Agile and Product Management

You’ve successfully implemented Agile.  Your development teams have never been happier or more efficient.  Your teams are humming, and the throughput is outstanding.  But at the business level it’s a bit of a mixed bag:

  • Customer satisfaction isn’t rising, even though improvements are rolling out more quickly
  • You’re still chasing your competition’s feature set, even though you seem to be delivering more updates than they are.
  • The failures are “small” and “fast”, but the successes are harder to quantify.

At this stage many companies become frustrated with Agile.  They feel that it’s not delivering the promised gains.  But the problem may not be Agile, it may be that your product management organization didn’t fully make the shift to an Agile environment.

Agile development improves the pace of delivery, and it increases the speed with which new products and features are launched or added to an existing product. This is not necessarily the same as saying that Agile increases the speed at which customers are satisfied. That responsibility lies with product management.  If your product strategy is off-target, Agile won’t improve your overall results.  All Agile does in this case is let you get bad results faster.

In many ways Agile development exposes weaknesses in product management by increasing the speed at which these flaws are delivered to the marketplace. The increased cadence of development places a real burden on product managers and product owners.  Product managers that lack good product management discipline often become overwhelmed and consumed by the urgency of Agile development.

A strong product strategy process is vital to success in this environment.  It provides clarity, improves communication, and increases the speed of decision. Let Ordinal Group help you get your product strategy on track.