Agile product development

Posted on May 14, 2014


agile product development
I was at my favorite place in Cambridge last weekend, the Microsoft Research and Development Center, also known as the NERD Center; that’s appropriate, isn’t it? This conference was called Product Camp.  And believe it or not, I do have other interests in life besides exercise and Peeps.  Although, those two topics are more fun to write about.

One of my favorite sessions was about Agile Methodology and Product Management. I am fascinated by the agile philosophy. For those of you who don’t know what Agile Development is, Wikipedia defines it as:

“Agile software development is a group of software development methods based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change. It is a conceptual framework that promotes foreseen tight iterations throughout the development cycle.”

Steven Johnson, CMO of Rally Software, gave a fascinating talk about agile and product management. In order for companies to be successful in bringing products to market, they need to:

1. Be clear on priorities.

The lie of upfront planning (the opposite of agile) is that you can anticipate everything. We all know that this is not true. Agile allows you to adapt to changing requirements. As Steve says, “Innovation begins with observation.”

Before delving into the product, companies should ask themselves:

a. what business are we in?
b. What markets are we in?
c. what is our ideal customer?
d. what is our current customer?
e. study the gap between ideal and current customer.

2. Have just enough process to keep things moving, but not so much that you get bogged down in the process.

As you observe and learn from the environment, you can shift your approach. The biggest challenge is how to stay on track while adjusting to the changing market conditions.

I love the agile concept because it can apply to so many features of business. I even apply it to my blog post creations! What do you think about Agile?