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Re: Weakness in Product Management?

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  • gregc
    I d have to agree with Alan, weak PM has existed a good long time but not that development teams can deliver quickly and predictably it exposes the weak PM
    Message 1 of 25 , Sep 2, 2012
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      I'd have to agree with Alan, weak PM has existed a good long time but not that development teams can deliver quickly and predictably it exposes the weak PM issue. It's similar to the bottleneck moving but this is deeper than an issue in capacity.

      This is where I spend most of time. Product management is still an immature profession. It is an extremely hard job to do well. I imagine it may take a similar time frame for companies to learn how to master this discipline as it did for them to learn how to master software development.

      -greg

      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Alan Dayley <alandd@...> wrote:
      >
      > 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 <http://www.scrumcrazy.com/>
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
    • Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM
      Alan, ... 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
      Message 2 of 25 , Sep 5, 2012
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        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/







      • Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM
        Greg, ... hard job to do well.  I imagine it may take a similar time frame for companies to learn how to master this discipline as it did for them to learn
        Message 3 of 25 , Sep 5, 2012
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          Greg,

          > Product management is still an immature profession.  It is an extremely
          hard job to do well.  I imagine it may take a similar time frame for companies to learn how to master this discipline as it did for them to learn how to master software development.

          It sure seems that way to me.  I think there is definitely more work to be done here.  Someone at Agile2012 tweeted something that stuck with me and it continues to bother me some... it was along the lines of "Seems like most [Agile2012] sessions are still about building things right instead of deciding whether the thing is worth building at all."

          It seems like the Lean Startup people are headed in the right direction in terms of validated learning, etc.  It may just be time to peel off the next layer of the onion and see how we can get better at Product Management.
           
          -------
          Charles Bradley
          http://www.ScrumCrazy.com




          From: gregc <greg@...>
          To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Monday, September 3, 2012 12:02 AM
          Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Weakness in Product Management?

          I'd have to agree with Alan, weak PM has existed a good long time but not that development teams can deliver quickly and predictably it exposes the weak PM issue.  It's similar to the bottleneck moving but this is deeper than an issue in capacity. 

          This is where I spend most of time.  Product management is still an immature profession.  It is an extremely hard job to do well.  I imagine it may take a similar time frame for companies to learn how to master this discipline as it did for them to learn how to master software development.

          -greg

          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Alan Dayley <alandd@...> wrote:
          >
          > 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 <http://www.scrumcrazy.com/>
          > >
          > > 
          > >
          >




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        • Pito Salas
          I am interested in this thread as I am working on just such a situation right now. I want to clarify what you mean by Product Management , just another word
          Message 4 of 25 , Sep 5, 2012
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            I am interested in this thread as I am working on just such a situation right now. I want to clarify what you mean by "Product Management", just another word for Product Owners? Or do you see a separate function from PO? I ask this not because I have any problem with PM, just that I thought within the world of scrum we no longer talk about product management. Is it just another word?

            - Pito


            On Sep 5, 2012, at 6:59 PM, Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM I <chuck-lists2@...> wrote:

             

            Greg,

            > Product management is still an immature profession.  It is an extremely hard job to do well.  I imagine it may take a similar time frame for companies to learn how to master this discipline as it did for them to learn how to master software development.

            It sure seems that way to me.  I think there is definitely more work to be done here.  Someone at Agile2012 tweeted something that stuck with me and it continues to bother me some... it was along the lines of "Seems like most [Agile2012] sessions are still about building things right instead of deciding whether the thing is worth building at all."

            It seems like the Lean Startup people are headed in the right direction in terms of validated learning, etc.  It may just be time to peel off the next layer of the onion and see how we can get better at Product Management.
             
            -------
            Charles Bradley
            http://www.ScrumCrazy.com




            From: gregc <greg@...>
            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Monday, September 3, 2012 12:02 AM
            Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Weakness in Product Management?

            I'd have to agree with Alan, weak PM has existed a good long time but not that development teams can deliver quickly and predictably it exposes the weak PM issue.  It's similar to the bottleneck moving but this is deeper than an issue in capacity. 

            This is where I spend most of time.  Product management is still an immature profession.  It is an extremely hard job to do well.  I imagine it may take a similar time frame for companies to learn how to master this discipline as it did for them to learn how to master software development.

            -greg

            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Alan Dayley <alandd@...> wrote:
            >
            > 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 <http://www.scrumcrazy.com/>
            > >
            > > 
            > >
            >




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          • Steve
            Hi Charles ... I think that this is because nearly all conference seesions focus on the project activities and even though there is plenty of business value
            Message 5 of 25 , Sep 6, 2012
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              Hi Charles

              >>Someone at Agile2012 tweeted something that stuck with me and it continues to bother me some... it was along the lines of "Seems like most [Agile2012] sessions are still about building things right instead of deciding whether the thing is worth building at all."<<

              I think that this is because nearly all conference seesions focus on the project activities and even though there is plenty of 'business value' talk in all of the frameworks there is little said about governance.

              My understanding of XP (little) suggests that governance is not needed but someone has to come up with the 'big-picture idea' and have it validated.

              I spend a lot of time with my clients getting their governance processes aligned with what Agile projects need.

              Maybe I need to write a paper and get myself on the conference circuit platforms!

              Governance is the next Agile aspect that we have to crack to reduce your tweeter perceptions.

              Steve
            • Steve
              Hello Pito ... I m sure Charles will reply for himself but I though I d just add my 2 cents worth. First sentance from the Scrum Guide 2011 - Scrum is a
              Message 6 of 25 , Sep 6, 2012
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                Hello Pito

                --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Pito Salas <pitosalas@...> wrote:
                > I am interested in this thread as I am working on just such a situation right now. I want to clarify what you mean by "Product Management", just another word for Product Owners? Or do you see a separate function from PO? I ask this not because I have any problem with PM, just that I thought within the world of scrum we no longer talk about product management. Is it just another word?
                >

                I'm sure Charles will reply for himself but I though I'd just add my 2 cents worth.

                First sentance from the Scrum Guide 2011 - "Scrum is a framework for developing and sustaining complex products"

                Product management is about taking the idea of an 'offering' from the first 'bright idea', through understanding all the busines implications, getting to the details and producing the product and then managing the changes neccessary to the product to maintain its business benefit. It is not just about projects!

                There are many people involved in Product Management and in some organisations the responsibility for the product lifetime is given to a 'Product Manager'; that person may well also be the designated PO in a Scrum project.

                PMs are only one role that may be involved in a Product Management 'lifecycle'.

                Hope that helps

                Steve
              • Paul Hudson
                ... guess is that many Pdm s also don t have this visibility and that is part of the problem. What is the RoI of adding a new feature to the spellcheck
                Message 7 of 25 , Sep 6, 2012
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                  > 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.

                  What is the RoI of adding a new feature to the spellcheck function of MS Word? Or changing the end story of the next installment of a wildly popular video game franchise?

                  I think these are immensely hard questions to answer.. They require predicting the future  the subjective opinions of people. They're affected by the actions of competitors, the personal biases of key reviewers and bloggers, and many other factors.

                  Product management is a marketing problem (marketing being much more than promotion). As such, it's qualitatively different from technical issues like software development. I don't think there is an equivalent to TDD, for instance (surveys. focus groups, beta programs and trials are attempts at this, but they;'re not reliable, not least because people don't know what they really like if they don't know it's possible or cannot evalate how it will really be like)

                  Not all of this applies to internal products, of course, but a surprising amount does, in my experience (recent internal arguments about document management systems show the success or not is dependent on a lot more than how well it works technically).

                  Which isn't to say that it could be improved a lot in many companies, but there are good reasons why it product management  isn't going to improve to the extent you perhaps would like it to any time soon.
                • Alan Dayley
                  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
                  Message 8 of 25 , Sep 6, 2012
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                    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/








                  • Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM
                    Pito, My definitions in this thread are somewhat like... Product Management: The organizational structure within a business that manages the development,
                    Message 9 of 25 , Sep 6, 2012
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                      Pito,

                      My definitions in this thread are somewhat like...

                      Product Management:
                      "The organizational structure within a business that manages the development, marketing and sale of a product or set of products throughout the product life cycle. It encompasses the broad set of activities required to get the product to market and to support it thereafter."
                      http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/product-management.html#ixzz25iOI7YEm

                      The Product Manager:
                      A person who plays the predominant product management role for a particular product -- the product under development.(PuD)

                      Product Owner:
                      The role as described by Scrum.  This may not always be the product manager.  It could be a proxy of some sort.

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




                      From: Pito Salas <pitosalas@...>
                      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 7:11 PM
                      Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Weakness in Product Management?




                      I am interested in this thread as I am working on just such a situation right now. I want to clarify what you mean by "Product Management", just another word for Product Owners? Or do you see a separate function from PO? I ask this not because I have any problem with PM, just that I thought within the world of scrum we no longer talk about product management. Is it just another word?

                      - Pito


                      On Sep 5, 2012, at 6:59 PM, Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM I <chuck-lists2@...> wrote:

                       

                      Greg,

                      > Product management is still an immature profession.  It is an extremely hard job to do well.  I imagine it may take a similar time frame for companies to learn how to master this discipline as it did for them to learn how to master software development.

                      It sure seems that way to me.  I think there is definitely more work to be done here.  Someone at Agile2012 tweeted something that stuck with me and it continues to bother me some... it was along the lines of "Seems like most [Agile2012] sessions are still about building things right instead of deciding whether the thing is worth building at all."

                      It seems like the Lean Startup people are headed in the right direction in terms of validated learning, etc.  It may just be time to peel off the next layer of the onion and see how we can get better at Product Management.
                       
                      -------
                      Charles Bradley
                      http://www.ScrumCrazy.com




                      From: gregc <greg@...>
                      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Monday, September 3, 2012 12:02 AM
                      Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Weakness in Product Management?

                      I'd have to agree with Alan, weak PM has existed a good long time but not that development teams can deliver quickly and predictably it exposes the weak PM issue.  It's similar to the bottleneck moving but this is deeper than an issue in capacity. 

                      This is where I spend most of time.  Product management is still an immature profession.  It is an extremely hard job to do well.  I imagine it may take a similar time frame for companies to learn how to master this discipline as it did for them to learn how to master software development.

                      -greg

                      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Alan Dayley <alandd@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > 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 <http://www.scrumcrazy.com/>
                      > >
                      > > 
                      > >
                      >




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                    • Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM
                      Paul, ... to the extent you perhaps would like it to any time soon. I would agree that determining and/or projecting ROI can be difficult at times, but I think
                      Message 10 of 25 , Sep 6, 2012
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Paul,

                        > I think these are immensely hard questions to answer.
                        > there are good reasons why it product management  isn't going to improve
                        to the extent you perhaps would like it to any time soon.

                        I would agree that determining and/or projecting ROI can be difficult at times, but I think for a company to be successful, one has to give a go at trying to project ROI, and then measuring(validating) the ROI in some meaningful way.

                        Also, nothing ever improves to the extent(or fast enough) as I would like it to.  :-)  Having said that, I think we as a community have a lot of work to do in this area.  I'm not familiar enough with the PdM industry to even say how we go about that, or what already exists out there.  I'm just saying... it's next, and we need to get crackin on it.
                         
                        -------
                        Charles Bradley
                        http://www.ScrumCrazy.com




                        From: Paul Hudson <phudson@...>
                        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Thursday, September 6, 2012 8:44 AM
                        Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Weakness in Product Management?



                        > 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.

                        What is the RoI of adding a new feature to the spellcheck function of MS Word? Or changing the end story of the next installment of a wildly popular video game franchise?

                        I think these are immensely hard questions to answer.. They require predicting the future  the subjective opinions of people. They're affected by the actions of competitors, the personal biases of key reviewers and bloggers, and many other factors.

                        Product management is a marketing problem (marketing being much more than promotion). As such, it's qualitatively different from technical issues like software development. I don't think there is an equivalent to TDD, for instance (surveys. focus groups, beta programs and trials are attempts at this, but they;'re not reliable, not least because people don't know what they really like if they don't know it's possible or cannot evalate how it will really be like)

                        Not all of this applies to internal products, of course, but a surprising amount does, in my experience (recent internal arguments about document management systems show the success or not is dependent on a lot more than how well it works technically).

                        Which isn't to say that it could be improved a lot in many companies, but there are good reasons why it product management  isn't going to improve to the extent you perhaps would like it to any time soon.




                      • Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM
                        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
                        Message 11 of 25 , 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/












                        • Michael Vizdos
                          Charles, I hear the word proxy being thrown around like that is acceptable for a Product Owner. It s not. If a Scrum Team does not have the right person in the
                          Message 12 of 25 , Sep 6, 2012
                          • 0 Attachment

                            Charles,

                            I hear the word proxy being thrown around like that is acceptable for a Product Owner.

                            It's not.

                            If a Scrum Team does not have the right person in the role of Product Owner (for example a business analyst is a proxy) that is an impediment.

                            This is a huge problem today and it's like people accept it.

                            It's wrong. So people need to step up and do what is right.

                            This is not easy in most places.

                            Mike Vizdos

                            On Sep 6, 2012 2:41 PM, "Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM I" <chuck-lists2@...> wrote:
                             

                            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/












                          • Adam Sroka
                            ... +1 I think the problem is that as organizations mature and grow large they develop into layers and they create structures that disrupt communication
                            Message 13 of 25 , Sep 6, 2012
                            • 0 Attachment
                              On Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 5:18 PM, Michael Vizdos <mvizdos@...> wrote:
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Charles,
                              >
                              > I hear the word proxy being thrown around like that is acceptable for a Product Owner.
                              >
                              > It's not.
                              >
                              > If a Scrum Team does not have the right person in the role of Product Owner (for example a business analyst is a proxy) that is an impediment.
                              >
                              > This is a huge problem today and it's like people accept it.
                              >
                              > It's wrong. So people need to step up and do what is right.
                              >
                              > This is not easy in most places.
                              >
                              > Mike Vizdos
                              >

                              +1

                              I think the problem is that as organizations mature and grow large
                              they develop into layers and they create structures that disrupt
                              communication between those layers. Prospective product owners who are
                              deeply insulated from the real customer and a lot of important guiding
                              information are kind of like empty seats.

                              I've come to refer to this kind of Scrum as dead reckoning. In
                              navigation that means the path the craft will follow under current
                              conditions if no one steers at all.
                            • jamesjhawkins
                              The following reminded me of a discussion I had with a Scrum Coach ... I said that the Product Owner should review the test cases, during the Sprint. I also
                              Message 14 of 25 , Sep 7, 2012
                              • 0 Attachment
                                The following reminded me of a "discussion" I had with a Scrum Coach

                                --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Alan Dayley <alandd@...> wrote:
                                > 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 said that the Product Owner should review the test cases, during the Sprint. I also said that I had done so when I was doing product owning.

                                The coach yelled at me that I wasn't allowed to comment on the quality of the Scrum's work or tell them how to do their jobs.

                                The main reason that I wanted to review the test cases was to get evidence that I had explained the user stories correctly, and that the stories had been understood by the Scrum. If I found that they were testing the wrong things, then I knew that I hadn't explained the user story well enough.

                                Reviewing the test cases seems like an efficient way of doing this, since it doesn't entail the Scrum producing any additional documentation. Instead, I'm looking at a document that they will have to produce anyway.

                                To me, one of the fundamentals of Agile is engagement, what the previous poster called consistent connection. Everybody has to engage, including the Product Owner.

                                Stepping back, my impression of the problem in product management is that nobody wants to get their hands dirty and do actual analysis. They're all too busy thinking strategically when they should focus on execution with quality.

                                Cheers, Jim
                              • Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM
                                Michael, I don t disagree with you, but I fear that people might interpret unacceptable as meaning We can t do Scrum because having a Proxy PO is
                                Message 15 of 25 , Sep 7, 2012
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  Michael,

                                  I don't disagree with you, but I fear that people might interpret "unacceptable" as meaning "We can't do Scrum because having a Proxy PO is unacceptable."  I don't think this is the right message to send.

                                  I do agree with identifying a "Proxy PO" as an impediment. 

                                  I in no way have ever said having a Proxy was good, so I agree with your statement that it is an impediment.  It is just one of many impediments we have in the Scrum world right now, and in my experience, it's not always the the most value impediment that must be worked on at the moment.

                                  OTOH, for a team that works on multiple products, it is possible that the Scrum PO is not the PdM for all of those products.  Thus, the PO has to act as a Proxy in that way for the other PdM's for those products, no?

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




                                  From: Michael Vizdos <mvizdos@...>
                                  To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                  Sent: Thursday, September 6, 2012 6:18 PM
                                  Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Weakness in Product Management?



                                  Charles,
                                  I hear the word proxy being thrown around like that is acceptable for a Product Owner.
                                  It's not.
                                  If a Scrum Team does not have the right person in the role of Product Owner (for example a business analyst is a proxy) that is an impediment.
                                  This is a huge problem today and it's like people accept it.
                                  It's wrong. So people need to step up and do what is right.
                                  This is not easy in most places.
                                  Mike Vizdos
                                  On Sep 6, 2012 2:41 PM, "Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM I" <chuck-lists2@...> wrote:
                                   
                                  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/
















                                • Mark Levison
                                  James, I m delighted when a product owner is engaged enough to review test cases. I m delighted anytime they engage with the team. However it it s important to
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Sep 7, 2012
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                                    James, I'm delighted when a product owner is engaged enough to review test cases. I'm delighted anytime they engage with the team. However it it's important to remember first and foremost they need to be the person with vision. They also need the authority to make decisions about spending budget (ie the teams time). My concern from the way you described the interaction was that the PO sounded like BA with a new title. That really works well.

                                    Cheers
                                    Mark Levison writing from my phone at 30,000 ft.

                                    On Sep 7, 2012 2:05 AM, "jamesjhawkins" <jhawkins@...> wrote:
                                     

                                    The following reminded me of a "discussion" I had with a Scrum Coach

                                    --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Alan Dayley <alandd@...> wrote:
                                    > 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 said that the Product Owner should review the test cases, during the Sprint. I also said that I had done so when I was doing product owning.

                                    The coach yelled at me that I wasn't allowed to comment on the quality of the Scrum's work or tell them how to do their jobs.

                                    The main reason that I wanted to review the test cases was to get evidence that I had explained the user stories correctly, and that the stories had been understood by the Scrum. If I found that they were testing the wrong things, then I knew that I hadn't explained the user story well enough.

                                    Reviewing the test cases seems like an efficient way of doing this, since it doesn't entail the Scrum producing any additional documentation. Instead, I'm looking at a document that they will have to produce anyway.

                                    To me, one of the fundamentals of Agile is engagement, what the previous poster called consistent connection. Everybody has to engage, including the Product Owner.

                                    Stepping back, my impression of the problem in product management is that nobody wants to get their hands dirty and do actual analysis. They're all too busy thinking strategically when they should focus on execution with quality.

                                    Cheers, Jim

                                  • Mark Levison
                                    Too funny, my clever phone auto corrected rarely to really inverting the meaning of I was saying. Cheers Mark
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Sep 7, 2012
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                                      Too funny, my clever phone auto corrected rarely to really inverting the meaning of I was saying.

                                      Cheers
                                      Mark

                                      On Sep 8, 2012 12:44 AM, "Mark Levison" <mark@...> wrote:

                                      James, I'm delighted when a product owner is engaged enough to review test cases. I'm delighted anytime they engage with the team. However it it's important to remember first and foremost they need to be the person with vision. They also need the authority to make decisions about spending budget (ie the teams time). My concern from the way you described the interaction was that the PO sounded like BA with a new title. That really works well.

                                      Cheers
                                      Mark Levison writing from my phone at 30,000 ft.

                                      On Sep 7, 2012 2:05 AM, "jamesjhawkins" <jhawkins@...> wrote:
                                       

                                      The following reminded me of a "discussion" I had with a Scrum Coach

                                      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Alan Dayley <alandd@...> wrote:
                                      > 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 said that the Product Owner should review the test cases, during the Sprint. I also said that I had done so when I was doing product owning.

                                      The coach yelled at me that I wasn't allowed to comment on the quality of the Scrum's work or tell them how to do their jobs.

                                      The main reason that I wanted to review the test cases was to get evidence that I had explained the user stories correctly, and that the stories had been understood by the Scrum. If I found that they were testing the wrong things, then I knew that I hadn't explained the user story well enough.

                                      Reviewing the test cases seems like an efficient way of doing this, since it doesn't entail the Scrum producing any additional documentation. Instead, I'm looking at a document that they will have to produce anyway.

                                      To me, one of the fundamentals of Agile is engagement, what the previous poster called consistent connection. Everybody has to engage, including the Product Owner.

                                      Stepping back, my impression of the problem in product management is that nobody wants to get their hands dirty and do actual analysis. They're all too busy thinking strategically when they should focus on execution with quality.

                                      Cheers, Jim

                                    • Adam Sroka
                                      I read the whole thing and thought the intent was pretty clear. I didn t notice the accidental contradiction. In fact, the last sentence is great if you take
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Sep 7, 2012
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                                        I read the whole thing and thought the intent was pretty clear. I didn't notice the accidental contradiction. In fact, the last sentence is great if you take it sarcastically ;-)

                                        On Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 10:15 PM, Mark Levison <mark@...> wrote:
                                         

                                        Too funny, my clever phone auto corrected rarely to really inverting the meaning of I was saying.

                                        Cheers
                                        Mark

                                        On Sep 8, 2012 12:44 AM, "Mark Levison" <mark@...> wrote:

                                        James, I'm delighted when a product owner is engaged enough to review test cases. I'm delighted anytime they engage with the team. However it it's important to remember first and foremost they need to be the person with vision. They also need the authority to make decisions about spending budget (ie the teams time). My concern from the way you described the interaction was that the PO sounded like BA with a new title. That really works well.

                                        Cheers
                                        Mark Levison writing from my phone at 30,000 ft.

                                        On Sep 7, 2012 2:05 AM, "jamesjhawkins" <jhawkins@...> wrote:
                                         

                                        The following reminded me of a "discussion" I had with a Scrum Coach

                                        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Alan Dayley <alandd@...> wrote:
                                        > 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 said that the Product Owner should review the test cases, during the Sprint. I also said that I had done so when I was doing product owning.

                                        The coach yelled at me that I wasn't allowed to comment on the quality of the Scrum's work or tell them how to do their jobs.

                                        The main reason that I wanted to review the test cases was to get evidence that I had explained the user stories correctly, and that the stories had been understood by the Scrum. If I found that they were testing the wrong things, then I knew that I hadn't explained the user story well enough.

                                        Reviewing the test cases seems like an efficient way of doing this, since it doesn't entail the Scrum producing any additional documentation. Instead, I'm looking at a document that they will have to produce anyway.

                                        To me, one of the fundamentals of Agile is engagement, what the previous poster called consistent connection. Everybody has to engage, including the Product Owner.

                                        Stepping back, my impression of the problem in product management is that nobody wants to get their hands dirty and do actual analysis. They're all too busy thinking strategically when they should focus on execution with quality.

                                        Cheers, Jim


                                      • Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM
                                        Jim, That s an interesting story.  I could imagine a situation where the PO reviewing the test cases could be seen as inappropriately micro-managing the Dev
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Sep 8, 2012
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                                          Jim,

                                          That's an interesting story.  I could imagine a situation where the PO reviewing the test cases could be seen as inappropriately micro-managing the Dev Team, but there would have to be several other factors at play(more context) that you did not mention, so I'll assume those factors didn't exist.  Also, I have seen cases in the past of a PO who has a technical background trying to poke into the "How?", which as we all know, is owned by the Dev Team.

                                          > evidence that I had explained the user stories correctly,

                                          My first curiosity question about your situation would be: When you collaborated with the Dev Team, did you and the Dev Team come to a shared understanding as to the Story Tests before development began? 

                                          My second curiosity question would be: Were you, as the PO, "accepting" stories during the sprint, as soon as the Dev Team thought the story was "Done?"

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




                                          From: jamesjhawkins <jhawkins@...>
                                          To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                          Sent: Friday, September 7, 2012 2:04 AM
                                          Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Weakness in Product Management?

                                          The following reminded me of a "discussion" I had with a Scrum Coach

                                          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Alan Dayley <alandd@...> wrote:
                                          > 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 said that the Product Owner should review the test cases, during the Sprint. I also said that I had done so when I was doing product owning.

                                          The coach yelled at me that I wasn't allowed to comment on the quality of the Scrum's work or tell them how to do their jobs.

                                          The main reason that I wanted to review the test cases was to get evidence that I had explained the user stories correctly, and that the stories had been understood by the Scrum. If I found that they were testing the wrong things, then I knew that I hadn't explained the user story well enough.

                                          Reviewing the test cases seems like an efficient way of doing this, since it doesn't entail the Scrum producing any additional documentation. Instead, I'm looking at a document that they will have to produce anyway.

                                          To me, one of the fundamentals of Agile is engagement, what the previous poster called consistent connection. Everybody has to engage, including the Product Owner.

                                          Stepping back, my impression of the problem in product management is that nobody wants to get their hands dirty and do actual analysis. They're all too busy thinking strategically when they should focus on execution with quality.

                                          Cheers, Jim



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                                        • Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM
                                          I m not sure that better governance is the answer, though I guess it depends on how you define governance.  In general, I m for getting rid of almost all
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Sep 8, 2012
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                                            I'm not sure that better governance is the answer, though I guess it depends on how you define governance.  In general, I'm for getting rid of almost all traditional governance(except the parts that help us conform to laws and other outside the company standards that we cannot get away from).

                                            There is sometimes a group that is responsible for "green lighting" projects, and that probably still needs to exist to some degree, but that too can be minimized -- because we focus more now on products and features instead of projects, and we have people in the PO business who should be looking at ROI and TCO. 

                                            So, at the big picture (for now, we'll call it)project level, there could be improved emphasis on whether to build it or not.  I agree!

                                            But, I'm actually just as concerned about the "small picture" -- at the feature/epic/story level.  I think PdM needs to get better at judging ROI and TCO there too.

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




                                            From: Steve <steve@...>
                                            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                            Sent: Thursday, September 6, 2012 3:26 AM
                                            Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Weakness in Product Management?

                                            Hi Charles

                                            >>Someone at Agile2012 tweeted something that stuck with me and it continues to bother me some... it was along the lines of "Seems like most [Agile2012] sessions are still about building things right instead of deciding whether the thing is worth building at all."<<

                                            I think that this is because nearly all conference seesions focus on the project activities and even though there is plenty of 'business value' talk in all of the frameworks there is little said about governance.

                                            My understanding of XP (little) suggests that governance is not needed but someone has to come up with the 'big-picture idea' and have it validated.

                                            I spend a lot of time with my clients getting their governance processes aligned with what Agile projects need.

                                            Maybe I need to write a paper and get myself on the conference circuit platforms!

                                            Governance is the next Agile aspect that we have to crack to reduce your tweeter perceptions.

                                            Steve





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                                          • Mike MacMillan
                                            One thing I ve done to curb the issue of weak user stories and poor vision is hire someone into the Software Engineering team as a full time coach to the
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Sep 8, 2012
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                                              One thing I've done to curb the issue of weak user stories and poor vision is hire someone into the Software Engineering team as a full time coach to the Product Management org. This individual helps groom backlogs, asks questions that illicit deeper thought on the user experience, and then assists with getting those visions onto the backlog. They are typically working a sprint ahead of the team so that user stories are closer to the "INVEST" nmemonic than what the team had to work with before. It's hard to measure the success of this team member, but their failure is if the backlog becomes more vague, or if the team has even more difficulty understanding what the goal of each sprint is.

                                              Unfortunately, this is a hack in some ways as it just coddles the Product Management organization further. It was necessary in my case because our Software Engineering team is still accountable for delivering to a roadmap, and if a poor backlog is an impediment I'll try whatever I can to improve that.

                                              -Mike Mac
                                              CSP



                                              On Sat, Sep 8, 2012 at 9:57 AM, Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM I <chuck-lists2@...> wrote:
                                               

                                              I'm not sure that better governance is the answer, though I guess it depends on how you define governance.  In general, I'm for getting rid of almost all traditional governance(except the parts that help us conform to laws and other outside the company standards that we cannot get away from).

                                              There is sometimes a group that is responsible for "green lighting" projects, and that probably still needs to exist to some degree, but that too can be minimized -- because we focus more now on products and features instead of projects, and we have people in the PO business who should be looking at ROI and TCO. 

                                              So, at the big picture (for now, we'll call it)project level, there could be improved emphasis on whether to build it or not.  I agree!

                                              But, I'm actually just as concerned about the "small picture" -- at the feature/epic/story level.  I think PdM needs to get better at judging ROI and TCO there too.

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




                                              From: Steve <steve@...>
                                              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                              Sent: Thursday, September 6, 2012 3:26 AM

                                              Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Weakness in Product Management?

                                              Hi Charles

                                              >>Someone at Agile2012 tweeted something that stuck with me and it continues to bother me some... it was along the lines of "Seems like most [Agile2012] sessions are still about building things right instead of deciding whether the thing is worth building at all."<<

                                              I think that this is because nearly all conference seesions focus on the project activities and even though there is plenty of 'business value' talk in all of the frameworks there is little said about governance.

                                              My understanding of XP (little) suggests that governance is not needed but someone has to come up with the 'big-picture idea' and have it validated.

                                              I spend a lot of time with my clients getting their governance processes aligned with what Agile projects need.

                                              Maybe I need to write a paper and get myself on the conference circuit platforms!

                                              Governance is the next Agile aspect that we have to crack to reduce your tweeter perceptions.

                                              Steve





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                                              --
                                              Michael J. MacMillan
                                              michael.j.macmillan@...
                                              302-245-9196
                                            • jamesjhawkins
                                              Hello Charles, ... [Jim] Personally, I think there should be overlap. Without overlap, how can there be engagement? In other words, I think the PO should be
                                              Message 22 of 25 , Sep 10, 2012
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                                                Hello Charles,

                                                > I have seen cases in the past of a PO who has a technical background trying to poke into the "How?", which as we all know, is owned by the Dev Team.

                                                [Jim] Personally, I think there should be overlap. Without overlap, how can there be engagement?
                                                In other words, I think the PO should be allowed to ask how it works because that's a form of engagement.

                                                > > evidence that I had explained the user stories correctly,
                                                > My first curiosity question about your situation would be: When you collaborated with the Dev Team, did you and the Dev Team come to a shared understanding as to the Story Tests before development began? 
                                                [Jim] Here's some background on the project that I'm using as my example.
                                                The required product was a port of an existing application to a new platform. None of us knew the details of the new platform with respect to the capabilities that we would need.
                                                Every time around the Sprint, we would have Sprint Planning and initial discussion and estimation of the details of the candidate user stories. Then the Scrum coders would start investigating relevant platform capabilities, while the Scrum testers started writing tests.
                                                Obliquely, because of the need to do platform capability investigation, the team started doing test-led design. They liked it.
                                                I'm not sure if you'd count this as a shared understanding.

                                                > My second curiosity question would be: Were you, as the PO, "accepting" stories during the sprint, as soon as the Dev Team thought the story was "Done?"
                                                [Jim] That's easier to answer: No. Stories were only ever marked Done at the End-of-Sprint Demo.

                                                Cheers, Jim
                                              • jamesjhawkins
                                                ... This sounds like requirements analysis to me, and I m a big fan. It doesn t seem to be too much different to saying that the requirements analyst should be
                                                Message 23 of 25 , Sep 10, 2012
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                                                  --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Mike MacMillan <michael.j.macmillan@...> wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > One thing I've done to curb the issue of weak user stories and poor vision
                                                  > is hire someone into the Software Engineering team as a full time coach to
                                                  > the Product Management org. This individual helps groom backlogs, asks
                                                  > questions that illicit deeper thought on the user experience, and then
                                                  > assists with getting those visions onto the backlog.

                                                  This sounds like requirements analysis to me, and I'm a big fan.

                                                  It doesn't seem to be too much different to saying that the requirements analyst should be the Product Owner though.

                                                  Cheers, Jim
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