Product Management: A Lost Art or the Holy Grail?

In the adoption of agile, organizations are transitioning from a project approach to a customer centric product delivery model. Now, teams faithfully participate in agile ceremonies: Testers dive deeply into automation scripts; Product Owners (POs) shuffle stories up and down the backlog; Business Analysts worry about story readiness; Program Managers (PMs)are estimating when “we” will be done; Product Managers are evaluating the market (maybe) and developing a relationship with customers (hopefully). Everybody is busy with the HOW of building the WHAT, and we are somehow missing the WHY— the customer VALUE. The customer isn’t delighted. How can that be?!

Here’s the short answer: Even though we have a software delivery framework in place to define stories and deliver to production frequently, there is a gap in the process. The PO’s job is to infuse the development team with a deep-seated understanding of the customer’s needs and market opportunities– but that’s not happening. The Product Manager’s job is to connect customers to an amazing new product but often times that’s not happening either. There’s a fundamental communication disconnect, and we’re losing sight of the WHY. The customer’ solutions and business needs are not being ingrained into the delivery process.

So, how can we better serve our customers and mature as a team?

In this session, we aim to

• Shed light on the evolution of the Product Manager and Product Owner roles
• Understand how—with agile ceremonies and a product delivery framework in place– we are missing the customer value, the WHY.
• Introduce the Pragmatic Marketing contrast and how it’s Product Management Triad can help provide clarity and support to Agile’s Product Owner role
• Provide insight into what traditional Product Management is and how it complements the agile delivery model for the delivery of amazing, customer focused products

Check out the full slide deck:

Scott Blacker, VP Products at AgileCraft

Scott Blacker is a 20 year Product Management veteran with experience leading the product function at multiple early-stage technology companies through periods of explosive growth. At AgileCraft, Scott is responsible for defining, executing against, and bringing to market the company’s products and services, and has helped dozens of companies implement agile practices at scale. As part of his role bringing AgileCraft’s products to market, Scott has focused on supporting companies executing ‘bimodal’ development practices where portions of the organization work in an agile context and portions work in a more traditional (sometimes waterfall) context.

Early in his career Scott lived and worked in Japan, where he served as a translator for the Japanese State Government. Scott holds a BA in International Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Scott lives in Potomac, Maryland with his wife Jennifer and two daughters Samantha and Alexa.

Darren Hoevel, Agile Coach at Pliant Solutions

Darren Hoevel is a passionate Agile realist, organizational change advocate, corporate cultural renovator, customer ambassador and founder of Pliant Solutions. He is driven by transforming organizations into self-managing, self-organizing teams with high morale. Darren prides himself on being not just a coach but a leader, helping team members achieve success on an individual level through a collaborative environment which, in turn, contributes directly to the health and success of an organization.

Darren has helped large organizations to successfully scale their agility initiatives in size and across locations. He is an ICAgile Training Partner, SAFe® Program Consultant, CSP, CSM and Certified SPO, and many more. He earned his bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University and his MBA from George Fox University.

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