Transitioning from Quality to Product Management — pt 1

Establishing a syllabus

To give you a little context, I have been in software development for more than a decade and my roles have been developer, QA, and QA lead. A few months ago, as my QA manager was preparing for his retirement, he mentioned how he could see me going forward into product management. Note that I have been working under his wing for eight years and during that time we overcome many challenges so I valued his opinion. This was an idea that I kept in the back of my head, but it resurfaced when the new QA manager (another person I have worked with for many years) mentioned this too. So I took the scary but empowering decision to leave my client and role to pursue training for the PM/PO role in my current company. Currently, I am also being part of the effort to create a role syllabus — which is very exciting!

As a QA Lead, I felt a natural evolution towards the Product Owner/ Product Manager world. I had to deal with project management on some level: from making sure all parties align, having small interactions with devs to verify the built features consistency versus the specifications, up to having meetings to clarify lessons learned. With a QA background, we can contribute and collaborate by,

Taking into consideration that I am a trainer in Practitioner in Agile Quality certification, I already have covered the Agile knowledge needed for the PM/PO role. It’s always good to go over the related topics to refresh that knowledge. Let’s remember who the PO is and what are their responsibilities, according to the Scrum guide:

https://www.scrumguides.org/scrum-guide.html

To have a complete perspective of all the subjects necessary for a project manager, during the holidays I took a course in project management for beginners directed by the PM institute. This is an introductory course that provides the foundational knowledge necessary to join a project team and can serve as the first step on your path to a project management career:

Project Management for Beginners — https://my.pmi.org/

Aligned to what my company expects from the PM/PO role, these are the resources I had to study and I hope they are useful to you:

Jeff Patton’s User Story Mapping

This book is a jewel, I recommend reading it all.

Mike Cohn’s User Stories Applied

- Gathering stories
- Acceptance testing
- Guidelines for good stories

Product Management Essentials — Tools and Techniques for Becoming an Effective Technical Product Manager — Aswin Pranam

- Difference between Product Manager/Project Manager/Program Manager
- Product Requirement Document
- Product Roadmap
- Roles/Artifacts

Product Management in Practice: A Real World guide to the key connective role of the 21st century — Matt Lemay

- Guiding questions to help you get started with creating a clear sense of how an organization intends to use its roadmap.
- Core skills of PM
- Assumptions
- Rather than being accountable for hitting specific metrics, PMs can seek to be held accountable for…
- Impact-vs-Effort Matrix
- Official process/template for handling last-minute requests or “emergency” feature requests

The Professional Product Owner: Leveraging Scrum as a Competitive Advantage — by Don McGreal

- Different layers of planning, the product mgmt. vacuum
- Business model canvas
- Comparison of delivery and owner metrics
- Happiness index
- Radar graphs for visualizing progress over time
- Scoreboard to organize metrics
- Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop
- How to measure the uncertainty of an environment
- From Scrum Guide: Product owner’s role, Scrum team, Product backlog, Refinement, Sprint backlog, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, Retrospectives)
- Requirement categories
- What defines the quality of your user story?
- Acceptance criteria
- How to order product backlog
- How to measure value, risk, size
- List of “done” elements/”Done” template for multiple teams working on one product.
- Story Mapping
- Release Management
- Estimation & velocity
- Mapping T-shirt sizes to Points

Plan.io

A Guide to User Story Mapping: Templates & Examples (How to Map User Stories)

Object-Oriented UX by Sophia V. Prater

OOU — The ORCA process by Rewired UX

Full Stack Basics for the Non-Developer by Adam Edgerton

Risk Management by Louder Than Ten

Red flag & risk assessment checklist, Scope Creep guide

Project Management Scope Creep: 7 Top Tips To Prevent It! (video) by Projectmanager.com Director Jennifer Bridges

Project Management Case Studies — Harold Kerzner

Next steps in part II…

Practical exercises covering User Story Mapping and User Story creation.

Let me know if you have any tips and tricks for this type of process I am going through. :)

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PMPO / QA at @EncoraInc | Practitioner in Agile Quality trainer | Coffee addict 🇭🇳 🇲🇽 ✨ she/her