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Crap! Where did October go?  In the midst of strategic planning, a heavy conference season, and other priorities … I lost sight of the importance of being intention about taking time to focus, to prepare, to think. This morning was a good time to dig back into why it’s important. What is interesting about getting lost in mire over the past several weeks is reflecting on an article I saw on LinkedIn just before entering the mire.  Essentially it referred to Product Management as the “next year” job because often the fruits of our labor aren’t reflected until the following year’s financial results. Isn’t that the truth :)!

In any event, what I wanted to hit upon today is the Cone of Uncertainty in Agile vs. Waterfall approaches to development.

I’ve had many posts about Agile over the past several years, and in general I am a fan of the intent of Agile …  although it is not without its share of challenges with running the business.  See my post Definition of Done as one example, or the Difference Between Product Manager and Product Owner as another, or perhaps Taking the Lead In A Well Orchestrated Dance.

Like I said, I am a believer in being responsive to the changing needs of the market and/or organization. Several products in our portfolio have made the shift to Agile and are seeing promising results.  My current product line is just beginning the transformation.








I like these representations to the cone of uncertainty I found on the Envoc site. In theory, we will see faster results with less uncertainty with the Agile approach.  In reality, what is challenging in the early stages of shifting to Agile is not knowing a) how to best estimate tasks because of the learning curve and then b) how to best represent true capacity and delivery time-frames because the team velocity hasn’t been established yet.

No clear answers yet … just something you need to be aware of as a Product Management leader if your organization is transitioning to Agile.  Processes and/or best practices you used previously may or may not translate easily into the new world … and sometimes in order to move forward you have to take a step backwards.