The Agile Product Manager

10 Key Traits of an Excellent Agile Product Owner or Product Manager
Peter Saddington, CSM CSP Enterprise Agile Coach Thinqube Network, Inc. AgileScout.com @agilescout

Peter Saddington, CSP CSM
Independent Enterprise Agile Coach Rally Software Agile Coach Executive Editor AgileScout.com Author Scrum Pocket Guide me@peter.ps +1.404.669.6662 www.agilescout.com www.scrumpocketguide.com Twitter: @agilescout

Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

‡ Thinqube Network, Inc offers a full range of services from training and consulting to Agile implementation and enterprise software development coaching ‡ A leading provider of Agile consulting and coaching in the greater Atlanta region and South East ‡ Headquartered in Atlanta, GA
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

10 Key Product Ownership Characteristics

‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡

Agile Introduction General PO Responsibilities 10 Key Characteristics for a PO 10 Execution Points Final Words

Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

Agile Software Development

‡ Iterative and incremental development
± Smaller pieces of work

‡ Collaboration between self-organizing and cross-functional teams
± Enabled, equipped, and supported teams

Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

General Product Ownership Roles

‡ Tells the team what they need to build ‡ Creates the prioritized product backlog (list of what to build) ‡ Represents the customer ‡ Elaborates requirements ‡ Participates in Scrum meetings ‡ Inspects the product at end ‡ Course corrects or change direction ‡ Communicate progress and vision
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

Product Owner is Part of the Team!

Product Owner

CSM / Project Manager TEAM

Developers

Analysts

QA

UI/UX

Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

The Product Owner Persona

Why do I talk about Product Owner characteristics or the persona of a Product Owner?

Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

Oh no! What if that s not me?

Relax These aren t personality traits! They are ways of equipping yourself to be effective in an Agile team!

Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

Let s Work Together!

HELP YOU HELP US HELP YOU
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#1 Engaged Leadership

The best Product Owners are engaged in the entire process.
‡ An engaged Product Owner is a natural leader ‡ Through decisions, he shows he is committed to the process and product A dis-engaged Product Owner is circumvented

Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#1 Engaged Leadership

Engaged Product Owners provide vision over comprehensive documentation
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Lightweight work agreements with the team Lightweight strategy and game plans for the team Lightweight principles to work by Lightweight guardrails to keep the team in order Create lightweight work agreements with your team!
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#2 Available within Reason

The best Product Owners are available to the team, but within reason.
‡Break down any walls blocking consistent communication to the team ‡Be open to the needs of the team A balanced approach here. Don t babysit!

Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#2 Available within Reason

Available Product Owners support availability over meetings.
‡ Be part of the daily 15 minute meetings ‡ Be part of the ceremonial Agile touch points ‡ Collocate yourself! Change your schedule so you can be available to the team!

Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#3 Informed about the Product

The best Product Owners know the product inside and out.
‡Be a subject matter expert on not only the product but also the market and beyond ‡Begin to learn the technical side of things New to a product or team? No problem utilize the team and others to grow your product knowledge!
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#3 Informed about the Product

Informed Product Owners value decisiveness over delegating.
‡Equipped with your product knowledge, give firm direction ‡ The buck stops here. ‡Quick decisions keep things moving Have a prepared priority list of features always ready!
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#4 Empowered through Humility

The best Product Owners are empowered with executive decisions.
‡Show your empowered decision making through informed decisions (it takes time to grow trust!) ‡Be ready to be wrong, but learn through mistakes Don t be command and control. No team likes a warlock in an ivory tower.
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#4 Empowered through Humility

Empowered Product Owners value ownership over multi-level management.
‡Be a single point of contact for the team ‡Be a trusted resource for your team ‡It s your baby after all! Be explicit with the team about where your decision making has it s boundaries and borders.
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#5 Prepared and Responsible

The best Product Owners are always prepared and responsible.
‡Be diligent in your role. Study, learn, grow! ‡Be prepared to make decisions, your team needs it! ‡Take ownership for the outcome of the product Development teams are fickle, they ll go to the nearest prepared individual for better guidance if it s not you!
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#5 Prepared and Responsible

Prepared Product Owners value single leadership over bureaucracy.
‡The team needs a single voice (you!) ‡You owe it to your team to be prepared Build up a team s trust in you through consistent feedback and communication!

Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#6 Communicative in Nature

The best Product Owners are natural communicators.
‡Give undiluted concise direction to your team ‡Different teams understand differently, adjust your communication style if necessary ‡Know how to speak development language Developers don t respect/follow poor communicators.
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#6 Communicative in Nature

Communicative Product Owners value verification over assumptions.
‡Tell the team what you want / light documentation ‡Have a conversation with us about acceptance criteria ‡Verify with us that we ve met your requirements ‡Talk with us about how to improve ‡We ll tell you whether it s easy/hard, cheap/expensive! Be ready to verify completion of functionality!
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#7 Agile and Flexible

The best Product Owners are agile and flexible.
‡Understand that software development isn t manufacturing not a hardened process, fluid ‡Work collaboratively with a team when changes need to be made or issues arise Your ability to handle a changing environment shows developers your ability to lead.
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#7 Agile and Flexible

Agile and flexible Product Owners value flexibility over stubbornness.
‡ Have options. Be prepared to course correct ‡ Nobody wants to work for a donkey Have a backlog of prioritized and sorted features you can pick from when changes occur!

Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#8 Knowledgeable about History

The best Product Owners are crafted through time.
‡ A deep understanding of your particular product lifecycle ‡ Seen successes and failures While you may not have had 10+ years of experience, continue to learn from your experiences!
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#8 Knowledgeable about History

Knowledgeable Product Owners value experience over tools.
‡Stay up to date with the latest technology, but don t let tools override good judgment and historical precedents ‡Study Product Management Take time out of your busy schedule to learn. Grow your craft!
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#9 Sharing Success

The best Product Owners share success and celebrate wins.
‡We succeed and fail as a team ‡Provide positive feedback to your team ‡Be tactful about communicating negativity Developers hate to lose just as much as you do. Don t burn them out. Celebrate the wins even if they are few!
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#9 Sharing Success

Successful Product Owners value team success over personal success.
‡ You are only as good as your team ‡ Helping your team succeed is your success Take time to celebrate wins. The more often the better. Go out. Celebrate!

Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#10 Fun and Reasonable

The best Product Owners are fun. Period.
‡Serious people need not apply here ‡There are tough times, we understand ‡But nobody wants to be led by a humorless individual. Bring life back into your team and product development through fun activities, games, outings!

Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

#10 Fun and Reasonable

Fun Product Owners value team dynamics over individualism.
‡ Teams that have fun together work well together ‡ Understand the people on your team. Know their names! Study up on some fun games. Do one with you team sooner rather than later!
Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

FINAL WORDS

Product Ownership is

‡A big role. ‡A valuable role. ‡A team-centric role. ‡A fun role.

Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington

Thanks Again!

Peter Saddington, CSM CSP Enterprise Agile Coach www.agilescout.com www.scrumpocketguide.com @agilescout (Twitter)

Thinqube Network, Inc. © 2011 Peter Saddington