Agile/Scrum, Lean Startup, LeanUX, business model canvasses and growth hacking have expanded our range of tools, methodologies and vocabularies. They don’t specifically call out product management, though. So are product managers obsolete?
As data-driven product managers, we’d like to pretend that incoming technical requests are simply transactional. In the real world, though, real people and real agendas are involved. And that means there’s a personal and political context to consider when prioritizing demands on our already-overloaded development organization.
This occasional public workshop was most recently delivered in San Francisco on June 24/25: two days of market-facing skills for product owners and new product managers. Beyond the mechanics of user stories & backlogs, we applied segmentation, software economics and user motivation to attendees’ own products in the marketplace. We learned-by-doing and turned participants’ products into live case study as well as working through prepared exercises and materials.
We’re filling product owner slots internally, without much regard to skills or long-term success. Or leaving these slots open for development teams to fill as they may. That’s a road to market failure. We need to be thoughtful, intentional and organizationally savvy about picking and mentoring product owners.
An April 4th talk at Cisco: “Product Managers, Product Owners, and Scalable Models for Agile Product Teams.” On large, multi-team commercial products, what skills do various product owners need? How do we connect that back to product-level strategy and priorities?
Complaints about roadmapping processes may really be about the results. If we want more features/releases faster than Engineering will commit to – or can deliver – then no roadmapping process will get us the results that we want.
SynerZip and AgileDFW sponsored this webinar:
– What is a product manager, and how does this map to Agile’s product owner role?
– Where do we find/how do we train such folks?
– What about distributed teams?
Completing a three-post skills model for product owners, partly borrowed from product management… For some projects, product owners need market-facing skills as well as core agile practices (release/sprint planning, story writing, prioritization, backlog grooming). They *may* need to tell economic stories, segment users, design incentives and take a portfolio-level view.
Basic product owner descriptions assume a best-case situation: clear sponsor/user alignment, obvious project value, willing subject experts, budget authority and rational expectations. What skills do product owners need for real world projects?