What is Agile Product Management?

Pragmatic Product Management Webinar Series

Presented by Ian Spence - IJI’s Chief Scientist, SAFe® Fellow and SPCT

In this free coaching webinar series, Ian shares real-life examples and best practices for Agile Product Managers.

Explore the value of treating Features as first class citizens as part of a hypothesis-driven approach, and how we can then use the analysis of Features to improve our development value streams.

What is Effective Product Management?

Even agile ways of working suffer from “garbage in, garbage out” and require effective Product Management to ensure the regular delivery of real benefit to the customers and investors. Beyond agility the key to any successful long-term success with any agile approach or framework is effective product management and true Feature flow.

Effective Product Management requires constant interaction with customers and developers, and awesome listening, negotiation, synthesis, communication and leadership skills, all of which can easily get lost if our focus is purely on which User Stories to focus on next.

Image of Effective Product Management - SAFe

About the Presenter

Ian Spence
Chief Scientist & SAFe® Fellow
Ivar Jacobson International

Ian was one of the first European SAFe® Program Consultant Trainers; a reflection of not just his knowledge of SAFe but also his long experience working with Dean Leffingwell over the last 15 years, and his vast experience of successfully leading large-scale agile transformations. He has coached and consulted a number of companies through their agile transformations including Schneider Electric (over 18 teams across three continents), Nordea (over 100 people in one room), MunichRe and Ericsson Modems. Ian regularly appears at conferences, publishes books and articles, and conducts webinars and seminars.

Scaled Agile Fellow - Image of Ian Spence

#1: Feature Lifecycles

Feature Lifecycles,; Slicing and Dicing your Hypotheses

Features make a powerful complement to user stories when undertaking the agile development of products and solution. They are what the majority of your users and stakeholders are asking for, provide the perfect basis for adopting a more hypothesis-driven approach to the evolution of your solutions, and enable you to scale to multiple teams.

In this webinar we will examine the lifecycle of a Feature, exploring how they can complement your user stories, help you to be more agile in your product development, and help you to scale.

It is very tempting for Product Owners and Product Managers to treat Features as though they are giant User Stories, and to apply the same splitting approach to their Features as they already use for the User Stories they present to their teams. In this webinar we will also explore how Features differ from User Stories and how to slice them to release value as soon as possible.

Image of Scaled Agile Feature Slicing

Watch Video  #1

Video #1: Feature Lifecycles; Slicing and Dicing your Hypotheses Recording Agenda

  • What is a Feature
  • Feature & Stories
  • Declarations or Experiments
  • Feature Lifecycle - Card Set
  • Slicing & Dicing
  • Dynamic Story Mapping
  • Q&A

Runtime: 72mins

#2: The Seven Deadly Sins of Feature Preparation

Many teams struggle to let go of their waterfall, silo mentality when they first transition to agile ways-of-working. In particular they shy away from collaboratively working on the definition, evolution and implementation of their backlog items insisting on up-front definition of Features and Stories, and clean handovers between the Product Owners and the Development Teams.

So what are the worst things you can do to compromise the agility of your program when using Features? Ian Spence will share his seven deadly sins of feature preparation, and the most wasteful practices he has seen teams adopt in their attempts to be better prepared for their planning events.

 Seven Deadly Sins of Feature Preparation Image

Watch Video  #2

Watch Video  #2 - The Seven Deadly Sins of Product Management

  • What is a Feature
  • Features Should Flow
  • Pride
  • Sloth
  • Lust
  • Greed
  • Wrath
  • Gluttony
  • Envy
  • Original Sin
  • Q&A


#3: Visualizing and Analysing your Feature Development Value Stream

Kanbans and lean thinking are essential tools in any Product Manager’s toolkit. In SAFe where Features are the main bearers of value Feature Kanbans and cumulative flow diagrams are essential tools in understanding where you are, how you are doing and how to improve.

Everyone in the team benefits from the visibility into the development pipeline that a Feature Kanban provides. It is where lean thinking, agile thinking and DevOps all come together to maximize the value delivered to the customers.

For Product Managers it is essential to look beyond the preparation of new Features to understand how their development value stream is performing as a whole, and to introduce the Enabler Features needed to improve it.

Scaled Agile PI Planning as a big room image

Watch Video #3

Watch Video #3: Visualizing and Analysing your Feature Development Value Stream

  • Feature Flow
  • Traditional vs. Alternative Approaches
  • Measure & Visualize
  • Q&A

Runtime: 41mins

#4: Product Management Healthcheck

If your Product Managers and Product Owners aren’t agile than the benefits received from everybody else’s agility will be severely compromised. It can even be argued that if they aren’t agile than everybody else is wasting their time.

Sadly though they are often the last members of the team to exhibit an agile mindset. Join Ian Spence as he provides helpful guidance and insights on how best to assess the agility of your Product Management team and encourage them to truly embrace an agile mindset.

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Product Management Health Check image

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