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Agile Product Management with Scrum

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Jeff Sutherland xv Foreword by Brett Queener xvii Preface xix Acknowledgments xxiii About the Author xxv Chapter 1: Understanding the Product Owner Role 1 The Product Owner Role 2 Desirable Characteristics of a Product Owner 3 Working with the Team 7 Collaborating with the ScrumMaster 9 Working with Customers, Users, and Other Stakeholders 10 Scaling the Product Owner Role 12 Common Mistakes 16 Reflection 20 Chapter 2: Envisioning the Product 23 The Product Vision 24 Desirable Qualities of the Vision 25 The Minimal Marketable Product 27 Simplicity 31 Customer Needs and Product Attributes 33 The Birth of the Vision 35 Techniques for Creating the Vision 37 Visioning and the Product Road Map 41 Minimal Products and Product Variants 42 Common Mistakes 43 Reflection 46 Chapter 3: Working with the Product Backlog 47 The DEEP Qualities of the Product Backlog 48 Grooming the Product Backlog 49 Discovering and Describing Items 51 Prioritizing the Product Backlog 54 Getting Ready for Sprint Planning 59 Sizing Items 64 Dealing with Nonfunctional Requirements 68 Scaling the Product Backlog 70 Common Mistakes 71 Reflection 74 Chapter 4: Planning the Release 75 Time, Cost, and Functionality 76 Quality Is Frozen 78 Early and Frequent Releases 79 Quarterly Cycles 81 Velocity 82 The Release Burndown 83 The Release Plan 87 Release Planning on Large Projects 91 Common Mistakes 94 Reflection 96 Chapter 5: Collaborating in the Sprint Meetings 97 Sprint Planning 98 Definition of Done 99 Daily Scrum 100 Sprint Backlog and Sprint Burndown 101 Sprint Review 101 Sprint Retrospective 103 Sprint Meetings on Large Projects 104 Common Mistakes 107 Reflection 109 Chapter 6: Transitioning into the Product Owner Role 111 Becoming a Great Product Owner 111 Developing Great Product Owners 115 Reflection 118 References 119 Index 125

About the Author

Roman Pichler is a leading Scrum and agile product management expert. He has a long track record in teaching and coaching product owners and in helping companies apply effective product management practices. In addition to this book, he is the bestselling author of Scrum-Agiles Projektmanagement erfolgreich einsetzen (Scrum-Applying Agile Project Management Successfully) (dpunkt.verlag, 2008). As a Certified Scrum Trainer, he led the Scrum Alliance effort to develop a curriculum for the Certified Scrum Product Owner training. Find out more at


"Product owners have had few places to turn to for advice, despite having the hardest role on an agile project. This book rectifies that. Roman Pichler's insights into the duties of the product owner are powerful and practical. Correctly applied, his advice will benefit any product owner and agile team." -Mike Cohn, Author of Succeeding with Agile, Agile Estimating and Planning, and User Stories Applied "Scrum is silent on how a product owner can maximize value. Most product managers and marketers don't know how to use the iterative, incremental nature of Scrum to do so. Roman has filled this hole nicely with his new book, Agile Product Management with Scrum." -Ken Schwaber, codeveloper of the Scrum process "With so little written on the intersections of agile methods and product management, Roman makes a significant contribution to the field. The book provides clear guidance and rich examples on how to become an agile product manager and a successful product owner, and, further, how to lead with a strong vision. This book is a must read for product managers new to Scrum, product owners new to product management, and any product manager who wants to get the most out of Agile." -Greg Cohen, Principal Consultant, 280 Group and Director, Silicon Valley Product Management Association "I'm always happy to hear what Roman is thinking. What I really like about this book is that he not only shares his experience ("Common Mistakes" is a great section), but he also brings in the wisdom of others in the field. This powerful combination allows him to see farther ahead and share that vision with us. Thanks, Roman!" -Linda Rising, Independent Consultant and coauthor of Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas "Roman Pichler's new and remarkable book focuses on the product and the product owner role, applying Scrum to the whole value chain. His experience as a coach leads to genuinely balanced, practical, and applicable solutions for every conceivable situation in the product lifecycle. This is the definitive reference guide to agile product management for all practitioners!" -Markus Andrezak, Manager, Outsourced Product Development, GmbH "Roman Pichler's product owner book is an easy-to-read and comprehensive description of the important role of the product owner in Scrum. It points out the significance of vision and leadership, as well as minimal marketable products and short release cycles. It is a resource for new product owners to get into their job and gives management good advice on choosing the right person for that job." -Andrea Heck, Dipl-Inf (Univ.), Agile Transition Project Manager "The product owner is a vital role in Scrum, and Roman's new book is a welcome contribution to helping product owners succeed." -Craig Larman, coauthor of Scaling Lean & Agile Development and Practices for Scaling Lean & Agile Development "Roman's no-nonsense approach takes Scrum back to its roots, examining and building on the fundamental concepts behind product ownership. The focus on teamwork is a welcome antidote to process-centric views of Scrum, showing how the product owner role changes and challenges the status quo of the traditionally run project. Well researched, Roman leverages both his own experience as well as that of others, clearly showing how Scrum product ownership works to solve common problems, citing realworld examples of both success and failure. Scattered with practical tips, this book is for anybody who wants to manage or to be a Scrum product owner and release successful products using Scrum." -Simon Bennett, Global Competency Lead and Product Owner, EMC Consulting "Roman Pichler's Agile Product Management with Scrum is destined to be a vital reference for agile product managers, product owners, business analysts, and anybody wanting to be a great agile product manager. Roman shares practical tips and guidance on all aspects of agile planning, the care and feeding of your product backlog, and the essential activities of visioning, valuing, and collaborating. Agile Product Management with Scrum will raise your awareness of the complex, multifaceted discipline of agile product management. Better yet, all agile team members will benefit by reading this book, because on every successful agile team, we all think like product managers." -Ellen Gottesdiener, President/Founder, EBG Consulting, Inc. "Agile software development is about incrementally converting requirements into working software using short iterations. Agile Product Management with Scrum answers one of the most important questions in product organizations: "Are we building the right product?" Or, as Roman so passionately put it in his subtitle, Creating Products that Customers Love. Roman's book is the long-awaited link to turn a broad vision into meaningful and digestible requirements. It provides a thorough introduction to the Scrum framework for product managers and executives who are eager to reduce development costs and time-to-market delivery of exciting new software products." -Jochen Krebs, Incrementor and Author of Agile Portfolio Management "Roman delivers an agile product management book that clearly describes the importance, challenges, and pitfalls of the product owner role. Using practical examples, highlighting common mistakes, and supplying reflection questions at the end of each chapter, Roman makes the role of product owner easily accessible and doable. This is the book to read for any organization wishing to implement Scrum." -Jessica Hildrum, former CEO of Norway's premier Agile training company "At the core of every successful agile development team is a visionary, engaged, and empowered product manager. In Agile Product Management with Scrum, Roman Pichler gives us a simple, no-nonsense definition of the role that will lead any Scrum team to amazing results. For all of you that want to get under the covers of the most important role in agile development, this is the book for you. A must for every new product owner!" -Steve Greene, Vice President, Program Management & Agile Development,

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