Disciplined Agile

Product Management Practices

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

2021 Project Management Institute Product Management v5.2 Monitor the market Voice of the customer (VoC) analytics Big data analytics Sales analytics Evolve Vision Active stakeholder participation Obtain stakeholder feedback Monitor business environment Develop business roadmap Develop product roadmap Explore Potential Features Run a small experiment Collaborative mockup Run a focus group Evaluate alternatives Estimate ROI Estimate market impact Develop business case Prioritize Potential Features Legislated/regulatory Business value Risk Due date Dependency Evolve Roadmap Rolling wave planning Annual planning Ad-hoc planning Allocate Features Balance competing priorities Manage dependencies Allocate to delivery team Choose Release Cadence(s) Minimum business increment (MBI) toggle release Continuous release Minimum business increment (MBI) release Defect release Quarterly release Annual (or more) release Manage Functional Dependencies Accept dependency Reprioritize dependent feature Reprioritize depended feature Rethink dependent feature Rethink depended feature Market Offering(s) Announce releases Create marketing plan Identify potential customers

Figure 1. The process goal diagram for product management (Click to enlarge). 

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

  1. Monitor the market. Product managers will want to monitor how successful their products are (e.g. monitor actual ROI, market adoption rates, end user satisfaction) as well as how well the products are being evolved (e.g. are you continuing to invest in successful products). Product governance is one aspect of your overall governance efforts.
  2. Evolve 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).
  3. Explore potential features. 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.
  4. Prioritize potential features. 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.
  5. Evolve 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.
  6. Allocate features. Features — which could be captured as outcomes, 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.
  7. Choose release cadences.
  8. 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 .
  9. Market offerings. 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.