Major Releases Are A Failure

Three Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) courses have been conducted.  They have been like water to the thirsty. The PSPO program fills a huge hole in the Scrum training market. To date, Agile and Scrum have mostly been about the development community. They have not addressed business and competitive agility. Yes, we talk the benefits. But until now we hadn’t demonstrated how to use Agile and Scrum to drive value for a business.

This new course starts with value: what is it and what are its key performance indicators in system and product management. We look at value streams and identify non-value or value-limiting operations. These streams start with sales and marketing strategies, travel through market analysis, stakeholder management, and release planning, and end with implementing and support software at customer sites. We discuss how agility can be achieved by removing these limiting operations and enhancing processes at all stages.

We focus on arranging requirements into agile, functional releases that optimize value and take advantage of system structures. The constraints and opportunities in our products and systems are studied for opportunities. We then look at the constraints imposed by current release strategies and implementations. Major releases are expensive, risky, and limit an organization’s ability to respond quickly to competitive pressure and customer demands. They are a curse on all mankind.

Finally, we turn to the more traditional: how a product owner manages releases using the Scrum tools of empirical development; the benefits of iterative and incremental development in optimizing value, limiting risk, and creating predictability are assessed; how to manage and prioritize a backlog, and; how to measure the impact on total cost of ownership, and the constraints incurred through technical debt.

The entire course is aimed at people who want to gain competitive advantage through agility. The theme is learning how to take advantage of opportunities using proven agile tactics. Some techniques include how to organize requirements and releases to be agile, as well as potential refactoring activities needed to support agility.

As I’ve said, Scrum is a tool. This course helps businesses learn how to gain competitive advantage using it to be agile. This course is about making your competitors regret having woken up in the morning.

10 thoughts on “Major Releases Are A Failure

  1. Looks great. Happy that it expands the focus of Agile / Scrum beyond end-to-end development, to end-to-end organizational integration. Very natural to see some Lean concepts popping up.
    Although active Business Involvement has always been crucial in Agile, it is a good evolution -as promoters and communities- to start not only talking about this need, and make it very tangible and bring it to enterprise floors with this program.
    From the starting point of the need for broad transformation, I wrote about the blending ideas of Agile and Lean at

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  3. In your title, you say “Major Releases are a Failure”, yet you do not offer any supporting arguments in the rest of your post, nor do you even mention it in your post.

    Do you have a supporting argument or is this just a basically content free advertisement?

      • I did read it again.

        Nowhere do you use the word failure besides in the title.

        The closest you get is “Major releases are expensive, risky, and limit an organization’s ability to respond quickly to competitive pressure and customer demands. They are a curse on all mankind.”

        Lots of things in business are risky and expensive. That doesn’t make them failures.

        Lots of things don’t respond quickly to competitive pressure — that doesn’t make them failures.

        Where do you support that they are failures? Where do you support that they are a “curse on all mankind”? You don’t


  4. Dear Ken Schwaber,

    I work as a Test Manager, and I think there are a few misunderstanding steps in the scrum process. In the scrum the test is not described correctly and not placed in correct place within the process.

    That cause problems when companies try to use scrum, but not listening to the test team.

    I think there should be some changes in the scrum to make it better regarding the testing as well.

    I know that you don’t know me, but I think we should start to communicate, so we could see is it possible to make the scrum process better regarding the testing view point.

    Thanks in advance.

    I am looking forward to hearing from you.

    Kind Regards,

    Janos Szenfner

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