Posts on Agile

How to Make Product Decisions With Transparency and Trust

Product managers can make better decisions if they’ve built transparency and trust with their team. How these decisions are made is also important, and it requires a clear and collaborative process. Here’s a straightforward framework for collaborative decision making that is founded in transparency and trust.

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Women in Agile Podcast Highlights

In the podcast, I discuss infusing product management with agile principles and practices. Lesley Morse, the podcast interviewer, summarized the highlights of our conversation as follows:

“Ellen speculates a future where there will be a “blending of disciplines where you don’t necessarily have a business area and a technology area”, just one product team with interdisciplinary team members. Her piece of advice to product people: Have strategic awareness of your product in the marketplace or “Big-View”, and get rid of junk in the backlog.

Gottesdiener also takes us down the memory lane to the beginnings of the Agile Conference – she has attended every one of them since Salt Lake City. She reminds us of the women who have had a large impact on the Agile community from the very beginning.”

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Using the MatchUp Canvas to Improve Team Interdependency

Have you experienced working with a great product development team? Key characteristics of a great team I’ve witnessed include clear product outcomes understood by everyone, outstanding product leadership, regular customer engagement, and continuous product discovery and delivery cycles. While achieving outcomes with joy and purpose, a great team also enhances its own skills and knowledge.

Agile product teams rely on each other’s skills and knowledge to achieve shared outcomes. Together, a great team continually adjusts what and how they are working together.

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Product Discovery Frameworks for the Virtual and Scaled Enterprise

For a number of years, I’ve heard: “I really like the frameworks for product discovery that you shared in Discover to Deliver. How can we facilitate collaborative discovery with distributed teams or for large-scale products?”

My answer—until now—is to suggest things that colleagues, EBG readers, and I have done over the years to leverage existing technologies available to hack a way to collaborate. For example, have concurrent teams working on their Discovery Boards with live video cameras in different locations. Or use Google docs, slides, Trello or real-time boards for shared space ‘wall work’. Even resort to asynchronous iterations of photos of wall work.

Until now.

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Am I a Product Manager or a Product Owner? Part 2

In part 1 of this blog, I outlined the confusion between what a Product Manager does and what a Product Owner does. The difference and overlaps between product management and product ownership work illustrated how activities span both strategic and tactical product management.

With confusion of roles and titles, a team can suffer with mixed product outcomes. I find this confusion to be widespread and I propose five ways to untangle the roles and responsibilities mess to move from confusion to clarity.

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Am I a Product Manager or a Product Owner? Part 1

With the maturing of the software industry and with an overwhelming acceptance of agility, I am still surprised at the inconsistency and overall confusion between what product managers and product owners do.

On a panel I participated on this very topic, the presenters had different, sometimes contradictory perspectives. [1] Adding to the confusion, organizations struggling to make sense of the roles and job titles can’t rely on conflicting webinars, white papers, or blogs to clarify roles and responsibilities.

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Streamline Your Agile Requirements by Avoiding Bloated Backlogs

Moving from traditional requirements to user stories seems like a simple task. Identify a user, then get them to tell you what they want and why. No problem, right?

When I first started writing user stories, I really enjoyed the simplicity of the format. It wasn’t until I attended some product workshops that I had a most profound learning moment: We often unintentionally waste brainpower creating bloated backlogs.

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Women of Agile2017

Inspired by Deb Hartmann Preuss’ beautiful Women of XP 2017 blog, I decided to conduct my own appreciative inquiry of women attending Agile2017. Following are the result of my encounters this week at Agile 2017.

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7 Ways of Creating and Sustaining an Agile Product Roadmap

A product roadmap visually depicts how your product will evolve over time to realize your product vision and achieve continual value for your customers and business. (I define the term product to refer to a software application, system, device, service, or a combination that provides value to customers and business partners.)

A product roadmap should be designed to adapt continually, guide decisions, and promote action.

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The 7 Product Dimensions: A Guide to Asking the Right Questions

Upon embarking on my first stint as a product manager, I happened to run into an experienced product executive one day in passing. I asked him for advice and he obliged. He replied rather succinctly: “Ask questions, and then go add value.” He was never one to ramble on. Since then, I’ve taken his advice to heart, asking questions early and often. Now, a few years into my career in the product field, I find myself going a level deeper and asking a new question: Am I asking the right questions to all the right people?

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