Why This PM Likes Agile

on May 15, 09 • by Todd Landry • with 1 Comment

As a Product Manager, I’m a huge fan of Agile. Sure there are the obvious issues to contend with such as trying to nail down an exact date to release the product, or the fact that it doesn’t work real well with larger development teams, or that it can suffer the classic, “that’s not how...

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As a Product Manager, I’m a huge fan of Agile. Sure there are the obvious issues to contend with such as trying to nail down an exact date to release the product, or the fact that it doesn’t work real well with larger development teams, or that it can suffer the classic, “that’s not how we used to do things” syndrome. In my opinion, these all pale in comparison to the benefits that I, as a PM, get from Agile.

First, is there anything cooler than showing a totally awesome new feature to a customer and be in the position to gather their feedback (usually applause and cheers of joy…sometimes not so much…) right then and there…not after the release?  It is great to know that you are hitting the right notes so early on, and if not, then having the time to adjust. If you’re not able to demo to a customer liver, then take a few minutes and record a demo for each feature and post it somewhere they can retrieve it from. This is a great way to scale and while the feedback may not be immediate, it still comes in. Secondly, no more Requirements documents that are obsolete a week after delivery of them to development…again, requirements need to be well defined and communicated, but continuously revving a document gets old very quickly. Finally, I love the fact that people (whether internal or external) know stuff about the release. Try running Iteration planning meetings at the start of every iteration, and invite all relevant stakeholders. Here you can outline what is coming for that iteration, and for those unable to attend, post the decks for their review later. This is a great way to increase awareness and communication both within and outside of the team. Surprises are minimized (for those that paid attention), and if done right, these people have had their chances to provide feedback throughout the release cycle. No more Monday-morning quarterbacks telling you that you should have done this or that…

So, if you’re a Product Manager and you’re hearing rumors about your organization going Agile…jump on board, I think you’ll like it.

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One Response to Why This PM Likes Agile

  1. The shift of the project manager role when going agile is a really interesting subject. Before the organisation has moved over to (using Scrum terminology) splitting the responsibilities between the Scrum Master and the Product Owner, there are some interesting intermediate stages that I would love to see you comment on further. Also noticed that you referred to one of my posts on the subject (http://dearjunior.blogspot.com/2009/06/agile-product-owner-new-project-manager.html) on twitter. Glad you liked it.

    [Private note: could not find your mail, feel free to drop me a mail if you care to discuss further]

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