6 Lessons for Non-Dev Executives at Agile Companies

Speed Rich Mironov offers 6 Lessons for Non-Dev Executives at Agile Companies. In particular, Rich writes: The bottleneck is moving elsewhere. As Development catches up with its backlog – shipping twice as much software with higher quality – other parts of the company are being stressed. Channel Marketing has to brief resellers twice as often, Marcom must revise collateral every quarter, Support needs training on the latest update, Operations has new bundles to create and price lists to change. Finally, Sales has to deliver real revenue against the improvements it demanded. (“I know I told Engineering that we could close $16M if we added Finnish and Swedish versions…”) It's been my experience that Agile adoption reveals broken processes elsewhere, particularly in product management. If product managers are busy supporting sales and marketing and whomever else, how can they provide a continuously prioritized backlog? (And if you've been following the principles in Requirements That Work and Living in an Agile World, you may indeed have a continuously prioritized backlog as well as an updated roadmap, business case, positioning, sales process--all the artifacts that define the business of the product). As developers deliver more faster, the rest of the company struggles to keep up. Where once we heard sales and marketing people say, "if they could just deliver faster," now we're hearing them say, "Whoa! Slow down! We haven't the bandwidth to launch and learn all the new stuff." Improving the effectiveness of any one department in isolation reveals broken processes elsewhere. Your company is an organism, each part inter-related with the others; it's not a group of silos. Although some people think Agile is just about development, it also impacts--positively or not--the departments that work with development. When optimizing one group in your organization, think of how the change will affect the others.
Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.


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