Recently, the gadget-reviewer crowd has caught on to something we’ve known for a long time. Comparing products is not about comparing specs, it is about comparing how well the products solve problems that customers will pay to solve. That begs the question – how should you compare products? Read on to see the product comparison technique I recommend.
Continue reading Compare Products Not Specs – Comparing Products Part 1
Your boss wants a commitment. You want to offer a prediction. Agile, you say, only allows you to estimate and predict – not to commit. “Horse-hockey!” your boss exclaims, “I want one throat to choke, and it will be yours if you don’t make a commitment and meet it.” There’s a way to keep yourself off the corporate gallows – estimate, predict, and commit – using agile principles.
This is an article about agile product management and release planning.
Continue reading Agile Estimation, Prediction, and Commitment
Requirements Management – I’m embarking on a journey to help several teams manage their requirements with their existing systems and tools. This is the first in a series of articles, where the rubber meets the road. I’ll look at both the theory and the realities of what works (and doesn’t) in practice. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
Continue reading Requirements Management Journey – Part 0
Nokia, the Finnish mobile phone manufacturer, is getting clobbered as their market rapidly moves away from them. Recent analyst reports show that Android and iOS (Apple’s platform) based phones are rapidly gaining market share. Nokia sells neither. Nokia has a major press event in a few hours, where they will announce their smartphone strategy. I think a maximin strategy is both likely and correct.
Continue reading Nokia’s Smartphone Strategy – Maximin
A lot of teams that I’ve worked on and with get hung up when thinking about defining requirements for “migration projects” and “system upgrades.” There’s some intangible barrier to being market focused when it comes to improving existing internal systems. Every new product represents a solution to an existing problem. Why do so many projects move forward with teams that are blind to the actual requirements?
Continue reading Everything Old is New Again
Estimating the “value” of features is a waste of time. I was in a JAD session once where people argued about if the annoying beeping (audible on the conference line) was a smoke alarm or a fire alarm. Yes, you can get to an answer, but so what?! The important thing is to solve the problem.
Continue reading Don’t Prioritize Features!
Agile values working software over comprehensive documentation – it is 1/4th of the original manifesto. That doesn’t mean don’t document! It means don’t document more than you need to document. Documentation does have value, but the practice of documenting got excessive – that’s why a reaction to the bad stuff earned a spot as one of the pillars of agile. How do you avoid over-reacting when changing a culture of over-documentation?
Continue reading Agile Documentation
Ask someone what they want, and they’ll tell you they want a faster horse. Provoke them, and they’ll tell you they have a ‘get there faster’ problem, an ‘equine waste disposal’ problem, and issues with total cost of ownership.
A picture is worth a thousand words. A prototype is worth a thousand lines of code. Two key elements of product management – and of agile development are elicitation and feedback. Low fidelity artifacts can significantly improve both. Polished, codified prototypes can create problems that prevent you from getting the benefits of communication.
Continue reading A Prototype is Worth a Thousand Lines of Code
I’ve been thinking about the software development process. Big, upfront, design and requirements. User research and analysis. Market insights, gained on exploration or over time. Release cadence – how quickly you get, and incorporate, feedback from your customers about your product. How quickly you react to your competitors’ reactions to your actions.