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Agile Product Responsibility in the Enterprise, Part 2: Managing Release Content

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Dean Leffingwell, author of Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises, examines the activities that are part of the Agile product manager's responsibility in order to manage product releases.
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My earlier article "A Contemporary Framework for Agile Product Management in the Enterprise" described a framework for product management and a separation of roles for the Agile product owner and the Agile product manager in the enterprise context. I concluded with a suggested set of Agile-specific responsibilities that are different from the activities in a pre-Agile world:

  • Own the vision and release backlog.
  • Manage release content.
  • Maintain the product roadmap.
  • Build an effective product manager/product owner team.

In part 1 of this series, I described the first of these responsibilities: Owning the vision and release backlog. In this article, I'll describe the specifics of the second responsibility, managing the release content.

Managing Release Content

In accordance with the Big Picture model, the vision for the product is delivered to the market in a stream of continuous, frequent, small releases (typically every 60–120 days), as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 The Big Picture and its Agile release train.

Each release is defined by a fixed date, theme, planned feature set, and fixed quality requirements. Scope is the variable. Product managers deliver the vision to the development teams face-to-face in periodic release planning events.

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