Friday, June 17, 2016

Value: The Lynchpin in Agile Product Management

Defining Value

You’d think the topic of value would be uncontroversial when it comes to agile product management and ownership. After all, early and continuous delivery of value is the first principle in the Agile Manifesto.

And yet, the idea is not always clear and consistent. Value is often not easily qualified or quantified, which makes the important task of conversing transparently about value difficult.

At the Agile Product Open last month, I proposed the topic “Value: The Whats, Whys, and Hows” in the morning marketplace of ideas. Continue reading

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Agile Product Open: An Illustrated Interview

Agile Product Open Illustraion

I spend a lot of time in my work sharing the value of visualization in agile discovery. What better way to share the value of the upcoming Agile Product Open event (May 21, 2016) than visually!

Here is an illustrated interview created by Iris Amelia Febres after interviewing Vanessa Ferranto and myself (we are co-producing the event). We shared the reasons why we started this new event and our passion for the conference theme: “Bringing Agile Principles to Product Management”. Continue reading

Monday, April 4, 2016

Product Owner Survival Camp, USA

Product Owner Survival Camp USA

Product owners often find themselves alone in the organizational wilderness, straddling tactical with strategic product work. To succeed, they need to be inventive yet intensely focused; collaborative but decisive; and far-sighted but detail oriented.

The best product owners are strategic—envisioning the product, communicating upstream with business executives, researching the market, and continually planning for delivery of high-value product options. At the same time, they are also tactical—communicating downstream with the delivery team, running product demos, and discussing technical considerations. Continue reading

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Eyes Have It: How Visuals Can Energize Your Product Discovery

Visual Language

We facilitate lots of discovery sessions, leading teams to explore, evaluate, and confirm product requirements. A frequent question we hear from agile product managers, product owners, Scrum Masters, and coaches is, “My team is all over the place with backlog items. They can’t agree! How do these discovery sessions get them on the same page?”

The key is recognizing that discovery is a lot like learning: Everyone needs to find the best way to address a problem or opportunity—and do it together. To accelerate mutual learning, people need a blend of visual thinking and visual language. Mix in the right space, and you have a winning combination. Continue reading | 2 Comments

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Timely Topics, Deep Discussions: Agile Open Jam at BBC 2015

Open Jam 2015

Enthusiasm + experience = deep conversations. And there were plenty of insightful discussions during the Agile Open Jam at the 2015 Building Business Capability (BBC) conference, where passionate practitioners shared and learned from each other.

For the third year in a row, BBC attendees took advantage of an open jam format to better explore a wide variety of agile topics. We at EBG were pleased to continue serving as the organizer and host of the Agile Open Jam at the BBC, the official conference of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®).

Participants at the jam said there was “great collaboration of ideas and problem solving” and “awesome conversations.” Continue reading | 2 Comments

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Decide How to Decide: Empowering Product Ownership

Common Decision Rules

As the product owner, you are responsible for the product’s vision, and ultimately, the value of your product. You “own” the backlog. If your responsibilities include upstream product management—what I refer to as strategic product ownership—then you also shepherd your product through its entire lifecycle.

Bottom line, your prime responsibility is deciding what to build and when to build it. Your decisions guide not just the health and well being of your product, but also all the people engaged in product discovery and delivery.

Yet a common product ownership struggle I see in agile teams—regardless of industry and product type—is determining how to make decisions. As an agile coach, I use a pattern I call “Decide How to Decide.” It’s a simple technique to help people make transparent, participatory, and trusted decisions. Continue reading | 2 Comments

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Boosting Confidence through Successful Agile Business Analysis

Confidence

In our prior blog post we shared nine practices of great agile teams. They are powerful confidence builders for individual members, and even more so when the entire team lives the practices.

Here, we’re focusing specifically on a number of practices that are the hallmark for successful agile business analysis work. Gaining proficiency in these practices is a sure way to increase your team’s confidence and help them be successful.

VALUE Keep the product’s vision visible! Build the vision collaboratively, using visuals before turning it into a textual vision statement. Amplify the vision with qualitative goals, then quantify the goals with testable objectives. Ground your structured conversations in value as you explore product options, evaluate and select high-value options, and confirm that the options will meet the objectives. Value is the byword of agile business analysis work. Continue reading

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Boosting Confidence: 9 Practices of Great Agile Teams

Confidence

We’ve noticed something about the high-performing agile teams we work with: their confidence. They truly believe and trust in their individual and collective abilities. Their confidence extends to how they go about managing their product and delivering value, continuously.

Inspired by Lisa Crispin’s blog, we have compiled our own list of confidence-boosting practices that we suggest when coaching agile teams. We hope they’ll help you and your team as you strive to discover and deliver great products. Continue reading | 2 Comments

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Amplify Learning with Mind Maps

Mind Mapping

I’ve long been an advocate for visual learning and discovery tools. Models, maps, prototypes, along with the use of symbols and color, aid in understanding complex ideas. So what I saw in a recent Agile Requirements training class I taught in Tokyo, Japan—hosted by our training partner OGIS-RI—took my love of visuals to a new level. One attendee, Hidehiko Akasaka, was especially engaged. To my delight, he was using mind maps to help him organize and amplify his learning!

I use mind maps for a variety of topics. For example, recently I “wrote” a book review using a mind map. Yet, for me, Akasaka-san takes mind maps to a new level Continue reading | 4 Comments

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Smoothing and Speeding Your Agile Learning Journeys with
More Agile Testing

MoreAgileTesting

I love the latest book from Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin, More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team. My own copy is littered with dog-eared pages, highlighted text, and stickies marking ideas I want to come back to, bring to my own work, and share with others.

When I sat down to write this book review, I started with a mind map, as Janet and Lisa often suggest. My plan was to turn this organized brainstorm into a standard text-heavy book review that would elegantly and persuasively describe how valuable I find the book. Yet as the mind map began to take shape, I paused to reconsider. I wondered if perhaps using the mind map as my book review would be the best solution. Continue reading