A common question posed to Product Managers in organizations interested in or transitioning into Agile is, “How do we know that we’re Agile?” Because agility is a cultural value, there’s no pre-determined checklist of things that one can step through and certify your company as 100% Organic Agile. There are, however, indicators that we look at to determine whether or not the company, a team, or even an individual, is thinking and acting in an Agile way. Here are a few key indicators that you can use to weigh your assessment of how agile you, your team, or your company are…
If you’ve been on the job market in the past several years, you’ve undoubtedly come across the phrase “bias toward action” in one or more job descriptions or company overviews, or even during a call with a recruiter. It’s become something of a buzzword, and in the way that many buzzwords do, has a meaninglessness to it that often causes us to shrug it off as just another “thing that ‘they’ say”. The problem is that having an “bias toward action” can also be code for “completely unstructured” or “constant fire drills”, so rather than shrug it off we should dig deeper to uncover the real meaning behind the term for that particular organization.
I invited several of my friends in the product management, marketing, and strategic consulting fields to provide a little guest content to mix things up here on the Clever PM blog. Today’s installment comes from my long-time friend and current growth hacking specialist Jason Pedwell, who blogs on his own website, LiftDad.com. He’s here today to talk to us about why your customers don’t actually care about your features…
Now, I’m not suggesting that you could sell someone a car without the steering wheel, but nobody cares about it – a steering wheel is table stakes to enter the game of building a car. All cars have a steering wheel, so it is expected.
There is something intangible customers care about, but it’s not about having the most or best features.
I’ve invited my old friend and former co-worker Molly Lindblom to provide some content on the Clever PM blog; Molly is an exceptional product strategist, and was instrumental in the success that I had creating the LexisNexis Market Intelligence product so many years ago. My experiences working on that product have informed much of what I’ve done since — so, without further ado…
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to include a guest post on the Clever PM! I’ve been an avid reader for a long time and am looking forward to sharing some of my experiences as the founder and principal of my business growth consultancy Business Transformations. To kick things off, I’d like to share my experience as an assistant brand manager for Dial who (unknowingly) went to war with Proctor & Gamble.
Consumer product positioning is a tricky thing: a lot of companies have been selling products in different categories for a very long time, and have built strong market strategies based on a significant understanding of their customer needs. So at the tail end of my new product planning for Dial Dishwashing Liquid, imagine how excited I was thinking that I had a product that would clean up on the competition.
A very common, and very dangerous misconception about Agile development — whether you’re using Kanban, Scrum, XP, DevOps, or any other flavor of the week — is that it “requires” or “expects” that you can operate quickly, efficiently, and effectively without necessarily having an overall strategic plan.
There certainly are teams and companies who waste their valuable time and energy moving forward through iteration after iteration without following a long-term plan. And some of these teams can be successful in delivering in-the-moment, valuable solutions to customer problems. And these teams can sometimes continue to be successful at this for a short time, until they realize that an entire organization has grown up around the product, and there are impacts to this lack of planning that span multiple groups.
Agile does not mean you don’t have a plan. It means that you have a plan that’s flexible enough to accommodate valuable and important shifts in the plan’s underlying assumptions. [Read more…]