ROMAN PICHLER is a product management expert specialised in digital products. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching product managers and product owners, and in helping companies build a successful product management organisation.
Roman is the author of three books, including Strategize: Product Strategy and Product Roadmap Practices for the Digital Age and Agile Product Management with Scrum, and he writes a popular blog for product professionals.
As the founder and director of Pichler Consulting, Roman looks after the company’s offerings. This keeps his product management practice fresh and allows him to experiment with new ideas. Roman is based in Wendover near London in the United Kingdom.
Head of Technology (Commercial & Supply Chain) at Sainsbury's
What an awesome day with the one and only Roman Pichler discussing all things product! Plenty of inspiration, insight, and ideas.
Head of Agile at Lloyds
The excellent Roman Pichler came to Lloyds banking Group for a workshop on product management. Fantastic to get such a high level of expertise and professionalism. Hugely insightful for the next major business transformation.
Director, Compliance Programme Operations
Roman has tremendous knowledge of product strategy and management and recently delivered a highly engaging and interactive product strategy workshop for us to a group that comes from a range of backgrounds and disciplines. He was able to get us all on the same page and provide us with some extremely practical tools and tactics for driving our product strategy forward.
The following interview provides an overview of Roman’s background and thinking. For more information, please refer to Roman’s LinkedIn page. The interviewer was Noopur Pathak, and the conversation was originally published on 10 May 2018.
Roman: When I began working with product managers in 2001 while introducing Extreme Programming at a healthcare company, product and Agile seemed worlds apart. The product management practices I encountered were very old-school and waterfall. I had a similar experience when I taught Scrum to product managers at a telco company in 2004. Back then I thought that product management would have to be reinvented to take full advantage of an agile way of working. Luckily, this turned out to be unnecessary. But I still think that the profession has tremendously changed over the last ten years influenced by Scrum, Lean Startup, and Business Model Generation.
Roman: Writing a book helps me reflect on my experience and consolidate my knowledge. At the same time, I hope that the readers will benefit from the contents! Before I started working on my last book Strategize, I felt that many product people lacked guidance on product strategy, and that there weren’t many books available that focused on strategy and roadmaps for digital products.
I really enjoy the creative act of writing. But working on a book can be challenging. There are difficult moments and setbacks such as slow progress, low motivation, an early review that indicates that more work is needed, to name just a few. These are great opportunities to learn and grow as a writer, product expert, and human being. But while experiencing these challenges, they don’t feel particularly pleasant, though, and initially, I am usually not very grateful for the experience!
Roman: I see a mixed picture: While agile product management has tremendously benefited some businesses, not all companies have been able to make the necessary changes to establish the new way of working. In the worst case, project managers are rebranded as product owners, groups of people are called squads, and there are now chapters and tribes. But when you take a closer look, little has changed: The product owners are not empowered and lack the necessary skills; the organisation is still project-driven; and the teams are not cohesive, self-organising teams but collections of individuals.