December 6

Agile development and the product manager

Agile development helps teams speed up their product development activities. That’s great unless they don’t have the proper guidance to make sure they are quickly building the right things. That’s where product managers come into the picture. Here are some ideas on how you can interact with an agile team to make sure that they don’t rapidly-produce the wrong things.

How product managers can bring human insights into agile development.  As a product manager, you need to understand customer needs, prioritize features, and work with your team to build them. That’s a lot going on, and the adoption of agile approaches sped those activities up considerably. You have less time to research your customers and make informed priority decisions. Don’t worry, there is still hope. Michael Mace shared four practices that you can follow to incorporate research into an agile product development approach.

(via @michaelmace)

Why Is Agile So Awkward, And What Can You Do About It? “While Agile can be great for speeding up software delivery, in practice, it creates challenges for those tasked with leading and managing products for long-term success. Its focus on sprint-based delivery can foster a short-sighted approach that doesn’t adequately address product or business strategy.” Pete Sinclair suggests that in order to work effectively with teams using agile approaches product managers need to be responsive, anticipate change and provide frameworks that capture the needs and perspectives of the product’s different constituencies.

(via @obo_pm)

How product managers should work with agile development teams.  When you work with a team using agile approaches, it’s best to think of yourself as a member of your team and not a product manager outside that team. That means you should work closely with developers on an ongoing basis to make sure they stay aligned with your vision of the product. Jim Semick describes five things you must do when working with an agile team and three signs you may be falling short on your responsibilities.

(via @jimsemick)

7 Things product people need to know about agile. Agile has reached and frankly blazed past buzzword stage. It’s no longer new (the term being applied to software development over 18 years ago) and there are a lot of different perspectives about what agile is, and is not. There’s also a lot of myths and misconceptions about agile practices and techniques. Here’s Kent McDonald’s attempt to add some clarity about agile for product people.

(via @kbpmedia)

Kent J McDonald

About the author

Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has product development experience in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent practices his craft with a variety of product teams and provides just in time resources for product people at and Product Collective. When not writing or product managing, Kent is his family’s #ubersherpa, listens to jazz and podcasts (but not necessarily podcasts about jazz), and collects national parks.


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