Agile Excellence for Product Managers

A Guide to Creating Winning Products with Agile Development Teams

Agile Excellence for Product Managers is a must-read for Product Managers making the switch to Agile development, as well as product owners and project managers looking for better ways to organize and lead in their organizations.

This book also serves as an excellent companion text to our Agile for Product Managers and Product Owners in-person training. Note that an e-book version is included with our Agile Certified Product Manager and Product Owner – Online Course and Exam offering.


Book Description

Software companies are rapidly turning to Agile development to cope with fast changing markets and borderless competition. Yet little has been written to guide Product Managers through the transition to working with Agile teams and the huge benefits that doing so affords. Agile Excellence is a plain-speaking guide on how to work with Agile development teams to achieve phenomenal product success.

Agile Excellence for Product Managers covers the following topics:

  • The why and how of Agile development, including Scrum, XP, and Lean
  • The role of Product Management
  • Release planning
  • Release management
  • Road mapping
  • Creating and prioritizing a product backlog
  • Documentation
  • Organizational implication
  • And more


Greg Cohen, Senior Consultant, 280 Group

Table of Contents

Foreword by Brian Lawley
Chapter 1. Why Agile is Good for Product Management

  • Traditional Software Development
  • The Cost of Change
  • Agile Software Development
  • What’s In It For You?
  • Why now?
  • The Agile Manifesto
  • The Common Threads of Agile
  • Why Agile Works
  • Product Management Just Got Better

Chapter 2. Understanding Scrum

  • Overview of Scrum
  • An Iteration
  • The Scrum Team
  • Sprint Planning
  • Daily Standup
  • Feedback and the Role of Unit Testing
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Retrospective
  • Sprint Termination

Chapter 3. Release Management

  • Sizing Requirements
  • Managing Velocity and Tracking Releases
  • Managing an Iteration

Chapter 4. Release Planning

  • Create the Product Backlog
  • Map Sprints to the Release and Product Backlog
  • Iteration Planning Exercise
  • Iteration Planning Exercise Answer
  • Working Across Multiple Iterations
  • Defining Requirements as Needed
  • The Role of User Experience Design in Agile

Chapter 5. Documentation

  • User Stories
  • Non-Functional Requirements
  • Splitting Stories
  • Other Documents

Chapter 6. Starting Out

  • Selecting the Team
  • Creating a Product Strategy
  • The Release Plan
  • Creating the Product Backlog in a Hurry
  • Prioritizing the Product Backlog by Business Value
  • Selecting an Iteration Length
  • Estimating Stories
  • Testing and Beta Strategies
  • Impact on Sales and Marketing

Chapter 7. Organizing Around Agile

  • Who Should Be Doing What?
  • Managing Multiple Projects
  • Obstacles to Team Performance

Chapter 8. A Look at Extreme Programming and Lean Software Development

  • Extreme Programming
  • Lean Software Development

Chapter 9. Conclusion

  • Process Maturity and Agile
  • Sweet Spots for Agile Development
  • Organizational Agility Trade-Offs
  • Agile Product Management Review
  • Leadership
  • Visibility, Flexibility, and Quality

Glossary of Agile Terms

Appendix: Additional Resources



Gina Han, Senior Product Manager, Intuit

Greg Cohen makes a compelling case why Agile development is a boon for Product Managers and offers keen insight into leveraging it to win in the marketplace. It is a must read for any Product Manager looking to make the change.

Therese Padilla, President, AIPMM (Association of International Product Marketing and Management)

This is an outstanding book. With insight and clarity, Greg Cohen shows the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of Agile Product Management. It is an essential guide for any Agile team member–even if not a Product Manager. ‘Agile Excellence(tm) for Product Managers’ will help teams focus effort where it really counts

Ivan Chalif, Director of Product Marketing at Alterian and Chief Blogger at

There are plenty of books that explain Agile, but they are mostly from the development point of view. ‘Agile Excellence(tm) for Product Managers’ provides the unique perspective of how Product Management professionals fit into the Agile framework and describes how Agile and Product Management fit together. Cohen provides a comprehensive treatise on being an Agile Product Manager.

Anar Taori, Senior Product Manager, VMware
If making the move to Agile seems daunting, then read this book. Greg Cohen lays out the necessary steps to succeed with Agile.

Bob Hsiung, Development Manager at MIT Media Lab

This book is invaluable for any Product Manager looking to learn how to fully leverage Agile development to create better products faster