Posts on Agile Planning

5 Ways to Recognize a Great Product Manager

1aIf you’ve been a product manager for a few years, you already know what I’m about to say. Product management is a hard job. The most successful product managers share these traits:

  • They are well versed in their products
  • They stay attuned to their customers
  • They can lead and communicate a vision equally well with engineering teams and the c-suite crowd
  • They have a knack for sifting through and prioritizing multiple (and often competing) wants and needs

If that’s not enough, the best product managers also share a very unique attitude: they are empathic and curious, while balancing a ruthless drive for specificity with a poetic tolerance for ambiguity.

To help make the point that product management is a tough but rewarding job, I wanted to share some factors to look for in a great product manager.

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“Do The Right Thing” – PMI® Requirements Management Webinar Recap

ebgembedLast month I presented a webinar to the PMI® (Project Management Institute) Requirements Management Community of Practice: “Do the Right Thing: Adapting Requirements Practices for Agile and Traditional Projects.”

The Requirements Management CoP has grown exponentially and will continue to do so, especially since the PMI recently announced the new Professional in Business Analysis certification (PMI-PBA). This growth was reflected in the full webinar room during the live event. During the webinar, I shared requirements discovery and delivery principles and practices along a gradient from traditional to agile.

As you review the deck, there are some key points to know:

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Requirements to the Rescue: How the 7 Product Dimensions Saved our eBooks

d2dkindlepic“Fast, easy, free/cheap…” That’s what we heard about publishing an eBook edition of a paper book. After all, people said, how difficult can it be to take a PDF and make it digital? Quite difficult, actually.

Ellen Gottesdiener and I should have anticipated that publishing eBook editions of our paper book Discover To Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis would be a complex endeavor. In our careers, we have been involved in re-platforming software products (applications)–and we’ve rarely encountered a re-platforming project that is straightforward. Our eBook editions were no exception.

To eBook or Not to eBook

Even before we published the paperback version of Discover To Deliver, folks requested a digital version. We analyzed the profile of our primary readers. Challenges in converting the book’s visual language, illustrations, models and examples for a virtual reading audience worried us. Other concerns included the evolving eBook industry, its splintered standards, and the end-product usability issues driven by the increasing variations in devices (tablets, readers, smartphones) on which people access books. Weighing the value proposition of paper vs. digital, we decided to initially go paper.

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Insights and Takeaways: Agile Topics at Project World/World Congress for Business Analysis

insights
For the past several years, I have had the privilege of chairing the Agile Summit portion of the Project World/World Congress for Business Analysts. I hope you were able to join us last month in Orlando. We had a tremendous turnout and enjoyed our time learning and networking with each other.

Since then, I’ve had several requests for a summary of my half-day tutorial with Ainsley Nies, “An Agile Approach to Project and Products” as well as the Agile Summit presentation “Got Value? A Practical, Sustainable Value Model for Making Agile Product Decisions” and the track session I gave: “It’s the Goal, Not the Role: The Work of Agile Project Management and Business Analysis.” I wrote up a quick synopsis of all three, along with some suggestions that you can try in your next planning or retrospective session.

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Product Management Festival Interview

As I prepare to deliver my tutorial (“The Essential Product Owner”) and presentation (“Product Roadmaps: Collaborating to Deliver Value”) at Product Management Festival in Zurich later this month, I wanted to share with you an excerpt of an interview with Mary Gorman and me that was recently published on their blog.

During the interview we talk about what inspired Mary and I to write our book, Discover to Deliver, what problems this book intends to solve, target audience, the background on the 7 Product Dimensions, how structured conversations are different from normal elicitation conversations, and more.

Check it out here: http://www.productmanagementfestival.com/interview-with-ellen-gottesdiener-ebg-consulting/

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Cure Your Agile Planning and Analysis Blues: The Top 9 Pain Points

frazzledproductchampionIf you’re on a team that’s transitioning to lean/agile, have you experienced troubling truths, baffling barriers, and veritable vexations around planning and analysis? We work with many lean/agile teams, and we’ve noted certain recurring planning and analysis pain points.

Mary Gorman and I shared our top observations in a recent webinar. Our hostess, Maureen McVey, IIBA’s Head of Learning and Development, prompted us to begin by sharing why we wrote the book Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis and then explaining the essential practices you can learn by reading the book.

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Agile Product Partners: Friends or Frenemies?

It continues to baffle me.

Clients share their struggles managing three, four, or five different product owners (or, as we refer to them, product champions). Delivery teams end up abandoning deployable software right before the end of an iteration or release.

Why?

It’s because the product champions can’t agree among themselves, or with the delivery team, on what to ship. As a result, the team members spend too much time in ineffective meetings and not enough time building high-quality software that delivers value.

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A Quick Dip into our new book – Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning & Analysis

How do you rapidly discover product needs and create a practical plan for delivering high-value products? How do the people on your product development team collaborate as partners to explore and evaluate which work to deliver next? How do you confirm that you’re building the right product in the first place? How do you incorporate Agile/Lean practices into your daily work?

Our newly released book, Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis (two years in the writing) addresses these tough questions.

Here’s a quick tour of the big concepts.

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Announcing the release of Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning & Analysis

by Mary Gorman and Ellen Gottesdiener

We are pleased to announce our book Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis is now available.

Discover to Deliver provides the essential planning and analysis practices you need to collaboratively deliver high-valued products. It gives you a visual language to streamline and simplify your planning and analysis. You and your team get practical guidance in how to collaborate continually to discover and deliver an evolving product.

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Structured Conversations at Agile 2012

What really is value? How do you get diverse stakeholders with sometimes conflicting views of value to obtain—and sustain—a shared understanding of product needs?

We discussed these questions and more with Tech Target’s Melissa Webb. Melissa interviewed us to learn more about our Agile 2012 tutorial The Product Partnership: Using Structured Conversations to Deliver Value.

Melissa’s interview synthesizes a number of the key concepts in our new book, Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis, which will be released at Agile 2012!

You can read the complete interview here.

Going to Agile 2012?

We’re also pleased to be delivering workshops, each chock-full of learning activities:

That Settles It! Techniques for Transparent and Trusted Decision-Making on Your Agile Team Wednesday morning, August 15, 2012 with Ellen Gottesdiener.

The Contracting Two-Step: Patterns for Successful Collaborations, Wednesday afternoon, August 15, 2012 with Mary Gorman.

Hope to see you there!

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