What is Agile Product Management?

Agile is a mindset that empowers organizations to constantly learn, experiment, gain feedback, inspect, and adapt the journey to delivering value to users.

Agile is suitable for work that has inherent uncertainty in its scope. In other words, the value agile teams continuously define (or progressively elaborate on) to deliver (scope) to customers should be ever-evolving. Scope usually depends on multiple dynamic factors – changing customer trends, demands, feedback, market or business drivers, technology changes, etc. Thus, delivery of this value to users should be iterative and incremental.

“Change is the only constant in life” – Heraclitus

Traditionally companies spend a lot of time upfront gathering requirements, then commit to delivering on those requirements all at once, until the product is built to specifications. This is a Waterfall approach. It usually looks something like this:

1 sequential product delivery life cycle of [Gather Requirements → Design → Implement → Test → Deploy]

This cycle can take place over many months and is usually considered complete with a “big bang” release, where the customer is presented with all the features (user value) at once.

Companies will then get market feedback, learn, and pivot if their original hypothesis was wrong and they were not successful. This approach takes more time, more effort, more money, and carries with it more risk of building the wrong product, the wrong way, for the wrong reason and, possibly for the wrong customers. 

An Agile approach shortens the time of the above product delivery lifecycle, where rather than over-investing in building the full product and all its features, delivery is continuous, incremental, iterative, adaptive, and predictable on a scheduled cadence (e.g. every 2 weeks).

This “agility”, or ability to quickly change course, empowers delivery teams to stay customer-centric, get product feedback quickly, and ultimately build more of the right product, beneficial for their customers.

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