Author archives: Todd Miller, ScrumMaster, Product Owner


The Price of Poor Product Ownership: 3 Ways to Doom Your Agile Project

By Todd Miller, ScrumMaster, Product Owner on Jan. 24, 2017 View Comments

Being an Agile Product Owner is a difficult endeavor. In fact, I would venture to say it may very well be the hardest and most critical product owner role on an Agile project. You have to keep the team happy and engaged, stakeholders are constantly looking for “status” updates, and you need to appease the customer by understanding their needs and delivering high value as quickly as possible.

I’ve witnessed many unpleasant Agile projects, even to the point of a project’s complete failure, because of poor Product Ownership, despit using a proper agile framework. There are a variety of reasons for that, but I’m seeing a trend of Product Owners spending their time in the wrong places.

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7 Ways to Effectively Manage a Product Owner Backlog

By Todd Miller, ScrumMaster, Product Owner on May. 24, 2016 View Comments

Product backlog management is an art form that requires relentless attention. As a Product Owner, it’s your responsibility to run a well-oiled machine and keep the product backlog healthy. This includes accommodating stakeholders, development teams, and most importantly, users. But how do you manage a product backlog in a way that is effective and results-driven?

Here are 7 tips from an Agile Product Owner who’s been around the block:

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Agile Scrum Framework: 4 Ways to Create High-Quality Software, Part 2

By Todd Miller, ScrumMaster, Product Owner on May. 10, 2016 View Comments

Scrum’s framework lends itself to high-quality solutions, but many loyalists need clarification on how to address that goal in the daily use of Agile methodologies.

In Part 1 of this blog, I explained two key ways to prioritize quality through Agile Scrum:

1. Use a cross-functional Scrum team to reduce external dependencies.
2. A Development should have a Definition of Done (DoD) so they know when an increment is in fact “done”.

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Agile Scrum Framework: 4 Ways to Create High-Quality Software, Part 1

By Todd Miller, ScrumMaster, Product Owner on Apr. 19, 2016 View Comments

Heard of the Scrum framework? It's exceedingly popular for its unmatched success in solving complex software development problems. Scrum, however, only implies the need for high-quality solutions and doesn’t actually suggest how quality should be addressed. Here’s my take on it:

Scrum implementation focused on continual quality and technical excellence is more likely to succeed than one that isn’t, and quality is everybody’s responsibility.

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Embracing an Agile Corporate Culture

By Todd Miller, ScrumMaster, Product Owner on Apr. 28, 2015 View Comments

Businesses from all industries are facing competitive markets like our economy has never seen before. The notion of delivering a product as fast as possible with the highest quality is making that competition move at the speed of light. This is especially true with digital products as they have become the key driver for increasing operational efficiencies, market offerings, and product sales.

Here's why fostering a corporate environment with original thinking matters:

  • Encouraging creative freedom from executives to line workers is what drives innovation.
  • Innovation is what drives faster time to market and higher quality products
  • Speed and quality products deliver higher value to customers than the competition
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6 Ways to Boost Quality with Agile Development and Software Testing

By Todd Miller, ScrumMaster, Product Owner on Dec. 16, 2014 View Comments

"Bugs in your product are a symptom of bugs in your process - if you focus on fire prevention, you'll reduce the need to fight fires"  -  Henrik Kniberg, Lean from the Trenches

Quality in agile software development is not negotiable. Teams should strive to deliver a fully functioning, high quality, potentially shippable product increment every iteration. In defining quality in software, we not only refer to the cumulative defects of a system but other attributes that combine to satisfy a customer’s needs. This article focuses on methods and practices that instill a sense of urgency on the topic of quality in your teams and agile projects.

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What is Agile Development? Defining the Basics

By Todd Miller, ScrumMaster, Product Owner on Nov. 10, 2014 View Comments

Agile development is super-hot right now. But what is Agile development, exactly? We’ve compiled this post to provide a basic overview and key definitions of the Agile methodology. 

The Agile software development methodology began in the mid-1990s but has recently gained significant traction inside and outside of IT departments due to its suitability for an ever-changing business landscape. The most common Agile approaches today include Scrum and Kanban, but there are others such as Extreme Programming, Lean and SAFe for the enterprise.

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The Scoop on Scrum Development

By Todd Miller, ScrumMaster, Product Owner on Jan. 15, 2014 View Comments

When I got my Certified ScrumMaster license in Silicon Valley a few years ago, I was surprised to find 20 or so employees from Apple—not from their Development team, but from their Marketing team—there to learn about Scrum. Now, that doesn’t seem so strange. Scrum is quickly affecting more and more departments in businesses everywhere, as teams outside of IT are trying to find better ways to deliver the right thing to a customer as efficiently as possible.

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