HOW TREXIN VIEWS IT PRODUCT MANAGEMENT
IT Product Management is the latest wave in bridging the gap between business and technology. It builds on top of Agile, the popular software development methodology that emphasizes iterative development and continuous improvement. Trexin has adopted an IT Product Management manifest format because of their relationship.
Trexin believes that IT Product Management is a better way to create, deliver, and manage software to deliver Business Value. Even though all the value dimensions (below) are important, we emphasize the values on the left over those on the right to strike the best balance in real-world scenarios. We incorporate elements from the values on the right when applicable as we recognize every Client is unique. Taking this mindset into each engagement gives our customers a leg up as it allows our teams to deliver efficiently while working with Client users and stakeholders to ensure self-sufficiency and long-term success.
WHAT IS SCALED AGILE FRAMEWORK?
Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is a framework for scaling Agile development to enterprise software and systems development across organizations. It is based on 10 underlying Lean-Agile principles to inform roles, processes, and practices to help organizations to deliver reliable solutions more quickly while coordinating large teams and managing stakeholders.
SAFe is a powerful framework but is one of many frameworks Trexin leverages when building Agile teams. We do not rely solely on one set of principles, as we want to assemble the best possible toolkit for our customers. We work with our Clients and tailor our teams and frameworks to ensure each engagement’s individual needs are met.
INCORPORATING SCALED AGILE FRAMEWORK INTO IT PRODUCT DELIVERY TO ADD VALUE
SAFe is a powerful tool for IT Product Managers as it emphasizes alignment, cadence, transparency, and continuous delivery. It provides a framework to break down large projects into manageable increments while overseeing complex development involving cross-functional teams and stakeholders. SAFe helps align the product vision with business goals to focus on value added delivery. Key aspects of SAFe for Product Managers to keep in mind include:
- Collaborating across teams during Program Increment (PI) planning to map strategy to execution. Product Managers must keep stakeholder needs at the forefront to ensure the products being developed align with business objectives.
- Working with Product Owners to groom and prioritize backlogs while the Product Manager defines roadmaps and features. It is imperative for Product Owners to represent customer needs during this step in the process.
- Leveraging continuous delivery for fast feedback and value to customers. Timelier feedback cycles benefit Product Managers as more defects are resolved and more improvements are made.
- Coordinating frequently with product teams during iterations and program teams at incremental time periods to build large integrated systems. Implement tools such as PI planning, creating iterative sprints and scrum of scrum meetings to keep teams in sync.
- Using metrics and visualization tools to increase transparency in the product development process. Both help in identifying and resolving problems early and evaluate progress against roadmap objectives and business Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
OUR EXPERIENCE LEVERAGING SCALED AGILE FRAMEWORK IN IT PRODUCT MANAGEMENT
In the SAFe framework, roadmaps are the key IT Product artifact communicating the “story arc” of an application over time (i.e., “a schedule of events and milestones that communicate planned solution deliverables over a planning horizon”). A large healthcare payer asked Trexin to assess their current software delivery process against SAFe’s detailed roadmap rules, guidance, and suggested practices for defining and maintaining them. We determined the main gap is our Client’s current delivery process maintained only a single roadmap at a time.
Trexin recommended three SAFe roadmaps, going forward:
- Portfolio Roadmap
- Solution Roadmap
- PI Roadmap
The three roadmaps improved Epic and feature forecast through better communication and transparency over SAFe’s planning horizons. The roadmaps also encouraged Product Managers and System Architects to jointly own the program backlog and its features. The team used Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF), decentralized decision making, and capacity allocation practices to prioritize and approve business and enabler features quicker.
Our Client’s Product Management team achieved alignment with SAFE’s three roadmaps in connecting portfolio strategy and execution to deliver measurable business outcomes. Their ongoing backlog of features represents their customer needs delivered by their Agile teams.
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