Jun 15, 2015 2 min read

Making The Right Strategic Choices in Product Portfolios (RallyON)

Rally invited me to give this talk at their RallyON conference (Phoenix, June 15-17) as well as join Rally product leaders for a panel discussion.

Making The Right Strategic Choices in Product Portfolios

Software executives and software product managers should focus on putting the right products into their portfolios – since the primary drivers of market success are identifying the right markets, segments and problems to solve. Deciding what products to build, and their relative priority, is a top-down strategic process supported by metrics-driven engineering and program management

For revenue software products, creating a single WSJF value metric across different categories of initiatives/epics/stories (feature, quality, long-term research and sales interrupts) is very problematic. It blends urgency with actual revenue estimates and assumes more precision than uncertain revenue/market forecasts can provide. More importantly, a single metric encourages oversteering and increased politicizing of roadmap/backlog decisions.

We looked at a top-down strategic allocation model with category-specific value metrics or ranking models. It provides some roadmap/backlog stability as enterprise sales teams propose deals that need one-off features; as executives push to defer quality investments “until next quarter;” as competitive market pressures tempt us to add one more feature instead of retiring debt.  We also discussed how to make strategic commitments to a balanced technical investment plan ahead of inevitable interrupts and escalations.

Workshop: Raising the Bar: Bringing Discipline to Defining and Tracking Business Value
When: Wednesday, Jun 17, 1:00pm (Business Agility track)
Speakers:  Ryan Martens, Catherine Connor,Rich Mironov

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Agile is a value-driven approach. But how do you define value? Who defines value? How do you identify what is valuable and what is not? How do you make the right strategic decisions to optimize business value delivery? And most important, how will you measure whether or not you are delivering value?

In this session, we looked at critical roles accountable for defining value and assessing it at all levels from strategic planning to release planning, so that projects/efforts can create truly differentiating value for companies. We talked about  common pitfalls to avoid when establishing an accountable product management team and how to evolve from requirement management to value management.

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