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Book Review: Agile Product Management with Scrum

Roman Pichler wrote an interesting book on the role of the Product Owner. With many books published on Agile Development this was a book I was waiting for. It consists 119 pages, 6 chapers and a great reference. Every chapter ends with a paragraph common mistakes. This paragraph I read closely.

In understanding the Product Owner role (chapter 1) Roman wrote on the desirable characteristics of the Product Owner, the cooperation with the team, the Scrum Master and other stakeholders. I liked the one hour rule in which the product owner spends one hour a day with the team and the part on collocating the Product Owner with the team. The part on scaling showed ways to organize (feature or component based) a multi team project.

In chapter 2 Roman writes on envisioning the product. He shows the desirable qualities of the vision, on simplicity and on techniques for the birth of the vision. To be honest I wasn’t enthusiastic about this chapter. And have to blame my self for it. I have implemented Scrum mainly in sofware development for application development. Roman talks about software for product development. I think there is a slight difference. I will get back on that later.

Chapter 3 is the part I liked most. It is on working with the product backlog. Roman writes about the DEEP (Detailed appropriately, Estimated, Emergent en Prioritized) qualities of the Product Backlog, grooming, priorotizing, getting ready for the sprint, sizing items and scaling the backlog. I found the part in grooming the backlog and dealing with non-functional requirements the most interesting. Roman states 10 % of the teams time should be spend on grooming the backlog, for workshops on features for the next sprint.

Chapter 4 is on planning the release. Roman talks on the iron triangle (Time, Cost and Functionality), early and frequent releases, quarterly cycles, release planning, reporting and planning on large projects. I this chapter I liked the examples Roman uses. He elaborates on discisions the Google Chrome team had the made on shipping a release with certain features. Great insights!

Chapter 5 is on collaboration in sprint meetings. This chapter is more on the ceremonies in the scrum process. I quickly read through it.

The last chapter is on transitioning into the Product Owner role. It has good coaching statements in it. I liked the conclusion on the personal development (growing) of Product Owner during a project. I have seen Product Owners grown during projects.

To conclude Roman Pichler wrote a great readable book with great insights, good examples, best practices and common mistakes. His reference is extensive and useful for further reading. A must read for every Product Owner.

Reading this book two subjects kept pondering my mind.  I will post on the following subjects later:

  • Is there a difference in scrum for product development and scrum for application development?
  • Pipelining in large scrum projects : OK or NOK?

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