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Agile Product Management with Scrum: Creating Products that Customers Love Paperback – Mar 22 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (March 22 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321605780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321605788
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 1.8 x 22.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #22,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Product owners have had few places to turn to for advice, despite having the hardest role on an agile project. This book rectifies that. Roman Pichler’s insights into the duties of the product owner are powerful and practical. Correctly applied, his advice will benefit any product owner and agile team.”

–Mike Cohn, Author of Succeeding with Agile, Agile Estimating and Planning, and User Stories Applied


“Scrum is silent on how a product owner can maximize value. Most product managers and marketers don’t know how to use the iterative, incremental nature of Scrum to do so. Roman has filled this hole nicely with his new book, Agile Product Management with Scrum.”

–Ken Schwaber, codeveloper of the Scrum process


“With so little written on the intersections of agile methods and product management, Roman makes a significant contribution to the field. The book provides clear guidance and rich examples on how to become an agile product manager and a successful product owner, and, further, how to lead with a strong vision. This book is a must read for product managers new to Scrum, product owners new to product management, and any product manager who wants to get the most out of Agile.”

–Greg Cohen, Principal Consultant, 280 Group and Director, Silicon Valley Product Management Association


“I’m always happy to hear what Roman is thinking. What I really like about this book is that he not only shares his experience (“Common Mistakes” is a great section), but he also brings in the wisdom of others in the field. This powerful combination allows him to see farther ahead and share that vision with us. Thanks, Roman!”

–Linda Rising, Independent Consultant and coauthor of Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas


“Roman Pichler’s new and remarkable book focuses on the product and the product owner role, applying Scrum to the whole value chain. His experience as a coach leads to genuinely balanced, practical, and applicable solutions for every conceivable situation in the product lifecycle. This is the definitive reference guide to agile product management for all practitioners!”

–Markus Andrezak, Manager, Outsourced Product Development, GmbH


“Roman Pichler’s product owner book is an easy-to-read and comprehensive description of the important role of the product owner in Scrum. It points out the significance of vision and leadership, as well as minimal marketable products and short release cycles. It is a resource for new product owners to get into their job and gives management good advice on choosing the right person for that job.”

–Andrea Heck, Dipl-Inf (Univ.), Agile Transition Project Manager


“The product owner is a vital role in Scrum, and Roman’s new book is a welcome contribution to helping product owners succeed.”

–Craig Larman, coauthor of Scaling Lean & Agile Development and Practices for Scaling Lean & Agile Development


“Roman’s no-nonsense approach takes Scrum back to its roots, examining and building on the fundamental concepts behind product ownership. The focus on teamwork is a welcome antidote to process-centric views of Scrum, showing how the product owner role changes and challenges the status quo of the traditionally run project. Well researched, Roman leverages both his own experience as well as that of others, clearly showing how Scrum product ownership works to solve common problems, citing realworld examples of both success and failure. Scattered with practical tips, this book is for anybody who wants to manage or to be a Scrum product owner and release successful products using Scrum.”

–Simon Bennett, Global Competency Lead and Product Owner, EMC Consulting


“Roman Pichler’s Agile Product Management with Scrum is destined to be a vital reference for agile product managers, product owners, business analysts, and anybody wanting to be a great agile product manager. Roman shares practical tips and guidance on all aspects of agile planning, the care and feeding of your product backlog, and the essential activities of visioning, valuing, and collaborating. Agile Product Management with Scrum will raise your awareness of the complex, multifaceted discipline of agile product management. Better yet, all agile team members will benefit by reading this book, because on every successful agile team, we all think like product managers.”

–Ellen Gottesdiener, President/Founder, EBG Consulting, Inc.


“Agile software development is about incrementally converting requirements into working software using short iterations. Agile Product Management with Scrum answers one of the most important questions in product organizations: “Are we building the right product?” Or, as Roman so passionately put it in his subtitle, Creating Products that Customers Love. Roman’s book is the long-awaited link to turn a broad vision into meaningful and digestible requirements. It provides a thorough introduction to the Scrum framework for product managers and executives who are eager to reduce development costs and time-to-market delivery of exciting new software products.”

–Jochen Krebs, Incrementor and Author of Agile Portfolio Management


“Roman delivers an agile product management book that clearly describes the importance, challenges, and pitfalls of the product owner role. Using practical examples, highlighting common mistakes, and supplying reflection questions at the end of each chapter, Roman makes the role of product owner easily accessible and doable. This is the book to read for any organization wishing to implement Scrum.”

–Jessica Hildrum, former CEO of Norway’s premier Agile training company


“At the core of every successful agile development team is a visionary, engaged, and empowered product manager. In Agile Product Management with Scrum, Roman Pichler gives us a simple, no-nonsense definition of the role that will lead any Scrum team to amazing results. For all of you that want to get under the covers of the most important role in agile development, this is the book for you. A must for every new product owner!”

–Steve Greene, Vice President, Program Management & Agile Development,

From the Back Cover

The First Guide to Scrum-Based Agile Product Management


InAgile Product Management with Scrum,leading Scrum consultant Roman Pichler uses real-world examples to demonstrate how product owners can create successful products with Scrum. He describes a broad range of agile product management practices, including making agile product discovery work, taking advantage of emergent requirements, creating the minimal marketable product, leveraging early customer feedback, and working closely with the development team.


Benefitting from Pichler's extensive experience, you'll learn how Scrum product ownership differs from traditional product management and how to avoid and overcome the common challenges that Scrum product owners face.


Coverage includes

  • Understanding the product owner's role:what product owners do, how they do it, and the surprising implications
  • Envisioning the product:creating a compelling product vision to galvanize and guide the team and stakeholders
  • Grooming the product backlog:managing the product backlog effectively even for the most complex products
  • Planning the release:bringing clarity to scheduling, budgeting, and functionality decisions
  • Collaborating in sprint meetings:understanding the product owner's role in sprint meetings, including the dos and don'ts
  • Transitioning into product ownership:succeeding as a product owner and establishing the role in the enterprise

This book is an indispensable resource for anyone who works as a product owner, or expects to do so, as well as executives and coaches interested in establishing agile product management.

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Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gary E. Smith on Sept. 7 2010
Format: Paperback
Most of my career has been primarily in Product Management: New Product Development (R&D) and Software Development. I have been an advocate of the "Gating Process" as a way to bring products to market and have had a growing interest of Agile Sofware Development. Agile does away with the need for Project Managers (too much emphasis has been placed on PMP's) as being the lead, but rather puts the onus on the individual team members to set goals, take responsibility and deliver. I have now become an advocate of Agile and the idea of "Product Owners".

At first I took offense to a Scrum Master telling a Product Manager what to do. However since software delivery is a large part of what a Product Manager is ultimately responsible for the entire product then I am an advocate for any better of way of developing and delivering products. At the end of the day if Agile works then I am for it. This book does a good job of defining how the Product Owner should work in an Agile World, however doesn't describe all the other duties of the Product Manager ie Product Management: product marketing, product positioning, product lifecycle management, cross impacts of product introductions, and all aspects of the product. You will have to look elsewhere for this information. This book focuses more on "Product Development" rather than "Product Management". (Title should be Agile Product Development)

Remember at of the day as Product Manager you will be responsible for the product throughout the product lifecycle and ultimately the success of the product, so the sooner you embrace Agile Product Development the better off you will be.

Gary E. Smith
Senior Business Analyst
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By Andrew on Nov. 15 2013
Format: Paperback
I am relatively a newbie to agile/scrum as a Product Manager and I can say that this book was concisely written and provided tips which I could implement easily in my day to day work.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is a Product Owner and is engaged in Agile/Scrum.
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By Peter on March 7 2011
Format: Paperback
A good book for highlighting how my manager should work as a product manager instead of a dev manager. The book explains in great detail the role of a product manager and the rules that they should work by in order to enable the scrum team to achieve great results.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not intended as a Product Management book. It's about Agile and specifically the role the Product Owner plays in an agile team. In that regard the book delivers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 51 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Brillant reference publication on Agile Product Management April 17 2010
By Markus Andrezak - Published on
Format: Paperback
Although there are not many books out there on the market on product management from an agile perspective and it would be quite tempting to come up with an uncomprehensive, thick, large, theoretical book (and publishers like thick books), Roman Pichler withstood that temptation. Instead he came up with a very concise, thin, digestable and very well understandable practical guide for the complicated role of a product owner in an agile environment.

Although the book is quite thin with a mere 130 pages, I couldn't yet find a situation in the typical product owners live which is not covered in the book in some form with some practical advice. Rather than being abstract and counting down all possible solutions, Roman Pichler concentrates on a few solutions which it makes it easy to choose and apply them. This is his recipe for making the book applicable to everyday life rather than being encyclopedic.

I really think every PO beginner (and there are quite a few out there with the current rate of Scrum adoption) should have a copy of this book as well as the experienced one's as i is really worthwhile to take the few hours and sit back to rethink your role.

I am happy that this book is now published in contrast to the multitude of Scrum Master oriented literature.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Educative and Useful. A tinge flabby for my taste, though Oct. 21 2011
By R. Pokkyarath - Published on
Format: Paperback
A good book. The only problem I've with it is that at times the book sounds a little too academic. Every now and then I attend corporate training sessions and whenever the discussion turns to soft skills such as leadership, empowerment, commitment and so on, I invariably find myself suppressing my yawn or exploring the hitherto unexplored features of my mobile phone. There are a few times when this book transports me into that state, for example, when the author talks about the qualities of vision or empowering individuals or when he quotes Schwaber and Sutherland and Beck and others to drive home his point. Other than that it was a nice read for me. The author covers relevant areas like release planning, release management, stories (functional and non-functional), product backlog maintenance, sprint review, sprint retrospective, common pitfalls like feature creep and so on. So the tone of the book is not one that is purely designed to give you a toolkit to get up and running (the various charts and matrix), but one that meanders a bit around the soft skills for your team.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Concise coverage of just what product owners need to know June 3 2010
By Michael Cohn - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a project management framework, Scrum introduces many changes. One of the biggest is the role of the product owner who represents the users or customers of a product or system. The product owner is responsible for making sure the right product is being built and in the right order. This forces the product owner to think iteratively and incrementally about the product--rather than a small set of large decisions made at the outset of a project, the Scrum product owner makes many more but smaller decisions throughout the course of a typical development project.

This excellent book provides new and experienced product owners with the guidance they will need to work in this new way. The book focuses on precisely what you need to know in order to be a great product owner. Author Roman Pichler assumes that the reader is either an experienced traditional product manager learning Scrum or will pick up an additional book on traditional product management. This allows him to focus specifically on the unique product management challenges of using Scrum. He covers how to create a shared vision of the product, which is more difficult on Scrum as its iterative nature avoids a prolonged upfront specification phase. Pichler covers thorough coverage of creating a product backlog, planning a release, and collaborating with the team during the sprints ("iterations") of the project. He also provides advice on how to transition into the new role of product owner.

There is a shortage of fantastic product owners in the world. This book will help fix that problem.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A major gap has been filled June 4 2010
By Clinton Keith - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a Scrum trainer, I work with many teams implementing Scrum or trying to refine its use. For many of these teams, the role of project management must change significantly. A majority of Scrum books address PROJECT management very well, but none have sufficiently addressed the role of PRODUCT management. The reason, I believe, is because less is known about how to do product management well. Less is known about deciding "what" to make than "how" to make it. It seems we are really good at making the wrong products efficiently. This can be a challenge for Scrum teams as well; having a product owner who does not know how to manage a product (instead of a project) is quite common.

This is where Roman Pichler book "Agile Product Management with Scrum" comes in. I found myself glued to the book and annotating every page. The book is a perfect blend of the philosophy of managing the emergence of great products and how this is done as a product owner in Scrum.

The book is divided into six chapters that speak to the product owner as well as those that work with him. I found it especially valuable that Roman interspersed lists of "Common Mistakes" seen in the execution of the product owner role. I can honestly say, as I read through them, that I had seen them all.

This book is now in the "list of six" that I recommend to all of my students. I have this feeling that a last major missing piece of reference for Scrum has now been put in place.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Valuable Product Owner reference - but title is misleading May 10 2010
By J. Deville - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like this book, but the title is somewhat misleading. It is focused on the Product Owner's role - not the whole spectrum of Product Management. In Pichler's view, the Product Owner should be the single voice - both strategic and tactical. That is often not practical for many organizations, especially large ones. Consider that Product Management covers a wide area responsibilities that includes everything from envisioning the product to preparing the distribution channels. It covers defining requirements, as well as pricing and packaging. This book will help the product owner define the product and work with the development team. It will not help the product manager with their other responsibilities.

That aside, Pichler provides valuable advice for Product Owners. One key piece of advice is forming a Product Owner's Council to reconcile differences in a multi-team environment. I've coached a multi-team project where this was lacking -- we couldn't get the client to address this. However, I wouldn't go as far as saying, as Pichler does, that this requires a Chief Product Owner. That is one effective approach; but there are others. I've also worked with other companies who were equally effective using a more collaborative approach. Pichler's key point though is on target -- the product owners must provide a unified voice.

My overall take is the book is a good supplemental reference for Product Owners and I will be adding it to Construx's agile seminars recommended reading list. It provides solid advice to Product Managers, or anybody else, who are transitioning to the Product Owner role and the difference they can expect to see using Scrum. I view it as supplemental reference because it doesn't sufficiently cover the Scrum process--Product Owners would also need to have Scrum training or at least read the other scrum references (e.g. Agile Project Management with Scrum (Microsoft Professional)).