Roman Pichler on Agile Product Strategy at the AgileForInnovation event

On March 14, 2014 Politecnico di Milano hosted the AgileForInnovation event, organized by CEFRIEL and the Software Engineering group at DEIB (more specifically, by Elisabetta di Nitto, in the picture with Roman Pichler).

Elisabetta di Nitto and Roman Pichler

The event started with a keynote by Roman Pichler on Agile Product Strategy, which was very motivational.
The main message was: before delving into details of product design and implementation, one should focus on:

  • Market: Who are the users? Who are the customers?
  • Value Proposition: Why would they buy it? What value would they find it useful?
  • Business Drivers: why is it worthwhile to invest in it? What are the business goals?
A possible tool for focusing on this is the Vision Board, comprising:
  • Vision statement
  • Target group: who?
  • Needs: why?
  • Product: what? (top 3 features that makes it stand out)
  • Value: How much?

Here is an example of vision board (courtesy of Roman Pichler):

Vision Board for agile product innovation
Example of Vision Board for agile product innovation.

You start applying validation on the idea. One of the main concepts then is to be able to understand immediately that your validation is giving back some signals of risk of failure. You must be able to fail and learn fast. You must be able to PIVOT, i.e.: if the product strategy is invalid, you need to stop or change, and pivot your strategy early. This is not easy:  accepting failure is not easy task!
But if you want to innovate in a lean and agile way, failure is part of the game. You must prepare a safe environment for failure.
One typical agile approach is SCRUM, which promotes quick “create-validate-analyse&update” cycles on the product deliveries.
Along these rounds, you may need:

  • refinements
  • early pivots (and then you go back to the vision board) when the feedback challenges your fundamental assumptions
  • late pivots and late failures (which is obviously much more painful and costly).


Roberto Acerbis presenting history
and customer cases of WebRatio.

Within the same event, I gave a presentation on “Agile Sw Modeling for Increasing Productivity: Impossible Reality?”, where I presented our experience with IFML, WebRatio and agile practices.

A presentation by Roberto Acerbis (see picture) covered the part of industrial experience and starting up of WebRatio.

To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

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