Posts on Product Management/Ownership

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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Structured Conversations to Discover Your MVP

Many product development teams talk about the wisdom of producing great products by iteratively exposing potential customers to small, cohesive product increments. [1] The concept of focusing effort on minimum viable product (MVP) delivery has gained momentum particularly in the agile world. MVPs deliver customer value through successive delivery of small product slices and drives teams to make smarter choices about their product’s future development.

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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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Slicing User Stories, Delivering Value

Are you on one of the many agile teams struggling with backlogs and user stories? Don’t give up. I teamed up with Jeff Sutherland, CEO of Scrum Inc., to deliver a webinar called “Slicing User Stories”. We focused on helping teams manage their backlogs, improve sprints and release planning, and increase delivered value using practices Mary Gorman and I wrote about in Discover to Deliver.

Here’s a summary of what we discussed. And stay tuned; I’ll go deeper into this in an upcoming webinar with the Scrum Alliance on March 15th.

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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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Factors for Making Value-Based Product Decisions

Value

Making value-based decisions on what to deliver and when it needs to be delivered is one of the most important responsibilities of product ownership. What exactly is value? Value is fair return in goods, services, money, or some other benefit in exchange for something.

Value is what you get in exchange for what you give. In software development, we tend to identify value in terms of features. They are related to be sure, but quite different. Features as cohesive bundles of functionality that align with business goals and objectives. Features can come in various formats and levels of granularity, including user stories, minimum marketable features, minimum viable product, epics, and so on.

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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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A Visual Nutshell for Amplifying Product Discovery

Defining Value

We were recently planning a discovery workshop for a large initiative with the Chief Product Owner (CPO). She is part of a growing, global community utilizing the techniques in our book Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis. This community is doing the vital work of product visioning and backlog definition and refinement. Discover to Deliver™ techniques are woven into collaborative product discovery and planning workshops. Such facilitated workshops quickly produce agile product roadmaps and release plans.

The CPO needed a succinct way to prepare the customers and subject matter experts who would be participating in the discovery session. She asked us, “What can I use to share the essence of our discovery work?” We showed her a visual spread we call “DtoD in a Nutshell” spread from our book.

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Backlog Refinement Takes You from Vision to Value

Backlog refinement prepares your backlog for development. Investing in doing this well helps you deliver visiontovaluegraphicvalue sooner, can double your productivity, and builds strong collaboration—the backbone of high performance teams. We find that Product Owners and development teams need advanced skills and training in backlog refinement. With a keen focus on value and conducting Structured Conversations using the 7 Product Dimensions, you greatly improve your ability to go from vision to value.

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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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