Agile for Product Owners


Agile for Product Owners

Utilizing an Agile approach effectively requires more than just ensuring the development team is following the Agile process. It is a collaborative effort between this team and the product owner. Agile represents a true paradigm change for most organizations, and in order to truly take advantage of the possible benefits, today''s product owners need to know how to support their development partners.

This course will provide extensive knowledge and understanding of the principles of Agile, demonstrate how to use the product backlog as a tool for driving success product outcomes, instruct clearly in the ways of working in partnership with the development organization, and provide tools that enable teams to embrace the change that is required for delivering the best products possible.

  • What Agile is
  • How to form an Agile team
  • The role of the Agile team product owner
  • The five levels of detail of Agile planning

  • Product owners and managers
  • Team leadership
  • Project managers

1. Agile Overview

  • What is Agile?
  • Agile Manifesto
  • Agile Principles
  • Agile Methodologies
  • Agile Benefits
  • Requirements Reality

2. Forming the Agile Team

  • Team Roles and Responsibilities
  • Expectations
  • Self Organization
  • Communication

3. The Role of the Product Owner

  • Role and Responsibilities of the Product Owner
  • Agile Product Management
  • Working with the Team
  • Working with Management
  • What to Expect Section

4. Agile Planning

  • The Agile Framework
  • 5 Levels of Planning
  • Product Vision

5. Focus on the Customer

  • Customer Involvement
  • User Roles
  • Creating and Using Personas
  • Constraints

6. Creating the Product Backlog

  • The Product Backlog
  • User Stories
  • INVEST Model (Bill Wake, 2003)
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Acceptance Criteria and Acceptance Tests
  • Foundational Stories
  • Low-Fidelity Prototypes

7. Guidelines to Writing Effective User Stories

  • Start with Goal Stories
  • Slice the Cake
  • Open vs. Closed Stories
  • Story Constraints
  • Size the Story to the Horizon

8. Product Roadmap

  • Product Themes
  • Two Types of Roadmaps
  • Creating the Roadmap
  • Keeping Focus
  • Maintaining the Roadmap

9. Prioritizing the Product Backlog

  • Prioritization Themes
  • Decision Matrix
  • Kano Analysis
  • Preventing Fire Alarms
  • Maintaining the Product Backlog

10. Estimating

  • Relative vs. Actual Estimating
  • Introduction to Story Points
  • Effectively Using Story Points
  • Planning Poker (Grenning 2002)
  • Product Planning Poker (Business Value)

11. Release Planning

  • Velocity
  • What is a Release
  • Schedule Based vs. Feature Based Planning
  • Building the Release Plan
  • Visibility

12. Detailed Requirements

  • Unused Requirements
  • Documentation
  • Adapting to Change
  • Test Driven Development
  • Use Cases
  • Alternative Methods
  • What is Important

13. Iteration Planning and Execution

  • Capacity
  • Engaging the Team
  • Planning the Iteration
  • Executing the Iteration
  • Defining "Done"
  • Demonstrate Working Software (Delivered Requirements)
  • Inspect and Adapt applied to Requirements

14. Retrospectives

  • Elements of the Retrospective
  • Facilitating Retrospectives
  • Improvement Backlog from Retrospectives

15. Adopting Agile Product Management

  • Agile Process Overview
  • Overcoming Resistance
  • How to get Started
  • Agile Calendar of Events
  • Challenges to Adoption
  • Team Roadmap Exercise


Exercise 1: 

Working in small teams, you will "design the boxin order to establish a vision for a sample project. You will participate in identifying key selling points, features, operating requirements, etc.

Exercise 2: 

Within your teams you will brainstorm some user roles for your example project. From the brainstorming, you will consolidate the larger list of roles into key roles that will be the focus of your sample project. For each of the key roles, each team will create personas and share them with the class.

Exercise 3:

With your teams, you will engage in a story-writing workshop as a means of building a product backlog for your sample project. We will also introduce low-fidelity prototyping as a way to generate additional stories.

Exercise 4: 

You will individually have an opportunity to break down a predetermined Epic Story into smaller more manageable User Stories.

Exercise 5: 

Each team will group their user stories into common product themes, helping teams recognize that at times it makes sense to prioritize beyond just individual user stories. Teams then utilize the product themes to establish a desired product roadmap. Like the vision, the roadmap is then posted for team reference for the remainder of the course.

Exercise 6: 

Utilizing the prioritization techniques discussed, you will prioritize the Product Backlog for your sample project taking into account the dependencies, risk, and impact of your user stories.

Exercise 7: 

Using the estimating techniques taught using story points, you''ll enjoy a few rounds of Planning Poker, a fun and very effective method of relative estimating, with your team to establish estimates for your highest priority stories. This is certain to be a valuable tool for you to incorporate into your estimating process; specifically your estimates of business value.

Exercise 8: 

The instructor will facilitate a Retrospective for the class allowing participants to provide feedback for the course in addition to demonstrating how a Retrospective should be run.

Upcoming Classes

Dates Location GTR  
Dec 12-14 (12pm-5pm) EST
Jan 23-25 (12pm-5pm) EST
Feb 15-17 (12pm-5pm) EST
Mar 20-22 (12pm-5pm) EST
Apr 10-12 (12pm-5pm) EST
May 10-12 (12pm-5pm) EST
Jun 21-23 (12pm-5pm) EST
Jul 19-21 (12pm-5pm) EST


Whether you need assistance scheduling a class for yourself or for your group, GCA's Education Account Manager's will craft a customized training solution to meet the needs of your organization.