Agile for Product Owners



Utilizing an Agile approach effectively requires more than just ensuring thedevelopment team is following the Agile process. It is a collaborative effortbetween this team and the product owner. Agile represents a true paradigm changefor most organizations, and in order to truly take advantage of the possiblebenefits, today's product owners need to know how to support their developmentpartners.

This course will provide extensive knowledge and understanding of theprinciples of Agile, demonstrate how to use the product backlog as a tool fordriving success product outcomes, instruct clearly in the ways of working inpartnership with the development organization, and provide tools that enableteams to embrace the change that is required for delivering the best productspossible.


product owners and managers, team leadership, project managers

Learning Objectives

  • What Agile is
  • How to form an Agile team
  • The role of the Agile team product owner
  • The five levels of detail of Agile planning

1. Agile Overview

  • What is Agile?
  • Agile Manifesto
  • Agile Principles
  • Agile Methodologies
  • Agile Benefits
  • Requirements Reality

2. Forming the Agile Team

  • Team Roles and Responsibilities
  • Expectations
  • Self Organization
  • Communication

3. The Role of the Product Owner

  • Role and Responsibilities of the Product Owner
  • Agile Product Management
  • Working with the Team
  • Working with Management
  • What to Expect Section

4. Agile Planning

  • The Agile Framework
  • 5 Levels of Planning
  • Product Vision

5. Focus on the Customer

  • Customer Involvement
  • User Roles
  • Creating and Using Personas
  • Constraints

6. Creating the Product Backlog

  • The Product Backlog
  • User Stories
  • INVEST Model (Bill Wake, 2003)
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Acceptance Criteria and Acceptance Tests
  • Foundational Stories
  • Low-Fidelity Prototypes

7. Guidelines to Writing Effective User Stories

  • Start with Goal Stories
  • Slice the Cake
  • Open vs. Closed Stories
  • Story Constraints
  • Size the Story to the Horizon

8. Product Roadmap

  • Product Themes
  • Two Types of Roadmaps
  • Creating the Roadmap
  • Keeping Focus
  • Maintaining the Roadmap

9. Prioritizing the Product Backlog

  • Prioritization Themes
  • Decision Matrix
  • Kano Analysis
  • Preventing Fire Alarms
  • Maintaining the Product Backlog

10. Estimating

  • Relative vs. Actual Estimating
  • Introduction to Story Points
  • Effectively Using Story Points
  • Planning Poker (Grenning 2002)
  • Product Planning Poker (Business Value)

11. Release Planning

  • Velocity
  • What is a Release
  • Schedule Based vs. Feature Based Planning
  • Building the Release Plan
  • Visibility

12. Detailed Requirements

  • Unused Requirements
  • Documentation
  • Adapting to Change
  • Test Driven Development
  • Use Cases
  • Alternative Methods
  • What is Important

13. Iteration Planning and Execution

  • Capacity
  • Engaging the Team
  • Planning the Iteration
  • Executing the Iteration
  • Defining "Done"
  • Demonstrate Working Software (Delivered Requirements)
  • Inspect and Adapt applied to Requirements

14. Retrospectives

  • Elements of the Retrospective
  • Facilitating Retrospectives
  • Improvement Backlog from Retrospectives

15. Adopting Agile Product Management

  • Agile Process Overview
  • Overcoming Resistance
  • How to get Started
  • Agile Calendar of Events
  • Challenges to Adoption
  • Team Roadmap Exercise


Exercise 1: Working in small teams, you will "design the boxin orderto establish a vision for a sample project. You will participate in identifyingkey selling points, features, operating requirements, etc.

Exercise 2: Within your teams you will brainstorm some user roles for yourexample project. From the brainstorming, you will consolidate the larger list ofroles into key roles that will be the focus of your sample project. For each ofthe key roles, each team will create personas and share them with the class.

Exercise 3: With your teams, you will engage in a story-writing workshop as ameans of building a product backlog for your sample project. We will alsointroduce low-fidelity prototyping as a way to generate additional stories.

Exercise 4: You will individually have an opportunity to break down apredetermined Epic Story into smaller more manageable User Stories.

Exercise 5: Each team will group their user stories into common product themes,helping teams recognize that at times it makes sense to prioritize beyond justindividual user stories. Teams then utilize the product themes to establish adesired product roadmap. Like the vision, the roadmap is then posted for teamreference for the remainder of the course.

Exercise 6: Utilizing the prioritization techniques discussed, you willprioritize the Product Backlog for your sample project taking into account thedependencies, risk, and impact of your user stories.

Exercise 7: Using the estimating techniques taught using story points, you'llenjoy a few rounds of Planning Poker, a fun and very effective method ofrelative estimating, with your team to establish estimates for your highestpriority stories. This is certain to be a valuable tool for you to incorporateinto your estimating process; specifically your estimates of business value.

Exercise 8: The instructor will facilitate a Retrospective for the classallowing participants to provide feedback for the course in addition todemonstrating how a Retrospective should be run.