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Product Owners: Tools Are Only Part of the Solution
Tools are important to product teams, but only when they support solid people and processes. So why do delivery teams always jump to tools to solve their problems? I believe the primary reason is that turning to tools appears far easier than fixing your core problems. It’s Neo taking the Blue Pill and going back to sleep. Take the bold step and use your retrospectives to solve the people and processes first, then decide how tools can help support your processes and automate low-value tasks.
Tools are very important to the product owner and delivery teams. In Productplan’s free download “The Product Manager’s Toolkit,” they state, “It’s your skills, not the tools you use, that will make you successful in product management. But just as a lost camper will benefit from having a quality hatchet, product managers can be much more efficient and effective with the right tools.” In the guide, they provide a journey map of the key capabilities used in the product journey and recommended tools for each. This break-out aligns with using tools to support key processes and maintaining a system of record for each type of artifact or asset. Productplan further demonstrates how product management systems of record (e.g. Aha!, ProductPlan, Productboard, Airfocus, Targetprocess, ProdPad, Roadmunk) still need other tools to enable the delivery lifecycle.
- Retrospectives are the gateway to optimizing value and throughput.
- Focus on people and processes first, then improve tools to deliver additional value.
Want to Know More?
- Build a Better Product Owner
- Strengthen the product owner role in your organization by focusing on core capabilities and proper alignment.
- Transition to Product Delivery
- Stop delivering projects. Start delivering products.
- Build a Better Product Roadmap
- Create a roadmap that suits your objectives, the characteristics of your product, and the environment it lives in.
- Build a Better Backlog
- The quality of your product backlog is key to realizing the benefits of Agile.
- Build a Product Canvas
- Bridge the gap between your product roadmap and backlog for stakeholders and delivery teams.
- Implement Agile Practices That Work
- Improve collaboration and transparency with the business to minimize project failure.
- Implement DevOps Practices That Work
- Streamline business value delivery through the strategic adoption of DevOps practices.
- Extend Agile Practices Beyond IT
- Further the benefits of Agile by extending a scaled Agile framework to the business.
- What Is the Role of the PM/PMO on Agile Projects?
- Sprinkle Some Agile Into Your Waterfall Practices for the (WFH) Post-COVID-19 World
- Explaining Agile to Management and Your PMO (How to Foster Their Buy-In and Support)
- What? Don’t Include Features in Your Product Roadmap?
- Yes! You Can Be Successful at Being Agile Remotely
- Build a Visual Product Roadmap to Increase Agreement and Alignment
So you’ve gone Agile. You do daily scrums, retrospectives, and all the “right” Agile ceremonies. But still your organization isn’t quite convinced. It is now critical to balance the drivers and goals of both Agile and traditional thinking in order to achieve organizational success.
Do you feel like your Agile teams are treading water – going through the motions but never going anywhere? It’s a risk, and practices such as daily standups, retrospectives, and demonstrations need to be used wisely or you risk losing discipline to meeting fatigue.
Stakeholders expect the speed and responsiveness of product delivery does not come at the expense of quality. QA tools offer retailers the ability to continuously ensure both business and technical quality standards are upheld, but these tools should not be viewed as a silver bullet.
When trying to implement Agile as a defined process, Scrum turned BAs or other roles into order takers with the title “product owner.” This undermines the entire value proposition of product management.
No matter how good your product roadmap and backlog are, they are only as good as your audience’s ability to understand your vision and priority.
The scrum master is like the conductor of an orchestra, ensuring that every piece fits together at the right time to create something greater than the sum of the parts. You don’t have to know how to play each instrument, but you do have to understand what each part contributes to the overall masterpiece.
Aha! introduces scenario planning to give product owners the ability to create and compare multiple release approaches based on team capacity and backlog priority.
If an image is worth a thousand words, a visual roadmap will save you a thousand hours.
The application portfolio management (APM) tool space can be a confusing one, as many software vendors offer their own take of what APM is. Enterprise architecture, application management and project portfolio management tools offer an APM use case, but these are often quite skewed the primary function of the tool.