Selecting An Agile Coach

I should have written this article many years ago. Starting around 2004 and 2005 I began seeing an increasing number of teams moving to Agile, and of course the first thing they needed was training and often some coaching. However, more often than not, I had to go...

This I Believe

This article is a little bit different, but if you make it to the last paragraph, I’m hoping it will help better explain where I’m coming from. In the spirit of the inspirational This I Believe project, I thought I would share with you the beliefs that...

The Need For Speed

I’m always badgering teams about moving faster.  Yet I continue to meet people and teams that not only move very slow, they don’t understand the relationship between speed and innovation, or speed and quality.  In fact, many people still think those goals...

Developing Strong Product Teams

Note: This article is a collaboration between myself and my long-time friend and colleague Jeff Patton.  We often work together to help product teams. We have both long argued that the best way to evaluate product teams is by their results; the outcome they generate,...

Lean Canvas vs. Opportunity Assessment

One question that’s come up several times recently is the difference between an Opportunity Assessment, and a Business Model Canvas (or its popular derivative Lean Canvas). While it is true you could try to use each to serve the purpose of the other, it quickly...

Funnels vs. Umbrellas

In my last newsletter I wrote about Stakeholder Management.  That article seemed to strike a chord with many people. One person sent me a quote that is attributed to Todd Jackson of Facebook, which is probably one of the best lines I’ve seen regarding product in...

Stakeholder Management

I’m not sure why I haven’t written specifically on this topic before because it comes up as an issue with so many teams.  For many product managers, managing stakeholders is probably the least favorite part of their job. I don’t want to suggest that...

Value Creation vs. Value Capture

People approach creating products from many different perspectives.  Some seek out customer pain and dedicate themselves to solving their problems.  Others follow the technology and strive to deliver solutions that are just now possible.  Some like to follow...

The Inconvenient Truth About Product

Every week I continue to find product teams laboring away on old-style product roadmaps that have been painstakingly negotiated with management and stakeholders, sometimes for several quarters in advance.  I have written several times about the problems with this...

Vision Pivots vs. Discovery Pivots

The term “pivot” is probably one of the most overused and abused terms in today’s product teams.  If you’re not familiar with the concept, see Your Business Plan Is Wrong. As I work with different teams I find the term used in so many different...

Top-Down Dates

In my last article, I discussed how we manage public commitments in an Agile, Dual-Track environment.  In that article I talked about those public commitments that are needed to run a business, such as when a customer can count on getting some capability, or when a...

Managing Commitments in an Agile Team

The past several articles have discussed the nature of Continuous Discovery and Dual-Track Agile.  In this article I’d like to discuss another dimension of working effectively in an Agile environment, which is how we manage commitments. In most Agile teams, when...

Assessing Customer Impact

In my last article I wrote about the trends of continuous discovery and continuous delivery.  At the end of the article I pointed out that while I love these techniques because overall they are much better for our customers, and for our ability to rapidly improve our...

Continuous Discovery

I have written recently about how product teams do product discovery in parallel with product delivery.  I have also written about how teams sometimes like to time-box their product discovery work. What I’d like to write about in this article is an increasing...

Product Manager Charm School

Recently I wrote about Apprentice Product Manager programs, where companies recruit and groom high-potential product managers.  Quite a few people asked me about this program and the type of curriculum that I have provided for my own teams in the past.  In this...

Dual-Track Agile

When I first start working with an Agile product team, one of the most common situations I find is where the teams have long and frustrating Sprint planning meetings because backlog items are poorly defined and not well understood; they have slow velocity as well as...

Apprentice Product Managers

I find that most tech product companies out there are struggling to find enough very strong product managers.  I have written many times in various ways about how critical it is to put very strong people in this role, and I meet execs every week that tell me that they...

Time-Boxing Product Discovery

In my last article I talked about one technique for applying Scrum concepts to product discovery – the opportunity backlog.  In this article, I wanted to talk about another, which is to time-box product discovery. First, for those that are not familiar with the term,...

The Opportunity Backlog

Recently I was with my friend Jeff Patton, one of the pioneers in applying Agile to product organizations, and he told that he has been advocating the term “Opportunity Backlog” as an alternative to the product roadmap. I have written earlier about the...

Lead Engineer as Product Owner

Many companies I meet are confused about roles and responsibilities.  They’re not sure the difference between product managers and project managers, or between product managers and product marketing, or between product managers and interaction designers, as just...
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