Posts on collaboration

Five Ways a Product Owner Can Build Trust

For project teams to work together effectively, team members and stakeholders need trust. Each team member (product managers and owners, leaders, subject matter experts, and technical staff) have different roles and different interests.

As a product owner responsible for defining (and refining) the product backlog, you are expected to juggle a variety of issues including: choosing the most valuable work, meeting deadlines, controlling costs, incorporating bug fixes, addressing technical debt, ensuring quality, and communicating the changes to your users. If that trust breaks down, your product and process will, too. The result may be hidden agendas, rumors, gossip, no shows to standups, whining, or even subversive behavior.

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Vuka Business Analysis!

AgieOpenJam

“Business Analysis Rising” was a fitting theme for this year’s Business Analysis Summit of Southern Africa. The title was a play on “Africa Rising” – a term used a few years ago to describe the expected growth and development in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the IIBA South Africa Chapter, it is time to tackle the future of the business analysis profession head on—the age of business analysis is dawning!

This year, the event was transformed from a “conference” to a “summit”. What is the difference? Well according to Conference Chair, Ryan Folster, “…a conference would view a presentation as a one directional transfer of knowledge, a summit looks at a presentation as the start of a conversation that continues beyond its delivery…”

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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Agile Soul Mates Jamming in Florida by Mary Gorman

Agile_Open_Jam
When you see Agile business analysis and product management as a topic for multi-day, deep conversions, you’ve entered the world of Agile Open Jam.

For the second year in a row, the Agile Open Jam on “Business Analysis and Product Management in Agile” was a big hit at the Building Business Capability conference.

This is the second Agile Open Jam EBG has hosted (last year, Ellen hosted), and we were jazzed yet again by the enthusiasm, sharing, and energy the Open Jam generated. Dozens and dozens of folks participated—proposing provocative topics, diving into deep conversations, and networking with kindred spirits.

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