Product Managers, Product Owners,
and Scalable Models for
Agile Product Teams
SV-ALN, 10 June 2014
1
© 2014. This presenta...
About Rich Mironov
•  Veteran product manager/exec/strategist
•  Business models, agile, organizing product teams
•  6 sta...
Agenda
1.  Product Managers ≠ Product Owners
2.  Failure Modes
3.  Small and Large
Organizational Maps
3
Organizational Context
•  “Product manager” is a job title
•  “Product owner” is an agile team role
•  Overlapping, but ve...
What Does a Product Manager Do?
For revenue software…
•  Drives delivery and market
acceptance of whole products
•  Target...
What Does a Product Manager Do?
market information, priorities,
requirements, roadmaps, epics,
user stories, backlogs,
per...
Product Management: Inherently Political
•  Logic and facts are not sufficient
•  Sales teams get paid for
closing individ...
What PM Hiring Managers Want
Tech product manager job postings
•  76% want 3+ years PM experience
•  93% want excellent ve...
Agile Methodology with Scrum
9
Product
Backlog
Features &
User Stories
Release
Backlog
Features &
User Stories
Sprint
Back...
What does a Product Owner Do?
•  “…represents the customer’s interest in backlog
prioritization and requirements questions...
Feeding the Agile Beast
Steam engine “fireman”
needs to constantly shovel
coal, otherwise the train
will stop
11
‘small p’ Product Owner
12
backlog, priorities,
epics, user stories,
personas, demo feedback
Markets &
Customers
Developme...
SEGMENTATION EXERCISE
13
Apple Coca-Cola
TurboTax Publix
SAIC Sysco
IBM John Deere
PO/PM Scope
14
Product
Backlog
Features &
User Stories
Release
Backlog
Features &
User Stories
Sprint
Backlog
User Stories...
Product Manager Has More Levers
•  Engineering Output
•  Product features
•  Order of delivery
•  Product / Market / Busin...
Agenda
1.  Product Managers ≠ Product Owners
2.  Failure Modes
3.  Small and Large
Organizational Maps
16
Absenteeism
•  Teams with no formal product owner
•  “Our engineering lead writes the stories”
•  Short-term borrowing of ...
Product Management: Oversubscribed,
Overcommitted, Burning Out
•  Most product management teams
are already understaffed
•...
How Development Organizations
Typically Pick Product Owners
•  Internal borrowing
•  SMEs with technical chops,
story writ...
Product Management Failure Mode
Product Manager fails agile team when…
•  Part-timer, not engaged with team
•  Lack of det...
Product Owner Failure Modes
Product Owner fails markets when…
•  Weak on market realities: pricing,
packaging, selling cyc...
Organizational Failure Mode
22
•  Absent/understaffed product team
•  Lack of market direction
•  Technically complete
pro...
Agenda
1.  Product Managers ≠ Product Owners
2.  Failure Modes
3.  Small and Large
Organizational Maps
23
Minimal PM/PO “Organization”
24
VP or Founders
Heroic Single
Product Manager/Owner
more technical more market-focused
“man...
Dysfunctional PO/PM Organization
25
VP Eng
Product
Owners
VP Marketing
Product
Managers
more technical more market-focused...
PM/PO Product Peers
26
PM Director/
Product Strategist
GM / VP Eng / VP Products / CPO
more technical more market-focused
...
PM/PO: Market Mentoring
27
GM / VP Eng / VP Products / CPO
more technical more market-focused
Product
Owner
Senior Product...
90 Person Project (1 Product, 8 Teams)
28
Product
Manager
TEAM
PO
SM
TEAM
PO
SM
TEAM
PO
SM
TEAM
PO
SM
TEAM
PO
SM
TEAM
PO
S...
What Does Each Team Do?
29
Product
Manager
HEADLINE FEATURES PERFORMANCE
RE-ARCH
DRIVERS &
CONNECTORS
UX/UI
TEAM
PO
SM
TEA...
Right Product Owners?
30
Lead Prod
Manager
PERFORMANCE
RE-ARCH
DRIVERS &
CONNECTORS
UX/UI
TEAM
SM
TEAM
SM
TEAM
SM
TEAM
SM
...
Wrong Product Owners!
31
PERFORMANCE
RE-ARCH
DRIVERS &
CONNECTORS
UX/UI
TEAM
SM
TEAM
SM
TEAM
SM
TEAM
SM
TEAM
SM
TEAM
SM
TE...
Delegating to Product Owners
•  No cookie-cutter solution, no magic formula
•  Varies with scope, teams, technical depth, ...
Takeaways
1.  Must fully staff product owner roles
•  Not a sideline, not an add-on, not an afterthought
2.  On large proj...
Rich Mironov
Mironov Consulting
233 Franklin Street, Suite 308
San Francisco, CA 94102
34
/in/RichMironov
@RichMironov
Ric...
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Silicon Valley Agile - Product Managers, Product Owners, and Scalable Models for Agile Product Teams

  1. 1. Product Managers, Product Owners, and Scalable Models for Agile Product Teams SV-ALN, 10 June 2014 1 © 2014. This presentation and all derivative works copyright Rich Mironov | mironov.com
  2. 2. About Rich Mironov •  Veteran product manager/exec/strategist •  Business models, agile, organizing product teams •  6 startups as “product guy” or CEO •  Ran first Product Camp, first agile product manager/owner tracks 2
  3. 3. Agenda 1.  Product Managers ≠ Product Owners 2.  Failure Modes 3.  Small and Large Organizational Maps 3
  4. 4. Organizational Context •  “Product manager” is a job title •  “Product owner” is an agile team role •  Overlapping, but very different scope and skills •  “One-per-scrum-team” does not match complexity of large-scale commercial software •  Software companies often don’t assign/train anyone •  Work needs to get done, regardless of title 4
  5. 5. What Does a Product Manager Do? For revenue software… •  Drives delivery and market acceptance of whole products •  Targets market segments, not individual customers 5
  6. 6. What Does a Product Manager Do? market information, priorities, requirements, roadmaps, epics, user stories, backlogs, personas, MRDs… product bits strategy, forecasts, commitments, roadmaps, competitive intelligence… budgets, staff, targets field input, market feedback segmentation, messages, benefits/features, pricing, qualification, demos… Markets & Customers Development Marketing& Sales Executives Product Management 6
  7. 7. Product Management: Inherently Political •  Logic and facts are not sufficient •  Sales teams get paid for closing individual deals •  HIPPO •  Responsibility without authority •  Keep the process moving 7
  8. 8. What PM Hiring Managers Want Tech product manager job postings •  76% want 3+ years PM experience •  93% want excellent verbal and written communication skills •  93% want a BS (68% prefer CS/EE) •  32% want MBAs •  88% want experience in their segment 8
  9. 9. Agile Methodology with Scrum 9 Product Backlog Features & User Stories Release Backlog Features & User Stories Sprint Backlog User Stories Potentially releasable software Software release Accepted story (“DONE”) Review Demo, feedback Retrospective Process improvement 1 day Daily Standup Sprint: 1 to 3 weeks No changes in duration or goal Release planning Sprint planning Charter Release Retrospective Process improvement N sprints
  10. 10. What does a Product Owner Do? •  “…represents the customer’s interest in backlog prioritization and requirements questions... available to the team at any time.” •  Provides intense sprint-level focus: stories, backlog, prioritization, acceptance •  One product owner per team, not per product •  Wins development admiration and inclusion •  Feeds the hungry agile beast 10
  11. 11. Feeding the Agile Beast Steam engine “fireman” needs to constantly shovel coal, otherwise the train will stop 11
  12. 12. ‘small p’ Product Owner 12 backlog, priorities, epics, user stories, personas, demo feedback Markets & Customers Development Marketing& Sales Executives Product Owner showcase customers
  13. 13. SEGMENTATION EXERCISE 13 Apple Coca-Cola TurboTax Publix SAIC Sysco IBM John Deere
  14. 14. PO/PM Scope 14 Product Backlog Features & User Stories Release Backlog Features & User Stories Sprint Backlog User Stories Potentially releasable software Software release Accepted story (“DONE”) Review Demo, feedback Retrospective Process improvement 1 day Daily Standup Sprint: 1 to 3 weeks No changes in duration or goal Release planning Sprint planning Charter Release Retrospective Process improvement N sprints product manager focus product owner focus
  15. 15. Product Manager Has More Levers •  Engineering Output •  Product features •  Order of delivery •  Product / Market / Business Model •  Pricing •  Competitive positioning •  Partners and Channels •  Services and Support •  Fit with corporate strategy •  Product split, merge or EOL 15 Product manager After: Greg Cohen Product owner
  16. 16. Agenda 1.  Product Managers ≠ Product Owners 2.  Failure Modes 3.  Small and Large Organizational Maps 16
  17. 17. Absenteeism •  Teams with no formal product owner •  “Our engineering lead writes the stories” •  Short-term borrowing of untrained SMEs •  One product-somebody per 3-10 teams 17
  18. 18. Product Management: Oversubscribed, Overcommitted, Burning Out •  Most product management teams are already understaffed •  Product ownership adds 40-60% more critical work •  Urgency of stories, backlog grooming, sprint planning, standups, acceptance •  One product manager can “do it all” for a single team •  But typical Dev:PM ratio is 35:1, not 10:1 18
  19. 19. How Development Organizations Typically Pick Product Owners •  Internal borrowing •  SMEs with technical chops, story writing experience, “already know” the market •  No organizational blocking or market-side skills •  Belief in rational/unemotional/technical customers •  Slant toward smartest users 19
  20. 20. Product Management Failure Mode Product Manager fails agile team when… •  Part-timer, not engaged with team •  Lack of detail on stories •  Stale backlog •  Handwaving and bluster •  Best of intentions, but pulled in too many directions •  “Build what I meant” 20
  21. 21. Product Owner Failure Modes Product Owner fails markets when… •  Weak on market realities: pricing, packaging, selling cycle, upgrades, discounting, competitive dynamics •  Disconnected from Marketing, Sales, Support •  Sees showcase customers as typical 21
  22. 22. Organizational Failure Mode 22 •  Absent/understaffed product team •  Lack of market direction •  Technically complete products that don’t sell
  23. 23. Agenda 1.  Product Managers ≠ Product Owners 2.  Failure Modes 3.  Small and Large Organizational Maps 23
  24. 24. Minimal PM/PO “Organization” 24 VP or Founders Heroic Single Product Manager/Owner more technical more market-focused “management”
  25. 25. Dysfunctional PO/PM Organization 25 VP Eng Product Owners VP Marketing Product Managers more technical more market-focused “management”
  26. 26. PM/PO Product Peers 26 PM Director/ Product Strategist GM / VP Eng / VP Products / CPO more technical more market-focused “management”
  27. 27. PM/PO: Market Mentoring 27 GM / VP Eng / VP Products / CPO more technical more market-focused Product Owner Senior Product Manager “management”
  28. 28. 90 Person Project (1 Product, 8 Teams) 28 Product Manager TEAM PO SM TEAM PO SM TEAM PO SM TEAM PO SM TEAM PO SM TEAM PO SM TEAM POSM TEAM PO SM
  29. 29. What Does Each Team Do? 29 Product Manager HEADLINE FEATURES PERFORMANCE RE-ARCH DRIVERS & CONNECTORS UX/UI TEAM PO SM TEAM PO SM TEAM PO SM TEAM PO SM TEAM PO SM TEAM PO SM TEAM POSM TEAM PO SM
  30. 30. Right Product Owners? 30 Lead Prod Manager PERFORMANCE RE-ARCH DRIVERS & CONNECTORS UX/UI TEAM SM TEAM SM TEAM SM TEAM SM TEAM SM TEAM SM TEAM SM Product Mgr? HEADLINE FEATURES TEAMSM UX Lead? TME? Two Performance Architects?
  31. 31. Wrong Product Owners! 31 PERFORMANCE RE-ARCH DRIVERS & CONNECTORS UX/UI TEAM SM TEAM SM TEAM SM TEAM SM TEAM SM TEAM SM TEAM SM UX Lead HEADLINE FEATURES TEAMSM TME Perf Arch Product Mgr Lead Prod Manager
  32. 32. Delegating to Product Owners •  No cookie-cutter solution, no magic formula •  Varies with scope, teams, technical depth, skills… •  What is this team working on? Who brings right talent mix? •  Full-time owners, not borrowed 10% •  Solid or strong dotted line to product management •  Vigorous daily discussion among product team •  Product management keeps whole-product responsibility 32
  33. 33. Takeaways 1.  Must fully staff product owner roles •  Not a sideline, not an add-on, not an afterthought 2.  On large projects, product managers are not default product owners for every team 3.  Need to thoughtfully select/hire/train POs and PMs 4.  IMHO, cookie-cutter assignments endanger products 33
  34. 34. Rich Mironov Mironov Consulting 233 Franklin Street, Suite 308 San Francisco, CA 94102 34 /in/RichMironov @RichMironov Rich@Mironov.com +1-650-315-7394

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