Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

55705Re: [scrumdevelopment] Weakness in Product Management?

Expand Messages
  • Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM
    Sep 6, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      Alan,

      I've had some similar experiences to yours, though in recent years on Scrum implementations, I've made it a priority to get as many of the relevant and important PdM folks involved as possible, and as many of the relevant/important users as I can feasibly get my hands on.

      One pattern that I'm noticing is that some Scrum Dev teams try to take on more of PdM responsibilities -- deciding what *they* think is more valuable or should be worked on -- and I don't think that's a good thing long term.  Should they have input?  Oh heck ya, but when they think they know better than the PdM types, that seems to be a bad thing to me.  It seems like some of these dev teams have this view because of the lack of involvement of PdM, or maybe a lack of confidence in the PdM.

      As to who in PdM fits into the PO role, it's very different in every organization it seems.  Sometimes it is a PdM type person, and sometimes it's not a PdM type -- it's a proxy.

      It seems to me that the PO role has two primary sub-categories of responsibility.  One is "business facing", and the other is "Scrum Team facing."
       
      -------
      Charles Bradley
      http://www.ScrumCrazy.com




      From: Alan Dayley <alandd@...>
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Thursday, September 6, 2012 9:43 AM
      Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Weakness in Product Management?



      Charles,

      It is interesting how we have this separation between defining a product and developing that product.  The lean startup ideas are mashing these two areas together.

      In reading your response I realized that I can now better characterize my product management experience.  In my experience, product management sets up the product definition, hands that off to the development team/group/department and then walks away.  The problems come from this lack of consistent connection between product management and product development.  I can't remember how many times I have been a software engineer on a product that has been in development for many months only to have product management suddenly show up and tell us we are building it wrong.

      Interesting discussion.

      Alan

      On Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 4:55 PM, Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM I <chuck-lists2@...> wrote:
       
      Alan,


      > What has been your experience with good product management?

      I don't think most of my experiences with Product Management(Pdm) are good ones to draw conclusions from in terms of success, because I haven't had very much visibility into the ROI or TCO of a system.  My guess is that many Pdm's also don't have this visibility and that is part of the problem.

      The only examples I can come up with of good Pdm's are people like Bill Gates(assuming he was the effective Pdm at some point) and Steve Jobs. Both of those ended up with wild profits on most of what they did.  I imagine others on this list might come up with reasons why these two shouldn't be considered successful.  Maybe the Instagram Pdm should be considered successful?

      I also witnessed one PO/Pdm who I felt like was really good at understanding what her users really wanted, and was a great communicator with her team.  Unfortunately, she was also a command and control type which meant her team was no longer doing Scrum and was really doing a more traditional c&c type project(there were a lot of other Scrum buts too).  Having said all of that, the products she presided over were very successful in the market, so she and her company must have been doing something right with those.

      What I can speak to is the good habits and successes of Product Owners from the point of view of their interactions with Scrum Development Teams, and how well those teams have produced something that the PO was happy with.  However, PO happiness is not always correlated with true product success.

       
      -------
      Charles Bradley
      http://www.scrumcrazy.com/




      From: Alan Dayley <alandd@...>
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, August 31, 2012 3:50 PM
      Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Weakness in Product Management?



      In my experience weak product management is not a trend.  It is the norm.  It has been the norm for my entire working life.  In fact, in most companies I have seen, just having a part-time Product Owner is a significant improvement over what they had before.  And improvement is true even at companies that have full-time "product managers" before attempting Agile.

      What has been your experience with good product management?

      Alan

      On Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 12:34 PM, Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM I <chuck-lists2@...> wrote:
       

      I'm starting to see a trend in the industry on this, and I'm curious if others are seeing similar trends.

      Now that we've got the software dev a lot more predictable and transparent, it seems the transparency has shed light on the fact that many Product Managers/Owners(if they really exist) are really unsuccessful at predicting product success(though the blame chain might not stop there).  Further, it seems that many companies do not invest enough in this space (product research, collaborative feedback from users, usability, product visioning, marketing, etc).

      At the Agile2012 conference, Jim Highsmith (one of the AM authors), was highly quoted in his presentation as saying something like this, "[Business]You're not going to measure value?  Fine, we[Dev] won't measure cost, then." 

      I think SW dev has gotten pretty good at measuring cost, but it seems often to me that the business side of the house hasn't gotten any better at measuring value.  It used to be that the business could hide behind the delays, defects, and high cost overruns of the software development department.  In places where Agile software dev is done well, we've fixed those problems, and now the next layer of the onion is turning those costs into a justifiable ROI.

      I've seen possible signs(smells?) of this problem in the following ways:
      • The dev team outstrips the business' ability to come up with new features/products.
      • Shakeups in product management departments due to the missing of forecasted ROI of new features
        • Subpoint: Not building in enough validations in a product to optimize the value of features delivered.
      • Not valuing the product management field enough to hire dedicated Scrum Product Owners and similar personnel
      Obviously all of these could be caused by other things.  I'm not convinced this is a real trend or a real problem.  It's just something I've been pondering lately after witnessing some of the above scenarios and after hearing of Jim's quote.

      -------
      Charles Bradley
      http://www.scrumcrazy.com/












    • Show all 24 messages in this topic