Product Management: A Goal-Driven Approach

This posting, the latest in our series focused on a disciplined agile approach to product management, overviews the activities associated with it. The Disciplined Agile (DA) toolkit promotes an adaptive, context-sensitive strategy.  The framework does this via its goal-driven approach that indicates the process factors you need to consider, a range of techniques or strategies for you to address each process factor, and the advantages and disadvantages of each technique.  In this blog we present the goal diagram for the Product Management process blade and overview its process factors.

The following process goal diagram overviews the potential activities associated with disciplined agile product management.

Disciplined Agile Product Management

The process factors that you need to consider for product management are:

  1. Evolve business vision.  Product managers will work closely with stakeholders, and in the case of new products/solutions potential stakeholders, to understand their needs.  The goal is to develop roadmaps for individual products, product lines, and for the business itself.  These roadmaps describe the current vision for the near term, intermediate term (3-12 months), and long term (one year or more) with less detail the further out in time the roadmap goes.  These roadmaps help the product managers to guide their prioritization decisions and provides input into the planning activities of other efforts (such as the Enterprise Architecture and Portfolio Management activities).
  2. Explore potential products.  Product managers want to identify potential products that will provide significant value to your organization.  They may do this via a variety of means, including the more traditional approaches of building a business case to more agile/lean strategies such running a small experiment.
  3. Prioritize potential products.  There will be many potential products that your organization would like to invest in, but a limited budget to do so.  The implication is that only the highest priority products will be developed, and therefore need to be prioritized appropriately.
  4. Evolve business roadmap.  The business and/or product roadmap is developed and evolved by your product management activities.  Traditional strategies tend to take either an annual or ad-hoc approach whereas more disciplined agile strategies take more of a rolling wave approach.
  5. Allocate features.  Features – which could be captured in the form of epics, stories, feature statements, or other forms – will need to be allocated to delivery teams so that they may be implemented.  These features will need to be prioritized by the product managers (who are often in the role of Product Owner on the delivery teams) so that the teams know the order in which to implement the functionality.
  6. Manage functional dependencies.  Functional dependencies often exist between products, due to the usage of common platforms and the need for integrated solutions, and these functional dependencies need to be managed.  The product managers will want to manage these dependencies so as to optimize when functionality is implemented and released into production.  For more information on dependency management strategies, please see Managing Dependencies Between Agile Teams, Managing Dependencies Between Agile and Lean Teams, and Managing Dependencies Between Agile/Lean Teams and Traditional Teams.
  7. Market products.  Product managers will market their products to their potential customer base to increase the usage of the products.  The need for such marketing is clear in the case of commercial products and other types of solutions intended for public use.  Marketing is also needed for solutions developed for internal usage to increase the chance that the potential user base knows about the existence of the (upcoming) release of the product.

Future blog postings in this series will explore the workflow between product management and other process blades as well as the internal workflow of a product management team.


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