Saturday, January 11, 2014

Applying Agile development techniques to managing my own work

Product Management is a multi-facted role. Building roadmaps, thinking of new products, interviewing customers, working with developers, sales, marketing, support, training - the list is endless (I wrote previously about it here).

I recently started using an Agile-like approach to managing my day to day activities. This is what I mean:

1. I have a list of projects I am working on. That could include everything - tactical activities such as 'Sales needs this document for this sales cycle - by this evening' to 'Make progress on customer development on a product that will not be launched for six quarters'

2. Every three weeks I start a new sprint. I reassess and prioritize everything on my plate and have a strict prioritization. Similar to agile sprints, things do pop up. Just like developers might get pulled into emergency issues, requirements etc.

3. I then draw a line - projects that I plan to address in this sprint, and those that I plan to postpone for another day.

4. If I am pressed for time, I postpone projects and tasks from the bottom of the list

5. I track progress each week against each project. If one is getting left behind, and I do need to focus on it, I figure out what else needs to move down to make way for it

6. I refer to this list in my nightly planning, moving around tasks on my kanbanflow board

So far, so good! Things are working out well, and this has really helped me do the difficult task of prioritizing according to goals vs. prioritizing according to what seems most urgent. I will report back on progress in a few weeks.