Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Top 3 Areas that Product Managers Adapt with Agile

In a product development organization, product managers are placed at the center of the productizing process. In this capacity a product manager strategizes the product's path to development culminating in bringing value to customers and profitability to stakeholders and business owners. When development teams adopt Agile, the Product Management team should also be brought under the influence of Agile values and principles because the Agile team is dependent on Product Managers for direction with respect to "what to build."

Here are my top three areas which Product Managers must adapt to flourish in an Agile environment:

Roadmaps – Product Managers own roadmaps and this artifact in a Agile environment needs to be reviewed with the Agile team at the end of every cadence (release) so the team can align itself with the next prioritized item and at the beginning of every cadence in order to set priorities. For their part, Product Managers need to be aware of the release cycles of Agile teams and ensure  that the market research and other activities leading to executive buy-in and budget approvals are in time for the Agile team to start working on the release.

Increased Transparency -  User stories are based on the value that it brings to the user. This value is explicitly captured in every user story after the Product Manager talks with customers and analysts, and researches the market factors. Every person on the Agile team is encouraged to question the value of the user story which requires the Product Manager to have a granular understanding of the impact of a user story on customers and the market. 

Sales and Marketing Interactions  A Product Manager needs to train marketing and sales teams through demos, documents, and conversations on the products and its features so that there is effective messaging and lead conversion. In an Agile world, the Product Manager can prep the sales and marketing teams with confidence since he is aware of the nearly releasable features that are being churned out by the team sprint on sprint. 

Presented this topic at Agile Tour 2012, Chennai, India

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