Extreme Product Management (XPM)

When Stacey Mentzel and I wrote the article on Extreme Product Management, we knew the term "agile waterfall" would create a controversy.

I appreciate Roger Cauvin's posting about the article. But I'm afraid he might be missing our point. Our definition of XPM is using the minimum process and creating the minimum artifacts to deliver products people want to buy.

A key phrase is "products people want to buy." In order to do this, product managers need time to collect the strategic information from the market. The role of the product manager in an agile process is to provide the problems to be solved, for which personas, in which market segments. Product managers need to understand not only users (which is typically where agile methods focus), but also the buyers.

It is hard to convey complex ideas in a one-way medium, such as written requirements--just as it's often difficult to convey complex ideas in a printed article. Therefore, we embrace the iterative approach of agile methodologies. Product managers need to be involved in getting feedback during the process but not in every iteration meeting.

Extreme Product Management is meant to articulate the role of product management in embracing Extreme Programming. XPM is not about managing the sprints and iterations; when building products (not one-time projects), product managers need to operate strategically and bring in market facts.

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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