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A Contemporary Framework for Agile Product Management in the Enterprise

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Dean Leffingwell, author of Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises, discusses the changing role of product management in the enterprise during the transition to Agile development methods.
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My article Five Phases of Disillusionment in Pre-Agile Waterfall Development describes some of the dysfunctional behaviors and mistrust that may be built into our systems prior to the Agile transition. In this article, we'll move to a more positive and enlightened view of the changing role of product management.

What's Different About Product Management in Agile?

The role of the product manager must change as the organization moves from waterfall development to Agile development. The following table points out some of the differences. Adapting to all the behaviors in the column at right is a substantial change for the newly Agile enterprise product manager.

PM Responsibility



Understand customer needs

Up front and discontinuous.

Constant interaction.

Document requirements

Fully elaborated in Marketing Requirements Document or Product Requirements Document (PRD)

Coarsely documented in vision. Constant verbal communication to team.


Plan a one-time delivery, much later.

Continuous near-term roadmap.

Prioritize requirements

Not at all, or one time only in PRD.

Reprioritize at every release and iteration.

Validate requirements

N/A (QA responsibility).

Involved with iterations and each release. Smaller, more frequent releases.

Manage change

Prohibit change[md]weekly Change Control Board meetings.

Adjust at every release and iteration boundary.

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