Agile Product Management With Scrum

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Agile ProductManagementwith ScrumCreating Products thatCustomers LoveRoman PichlerUpper Saddle River, NJ Boston Indianapolis San FranciscoNew York Toronto Montreal London Munich Paris MadridCapetown Sydney Tokyo Singapore Mexico CityFrom the Library of Wow! eBook

Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their products areclaimed as trademarks. Where those designations appear in this book, and the publisher wasaware of a trademark claim, the designations have been printed with initial capital letters orin all capitals.The author and publisher have taken care in the preparation of this book, but make noexpressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no responsibility for errors oromissions. No liability is assumed for incidental or consequential damages in connectionwith or arising out of the use of the information or programs contained herein.The publisher offers excellent discounts on this book when ordered in quantity for bulkpurchases or special sales, which may include electronic versions and/or custom covers andcontent particular to your business, training goals, marketing focus, and branding interests.For more information, please contact:U.S. Corporate and Government Sales(800) 382-3419corpsales@pearsontechgroup.comFor sales outside the United States please contact:International Salesinternational@pearsoned.comVisit us on the Web: of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataPichler, Roman.Agile product management with Scrum : creating products that customers love /Roman Pichler.p. cm.Includes bibliographical references and index.ISBN 978-0-321-60578-8 (pbk. : alk. paper)1. Agile software development. 2. Scrum (Computer software development) I. Title.QA76.76.D47P494 2010005.1—dc222010000751Copyright 2010 Roman PichlerAll rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. This publication is protected bycopyright, and permission must be obtained from the publisher prior to any prohibitedreproduction, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission in any form or by any means,electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or likewise. For information regardingpermissions, write to:Pearson Education, Inc.Rights and Contracts Department501 Boylston Street, Suite 900Boston, MA 02116Fax: (617) 671-3447ISBN-13: 978-0-321-60578-8ISBN-10:0-321-60578-0Text printed in the United States on recycled paper at Courier in Stoughton, Massachusetts.First printing, March 2010From the Library of Wow! eBook

To MelissaFrom the Library of Wow! eBook

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CONTENTSForeword by Jeff SutherlandForeword by Brett QueenerPrefaceAcknowledgmentsAbout the Authorxvxviixixxxiiixxv1. Understanding the Product Owner RoleThe Product Owner RoleDesirable Characteristics of a Product OwnerVisionary and DoerLeader and Team PlayerCommunicator and NegotiatorEmpowered and CommittedAvailable and QualifiedWorking with the TeamCollaborating with the ScrumMasterWorking with Customers, Users, and Other StakeholdersScaling the Product Owner RoleThe Chief Product OwnerProduct Owner HierarchiesChoosing the Right Product OwnersCommon MistakesThe Underpowered Product OwnerThe Overworked Product OwnerThe Partial Product Owner1234456679101212131516171718ixFrom the Library of Wow! eBook

x CONTENTS19192020The Distant Product OwnerThe Proxy Product OwnerThe Product Owner CommitteeReflection2. Envisioning the ProductThe Product VisionDesirable Qualities of the VisionShared and UnifyingBroad and EngagingShort and SweetThe Minimal Marketable ProductSimplicityOckham’s RazorLess Is MoreSimple User InterfacesCustomer Needs and Product AttributesThe Birth of the VisionUsing Pet ProjectsUsing ScrumTechniques for Creating the VisionPrototypes and Mock-upsPersonas and ScenariosVision Box and Trade Journal ReviewKano ModelVisioning and the Product Road MapMinimal Products and Product VariantsCommon MistakesNo VisionProphecy VisionAnalysis ParalysisWe Know Best What Is Good for Our CustomersBig Is 737383939414243434444454546From the Library of Wow! eBook

CONTENTS xi3. Working with the Product BacklogThe DEEP Qualities of the Product BacklogDetailed AppropriatelyEstimatedEmergentPrioritizedGrooming the Product BacklogDiscovering and Describing ItemsDiscovering ItemsDescribing ItemsStructuring the BacklogPrioritizing the Product BacklogValueKnowledge, Uncertainty, and RiskReleasabilityDependenciesGetting Ready for Sprint PlanningChoosing a Sprint GoalPreparing Just Enough Items Just in TimeDecomposing ItemsEnsuring Clarity, Testability, and FeasibilitySizing ItemsStory PointsPlanning PokerDealing with Nonfunctional RequirementsDescribing Nonfunctional RequirementsManaging Nonfunctional RequirementsScaling the Product BacklogUse One Product BacklogExtend the Grooming HorizonProvide Separate Backlog ViewsCommon MistakesDisguised Requirements SpecificationWish List for 46568686970707171717172From the Library of Wow! eBook

xii CONTENTS72737374Requirements PushGrooming NeglectCompeting BacklogsReflection4. Planning the ReleaseTime, Cost, and FunctionalityQuality Is FrozenEarly and Frequent ReleasesQuarterly CyclesVelocityThe Release BurndownThe Release Burndown ChartThe Release Burndown BarThe Release PlanForecasting VelocityCreating the Release PlanRelease Planning on Large ProjectsCommon Baseline for EstimatesLook-Ahead PlanningPipeliningCommon MistakesNo Release Burndown or PlanProduct Owner in the Passenger SeatBig-Bang ReleaseQuality CompromisesReflection5. Collaborating in the Sprint MeetingsSprint PlanningDefinition of DoneDaily ScrumSprint Backlog and Sprint BurndownSprint 979899100101101From the Library of Wow! eBook

CONTENTS xiiiSprint RetrospectiveSprint Meetings on Large ProjectsJoint Sprint PlanningScrum of ScrumsJoint Sprint ReviewJoint Sprint RetrospectiveCommon MistakesThe Bungee Product OwnerThe Passive Product OwnerUnsustainable PaceSmoke and MirrorsReporting Up the Sprint BurndownReflection6. Transitioning into the Product Owner RoleBecoming a Great Product OwnerKnow YourselfDevelop and GrowGet a CoachEnsure That You Have Sponsorship fromthe Right LevelYou’re Not Done YetDeveloping Great Product OwnersRecognize the Importance of the RoleSelect the Right Product OwnersEmpower and Support the Product OwnersSustain the Application of the Product Owner es119Index125From the Library of Wow! eBook

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FOREWORDBY JEFF SUTHERLANDThe product owner is a new role for most companies and needs thisbook’s compelling and easily understandable presentation. Whenthe first product owner was selected, I was a vice president at ObjectTechnology, responsible for delivering the first product created byScrum. The new product would make or break the company, and Ihad six months to deliver a development tool that would alter themarket. In addition to creating the product with a small, carefullyselected team, I had to organize the whole company around newproduct delivery. With only a few months until product shipment,it was clear that the right minimal feature set would determine success or failure. I found that I did not have enough time to spendtalking with customers and watching competitors closely so that Icould precisely determine the right prioritized feature set up frontand break those features down into small product backlog items forthe team.I had already delegated my engineering responsibilities to thefirst ScrumMaster, John Scumniotales, but now I needed a productowner. I had access to any resource in the company, so I selectedthe best person from the product management team for the role Ihad in mind: Don Roedner. As the first product owner, Don had toown the vision for the product, the business plan and the revenue,xvFrom the Library of Wow! eBook

xvi FOREWORD BY JEFF SUTHERLANDthe road map and the release plan, and, most important, a carefullygroomed and precisely prioritized product backlog for the team.Don lived with the team half of his time and was on the roadwith customers the other half. His job was to deliver the right product, while I worked with the entire company on product namingand branding, marketing strategy and communications, and salesplanning and training while simultaneously sitting in the Scrummeeting every day and being the primary impediment remover forthe team. Don had to assume a bigger role than product marketingmanager. All of a sudden he owned a new line of business. At thesame time he was plunged into the engineering team, helping toexplain and motivate the team on a daily basis. Being embedded inthe market and embedded in the team at the same time was a totalimmersion experience.A good product owner’s intensity of focus and responsibility forsuccess are clearly illustrated in this book but rarely seen in productcompanies or on IT teams. We need a compelling picture of a greatproduct owner along with the specifics of how to execute the role,and Roman Pichler has provided an outstanding guide.Jeff Sutherland,Cocreator of ScrumFrom the Library of Wow! eBook

FOREWORDBY BRETT QUEENERThere is a great movement taking place today throughout the software industry: the agile movement. Over the last two decades,many customers, partners, and employees have become disenchanted with the way we develop enterprise technology solutions.These solutions are often low in quality, take years to be brought tomarket, and lack the innovation necessary to solve real businessproblems.At, we aspire to be a different software company by focusing on customer and employee success. We knew thatusing traditional methods to deliver software just wouldn’t work forour vision of a different kind of company. We had to rethink themodel, throw out our assumptions, and find a better way. We askedourselves: Is there a way to deliver high-quality software on time,every time? Is there a way to get value into our customers’ handsearly and often? Is there a way to innovate at scale as the companygrows? In fact, there is.As the chief product owner at, I needed a wayfor my product managers to effectively connect the wants and needsof our customers and the business directly to the development teamsin a highly dynamic and responsive way. Using Scrum allows us toput the product managers firmly in charge of delivering customerxviiFrom the Library of Wow! eBook

xviii FOREWORD BY BRETT QUEENERvalue. It enables them to direct the team to build the most businesscritical features first and to get them into the hands of our customersas soon as possible. It also provides them with the flexibility torespond quickly to changing market conditions and competitivepressures, or to deliver terrific new innovations emerging from ourdevelopment teams. In Agile Product Management with Scrum,you’ll see how a product owner differs from a traditional productmanager having a greater level of responsibility for the success of theproduct. The book clearly outlines and contrasts the different behaviors between the traditional and the agile role.Many have attempted to explain the product owner role, butnone have been able to capture the essence of the role like RomanPichler. This book offers compelling agile product managementtheories and practices that guide product owners, Scrum teammembers, and executives in delivering innovations. Roman provides plenty of real-world examples from highly competitive innovators like along with simple explanations for buildingand delivering the minimum functionality to deliver innovations.He also outlines the common pitfalls and mistakes that many product owners make.In today’s dynamic and competitive environment, our customers’ expectations and demands are greater than ever before., our agile approach has provided dramatic resultswith our product owners delivering more innovation and value. Ifyou’re interested in similar success, this book is for you. The spot-ontools, techniques, and advice are the perfect guide to deliver wildsuccess for your customers.Brett Queener,Senior Vice President, Products, Salesforce.comFrom the Library of Wow! eBook

P R E FA C EMany excellent books have been written on agile software development and on product management. Yet to date, a comprehensivedescription of how product management works in an agile contextdoes not exist. It is as if agilists have shied away from the subject,and the product management experts are still scratching their headstrying to figure out this brave new agile world. With more and morecompanies adopting Scrum, the question of how product management is practiced in a Scrum environment is becoming increasingly urgent. This book attempts to provide an answer.When I first came across agile practices in 1999, I was struckby the close collaboration between business and technical people.Until then, I had considered software development as somethingtechies would take an interest in but not businesspeople. When Icoached my first agile project in 2001, the biggest challenge was tohelp the product mangers transition into the agile world. Sincethen, product ownership has consistently been the major challengeand success factor in the companies I’ve consulted—not only indeveloping successful products but also in making Scrum stick. Tosay it with the words of Chris Fry and Steve Greene (2007, 139),who guided the agile transition at the Library of Wow! eBook

x x P R E FA C EThroughout our initial rollout we heard from many expertsthat the Product Owner role was key to the success of ouragile transformation. Although we intuitively understoodthis we didn’t truly understand the significant changes thatthe Product Owners would experience in their roles.WHY AGILE PRODUCT MANAGEMENT ISDIFFERENTScrum-based agile product management differs from old-schoolproduct management approaches in a number of areas. Table P.1provides a summary of the most important distinctions.1TABLE P.1Old-School versus New-School Product ManagementOld SchoolNew SchoolSeveral roles, such as productmarketer, product manager, andproject manager, share theresponsibility for bringing theproduct to life.One person—the product owner—isin charge of the product and leadsthe project. Find out more aboutthis new role in Chapter 1 andChapter 6.Product managers are detachedfrom the development teams,separated by process, department,and facility boundaries.The product owner is a member ofthe Scrum team and works closelywith the ScrumMaster and team onan ongoing basis. Find out more inChapter 1, Chapter 3, and Chapter 5.Extensive market research,product planning, and businessanalysis are carried out up front.Minimum up-front work isexpended to create a vision thatdescribes what the product willroughly look like and do, asdiscussed in Chapter 2.1. Note that I use the Scrum role names stated in Schwaber (2009).From the Library of Wow! eBook

P R E FA C E x x iTABLE P.1Old-School versus New-School Product Management (Continued)Old SchoolNew SchoolUp-front product discovery anddefinition: requirements aredetailed and frozen early on.Product discovery is an ongoingprocess; requirements emerge.There is no definition phase and nomarket or product requirementsspecification. The product backlogis dynamic, and its contents evolvebased on customer and userfeedback. Find out more inChapter 3.Customer feedback is receivedlate, in market testing and afterproduct launch.Early and frequent releases togetherwith sprint review meetings generatevaluable customer and userfeedback that helps create a productcustomers love, as discussed inChapter 4 and Chapter 5.Agile methods including Scrum embrace an age-old truth:They see change as the only constant. “If a company’s own researchdoes not make a product obsolete, another’s will,” wrote TheodoreLevitt famously in his article “Marketing Myopia,” published in1960. And Christensen (1997) argues that disruptive innovation willeventually occur in every industry. Only how soon and how frequently it is going to happen remain uncertain. Companies not ableto adapt quickly will go out of business—even if their profits arehealthy today. Luckily, Scrum’s empirical nature makes it wellsuited to deal with newness and innovation, to cope with complexsituations where flux and unpredictability are dominant forces. Ifyour business is characterized by change, you are likely to find apowerful ally in Scrum.From the Library of Wow! eBook

x x i i P R E FA C EWHAT THIS BOOK OFFERS AND WHOSHOULD READ ITThis book is for anyone interested in agile product management, particularly those readers working as product owners or transitioning intothe role. The book discusses the role of the product owner along withessential product management practices. These include envisioningthe product, stocking and grooming the product backlog, planningand tracking the release, leveraging the Scrum meetings, and transitioning into the new role. This practical guide enables you to applyagile product management techniques effectively in Scrum. Itfocuses on products involving software—from a simple softwareapplication to complex products like mobile phones.Note that this book is not a product management primer. It isnot a Scrum primer, either. And it certainly is no product management panacea. In fact, there are many product management aspectsthis book does not cover. Instead, this book focuses on the productmanagement concepts and practices specific to Scrum.The book assumes that you are familiar with Scrum and thatyou have a working product management knowledge. A descriptionof Scrum can be found in Schwaber and Beedle (2002) andSchwaber (2004).My hope is that this book will help you create products thatcustomers love—products that are beneficial to their users and aredeveloped in a healthy, sustainable way.From the Library of Wow! eBook

ACKNOWLEDGMENTSThis book has been shaped by the contributions of many people. I’dlike to wholeheartedly thank everyone who reviewed chapters,shared stories, or provided advice (in alphabetical order):Lyssa Adkins, Geir Amsjø, Markus Andrezak, GabrielleBenefield, Robert Bogetti, Thomke Buhl, Marty Cagan, SabineCanditt, John Clifford, Alistair Cockburn, Mike Cohn, JensColdeway, Kaustabh Debbarman, Pete Deemer, Chris Fry, SteveGreene, Roland Hanbury, Kevlin Henney, Ben Hogan, ClintonKeith, Andreas Klinger, Hans-Peter Korn, Jochen Krebs, CraigLarman, Bill Li, Lowell Lindstrom, Catherine Louis, RodrigoLuna, Artem Marchenko, Jason Martinez, Ralph Miarka, PhilipMissler, Bent Myllerup, Jeff Patton, Tobias Pichler, Brett Queener,Cesário Ramos, Dan Rawsthorne, Simon Roberts, Stefan Roock,Rene Rosendahl, Johanna Rothman, Kenneth Rubin, MartinRusnak, Hans-Peter Samios, Bob Schatz, Andreas Schliep, KenSchwaber, Christa Schwanninger, Karl Scotland, Martin Shaw,Lisa Shoop, James Siddle, Michele Sliger, Preston Smith, DieterStefanowitz, Jeff Sutherland, Mads Troels Hansen, Bas Vodde,Geoff Watts, Harvey Wheaton, Rüdiger Wolf, ElizabethWoodward, and Lv Yi.I am particularly grateful to Mike Cohn. Mike’s patient shepherding, help, and ongoing feedback were invaluable in writing thisxxiiiFrom the Library of Wow! eBook

xxiv ACKNOWLEDGMENTSbook. Thank you very much, Mike! Special thanks to JeffSutherland and Brett Queener for writing such great forewords.And thank you, Ken Schwaber, for teaching me Scrum.I am forever grateful to my family. My wife, Melissa Pichler,gave me the time and focus to write the book, and she discussedideas with me, reviewed the chapters, and helped with the coverdesign. Thanks, honey! Than

development teams. In Agile Product Management with Scrum, you’ll see how a product owner differs from a traditional product manager having a greater level of responsibility for the success of the product. The book clearly outlines and contrasts the different behav-iors between the traditional and the agile role.

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