The Product Management Gap in Agile

It’s amazing how many large companies have paid $$$$$’s for an #agiletransformation, stand-up scrum processes (I know scrum is not a process, rather a process framework but that’s not how it’s used in many org’s)… then next thing you know, it is a mess. Years later, they have an oh shit moment and realize… this thing called #productmanagement is missing. Then, new leadership is brought in for agile transformation v3.0 to improve the way they do stand-ups and plan capacity because “IT is a mess.”

For those struggling with agile or not seeing the results it’s often not because you’re not “doing agile good enough.”

What I’ve found to help:

Stop talking about OKR’s, “evidence-based decision making” and metrics. Make “doing” the hard work to do this well a priority.  Start with getting a strong strategy in place…a strategy that isn’t a plan to build XYZ. A strategy that’s oriented around the measurable goals you need to achieve as a business. A strategy that allows for flexibility in the midst of changes (learnings, constraints, market landscape) in your environment. Give measurable direction but space for teams to learn, fail, rapidly experiment; and freedom from political influence. Easier said than done, but focusing on strategy 1st will take your #agile transformation to an entirely different level. Not to mention, do wonders for your business model, competitive advantage, market share and – most importantly – your customers.


Stop focusing so much on:

  • Perfecting agile
  • Always being right
  • Increasing Velocity
  • Innovation theatre

Start focusing on:

  • #1, deploy the right strategy
  • Giving teams freedom from bureaucracy
  • Rapid experimentation
  • Gaining a better understanding of the metrics that drive your business/product

… your org design can also be an impediment (eg. 36 cross-team dependencies to launch something). Again, easier said than done but to optimize for business results, organize in a manner that supports your strategy and this way of working… not the tech or features (unless your business strategy is to improve your tech).

Don’t get me wrong, agile is awesome…It’s the only way I want to build #product. and we’re working alongside a bunch of agile coaches and org’s doing agile transformation but agile transformations alone are generally not leading to the results it promises, especially at so many large companies. There’s often these mentioned missing pieces. And so much respect for agile coaches I know or have worked with. People like Brian Link Timo Mulder Bart Weaver Carlos Martin Carina Silfverduk Travis Dent Jeff Kosciejew Curious what you all think!! Or anyone else for that matter 🙂

Ready to unleash your company’s greatness?