Agile Manifesto is Outdated: We urgently need a Product Manifesto - David Pereira, Virtual Identity - Rocket Day Talk Summary

With ten years of experience as product leader, 20k+ LinkedIn followers and loads of excellent content, David Pereira is an important figure in the german product management scene. Along with his commitment to posting content either for his personal account or for Serious Scrum, he’s also Head of Product for the growth marketing consulting company Virtual Identity. He ran two flourishing businesses in Brazil providing high revenue with little investments, with one generating $200 million USD a year.

Being a committed Scrum practitioner, he has a large knowledge of how Agile works. However he thinks that too many aspects of it are obsolete today. It is time to bring teams a new and improved way of working collaboratively. The title says it all: “Agile Manifesto is Outdated: We urgently need a Product Manifesto”. Here’s a short summary of his insightful talk.

First and foremost, attendees got introduced to the reason why Agile was born. In a  time where software development was based around stakeholders’ requests, and programmers weren’t really interacting with the business, there needed to be a change. In most cases, developers’ requests were unwelcomed, and the focus stayed on building, rather than learning. This bad project management led to the implementation of a prioritisation system we call the Agile Manifesto. It broadly consists of focusing on collaborative work and team trust.

For the sole case of software development, the Agile Manifesto helped many teams since its release in 2001. However David assures us that it is not applicable to current tech companies anymore, as it is not enough for him. Agile practices are more of a mindset than a process. Today’s companies tend to miss that point, which is really important when it comes to working in the most effective way possible. This constitutes the side effects of the Agile Manifesto for David.

Also, Agile certification creates a diploma industry inside the product world, when people can be certified as product owners simply by passing a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) test, where most of the trainers haven’t really proven strong product management skills. We don’t want that. David even cites product management staple Marty Cagan: “(...)some CSPO Owners only have this certification for being a product owner, being trained by people who almost never proven strong PM skills from a strong product company.”

With all the information David gave, he’s completely sure that the Manifesto is outdated. For him, most people practice it the wrong way, as he says: “Agile is a means to an end. All we want is to deliver value faster. When we do Agile for the sake of it, failure is the only possible outcome”. Being Agile means doing more than just following what the Manifesto says, otherwise you may fall into its traps. But what to do to change things up, and finally come to a perfect solution for tech teams? A Product Manifesto implies removing useless features in your product if they don’t add value, adapting to what you learn, separating needs from wants, defining and knowing how to measure your success and listen to customer feedback rather than stakeholders’.

Near the end of his talk, David opens up about his biggest failure, as well as his biggest win. For him, solely focusing on stakeholders was, indeed, a bad idea. Since he didn’t understand what had to be solved, the job wasn’t done correctly. But David also had a huge success by managing to sell Brazilian clients’ cars in less than 90 min, without any exhaustive paperwork sellers had to fill. This is when David didn’t listen to stakeholders.

Agile Manifesto means factory work, and it obviously is outdated in the current tech world. We don't want to build a solution that creates another problem. We should generate value, and therefore solve a customer’s problem. It is all about creating consistent value to your work that will make the best products possible.

Here you can find David Pereira’s full talk for the Rocket Day “Agile Manifesto is Outdated: Time for a Product Manifesto”. Every other talk is also available on our YouTube channel!

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