Who Should be Your Product Owner?

In agile, we separate the Product Owner function from functional (development) management. The reason is that we want the people who can understand and evaluate the business value to articulate the business value to tell the people who understand the work’s value when to implement what. The technical folks determine how to implement the what. Separating the when/what from how is a great separation. It allows the people who are considering the long term and customer impact of a given feature or set of features a way to rank the work. Technical teams may not realize when to release a given feature/feature set. In my recent post, Product Manager, Product Owner, or Business Analyst?, I discussed what these different roles might deliver. Now it’s time to consider who should do the product management/product ownership roles. If you have someone called a product manager, that person defines the product, asks the product development team(s) for features, and talks to customers. Notice the last part, the talking to customers part. This person is often out of the office. The product manager is an outward-facing job, not an internally-focused job. The product owner works with the team to define and refine features, to replan the backlogs, and to know when it is time to release. The product owner is an inward-facing function. (Just for completeness, the business analyst is an inward-facing function. The BA might sit with people in the business to ask, “Exactly what did you mean when you asked for this functionality? What does that mean to you?” A product owner might ask that same question.) What happens when your product...

Thinking About #NoEstimates?

I have a new article up on agileconnection.com called The Case for #NoEstimates. The idea is to produce value instead of spending time estimating. We have a vigorous “debate” going on in the comments. I have client work today, so I will be slow to answer comments. I will answer as soon as I have time to compose thoughtful replies! This column is the follow-on to How Do Your Estimates Provide Value? If you would like to learn to estimate better or recover from “incorrect” estimates (an oxymoron if I ever heard one), see Predicting the Unpredictable. (All estimates are guesses. If they are ever correct, it’s because we got...

Thinking About Estimation

I have an article up on agileconnection.com. It’s called How Do Your Estimates Provide Value? I’ve said before that We Need Planning; Do We Need Estimation? Sometimes we need estimates. Sometimes we don’t. That’s why I wrote Predicting the Unpredictable: Pragmatic Approaches for Estimating Cost or Schedule. I’m not judging your estimates. I want you to consider how you use estimates. BTW, if you have an article you would like to write for agileconnection.com, email it to me. I would love to provide you a place for your agile...

Learning Opportunities for All

If you are not on my Pragmatic Manager email list, you might not know about these opportunities to explore several topics with me this month: An Estimation hangout with Marcus Blankenship this Friday, April 10, 2:30pm EDT. If you have questions, please email me or Marcus. See the Do You Have Questions About Estimation post. Think of this hangout as a clinic, where I can take your questions about estimation and help you address your concerns. In the Kitchener-Waterloo area April 29&30, I’m doing two workshops that promise to be quite fun as well as educational: Discovering the Leader Inside of You An Agile and Lean Approach to Managing Your Project Portfolio To see the descriptions, see the KWSQA site. You do not have to be a manager to participate in either of these workshops. You do need to be inquisitive and willing to try new things. I believe there  is only room for two people for the leadership workshop. I think there is room for five people in the project portfolio workshop. Please do sign up now....

Do You Know How to Say No?

Some of my coaching clients have way more to do than they can manage. Some of my project portfolio clients are struggling with how to say no. My most recent Pragmatic Manager newsletter is all about what to do when you have too much to do. Read it at Do You Have Too Much to...