Discovering product development excellence

Join us to learn how to improve your product agility by defining and refining backlog items that are “ready” to pull into planning and development.

My background is in Process Engineering and Business Analysis. I worked in Agile(ish) teams for a few years and became a Product Owner for a Large Financial Institution in 2012.

Why don’t Agile Coaches know how to create a prioritised product backlog?

I worked with some fantastic Agile coaches and came to realise something interesting.  Many of them weren’t sure how to attain the elusive prioritised backlog talked about in the Scrum Guide! Sure, the coaches were comfortable with the process we needed to follow. But something was missing.  I always assumed there was a hidden addendum to the Agile Manifesto only given to Agile Coaches. However, it turns out I was wrong! They had just as much access to information as the rest of us did.

The moment I found product development gold!

As a result, I did my own research.  In 2013, I stumbled across a book called Discover to Deliver written by Ellen Gottesdiener and Mary Gorman and I felt like I had hit product development gold! This book gave me almost everything I was looking for!

  • How to look at a product backlog from an abstract long-term high-level view, down to a granular level of detail needed in an iteration.
  • How to have collaborative discussions with everyone involved in the product development process.
  • The 7 product dimension to guide you towards a comprehensive understanding of your product.
  • And more!

I immediately started applying the learning to the work I was doing and instantly saw the difference. Subsequently, this book became my “go-to” guide when I was working with new teams and new products. However, I wasn’t the only one who loved it! It also received praise from these amazing Agile legends: Diana Larsen, Linda Rising, Lisa Crispin, Tom Poppendieck, Jason Little, and more.

 I recommend as a Top 10 “starter library” books for every Agile effort – Diana Larsen

In 2015, I spoke at the Building Business Capability conference in Las Vegas. Ellen was hosting an Agile Open Jam and asked if I would like to be a facilitator. What, me? Of course! I jumped at the opportunity. I spent a few amazing few days getting to know the incredible authors of one of my favourite books. And I also got to make some more friends along the way. After that, Ellen and I stayed in touch and bump into each other frequently at Agile conferences.

Agile 2019 Washington (Twitter)

Agile 2017 Orlando (Twitter)

I attended Ellen’s courses in South Africa in 2017 and hoped that one day I could make the course available in South Africa…

Introducing… The Backlog Refinement Practitioner to South Africa!

Summing up, I am super excited to say that the day has come! Think Agile is proud and excited to announce that we will be training Ellen’s Backlog Refinement Practitioner (Vision to Value). Join us to learn how to improve your product agility by defining and refining backlog items that are “ready” to pull into planning and development.

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