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Advancing the Competences of Product Management: Benchmarks and Experiences by Sjaak Brinkkemper (Utrecht University)

Product management is becoming a well-accepted role in the software industry. Being one of the major forces of the success of a product, the product manager is responsible for managing all requirements, the release planning, the roadmap, and the lifecycle decision making.

At Utrecht University we have developed two product management tools: the so-called Competence Framework and the Maturity measurement tool for Software Product Management (see www.softwareproductmanagement.org). The Competence Framework organizes process knowledge and tooling for the product manager, and sets the scope for the collaboration with the internal stakeholders in the company. Over the years we have trained hundreds of product managers in the Competence Framework. We will present the Competence Framework and we discuss opportunities for product manager to manage their products better. The Maturity Matrix is a means to assess the current capability of product management, plus it identifies opportunities for process improvement. We report about the benchmarks obtained from 160 maturity assessments conducted so far in the software industry. Furthermore, we discuss our extensive experiences on the role of product managers with Scrum and DevOps, and the dilemmas of the product manager versus the product owner.

Prof. Sjaak Brinkkemper is full professor of software production at the Department of Information and Computing Sciences of the Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He leads a group of about thirty researchers specialized in large scale software production and entrepreneurship. He is co-founder of the SoftwareVOC, a knowledge exchange forum for software companies in the Netherlands. He also established Netherware, the incubator supporting students to start their own software company. Before, he was a chief process architect at Baan ERP, where he conducted software process improvement initiatives in requirements management, architecture and design in the global R&D units. Before Baan he held academic positions at the University of Twente and the University of Nijmegen, both in the Netherlands, and visiting positions at the University of Texas at Austin (USA) and Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan).