Thursday

Product Manager adopting web2.0 agile software development

In the world of web development online product managers have two choices big bang (probably using waterfall) Vs incremental redesign (and empower product development) of the websites their responsible for. The world of online moves at such a fast pace that by the time you carry out your research, then work with an analyst to document your findings in the form user requirements and then design and build your website (or online product) and then launch/re-launch it, the original research is in danger of being out of date or put another way superseded by some new online fad. This means that you’re in danger of being in decline before you’ve had the opportunity to experience growth and maturity. In my opinion a combination of adopting agile software development (such as Scrum) along with web 2.0 technologies and mindset (i.e. perpetual beta) coupled with taking a brave decision to develop a new home page whilst leaving the rest of the site as is and then asking for user feedback via your web site has got to be the way to go. The most recent site to do this is the BBC.co.uk.

Opting for incremental raises a few questions for the online product manager.

#1.Will changing and releasing just the home page of a site confuse the users?
#2.Will internal stakeholders adopt the perpetual beta approach?
#3.What do you do if the users make suggestions that go against your company culture for your online product?

I’d value your feedback on this subject.

4 comments:

  1. Product management definitely has its challenges in the fast paced world of web applications. We use a agile development (a flavor of scrum in our case) for our product development. We use a wiki to facilitate idea capture and development. We also follow an efficient and effective process to prioritize work that helps ensure that what we decide to build meets our strategic goals (which change almost quarterly in the web space:) We were in beta for about 8 months but then decided to officially go live. The beta had a purpose - to test a business concept on the market. In our case it was effective. It turned out our initial guess was wrong, so we changed course. I think the perpetual beta thing is a bit of a cop out - put a stake in the ground and start moving towards revenue/profitability. As for customer feedback - we always look for that, and take everything in, but just implementing what is asking for isn't good product management. Assessing, combining, comparing against everything in place or in the pipeline will help turn customer feedback into the right feature set. As for the other comment on incremental changes - we do it all the time, which sometimes creates some disjointedness in the app, but it sure helps us test new items. We recently added a usability expert to our product team to help improve cross application continuity.

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  2. Hi,

    Excellent article - I really appreciate your knowledge about Product Manager which is adopting web2.0 agile software development and I have bookmarked it for later viewing and forwarded it on.

    Cheers.

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  4. Really great ideas. I like every example. Just might have to try these...
    more template

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