The Product Manager role (unlike that of the project manager) is arguably the least well understood of all the software project development disciplines and varies greatly in definition and implementation from one organization to another. This blog discusses how the role of the product manager has been changed by the move to agile methodologies such as Scrum and Kanban.
The popularity of Agile methods, processes, environments, philosophies, or any other idiom used to use to describe new age software development, comes as much from the dissatisfaction with traditional waterfall methods as it does from the general success of these new methods. Agile believers, not wanting to be encumbered by the failures of the past, have lobbied rightfully to have Agile approaches endorsed, supported and implemented. But what was intended to be an approach to the creation of software, has experienced such a successful run that its influence is beginning to be felt beyond the creation of software itself, affecting other aspects of the development organization.
One such area to come under scrutiny is that of the Product Manager. The problem with any serious examination of Product Management is that it varies greatly in definition and implementation from one organization to another. However, no matter how Product Managers’ see their role they almost always have a significant influence over any software product being developed, whether it be by authority over product definition, product development or both. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Product Management role should be influenced by the introduction of Agile concepts in the development of the software.
It has been implied in some quarters that when developing software according to Agile principles, there is no room for the Product Manager. Is this a fair analysis or an attempt by some who believe in a return to the days of the software developer as primary decision maker, eliminating the participation of others in the product development process?
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