Friday, August 1, 2014

5 Ways to Recognize a Great Product Manager

1aIf you’ve been a product manager for a few years, you already know what I’m about to say. Product management is a hard job. The most successful product managers share these traits:

  • They are well versed in their products
  • They stay attuned to their customers
  • They can lead and communicate a vision equally well with engineering teams and the c-suite crowd
  • They have a knack for sifting through and prioritizing multiple (and often competing) wants and needs

If that’s not enough, the best product managers also share a very unique attitude: they are empathic and curious, while balancing a ruthless drive for specificity with a poetic tolerance for ambiguity.

To help make the point that product management is a tough but rewarding job, I wanted to share some factors to look for in a great product manager. Continue reading

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Agile 2014: Two Requirements-Focused Sessions You Don’t Want to Miss

IM_A_SPEAKER_AT-300pxAre you headed to Agile 2014 this year? We are—and we are eager to introduce audiences there to our unique approach to agile requirements.

You’ll find EBG’s Nanette Brown and me speaking in the Working with Customers track, as we explore ways to discover a product’s quality attributes—things like performance, usability, robustness, and more. EBG’s VP of Quality and Delivery Mary Gorman is co-presenting with Terry Weigmann in the Testing and Quality Assurance track on the topic of test analysis and how it enables teams to strengthen and produce higher quality requirements on agile projects.

In this blog post, we want to offer you a sneak peak into these sessions, both in terms of how crucial they are for success with agile and also in regard to why they were chosen for this year’s program. Oh, and if you can’t make it to Orlando, we’ll be tweeting throughout the conference, so follow us (@ellengott, @mbgorman, @nanettebrwn) the week of July 28th! Continue reading

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Focus on Value: 4 Factors Every Team Should Consider

1Most of our clients share the same goal: deliver value. Yet often we find that these same clients cannot define what value looks like for their companies, or determine how to use value to inform project decisions.

We’ve identified 4 key factors to help your team bring value into focus:

  • Involve the Right People
  • Define Value Transparently
  • Look Toward the Short Term
  • Have the Vision to Change

Involve the Right People

Defining a product’s desired result, before building it, is fundamental to that product’s success. To do this successfully, you need to identify all of the key stakeholders from the customer, business, and technology realms. These stakeholders need to work together, as collaborating product partners, to envision the product, define goals, and specify measurable objectives, thereby creating a high-level view of the desired product outcomes. Having these key markers will ensure that the team is always building the most valuable thing. Continue reading

Sunday, April 20, 2014

“Do The Right Thing” – PMI® Requirements Management Webinar Recap

ebgembedLast month I presented a webinar to the PMI® (Project Management Institute) Requirements Management Community of Practice: “Do the Right Thing: Adapting Requirements Practices for Agile and Traditional Projects.”

The Requirements Management CoP has grown exponentially and will continue to do so, especially since the PMI recently announced the new Professional in Business Analysis certification (PMI-PBA). This growth was reflected in the full webinar room during the live event. During the webinar, I shared requirements discovery and delivery principles and practices along a gradient from traditional to agile.

As you review the deck, there are some key points to know: Continue reading

Friday, February 21, 2014

Context Counts: Adapt Your Requirements Practices to Fit

ShuHaRi Whether you are agile or more traditional, your challenge is the same: In order to remain relevant in today’s market, you have to discover and deliver the right thing at the right time. To do this successfully, you need to elicit customer needs and quickly choose from among many competing voices and options to determine what is truly essential and what can wait for a future release. That means selecting the requirements development and management activities that are most effective for your particular situation–whether those practices are in your current toolbox or not.

To understand this mindset shift, it might help to think of requirements activities in terms of the ShuHaRi progression, with a learning stage (shu), a breaking away stage (ha), and a transcendent stage (ri). 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Requirements to the Rescue: How the 7 Product Dimensions Saved our eBooks

d2dkindlepic“Fast, easy, free/cheap…” That’s what we heard about publishing an eBook edition of a paper book. After all, people said, how difficult can it be to take a PDF and make it digital? Quite difficult, actually.

Ellen Gottesdiener and I should have anticipated that publishing eBook editions of our paper book Discover To Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis would be a complex endeavor. In our careers, we have been involved in re-platforming software products (applications)–and we’ve rarely encountered a re-platforming project that is straightforward. Our eBook editions were no exception.

To eBook or Not to eBook

Even before we published the paperback version of Discover To Deliver, folks requested a digital version. We analyzed the profile of our primary readers. Challenges in converting the book’s visual language, illustrations, models and examples for a virtual reading audience worried us. Other concerns included the evolving eBook industry, its splintered standards, and the end-product usability issues driven by the increasing variations in devices (tablets, readers, smartphones) on which people access books. Weighing the value proposition of paper vs. digital, we decided to initially go paper. Continue reading | 4 Comments

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Discover to Deliver Explained” Video

d2dvideoWe’re excited to announce the release of “Discover to Deliver Explained.” This two-minute video provides an animated overview of the key concepts in our book Discover To Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis.

You asked for a short synopsis of Discover to Deliver concepts that you could share with others. This video offers a quick, easy-to-follow explanation of the 7 Product Dimensions, product partners, the structured conversation, and the Now-, Pre- and Big-View, as they relate to agile requirements. Continue reading | 2 Comments

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Jelling at Open Jam – Agile Analysis, Product Management

joinouropenjam
We’re launching something new at next week’s Building Business Capability Conference (BBC): An Open Jam on Agile Analysis and Product Management. Whether you are new to agile or have been on your agile journey for a while, this Open Jam offers you a chance to exchange experiences, explore new ideas, and share struggles with like-minded colleagues. The best part? You don’t have to miss the regularly scheduled sessions to attend and you suggest and participate in the topics that interest you. Let me explain. Continue reading

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Insights and Takeaways: Agile Topics at Project World/World Congress for Business Analysis

insights
For the past several years, I have had the privilege of chairing the Agile Summit portion of the Project World/World Congress for Business Analysts. I hope you were able to join us last month in Orlando. We had a tremendous turnout and enjoyed our time learning and networking with each other.

Since then, I’ve had several requests for a summary of my half-day tutorial with Ainsley Nies, “An Agile Approach to Project and Products” as well as the Agile Summit presentation “Got Value? A Practical, Sustainable Value Model for Making Agile Product Decisions” and the track session I gave: “It’s the Goal, Not the Role: The Work of Agile Project Management and Business Analysis.” I wrote up a quick synopsis of all three, along with some suggestions that you can try in your next planning or retrospective session. Continue reading

Monday, September 9, 2013

Product Management Festival Interview

As I prepare to deliver my tutorial (“The Essential Product Owner”) and presentation (“Product Roadmaps: Collaborating to Deliver Value”) at Product Management Festival in Zurich later this month, I wanted to share with you an excerpt of an interview with Mary Gorman and me that was recently published on their blog.

During the interview we talk about what inspired Mary and I to write our book, Discover to Deliver, what problems this book intends to solve, target audience, the background on the 7 Product Dimensions, how structured conversations are different from normal elicitation conversations, and more.

Check it out here: http://www.productmanagementfestival.com/interview-with-ellen-gottesdiener-ebg-consulting/