Agile2017 happened a couple of weeks ago. Now that I’ve had time to get back in the swing of things, and get the videos published from the conference, I wanted to share some sessions of interest to product people that I attended (or presented).
Most of these have videos, and you’ll need to be an Agile Alliance subscriber to view the videos. It’s free to subscribe and doing so will give you access to a ton of great resources. Of course, you get even more access if you become a member.
(Full disclosure: I curate content for Agile Alliance)
How to be a Great Agile Product Owner
This session by Lowell Lindstrom introduces the Product Owner role including the appropriate mindset and how to successfully fulfill the role on your agile efforts.
This session is part of the Agile Foundations track so it was intended to be an introduction to the product owner role. Lowell chose to focus on what he described as the “middle bit” of the Product Owner Role – those qualities that you usually don’t hear about in a CSPO course or in the Scrum Guide, but these ideas are very important when it comes to being a successful product owner.
Structurally minimize the distance between users and developers.
There are 4 key activities that Product Owners should take part in that Lowell describes as the four D’s: Discover, Decide, Deliver, Delight
There are 7 skills that great product owners should have:
- Customer Delighter
- Knowledge Broker
- Story teller
- Resolve Conflict
- Effective Escalation
Socratic Questioning – Find the Real Need
This session describes Socratic Questioning, a way to uncover the hidden need that your stakeholders are trying to satisfy, without asking “why?” 5 times.
Yes, this is the session that Heather Mylan-Mains and I did. It wasn’t videotaped, so I tried to make up for that by providing the Socratic Questioning technique brief as a download for everyone. I included it in this list because I was there, and I think (perhaps I should say hope) that product people would find it relevant.
The key points of this session:
- Discover the true need of your project in order to understand the outcome you want to deliver
- Socratic questioning provides answers through a series of questions
The Product Organization
We didn’t video this session at Agile2017, but there are some videos of where Chris and Tony have presented bits of the session before.
- Applying Theory of Constraints at Scale from Lean Kanban UK 2014 – describes their experience with Skype.
- Capacity Planning TOC Applied to Creating Organization Portfolios from Lean Kanban UK 2014 – shows the simulation that Chris and Tony did during the session at Agile2017.
The key points that I got out of the session are:
- Team capacity is the real constraint in organizations, not budget.
- When prioritizing the key is to decide what gets done first.
- When introducing agile to an organization the people you should spend the most time coaching are the leaders in the organization, be that executives, managers, or the internal coaches.
- Whatever processes you introduce, you want them to be extremely simple otherwise people will not adopt them.
10 Different Prioritization Techniques
This session by Troy Magennis looks at ten different prioritization techniques and discusses how, why and when to use which method.
This started as the result of a twitter “discussion” about the pros and cons of various prioritization techniques. Troy turned it into a summary of prioritization techniques as well as recommendations about which techniques to use when, and which ones to avoid. The key deciding factors:
- The consequence of making a wrong decision regarding what to work on
- The effort required to get an optimal decision.
There’s not a video of this, but Troy provided an excellent two page summary of the results of the discussion. If only more discussions on social media would produce this kind of productive output.
It’s time to ditch big upfront funding.
This talk by Linda Luu introduces Value Driven Management, covers case studies and practical examples, and helps you get started with VDM in your organization.
Value Driven Management applies agile approaches to the budgeting process. Specifically:
- Fund small increments more frequently with feedback and learning
- Prioritize based on outcome, not work output
- Limit work in progress
- Focus on metrics that matter and use those metrics to help you learn
This is an excerpt from my weekly newsletter Inside Product Management. If you like what you see here and would like to stay in the loop, please subscribe today.