The Scrum Product Management Revolution

With product management scenarios, time is of the essence, especially when changes need to be affected for either branding, distribution, or in the storefront (especially in the ecommerce centric world of today). As a result of this, many companies have been openly adopting SCRUM product management approaches to make the response times in product management much quicker and more effective, with changes costing the least amount of time and expenses.

But, while many companies will consider themselves completely agile for adopting a more incremental (daily metric) approach to product management or development processes, truly agile companies are adopting SCRUM product management principles to overcome many hurdles that have prevented achieving the speed and efficiency that has always been desired but never obtained in the past.

We all know that agile approaches, pioneered by software companies initially, were all about meeting needs when they arise, in a responsive rather than long-arching proactive approach which actually isn’t always the best solution in management or development.

SCRUM strategy takes this agile concept a step further by not only staying in the moment, or at least in smaller time table units, but also eliminating a lot of the middle man fluff that slows down processes in management. This is usually achieved by software teams by establishing direct communication between the developers and the owner of the product, be it a company having it designed, or a customer having custom software created.

Now, with product management, this is obviously going to be a little different, but there’s still something to be said for the idea of having a direct line between the product and production management teams and the customer.

Many of the big online retailers are adopting this short-timeframe responsive direct approach, notably eBay and Amazon, where a direct communication between sellers and buyers (especially via eBay) is a given, and responses to sales policies, product issues or other complications can be addressed at a moment’s notice with a few clicks of a button.

As time goes by, this instant, easy methodology for selling and buying is becoming the standard which people expect and only agile methodologies like SCRUM can actually facilitate this, given their planning and cycles are very in the moment, making changes and implementing strategies as issues come up.

However, there is a caveat to be had with agile in general, but especially with SCRUM methodology and that is the short-sighted mentality which this cultivates (which has its obvious benefits) can also be troublesome. When using this methodology, and you look back over long term cycle history of a product, you may see that it’s a mess and the little “sprints” (rather than long term lifecycles) which SCRUM calls for has resulted in a messy, expensive series of continuous patches to policies, products, distribution and also in management of storefronts.

If you want to use SCRUM product management philosophy, then it’s a good idea to reboot. That is to say, you may need to affect some serious changes and overhauls of your entire organization so that budgets, planning and sense of progression throughout the entire company are compatible with this model.

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Mark Silver
Mark is the Lead Author & Editor of Spectechular Blog. Mark established the Spectechular blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Product Management.
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