Posts on Product Discovery

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

Learning about Agile Requirements: “Voice of the Customer” Highlights

7ProductDimensions
Agile Requirements – Creative Collaborative and Colorful Discovery – was the title of a workshop held on March 16, 2015, at the RE Conf (Requirements Engineering Conference) in Munich. Coach Ellen Gottesdiener (founder of EBG Consulting) is a renowned pioneer in the field of collaborative partnerships for Requirements Engineering and Management. During this workshop we experienced her creative and colorful way of thinking – and were quite impressed by her “retro approach” based on flip charts and colored post-its.

What’s more, we were not allowed to forget the “mantra of value” during the one-day workshop! Every software application (or even hardware component) upgrade must add value for the various customer, business and technology stakeholders or partners involved. Otherwise the requirement should be disregarded.

Continue reading

Going Global

DtoD Japanese
We’re excited to announce that the Japanese version of Discover to Deliver is now available. We deeply appreciate Mr. Taku Fujii, of OGIS-RI, for his excellent work in translating our book for a whole new audience.

Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis has helped professionals all over the world to collaboratively conceive, deliver and support software products and systems. Many thanks to Taku-san for his thoroughness and professionalism in preparing the Japanese translation.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Agile 2014: Two Requirements-Focused Sessions You Don’t Want to Miss

IM_A_SPEAKER_AT-300pxAre you headed to Agile 2014 this year? We are—and we are eager to introduce audiences there to our unique approach to agile requirements.

You’ll find EBG’s Nanette Brown and me speaking in the Working with Customers track, as we explore ways to discover a product’s quality attributes—things like performance, usability, robustness, and more. EBG’s VP of Quality and Delivery Mary Gorman is co-presenting with Terry Weigmann in the Testing and Quality Assurance track on the topic of test analysis and how it enables teams to strengthen and produce higher quality requirements on agile projects.

In this blog post, we want to offer you a sneak peak into these sessions, both in terms of how crucial they are for success with agile and also in regard to why they were chosen for this year’s program. Oh, and if you can’t make it to Orlando, we’ll be tweeting throughout the conference, so follow us (@ellengott, @mbgorman, @nanettebrwn) the week of July 28th!

Continue reading

“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:

Continue reading

Context Counts: Adapt Your Requirements Practices to Fit

ShuHaRi Whether you are agile or more traditional, your challenge is the same: In order to remain relevant in today’s market, you have to discover and deliver the right thing at the right time. To do this successfully, you need to elicit customer needs and quickly choose from among many competing voices and options to determine what is truly essential and what can wait for a future release. That means selecting the requirements development and management activities that are most effective for your particular situation–whether those practices are in your current toolbox or not.

To understand this mindset shift, it might help to think of requirements activities in terms of the ShuHaRi progression, with a learning stage (shu), a breaking away stage (ha), and a transcendent stage (ri). 

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

“Discover to Deliver Explained” Video

d2dvideoWe’re excited to announce the release of “Discover to Deliver Explained.” This two-minute video provides an animated overview of the key concepts in our book Discover To Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis.

You asked for a short synopsis of Discover to Deliver concepts that you could share with others. This video offers a quick, easy-to-follow explanation of the 7 Product Dimensions, product partners, the structured conversation, and the Now-, Pre- and Big-View, as they relate to agile requirements.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading