In "Agile Product Management with Scrum," leading Scrum consultant Roman Pichler uses real-world examples to demonstrate how product owners can create successful products with Scrum. He describes a broad range of agile product management practices, including making agile product discovery work, taking advantage of emergent requirements, creating the minimal marketable product, leveraging early customer feedback, and working closely with the development team.
Benefitting from Pichler’s extensive experience, you'll learn how Scrum product ownership differs from traditional product management and how to avoid and overcome the common challenges that Scrum product owners face.
- Understanding the product owner’s role: what product owners do, how they do it, and the surprising implications
- Envisioning the product: creating a compelling product vision to galvanize and guide the team and stakeholders
- Grooming the product backlog: managing the product backlog effectively even for the most complex products
- Planning the release: bringing clarity to scheduling, budgeting, and functionality decisions
- Collaborating in sprint meetings: understanding the product owner’s role in sprint meetings, including the dos and don'ts
- Transitioning into product ownership: succeeding as a product owner and establishing the role in the enterprise
This book is an indispensable resource for anyone who works as a product owner, or expects to do so, as well as executives and coaches interested in establishing agile product management.
Review By: Jan Scott
04/26/2011This book is all about product owners, whom the author sees as a role encompassing the duties of a traditional product manager, a strategic product planner, some duties of a traditional project manager, and the duties of a release manager. Yet, in my experience, most agile teams have a product owner whose role is often poorly defined, vague, and more likely contained in the duties of several people. The author addresses these issues in an engaging and interesting manner.
According to the author, the successful product owner needs to be empowered, full-time, and engaged in the day-to-day routine of the team. The product owner cannot delegate his responsibility, and the responsibilities need to be incorporated into the position of one person rather than being split up to several people.
This book is fairly brief at a little over one hundred pages, yet it is entertaining and easy to read. It assumes that the reader has a working knowledge of Agile and Scrum development methodologies as well as the traditional waterfall methodology. The book is organized into six sections:
- The product owner role describes the basic duties of a product owner as well as different organizational structures that support the role. It describes the qualities of a good product owner and how to choose one.
- The section titled "Envisioning the Product" describes creating a product vision and the product owner's role in driving this effort.
- The section titled "Working with the Product Backlog" outlines techniques for managing the requirements, as we used to call them.
- The section titled "Planning the Release" describes how the product owner must take lead in planning and managing the release. This surprised me since I have only seen the responsibility for release management residing in a person separate from the product owner, either a release manager or a project manager.
- The section titled "Collaborating in the Sprint Meetings" discusses the collaborative effort between the product owner and the development team.
- The final section titled "Transitioning into the Product Owner Role" answers the questions: How does one take on this all-encompassing and important role? What are the success criteria?
I found this book enlightening because I have never seen such a clear definition of the product owner role, yet I am now convinced that it is critical for success. Anyone who manages projects, is involved in development efforts, or manages developers would benefit from reading this book. Even an organization that uses a tradition methodology could find value in the and perhaps adapt some of the ideas in this book.