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Handle with Care: Software in Use

While standing in line at the bank, the delicate and complex nature of updating live code struck me. The bank’s computer system reloaded as the teller apologized for the inconvenience. In that moment, which would frustrate most people, I found intrigue. Despite the added wait time, I felt as though …

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What Spongebob Taught Me About Product Management

SpongeBob taught me a lot as a kid. Sure, he taught us about imagination, entrepreneurship, and Texas, which was all very useful. But, if you look closer (as I have in recent years) you’ll notice that SpongeBob also teaches several important lessons about Product Management. Elicit User Feedback Early and …

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Negotiating with Stakeholders

One of the toughest aspects of being a product manager or a business analyst is to get people to agree.  Especially when they have different wants,  ideas and opinions on the features the product must have.  Negotiating with our stakeholders is a must. Of course, part of our job as …

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Gathering Requirements in a Green Field

In my time at Seilevel, I’ve had a chance to work with a number of different clients, operating in a range of industries. Oftentimes, these clients begin projects with a number of legacy systems that need updated or integrated with; it is a rare opportunity for a project team to …

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The Most Important Part of A User Story

The last couple of years has seen a wholesale shift in development methodologies among the Fortune 1000 companies from Waterfall to Agile.  It is not an exaggeration to say that the Agile revolution that has been brewing in small companies, startups and web companies for the last decade and a …

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Agile Requirements Document

At Seilevel, on our Agile projects we have introduced a project artifact called the Agile Requirements Document or ARD that we create during the planning phase of a project.  We have done this on several projects and have had good success with it.  An ARD is conceptually similar in some …

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Product Roadmaps for Internal Software Products

When I was a product manager for a commercial software company, one of the things that we regularly created was product roadmaps. These were tied to the vision for the product, and how we thought we could reach that vision. All requests to change our product were evaluated against our …

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Managing Product Backlogs in Diverse Agile Environments

Managing a Product Backlog when there is only one development team in an organization creating one solution at a time is relatively straight forward. However, large enterprises have multiple development teams creating a multitude of solutions with interdependencies between them. Managing product backlogs in these situations becomes very tricky, especially …

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Agile is a Cultural Revolution

Agile is often spoken of a development methodology along the lines of “Agile is a development methodology; other common development methodologies are Waterfall, Iterative, etc.”  This is akin to saying something like “Weightlifting is a means of keeping fit; other common techniques to stay fit are aerobics, swimming, running, walking, …

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