactly? Check out rules for simple code.

A good user story fulfills the INVEST criteria

A Sprint Goal allows the dev team to make good tradeoffs even if they can’t check back with the PO.