So I was browsing around at Pragmatic and found an interesting piece by Barbara Nelson on Agile and politics. Here is the somewhat interesting open:

The Politics of Agile
In the world of agile software development, it seems like Marketing and Development are in a race for control of “the product.” Who will win? The flakes in Marketing or the geeks in Development?

I’ve never thought of it as who wins, rather what the revenue, the competitiveness of a solution and do customers like it. Nelson then sets up the piece with the following 3 career alternatives, albeit slightly weighted options:

While developers sprint through development cycles, one of three things happens to product managers. 1) They are ignored. 2) They are dragged deep into the development cycle. 3) They lead the team to build products people want to buy. The first two situations are lethal to a product manager’s career. The third alternative can lead to successful products and successful careers.

Oh the age old politics of PM…. ? Hurray! A new set of methodology based scapegoating techniques for the marketplace. Clearly talking to people helps with the process and the goal is for the customer to win. Faster, Better – more effective… “NASA development” regimens, while rigorous and needed for space travel are not necessarily needed for software.


I’ve always thought effective product management was politics-like – engage the people, earn trust and deliver on what is promise. I know the later is theoretical in politics, but product managers are effectively diplomats trading favors. Agile methodologies help drive personal interaction and tightens relationships throughout the team by partnering on delivery. I’ve always seen agile methodologies as a way to “formalize” the dev process in context of the customer. Pragmatic is a strong revenue “front end” for agile development, since it is market focused and innately iterative from the customer perspective. If the customer doesn’t win, no one wins – there is this whole revenue thing which drives future builds and development.

Wouldn’t index cards be perfect for customer meetings?

“Just a second Mr. Customer…. so what’s that you need again? …I needed to get a index card from by briefcase to bring it back for the ‘board’…”

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1 Comment

  • Reply jon gatrell February 28, 2008 at 3:24 am

    Blog: And the CUSTOMER WINS!: So I was browsing around at Pragmatic and found an interesting piece..

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