agility in innovation - delivering breakthrough products

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We at Accept Software, along with some industry analysts like Forrester Research’s Dave West and Roy Wildeman, are seeing a need to reduce product development and delivery risks, and improve quality and market satisfaction, using what they have dubbed “Agile Value Management” – analytically evaluating product tradeoffs not only continuously during execution, as in agile, but from the very start of the product planning process. In this presentation I talk about some concepts in product planning and agile software development that may be new for you, even if you are already familiar with agile methodologies. This presentation was given at the AIPMM's Product Management Education Conference on 17 November 2006 in San Jose.


  • 1.Agility In Innovation - Delivering Breakthrough Products
    Nils Davis
    Director of Product Management
    Accept Software

2. Agenda
The challenges of product management
Agile Value Management
Agile and the innovation lifecycle
3. Introduction
Nils Davis, Director of Product Management
15+ years in product management
At Accept Software for 3 1/2 years
The ultimate dog-fooder
Accept Software:
Mission:Improve product innovation success
75+ customers, multiple industries
Integrated software suite for ideation, portfolio, and requirements management
4. The Product Managers Dilemma
Great ideas in e-mail
Phone calls from Support
Customer requests from Field Sales
Notes from a coworker
Existing requirements
How do I keep track?
What is most important?
Who wants what?
5. The Product Managers Dilemma
Business strategies
Critical customers
Competitive gaps and advantages
Release management
Technology and business risks
Which business needs do I focus on? How can I help my customers be successful?
6. We Have Market Knowledge
Consider the difference:
The product must support features X and Y because 73% of customers say they want it.
The product must support features X and Y because 73% of customers say they want it, including the majority of buyer persona who perceive them as critical points of comparison. These features will reduce the time it takes to close sales, increase our win rate, and strengthen our reception by analysts.
(From Travis Jensons Software Maven blog)
Market segment
Competitive differentiator
Business objective
Competitive differentiator
Marketing theme
7. Without a framework for capturing knowledge, importance, and commitments:
Deferred requirements get lost when new versions are defined
Its impossible to know which customer requests are important
Sales makes a lot of commitments that we cannot track
Stakeholders or important customers hijack the roadmap
Vision for product is set aside for putting out fires associated with high priority customers
Its impossible for me to tell whats going to be in the new product
Releases are often late because scope changes cant be managed
Big releases with lots of requirements always slip; call for endless point and patch releases that have to be shipped
Strategy and competitive gaps never get addressed
Bad productivity. Bad decisions. Misunderstandings. Miscommunication. Unsuccessful products.
"Requirements Chaos"
8. Capturing Market Knowledge
9. Basic agile approaches are straining when it comes to
Enterprise scale
Customer needs
Competitive issues
Corporate strategy
Tom Grant of Forrester reports, based on his attendance at the Agile 2009 conference, that:
Agile is changing - its successor still worries about build scripts, daily Scrum meetings, and IDE plug-ins, but it recognizes the sovereignty of business objectives, and governs jointly with other methodologies
How Is Agile Changing?
10. Agile Value Management
Integrates agile explicitly into the strategic product innovation cycle
Ensures (agile) product plans are aligned with corporate strategy
Adds "intelligence" to your product backlog
Link user stories to customer needs, competitive threats, business risks, and company strategy
Result: strategic value is driving every step, from prioritization to delivery
11. Enterprise agile teams need automation
Distributed teams
Decision (and documentation) capture
But AVM is more than Enterprise Agile
Focused on product owner
Analytics for prioritization
Agile Value Management
12. Risk vs. Reward
13. Importance vs. Cost
Inexpensive And Valuable
14. AVM Benefits Everyone
Accept Proprietary and Confidential
Better visibility and resource managementduring sprints
Product Owners
More scientific and analytic approach to improving decision certainty
Software Developers
Better insight into why? to ensure development aligns with market and strategy
Improved coordination to manage dependencies and trade-offs throughout the Agile cycle
15. Enterprise Agile
Enterprise-size efforts challenge traditional agile
Regular agile breaks down
But enterprises need agile
Agile needs a few new twists to work in the enterprise
Dean Leffingwell, Scaling Software Agility (
16. Agile Changes In Enterprise
Intelligent backlog still applies
But usually with a hierarchy of requirements, not just a single level
Release train
Synchronized sprints
Sprint status rolled up to release level
Separate architecture runway
17. Agile Enterprise Big Picture
(From Dean Leffingwells Agile 2009 Conference presentation)
18. Product Innovation
Goal: Grow top line revenue (new products)
Obstacle: Disruptive innovations have high reward AND high risk
Manage risk by:
Bringing customers deeper into the innovation process
Removing barriers that cause mistakes along the way
Agile enables you to deliver early and often to test the market and concept
19. Leading Innovation
(From Bob Suttons 21 Tips for Leading Innovation
2. Treat innovation as an import-export business. Keep trying to bring in ideas from outside your group or organization, keep trying to show and tell others about your ideas, and blend them all together.
4. Treat your beliefs as strong opinions, weakly held.
6. Say I dont know on a regular basis.
20. Leading Innovation
17. Have the confidence and resolve to make tough decisions, stop your people from whining about the decisions made, and to get on with implementing them.
18. Kill a lot of ideas, including a lot of good ideas.
21. Innovation requires selling your ideas. The greatest innovators, from Edison to Jobs, are gifted at generating excitement and sales. If you can't or won't sell, team-up with someone who can.
21. Take Aways
Prioritizing the product backlog is hard use analytics
For larger teams, augment agile with agile value management
Enterprise products need even bigger changes in agile methodologies
Agile helps with breakthrough innovation by getting you to market faster and cheaper
22. Questions and Discussion
Nils Davis
[email protected]