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Product Manager Role in a Non-Agile Shop

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  • bomasamudram
    I am currently in a project in the automobile industry. We are building an automobile management system where it will be easy for an auto dealer to maintain
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 11, 2011
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      I am currently in a project in the automobile industry. We are building an automobile management system where it will be easy for an auto dealer to maintain and service an automobile for its customers. This shop uses a defect management system (HP Quality Center) and a change management system (IBM Rational ClearQuest). The process that has been implemented in these tools is non-agile which has impacted overall throughput and resulted in a (huge) backlog of defects and CRs. There is no official Product Manager who manages the requirements backlog . Instead there is a Project Manager who manages each application.

      Environmental Context:
      If the word "agile" is used in this shop, attention immediately shifts towards a defensive position such as "but we don't do agile" here.

      I have a greater bias for implementing the essence of the principles in the Agile Manifesto so that the players don't go off on a limb when the agile soundbite is used in a tweet.

      Ideas that come to mind in order to cross the chasm:
      * Is there a way to assess, either qualitatively or quantitatively, the technical debt based on the number of active defects (active = non-closed)? Alternatively stated, what are the defect metrics that enable a manager who is not well-versed in agile practices, become aware and concerned about the technical debt?

      * Since both the defect mgmt process and the change mgmt process are cross-functional, I think there is a great opportunity for creating the business case for a [Agile] Product Manager position in this shop. In fact, the job description would match all the responsibilities as defined in the methodology. Can anyone share thoughts the Product Manager job description?

      Thanks for any feedback.
    • Pramod Sadalage
      Hello, * Is there a way to assess, either qualitatively or quantitatively, the ... I don t know how defects would tell you technical debt because, even if you
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 11, 2011
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        Hello,

        * Is there a way to assess, either qualitatively or quantitatively, the
        > technical debt based on the number of active defects (active = non-closed)?
        > Alternatively stated, what are the defect metrics that enable a manager who
        > is not well-versed in agile practices, become aware and concerned about the
        > technical debt?


        I don't know how defects would tell you technical debt because, even if you
        had no technical debt there could still be bugs (defects) in the system. I
        would try to visualize code quality and other things to highlight technical
        debt.

        Erik Dornenburg has some pointers here
        http://erik.doernenburg.com/topics/softviz/
        Jim Highsmith talks about it here too from a different perspective
        http://jimhighsmith.com/2010/10/19/the-financial-implications-of-technical-debt/
        *Pramod Sadalage
        @pramodsadalage
        <http://www.twitter.com/pramodsadalage><http://www.sadalage.com/>
        *
        *www.sadalage.com
        www.databaserefactoring.com*



        On Fri, Nov 11, 2011 at 1:25 PM, bomasamudram <bomasamudram@...>wrote:

        > **
        >
        >
        > I am currently in a project in the automobile industry. We are building an
        > automobile management system where it will be easy for an auto dealer to
        > maintain and service an automobile for its customers. This shop uses a
        > defect management system (HP Quality Center) and a change management system
        > (IBM Rational ClearQuest). The process that has been implemented in these
        > tools is non-agile which has impacted overall throughput and resulted in a
        > (huge) backlog of defects and CRs. There is no official Product Manager who
        > manages the requirements backlog . Instead there is a Project Manager who
        > manages each application.
        >
        > Environmental Context:
        > If the word "agile" is used in this shop, attention immediately shifts
        > towards a defensive position such as "but we don't do agile" here.
        >
        > I have a greater bias for implementing the essence of the principles in
        > the Agile Manifesto so that the players don't go off on a limb when the
        > agile soundbite is used in a tweet.
        >
        > Ideas that come to mind in order to cross the chasm:
        > * Is there a way to assess, either qualitatively or quantitatively, the
        > technical debt based on the number of active defects (active = non-closed)?
        > Alternatively stated, what are the defect metrics that enable a manager who
        > is not well-versed in agile practices, become aware and concerned about the
        > technical debt?
        >
        > * Since both the defect mgmt process and the change mgmt process are
        > cross-functional, I think there is a great opportunity for creating the
        > business case for a [Agile] Product Manager position in this shop. In fact,
        > the job description would match all the responsibilities as defined in the
        > methodology. Can anyone share thoughts the Product Manager job description?
        >
        > Thanks for any feedback.
        >
        >
        >


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