Book Notes #22: Agile Product Management with Scrum - Roman Pichler

William Meller - Agile Product Management with Scrum - Roman Pichler
Agile Product Management with Scrum book uses real-world examples to demonstrate how product owners can create successful products with Scrum.


Title: Agile Product Management with Scrum: Creating Products that Customers Love
Author: Roman Pichler
Themes: Agile, Career, Cases, Technology, Management, Business
Year: 2010
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
ISBN: 0321684133, 9780321684134
Pages: 160

In Agile Product Management with Scrum, leading Scrum consultant Roman Pichler uses real-world examples to demonstrate how product owners can create successful products with Scrum. 

He describes a broad range of agile product management practices, including making agile product discovery work, taking advantage of emergent requirements, creating a minimal marketable product, leveraging early customer feedback, and working closely with the development team.

William Meller - Agile Product Management with Scrum - Roman Pichler

Benefitting from Pichler’s extensive experience, you’ll learn how Scrum product ownership differs from traditional product management and how to avoid and overcome the common challenges that Scrum product owners face.

In "Agile Product Management with Scrum," Roman Pichler provides a comprehensive guide to using the Scrum framework to manage product development. 

The book covers key concepts and best practices for creating and managing a product backlog, planning and conducting sprints, and delivering a successful product.

One key takeaway from the book is the importance of having a clear product vision and goals. Pichler emphasizes the need for a shared understanding of what the product should achieve and how it will benefit customers. 

This helps to guide decision-making throughout the development process and ensures that everyone is working towards a common goal.

My Book Highlights:

"... The Product Owner is the one and only person responsible for managing the Product Backlog and ensuring the value of the work the team performs. This person maintains the Product Backlog and ensures that it is visible to everyone..."

"... Product marketers tend to be outward-facing; their primary responsibility is to understand the market, manage the product roadmap, and look after the cumulative profits across releases. Product managers tend to be inward-facing; their responsibilities consist of detailed feature descriptions, prioritization, and collaboration with the development team. In Scrum, the product owner takes on all of these responsibilities..."

"... As the product owner, your responsibility is to make sure the product backlog is well groomed—its items prioritized and its high-priority items detailed—prior to the sprint planning meeting. You will also be expected to attend the sprint planning meeting in order to clarify requirements and answer questions..."

"... A product roadmap should state for each version the projected launch date, the target customers and their needs, and the top three to five features..."

"... The product owner and ScrumMaster roles complement each other: The product owner is primarily responsible for the “what”—creating the right product. The ScrumMaster is primarily responsible for the “how”—using Scrum the right way..."

"... Whenever a requirement is entered into the backlog, ensure that the related customer need is properly understood. Ask why a requirement is necessary and how it benefits the customer. Do not make the mistake of blindly copying requirements into the product backlog, as this creates an inconsistent and unmanageable wish list..."

"... The product owner is a visionary who can envision the final product and communicate the vision. The product owner is also a doer who sees the vision through to completion. This includes describing requirements, closely collaborating with the team, accepting or rejecting work results, and steering the project by tracking and forecasting its progress. As an entrepreneur, the product owner facilitates creativity; encourages innovation; and is comfortable with change, ambiguity, debate, conflict, playfulness, experimentation, and informed risk-taking..."

"... To minimize any potential loss or damage from an inaccurate forecast, select a narrow set of customer needs and quickly release a product increment. Then inspect and adapt..."

"... As a rule of thumb, organizations should employ feature teams whenever possible and use component teams only if they must..."

"... Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying no to all but the most crucial features..."

Another important lesson is the need for regular and effective communication. Pichler stresses the importance of regular meetings, such as sprint planning and retrospectives, to keep everyone informed and aligned on the progress of the project. 

He also emphasizes the importance of clear and open communication between the product owner, the development team, and stakeholders.

Pichler also highlights the importance of flexibility and adaptability in product development. 

Scrum is an iterative and incremental framework, and Pichler stresses the importance of being able to adapt to changes and learning from feedback during the development process. 

This helps to ensure that the final product meets the needs of customers and is successful in the marketplace.

1 - Understanding the Product Owner's Role
   The Product Owner Role
   Desirable Characteristics of a Product Owner
   Visionary and Doer
   Leader and Team Player
   Communicator and Negotiator
   Empowered and Committed
   Available and Qualified
   Working with the Team
   Collaborating with the Scrum Master
   Working with Customers, Users, and Other Stakeholders
   Scaling the Product Owner Role
   The Chief Product Owner
   Product Owner Hierarchies
   Choosing the Right Product Owners 
   Common Mistakes
   The Underpowered Product Owner
   The Overworked Product Owner
   The Partial Product Owner
   The Distant Product Owner
   The Proxy Product Owner
   The Product Owner Committee

2 - Envisioning the Product
   The Product Vision
   Desirable Qualities of the Vision
   Shared and Unifying
   Broad and Engaging
   Short and Sweet
   The Minimal Marketable Product
   Ockham’s Razor
   Less Is More
   Simple User Interfaces
   Customer Needs and Product Attributes
   The Birth of the Vision
   Using Pet Projects
   Using Scrum
   Techniques for Creating the Vision
   Prototypes and Mock-ups
   Personas and Scenarios
   Vision-Box and Trade Journal Review
   Kano Model
   Visioning and the Product Road Map
   Minimal Products and Product Variants
   Common Mistakes
   No Vision
   Prophecy Vision
   Analysis Paralysis
   We Know Best What Is Good for Our Customers
   Big Is Beautiful

3 - Working with the Product Backlog
   The DEEP Qualities of the Product Backlog
   Detailed Appropriately
   Grooming the Product Backlog
   Discovering and Describing Items 
   Discovering Items
   Describing Items
   Structuring the Backlog
   Prioritizing the Product Backlog
   Knowledge, Uncertainty, and Risk
   Getting Ready for Sprint Planning
   Choosing a Sprint Goal
   Preparing Just Enough Items Just in Time
   Decomposing Items
   Ensuring Clarity, Testability, and Feasibility
   Sizing Items
   Story Points
   Planning Poker
   Dealing with Nonfunctional Requirements
   Describing Nonfunctional Requirements
   Managing Nonfunctional Requirements
   Scaling the Product Backlog
   Use One Product Backlog
   Extend the Grooming Horizon
   Provide Separate Backlog Views
   Common Mistakes
   Disguised Requirements Specification
   Wish List for Santa
   Requirements Push
   Grooming Neglect
   Competing Backlogs

4 - Planning the Release
   Time, Cost, and Functionality
   Quality Is Frozen
   Early and Frequent Releases
   Quarterly Cycles
   The Release Burndown
   The Release Burndown Chart
   The Release Burndown Bar
   The Release Plan
   Forecasting Velocity
   Creating the Release Plan
   Release Planning on Large Projects
   Common Baseline for Estimates
   Look-Ahead Planning
   Common Mistakes
   No Release Burndown or Plan
   Product Owner in the Passenger Seat
   Big-Bang Release
   Quality Compromises

5 - Collaborating in the Sprint Meetings
   Sprint Planning
   Definition of Done
   Daily Scrum
   Sprint Backlog and Sprint Burndown
   Sprint Review
   Sprint Retrospective
   Sprint Meetings on Large Projects
   Joint Sprint Planning
   Scrum of Scrums
   Joint Sprint Review
   Joint Sprint Retrospective
   Common Mistakes
   The Bungee Product Owner
   The Passive Product Owner
   Unsustainable Pace
   Smoke and Mirrors
   Reporting Up the Sprint Burndown

6 - Transitioning into the Product Owner Role
   Becoming a Great Product Owner
   Know Yourself
   Develop and Grow
   Get a Coach
   Ensure That You Have Sponsorship from the Right Level
   You’re Not Done Yet
   Developing Great Product Owners
   Recognize the Importance of the Role
   Select the Right Product Owners
   Empower and Support the Product Owners
   Sustain the Application of the Product Owner Role

Overall, "Agile Product Management with Scrum" provides valuable insights and practical guidance for anyone looking to use the Scrum framework to manage product development. 

By following the principles and practices outlined in the book, you can improve your ability to deliver successful products and meet the needs of customers.

This book is an indispensable resource for anyone who works as a product owner or expects to do so, as well as executives and coaches interested in establishing agile product management. 

Roman Pichler is a product management expert specializing in digital products. He has more than 15 years of experience in teaching product managers and product owners, advising product leaders, and helping companies build successful product management organizations. 

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