Shifting responsibilities from a “command and control” organization towards self-organized teams is not easy. In her article “Managing Product Teams for Success”, Teresa Torres discusses the challenges that you face when you try manage product teams by outcomes.
This talks discusses 7 deadly sins of software development, specifically relevant for Agile teams. It’s pretty clear when you fail as a start-up, where you and your friend invested last savings. The product is not ready or just doesn’t get sold, the money’s gone, you open LinkedIn to search for a job suitable for an “experienced software engineer with entrepreneurial background”. It is way more tricky in a big company with a well-established product.
If some consider Scrum as an Agile project management framework, many people consider that is is more a product management approach. Anyway, Scrum is about understanding the need of the customers to deliver value. In this context, the concept of “personas” can be used to support user-centered design throughout a product development cycle by focusing on the characteristics of key user segments.
Running an experiment is trivial: Make a change and see what happens. Running experiments at scale, however, is a different story. It is not trivial to simultaneously run hundreds of experiments across 100 million users. It’s not trivial to cover dozens of platforms and markets while staying on top of the technical and methodological complexities.
The notion of product is important in Scrum. Many qualify it as a product development approach rather than a project management framework. The product owner role is responsible that the production of the Scrum team meets the requirements of the customers and deliver value for the organization. This role is often compared to the role of product manager. In his article “Mapping the Product Manager Role to the Product Owner Role”, Sriramasundararajan Rajagopalan discusses if a product manager is the same as a product owner.
With Agile practices becoming more and more common, the call for Product Leadership has never been louder. Product owners are drowning in feature alignment and internal stakeholder discussions, slowed by technical and organizational complexity, crippled by a risk-averse company culture and focused on internal risks rather than market outcome. Long ago the Samurai learned that Agility in itself is not enough. Leadership comes from an unwavering vision, clear values and relentless exercise of martial practices (kata).
“Garbage in, garbage out” is an old programming concept that is today somewhat similar to the “Building the right product versus building the product right” mantra. In Agile project management approaches like Scrum, the role of the product owner is fundamental to deliver value to the customer. Scrum. The Product Ownership book written by Robert Galen is completely dedicated to this crucial role and aims at presenting approaches, behaviors and attitudes of great product owners.