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I was recently discussing a client’s request for some guidance on Agile Product Management and it reminded me of an assignment I undertook in 2017-18 as a Head of Product for a global travel giant. The requirement was to have their Product Management function contribute to the adoption of Agile Ways of Working across their organisation. I think now is a good time to discuss some aspects of how they achieved this.

Much of this methodology was guided by the Agile Manifesto and the works of the Agile Product guru Roman Pichler.

The journey commenced with the creation of their Product Vision Board, which evolved into their Product Roadmap, which was expanded to outline their Product Canvas, leading to the formation of their Story Maps to result in their Product Backlog.

The Product Vision Board is used to set the 3 to 24 month Vision and 1st level of the strategy for the Product(s).

  • Vision, be exciting, clear and concise - what is your vision, your overarching goal for creating the product? Theirs was to ‘Lead the innovative digital experience that delights our customers’.
  • Target group, who will use the product? - Which market does the product address? Who are the target customers and users? Theirs were ‘families, couples, new vs returning customers, their airline, ‘Money’ customers and mobile app users’.
  • Needs, what do the targets want? - What problem does the product solve? Which benefit does it provide? Theirs were ‘speed, quality, innovation, trust, travel expertise, personalisation and customer support’.
  • Product, what are the core attributes? - What product is it? What makes it desirable and special? Is it feasible to develop the product? Theirs were ‘mobile experience, app features, guidance, clear and simple, offers, room and flight options’.
  • Business Goals, what are the key goals? - How is the product going to benefit the company? What are the business goals? Which one is most important? Theirs were ‘NPS, service digital only customers, loyalty retention, margin, % of customers through digital channels’.

The Product Roadmap is an empirically based visualisation of the major stages in the product delivery. It should be based on empirical data to avoid being a ‘wish list’. The Product Owner will provide the empirical data based on team performance; it is not a ‘project plan’.

Roadmaps are created collaboratively with the product teams based on empirical backlog data, consisting of any type of work (Epics, Stories, Task, Ideas). They should be reviewed before being added to understand high-level scope and provide relative estimates. The depth of estimating in the backlog depends on the expected timespan of the roadmap.

Below is an example of the Product Roadmap for the travel organisations mobile app.

Date

Pre-Peak

0-3 months

3-6 months

6-12 months

Goal

Stability, enhanced reliability

Drive ancillary rev, increase new bookings

Single booking login, ‘making the most of the holiday experience’

Dynamic packaging and flight only bookings. Promotion, Belgium & Holland launches

Features

 

UK ancillaries’ Native booking, panel, UK late checkout, room upgrades. Push notifications, in-resort & personalised content

Daily schedule, activity booking, Wi-Fi password, menus, Choose my room, weather info, rich content for branded hotels

Flight status info

Metrics

Reduction in bugs & crashes, increased speed

Downloads, usage, booking rev, ancillary rev, app store ratings

Downloads, usage, booking rev, ancillary rev, app store ratings

Downloads, usage, booking rev, ancillary rev, app store ratings

The Product Canvas can be used to drill down into a section of the Product Vision, in line with the Product Roadmap:

  • Name – a snappy title for the work.
  • Goal – why are you making the product?
  • Metrics – how will you know you are done?
  • Target group – who will use the product?
  • Big picture – the desired UX, user journeys, product functionality, Epics etc.
  • Product details – features to meet the goal.

The Story Maps

  • Visualisation of how personas and care features may interact. Can be used to highlight the ‘Pain & Gain’, often produced as large visible storyboards that can be reviewed and adapted/presented to wider groups.
  • Story Maps are a great way to bridge the space between the vision and the detail needed by the team. They provide a great visual way to show the whole scope of the work being undertaken, and help the team to see the whole scope and identify over & under laps in the stories. A dynamic representation of the backlog, regularly updated and available in both physical and digital formats.

The Product Backlog

  • The list of all the work that needs to be completed to deliver the Product.
  • Large unrefined items will be converted into smaller and more refined items via Backlog refinement meetings.
  • The Product Owner owns the Product Backlog.

Overall, it was an extremely enjoyable and informative programme to be part of. I hope you have found this brief overview of how we approached Agile Product Management to be of interest.

Would you like to continue the conversation around Agile or discuss specific projects? Please contact me directly or find out more about CGI in Digital Transformation.

 

About this author

Mark Madden

Mark Madden

Director, Digital Transformation

At CGI Mark develops key go-to market propositions in Emerging Technology areas, gaining market traction and building organisational capabilities to support scalable delivery to clients across multiple industries.

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