A decent introduction to agile and scrum, but nothing special. I feel like I have a more solid foundation in the canonical approach to agile and scrumA decent introduction to agile and scrum, but nothing special. I feel like I have a more solid foundation in the canonical approach to agile and scrum now, but the perspective of this author limits how relevant it is to my context.
He approaches agile from the background of "project managers," people who do not have engineering backgrounds but are in charge of scheduling and leading projects. This doesn't really exist in my experience of software engineering. In general, it seems that agile and scrum stem from a context of large IT corporations that had project managers and little focus on strong user experience design, which is very different from the web-based company I work for. Thus, while the book gives a basic overview of the main ideas between agile and scrum, it cannot serve as a detailed guide for how to apply it in my context, where we place a high value on user experience and consider that a very different skill set and role from engineering.
I felt that Mersino's writing was fairly straightforward and easy to follow, so it was a relatively quick read. However, his writing suffered at times, with odd/lacking grammar that seemed to go beyond just being e-book mistakes. Additionally, the book is overall fairly repetitive and could have been more succinct....more
A succinct and insightful examination of the role of Product Manager in product companies (such consumer-oriented web-based products). I read the bookA succinct and insightful examination of the role of Product Manager in product companies (such consumer-oriented web-based products). I read the book straight through, but it doesn't have to be read that way. It is structured into many short chapters under the three broad categories of people, process, and product, and each chapter is a relatively self-contained presentation on its topic (though perhaps assuming a general understanding of the role).
Much of the content felt well aligned with how product management is viewed at my company (which I feel is quite successful in that regard), including things like: * The user experience is central, and ultimately based on emotions. * Product management, UX design, and visual design are all important roles that must be given weight at the company. * While you can learn a lot from watching users use your product, you cannot trust them to give you solutions.
One concept that was newer to me, but strikes me as absolutely critical, was the idea of always aiming for the minimum viable product. You want your design to be comprehensive in that it includes all things necessary to make it work, but you don't want any more than that -- nothing extraneous. I feel that this concept goes well with an agile development process.
I particularly appreciated Cagan's chapter on working within agile, because it finally made it crystal clear that agile was in fact started at custom software companies, that don't typically have separate product managers or designers. This makes a lot of sense, because the way agile is talked about it is often not immediately obvious how strong product design fits in. However, Cagan argues that there are many positive things about agile and it can be adapted to fit product companies with strong product design, and he gives some specific pointers on how to do so.
Overall I highly recommend this book to anyone involved in creating software products, whether as an engineer, product manager, or designer....more