We at Accept Software, along with some industry analysts like Forrester Research’s Dave West and Roy Wildeman, are seeing a need to reduce product development and delivery risks, and improve quality and market satisfaction, using what they have dubbed “Agile Value Management” – analytically evaluating product tradeoffs not only continuously during execution, as in agile, but from the very start of the product planning process.
In this presentation I talk about some concepts in product planning and agile software development that may be new for you, even if you are already familiar with agile methodologies.
This presentation was given at the AIPMM's Product Management Education Conference on 17 November 2006 in San Jose.
Agility In Innovation - Delivering Breakthrough Products
Agility In Innovation - Delivering Breakthrough Products<br />Nils Davis<br />Director of Product Management<br />Accept Software<br />
Agenda<br />Introduction<br />The challenges of product management<br />Agile Value Management<br />Agile and the innovation lifecycle<br />
Introduction<br />Nils Davis, Director of Product Management<br />15+ years in product management<br />At Accept Software for 3 1/2 years<br />The ultimate “dog-fooder”<br />Accept Software:<br />Mission: Improve product innovation success<br />75+ customers, multiple industries<br />Integrated software suite for ideation, portfolio, and requirements management<br />
The Product Manager’s Dilemma<br />Great ideas in e-mail<br />Phone calls from Support<br />Customer requests from Field Sales<br />Notes from a coworker<br />Existing requirements<br />How do I keep track?<br />What is most important?<br />Who wants what?<br />
The Product Manager’s Dilemma<br />Business strategies<br />Critical customers<br />Competitive gaps and advantages<br />Release management<br />Technology and business risks<br />Which business needs do I focus on? How can I help my customers be successful?<br />
We Have Market Knowledge<br />Consider the difference:<br />The product must support features X and Y because 73% of customers say they want it.<br />Versus<br />The product must support features X and Y because 73% of customers say they want it, including the majority of buyer persona who perceive them as critical points of comparison. These features will reduce the time it takes to close sales, increase our win rate, and strengthen our reception by analysts.<br />(From Travis Jenson’s “Software Maven” blog)<br />Market segment<br />Competitive differentiator<br />Business objective<br />Competitive differentiator<br />Marketing theme<br />
Without a framework for capturing knowledge, importance, and commitments:<br />Deferred requirements get lost when new versions are defined<br />It’s impossible to know which customer requests are important<br />Sales makes a lot of commitments that we cannot track<br />Stakeholders or important customers ‘hijack’ the roadmap<br />Vision for product is set aside for putting out fires associated with high priority customers<br />It’s impossible for me to tell what’s going to be in the new product<br />Releases are often late because scope changes can’t be managed<br />Big releases with lots of requirements always slip; call for endless point and patch releases that have to be shipped <br />Strategy and competitive gaps never get addressed<br />Bad productivity. Bad decisions. Misunderstandings. Miscommunication. Unsuccessful products.<br />"Requirements Chaos"<br />
Basic agile approaches are straining when it comes to<br />Enterprise scale<br />Customer needs<br />Competitive issues<br />Corporate strategy<br />Tom Grant of Forrester reports, based on his attendance at the Agile 2009 conference, that:<br />Agile is changing - its successor still worries about build scripts, daily Scrum meetings, and IDE plug-ins, but it recognizes the sovereignty of business objectives, and governs jointly with other methodologies<br />How Is Agile Changing?<br />
“Agile Value Management”<br />Integrates agile explicitly into the strategic product innovation cycle<br />Ensures (agile) product plans are aligned with corporate strategy<br />Adds "intelligence" to your product backlog<br />Link user stories to customer needs, competitive threats, business risks, and company strategy<br />Result: strategic value is driving every step, from prioritization to delivery<br />
Enterprise agile teams need automation<br />Distributed teams<br />Reporting<br />Decision (and documentation) capture<br />But AVM is more than Enterprise Agile<br />Focused on product owner<br />Analytics for prioritization<br />Agile Value Management<br />
Importance vs. Cost<br />Inexpensive And Valuable<br />
AVM Benefits Everyone<br />14<br />Accept Proprietary and Confidential<br />ScrumMasters<br />Better visibility and resource management during sprints<br />Product Owners <br />More scientific and analytic approach to improving decision certainty<br />Software Developers<br />Better insight into “why?” to ensure development aligns with market and strategy<br />Teams<br />Improved coordination to manage dependencies and trade-offs throughout the Agile cycle<br />
Enterprise Agile<br />Enterprise-size efforts challenge traditional agile<br />“Regular” agile breaks down<br />But enterprises need agile<br />Agile needs a few new twists to work in the enterprise<br />Dean Leffingwell, Scaling Software Agility (scalingsoftwareagility.wordpress.com)<br />
Agile Changes In Enterprise<br />“Intelligent” backlog still applies<br />But usually with a hierarchy of requirements, not just a single level<br />Release “train”<br />Synchronized sprints<br />Sprint status rolled up to release level<br />Separate architecture “runway”<br />
Product Innovation <br />Goal: Grow top line revenue (new products)<br />Obstacle: Disruptive innovations have high reward AND high risk<br />Manage risk by:<br />Bringing customers deeper into the innovation process<br />Removing barriers that cause mistakes along the way<br />Agile enables you to deliver “early and often” to test the market and concept<br />
Leading Innovation<br />(From Bob Sutton’s “21 Tips for Leading Innovation” – bobsutton.typepad.com/my_weblog)<br />2. Treat innovation as an import-export business. Keep trying to bring in ideas from outside your group or organization, keep trying to show and tell others about your ideas, and blend them all together. <br />4. Treat your beliefs as “strong opinions, weakly held.”<br />6. Say “I don’t know” on a regular basis.<br />
Leading Innovation<br />17. Have the confidence and resolve to make tough decisions, stop your people from whining about the decisions made, and to get on with implementing them.<br />18. Kill a lot of ideas, including a lot of good ideas.<br />21. Innovation requires selling your ideas. The greatest innovators, from Edison to Jobs, are gifted at generating excitement and sales. If you can't or won't sell, team-up with someone who can.<br />
Take Aways<br />Prioritizing the product backlog is hard – use analytics<br />For larger teams, augment agile with “agile value management”<br />Enterprise products need even bigger changes in agile methodologies<br />Agile helps with breakthrough innovation by getting you to market faster and cheaper<br />
Questions and Discussion<br />Nils Davis<br />firstname.lastname@example.org<br />