What Is Agile Product Management?
“Agile Product Management” is a common job description nowadays. What does it mean? In this episode let’s drill into the mental model of “agile,” how it arose, why it’s better than the alternatives, why it’s great for product managers, and what we need to know about it.
Three things you can start doing today
Here are three things you can focus on doing – I hope you’re already doing these, to be honest:
- To get higher quality products to market faster, the best thing to do is focus on adding the highest *value* capabilities to the products. You get two benefits from this. One is that you aren’t working on lower value stuff, so the time you spend is intrinsically higher value. The other is that because they are working on higher value stuff, the team is naturally going to be more motivated.
- To get the teams more motivated and help them work faster, you have to do two things. One is that you have to give them more valuable stuff to work on – this is naturally more motivating. And you have to not only give it to them, but help them understand how and why it’s more valuable. The second thing you have to do is to accelerate your team’s learning cycle. And how do you do this? You accelerate the cycle of review and learning, typically with retrospectives.
- To stop failing in your predictions, stop trying to predict the future, and describe the outcomes you are enabling. Change your predictions from “we’ll deliver features A, B, and C” to “we’ll deliver the most valuable things this team can deliver for the customer over any period. We don’t know what those things will be, but our methodology will ensure they are the most valuable things, in any time scale.” You can actually often be more specific than that. “We are working on delivering awesome reporting capabilities. Then we’ll start working on our UI refresh, unless something more important arises.”
Those are three things you can start doing today – or you’re probably doing them already.
Links and resources
- Scaling Software Agility by Dean Leffingwell
- Some earlier podcasts related to “agile product management”:
- On prioritization: https://secretsofpm.com/prioritization/
- On processes and methodology in general: https://secretsofpm.com/the-dangers-of-processes-and-predications/
- My article on how to talk to your executives about agile:
- A great article “Agile Is Dead (Long Live Agility” by “Pragmatic” Dave Thomas, the Coding Gnome, an actual attendee at the conference where the Agile Manifesto was written down and agreed to.
- The Agile Manifesto, for your reference. (And the Wikipedia article, for some background.)
If you are just getting into product management, or you’re busy leveling up into more senior PM positions, don’t forget there are a ton of resources in my previous episodes – on storytelling, persuasion, prioritization, working with developers, working with marketers – and on my website The Secret Product Manager Handbook. And if you want to accelerate your leveling up, go to calendly.com/nilsdavis/consultation for a free 45 minute coaching and discovery call. No obligation.
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