Book Notes #15: Agile Excellence for Product Managers - Greg Cohen

William Meller - Agile Excellence for Product Management - Greg Cohen
Book for product managers making the switch to Agile development as well as product owners and project managers looking for better ways to organize and lead in their companies.


Title: Agile Excellence for Product Management
Author: Greg Cohen
Themes: Agile, Career, Cases, Technology, Management, Business
Year: 2010
Publisher: Happy About
ISBN: 160773074X, 9781607730743
Pages: 152

Agile Excellence for Product Management by Greg Cohen provides invaluable insight into how to become an effective product manager using Agile methods.

Through case studies and real-world examples, the book explains how to maximize the value of Agile while avoiding common pitfalls. 

It offers practical advice on how to implement Agile principles, the key ingredients of successful product management, and how to build a high-performance team.

Organizations are constantly struggling with complex development projects and are in search of a few, straightforward, and easy-to-learn methods to help deal with their problems. 

For this reason, more and more software companies are rapidly turning to Agile development to cope with fast-changing markets, unknown or changing product requirements, borderless competition, and to solve complex problems. 

William Meller - Agile Excellence for Product Management - Greg Cohen

Yet little has been written to guide product managers through the transition to working with Agile teams and the numerous benefits that it affords.

Agile Excellence for Product Managers is a plain-speaking guide on how to work with Agile development teams to achieve phenomenal product success. 

My Book Highlights:

"... The Product Backlog will not motivate your team. You need to paint the picture of why they should be motivated..."

"... Leading well is the single most important thing you can do to be a successful product manager with Agile..."

"... Each task should be about four to sixteen hours of work. The task list is called the Sprint Backlog..."

"... Acquiring satisfied customers who will give good references is the long-term goal, and it means working with the customer to understand what is needed, then working with the development team to understand what is possible..."

"... Larger stories are easier to manage when working with stakeholders and planning a release. Smaller stories are preferred when working with development and planning an iteration..."

"... Agile feedback loops share much in common with the Plan, Do, Check, and Adjust (PDCA) process popularized by Dr. W. Edwards Deming in his quality control work: the team members formulate a course of action, execute against it, inspect their progress, and adjust their course accordingly..."

"... Using the roadmap, define releases if you have not already done this, and create the Product Backlog by listing the key features needed to realize nine to fifteen months of roadmap vision. The backlog should match the release schedule and be prioritized by business value..."

"... With the release and Product Backlog defined, we further subdivide it into Sprints. There are two approaches that can be used. The first is setting the release date and the other is setting the minimum marketable feature (MMF) set..."

"... Simplicity—It is better to meet only the current need today and pay a little more tomorrow to change it if the requirement grows than to place a bet by developing more complicated functionality that may never be used..."

"... The Product Owner manages the creation and prioritization of Product Backlog items. If product management has its ducks in a row, the backlog is well thought-out and maps the product vision and strategic goals of the company..."

"... Requirements in the Product Backlog are typically written as user stories, which are one- or two-sentence software requirements written in plain business language. The Product Backlog can therefore be viewed as a prioritized list of user stories..."

"... There are three benefits to using more granular stories: 1. They make it easier for the team to accurately estimate the effort involved. Iteration planning is improved because each story is less of the total iteration's capacity. It becomes more straightforward to reduce the scope (if needed) within an iteration without compromising the Sprint Goal..."

It covers the why and how of agile development the role of product management, release planning, release management, road mapping, creating and prioritizing a product backlog, documentation, product launches, organizational implications, and more. 

Some key insights and learnings from the book include:

 - Understand the fundamentals of Agile product management and the key principles that underpin it

 - Learn how to manage product features and quickly respond to changes in the marketplace

 - Use effective collaboration techniques to build a productive and high-performance team

 - Utilize various tools and techniques to effectively measure progress and manage risk

 - Practice effective communication to ensure alignment across the product team

It is a must-read for product managers making the switch to Agile development as well as product owners and project managers looking for better ways to organize and lead in their companies.

Chapter 1 - Why Agile is Good for Product Management
   Traditional Software Development
   The Cost of Change
   Agile Software Development
   What’s In It For You?
   Why now?
   The Agile Manifesto
   The Common Threads of Agile
   Why Agile Works
   Product Management Just Got Better

Chapter 2 - Understanding Scrum
   Overview of Scrum
   An Iteration
   The Scrum Team
   Sprint Planning
   Daily Standup
   Feedback and the Role of Unit Testing
   Sprint Review
   Sprint Retrospective
   Sprint Termination

Chapter 3 - Release Management
   Sizing Requirements
   Managing Velocity and Tracking Releases
   Managing an Iteration

Chapter 4 - Release Planning
   Create the Product Backlog
   Map Sprints to the Release and Product Backlog
   Iteration Planning Exercise
   Iteration Planning Exercise Answer
   Working Across Multiple Iterations
   Defining Requirements as Needed
   The Role of User Experience Design in Agile

Chapter 5 - Documentation
   User Stories
   Non-Functional Requirements
   Splitting Stories
   Other Documents

Chapter 6 - Starting Out
   Selecting the Team
   Creating a Product Strategy
   The Release Plan
   Creating the Product Backlog in a Hurry
   Prioritizing the Product Backlog by Business Value
   Selecting an Iteration Length
   Estimating Stories
   Testing and Beta Strategies
   Impact on Sales and Marketing

Chapter 7 - Organizing Around Agile
   Who Should Be Doing What?
   Managing Multiple Projects
   Obstacles to Team Performance

Chapter 8 - A Look at Extreme Programming and Lean Software Development
   Extreme Programming
   Lean Software Development

Chapter 9 - Conclusion
   Process Maturity and Agile
   Sweet Spots for Agile Development
   Organizational Agility Trade-Offs
   Agile Product Management Review
   Visibility, Flexibility, and Quality

Agile Excellence for Product Management is an essential guide for any product manager looking to maximize the value of Agile practices. 

Through practical advice, case studies, and real-world examples, Greg Cohen provides a comprehensive set of tools and techniques that can be quickly implemented to improve the effectiveness of product management. 

By understanding the fundamentals of Agile product management and applying the best practices outlined in the book, readers can quickly become successful product managers and ensure the success of their product teams.

Greg Cohen is the founder of Agile Excellence LLC, a boutique product management consulting firm focused on connecting the latest thinking in new product development and strategy to product management theory and practice.

I am incredibly grateful that you have taken the time to read this post. 

Your support and engagement mean the world to me, and I truly appreciate your interest in the topics I write about. 

I hope that you have found this post informative, educational and engaging. 

If you are interested in reading more of my work, please visit other articles here on the website.

I promise to continue providing valuable and high-quality content for your enjoyment and education. 

Thank you again for reading and I hope to see you soon!

Here are some related articles you may enjoy:

There are even more good things I've prepared for you!

Subscribe below or click here to receive new posts in your Email!

Do you want to read some book notes and recommendations? Discover more here!

Do you want to have amazing weekly content curation? Discover more here!

Follow me on LinkedIn - Twitter - Instagram

Ready to make a positive impact? 

Support my work by sharing my content with your network. 

Your simple act of kindness can reach new heights and help spread valuable information.

Want to show your support in a tangible way? A virtual coffee is a small but mighty way to show your appreciation and give me the extra energy to keep crafting valuable content!

William Meller - Subscribe

1 comment: