Originally Published October 20, 2008

Here at Enthiosys [now Applied Frameworks] we spend a lot of time helping Product Managers become Agile. In the process, we often run into developers who are really frustrated with their Product Managers’ lack of Agility. Acknowledging their pain, here are our top ten ways to tell if your Product Manager doesn’t understand Agile. And yes, it was hard to whittle down from the 40+ items on our initial list.

  1. She says “I think” instead of “the market research says” or “during our last review meeting with a customer…“.

  2. He thinks release planning can be done in 2 hours.

  3. She sometimes attends an iteration planning meeting, and rarely (or never) attends an iteration acceptance meeting.

  4. He thinks the backlog is just the list of market problems he captured in his MRD.

  5. She doesn’t have a roadmap beyond the stories in the next release.

  6. He thinks MuSCoW works when prioritizing the backlog.*

  7. She can’t provide acceptance criteria during release or iteration planning.

  8. He stops visiting customers so he can attend every daily standup. Even worse, he talks about his tasks during the daily standup.

  9. She thinks that year-old market data is good enough for managing the backlog or developing a roadmap.

  10. He thinks a product owner is a Product Manager.

*MuSCoW is a way to organize requirements into buckets of “Must, Should, Could, Would”.