Everybody is talking about agile product development. What exactly is agile and what is the relationship between agile and product management?

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 Dev and PM  

Question: "Is product design a part of the product management domain?"

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 Dev and PM  

Question: "Can technical engineers who had many years in development become good product marketers?"

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 Dev and PM  

Question: "Over the last weeks I have met several product managers with a traditional hardware product line, mainly from veteran companies in the industrial arena. They have now started selling software to increase the value of their offering. But very few have been able to generate profit from the software sales, even though it really adds customer value. The customer wants the software for free and the internal sales organization has little experience in software sales. Still the executive management has given its support. What approach should a product manager have on this issue?"

→ Read More: Software in the Hardware Industry
 Dev and PM  

Question: "Is the Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer a part of the Development or the Product Management department?"

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 Dev and PM  

Question: "There is always some contention between Product Management and the other organizational departments, particularly with Development. How can we foster healthy interpersonal relationship across various departments in an organization?"

→ Read More: Division of Labor – Product Management
 Dev and PM  

Question: "I am finding it hard to ensure that my market requirements are clearly communicated to all developers in the project team. In the perfect scenario, I assume this would be the responsibility of the Project Manager, but that does not seem to cover all the bases in our organization. Can you recommend some best practice guidelines for this?"

→ Read More: Communication between Product Management and Development
 Dev and PM  

Question: "Do concepts like Lean Startup and Agile product development have any relevance or impact on product management roles today?"

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 Dev and PM  

Question: "How does Blackblot see the role of the Product Architect post-launch? As the product expert responsible for the PRD, the Product Architect is predominantly project-oriented. However, throughout the product lifecycle there are questions around what the product is technically capable of. Also, if post-launch the Product Architect moves on to the next project and a PRD involving a new product, who fills the role of 'technical product expert' on the older products?"

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 Dev and PM  

The Cornish countryside is an ideal and relaxing setting for any conference. With wide green pastures, grazing livestock, occasional wildlife sightings and a rugged coastline, it was a most welcome backdrop to the annual Agile on the Beach 2013 which took place at Falmouth University, in Cornwall, UK, during September 2013.

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 Dev and PM  

Question: "Please describe the PMTK deliverables in the stage-gate process and also the roles involved in the process."

→ Read More: PMTK and the Stage-Gate Process
 Dev and PM  

Question: "What is considered to be a good ratio of product engineers to product managers? I know this will depend on many factors so am not expecting one answer. However, I am looking for some industry data that represents a good practice."

Answer: Unfortunately there is no credible industry data about the recommended or actual ratio between product engineers to product managers in technology companies. Over the years there have been some surveys conducted by different entities in an attempt to uncover the optimal ratio but these surveys are not statistically valid.

There is a prevalent and unsubstantiated estimation that the actual ratio between product engineers to product managers in software companies in the USA is at about one product manager to every seven product developers (1:7). Another unsubstantiated estimation is that the actual ratio between sales managers to product managers in software companies in the USA is at about one product manager to every three sales managers (1:3).

The primary factors which affect the ratio between product engineers to product managers are:

  1. The scope of product functionality that is needed in order to satisfy the user needs. This functionality is planned by product management.
  2. The intricacy level of the technology that is required to provide the desired product functionality. This technology is developed and/or implemented by product engineering.

Rationalization of these primary factors means, for example, that a functionally limited but technologically complex product will command a higher product engineers to product managers ratio than a functionally broad product that relies on simple technology. To a lesser extent, the ratio will also depend on secondary factors such as the product manager's level of professional competency and the number of products managed by the product manager.

Since all these primary and secondary factors vary greatly between different companies, the ratio will also vary greatly. Therefore, attempting to search for or calculate the recommended or optimal ratio between product engineers to product managers will always prove to be an elusive task.

 Dev and PM