How to stay agile and be relevant in a fast changing world

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Product Manager VS Product Owner

Product manager vs Product owner

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Product Thinking and Dual Track Agile

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Distributed Agile

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Retrospective using story mapping and design thinking

Retrospective using story mapping and design thinking principles

Above is a sample story map activity for a tester persona in a agile team. Its is based on life in the sprint for a persona. We have also mapped the emotions to the activities that the persona is involved with.

The activity details with positive emotions can be mapped to the “whats going well” and the activity details with negative emotions can be tagged to “what needs improvement”.

Once all team members do above activity and record their details in the retrospective chart, they can they create affinity diagram of related items and then pick top 2 areas to improve in the upcoming sprint.(As shown in figure below)



Team can discuss ways of improvement for the top 2 picked areas and track them for upcoming sprints.


tracking actions



Happy continuous improvement 🙂

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Impact of Social Media Analytics on Product Development

Will i be outcasted by product development fraternity, if i say that Product development team’s need to listen more closely to device whispers and customer’s roars’s rather than to technology bells for developing products that are more desirable by the consumers of electronic devices.

Lets look the the major changes that are happening with the consumers of electronics devices companies, which would product development

  • Every day, consumers are using connected devices generating 5 petabytes of data. Just to be clear, that’s 5 times 10 to the fifteenth power or 5 quadrillion bytes. Hidden in this data is a set of device usage and failure patterns, a huge source of potential insights for improving the products design and features.
  • These consumers are part of the world’s largest focus group, social media with millions of consumers regularly sharing their honest and candid opinions online. Companies don’t have to seek consumers’ opinions via panel or research study, they’re already available. Yet, at the same time, may consumers are willing and eager to go one step further and participate with companies to develop better products.
  • Customers sometimes are returning devices that are not faulty due to usability, software issues, remotely, and this is resulting in huge cost of “No fault returns” for device manufacturers.


Despite the fact that social media and device channels represent a rich, continuous stream of customer feedback, few organizations are equipped to take advantage of these inputs in product development life cycle due to

  • No formal strategy for utilization of social media inputs –Unable to make transformational changes in Organization structures, process, tool, practices and company culture to gain full value of social technologies
  • Low Budget for social/device analytics – Companies are not able to define metrics and ROI for using analytics for product development due to which management is not funding such initiatives
  • No Actionable analytics – Companies don’t have strategy, process and tools to plan and utilize the social/device information into actions for product development.
  • Unable to build/utilize Collaborative focus groups – Not able to build collaborative product focus groups to engage customers through social media means due to IP ramifications, Quality of knowledge exchange, etc.
  • Minimal IT experience internally to build or integrate complex systems – Companies have products from different vendors, for integrating social media/device analytics with product development and it’s very difficult task to build or integrate these disparate systems

A better path forward

Let’s look at how product development team’s of electronic industry companies can engage with their consumer and also leverage huge amounts of data on the user’s devices to improve the products

1. To generate new ideas for products

Using crowdsourcing and co-development with customers, companies can generate new product Ideas, which can then be routed to product portfolio and product requirements for new Product development. Companies can also collaborate with consumers to decide and prioritize new features for the product.

Lets look at how some of the companies engaging consumer’s for ideation

Samsung – “We get most of our ideas from the market,” said Kim Hyun-suk, an executive vice president at Samsung, in a conversation about the future of mobile devices and television.

Madison Electric’s led the company to launch the Sparks Innovation Center(crowd sourced, collaborative approach), which has been the point of origin for five profitable new Madison Electric products .

2. Product design improvement and geographic specific product customization

Once products are released to market, the best and most reliable feedback on electronics products and software services can be found online from the social media updates of opinion leaders and influential tech blogs, tweets and so forth. These data can be analyzed, filtered and provided to the product development team for building the product improvements.

Device usage patterns and issues in the devices can be tracked, collated and analyzed to provide insights on the product improvement to be done to the product features and usability.

3. Remote Product Support and software/firmware upgrades

Online customer feedback can be assessed not only to decide on service strategy to fix the current generation of products, but also in coming out with software upgrades, new versions and generations of products.

Three simple, but powerful ideas will allow your company to have more engaged customers and improve overall product experience

Below presentation captures the details of the blog.

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Building distributed agile team

distributed team v1


Companies decide to build team in remote location for various reasons

  • In search of talent
  • Buying companies globally
  • To cater to specific market
  • Take cost advantage


Below is the high level model for building a distributed team.


Selecting agile development partner


Partner – To check the experience of vendor in running agile projects, its also important to also talk to teams to understand their stand on agility.

Recruiting team – Recruitment is most important aspect. You should be involved in the recruitment of the team to make sure that the team is ready to adopt agility and some of the team members have experience in technical practices such as Refactoring, Test driven development, Automated Testing.

Agile coach – Local agile coach, who can coach the team on management and technical practices.

Knowledge Transition – There are multiple models of knowledge transition to distributed teams. Either onshore or remote team members should travel to other location for the knowledge transition and it also helps to integrate the distributed teams.

Scaling Team – Its a good idea to start with small teams(few teams) and then scale it after the initial set of teams are stabilized.

Working with distributed teams will require patience and effort from both the ends to make it successful.

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