Sunday, October 30, 2016

Vuka Business Analysis!

AgieOpenJam

“Business Analysis Rising” was a fitting theme for this year’s Business Analysis Summit of Southern Africa. The title was a play on “Africa Rising” – a term used a few years ago to describe the expected growth and development in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the IIBA South Africa Chapter, it is time to tackle the future of the business analysis profession head on—the age of business analysis is dawning!

This year, the event was transformed from a “conference” to a “summit”. What is the difference? Well according to Conference Chair, Ryan Folster, “…a conference would view a presentation as a one directional transfer of knowledge, a summit looks at a presentation as the start of a conversation that continues beyond its delivery…” Continue reading

Friday, October 7, 2016

A Visual Nutshell for Amplifying Product Discovery

Defining Value

We were recently planning a discovery workshop for a large initiative with the Chief Product Owner (CPO). She is part of a growing, global community utilizing the techniques in our book Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis. This community is doing the vital work of product visioning and backlog definition and refinement. Discover to Deliver™ techniques are woven into collaborative product discovery and planning workshops. Such facilitated workshops quickly produce agile product roadmaps and release plans.

The CPO needed a succinct way to prepare the customers and subject matter experts who would be participating in the discovery session. She asked us, “What can I use to share the essence of our discovery work?” We showed her a visual spread we call “DtoD in a Nutshell” spread from our book. Continue reading

Friday, September 9, 2016

Backlog Refinement Takes You from Vision to Value

by Ellen Gottesdiener and Jeff Sutherland

Deliver Value Sooner

Backlog refinement prepares your backlog for development. Investing in doing this well helps you deliver visiontovaluegraphicvalue sooner, can double your productivity, and builds strong collaboration—the backbone of high performance teams. We find that Product Owners and development teams need advanced skills and training in backlog refinement. With a keen focus on value and conducting Structured Conversations using the 7 Product Dimensions, you greatly improve your ability to go from vision to value.

Refinement Is about Readying

Refining the product backlog involves analyzing and slicing stories in a way that makes backlog items ready for sprint planning. A healthy backlog is continually refined by the product owner for the team to detail, estimate, value… Continue reading

Friday, June 17, 2016

Value: The Lynchpin in Agile Product Management

Defining Value

You’d think the topic of value would be uncontroversial when it comes to agile product management and ownership. After all, early and continuous delivery of value is the first principle in the Agile Manifesto.

And yet, the idea is not always clear and consistent. Value is often not easily qualified or quantified, which makes the important task of conversing transparently about value difficult.

At the Agile Product Open last month, I proposed the topic “Value: The Whats, Whys, and Hows” in the morning marketplace of ideas. Continue reading | 4 Comments

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Agile Product Open: An Illustrated Interview

Agile Product Open Illustraion

I spend a lot of time in my work sharing the value of visualization in agile discovery. What better way to share the value of the upcoming Agile Product Open event (May 21, 2016) than visually!

Here is an illustrated interview created by Iris Amelia Febres after interviewing Vanessa Ferranto and myself (we are co-producing the event). We shared the reasons why we started this new event and our passion for the conference theme: “Bringing Agile Principles to Product Management”. Continue reading

Monday, April 4, 2016

Product Owner Survival Camp, USA

Product Owner Survival Camp USA

Product owners often find themselves alone in the organizational wilderness, straddling tactical with strategic product work. To succeed, they need to be inventive yet intensely focused; collaborative but decisive; and far-sighted but detail oriented.

The best product owners are strategic—envisioning the product, communicating upstream with business executives, researching the market, and continually planning for delivery of high-value product options. At the same time, they are also tactical—communicating downstream with the delivery team, running product demos, and discussing technical considerations. Continue reading

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Eyes Have It: How Visuals Can Energize Your Product Discovery

Visual Language

We facilitate lots of discovery sessions, leading teams to explore, evaluate, and confirm product requirements. A frequent question we hear from agile product managers, product owners, Scrum Masters, and coaches is, “My team is all over the place with backlog items. They can’t agree! How do these discovery sessions get them on the same page?”

The key is recognizing that discovery is a lot like learning: Everyone needs to find the best way to address a problem or opportunity—and do it together. To accelerate mutual learning, people need a blend of visual thinking and visual language. Mix in the right space, and you have a winning combination. Continue reading | 2 Comments

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Timely Topics, Deep Discussions: Agile Open Jam at BBC 2015

Open Jam 2015

Enthusiasm + experience = deep conversations. And there were plenty of insightful discussions during the Agile Open Jam at the 2015 Building Business Capability (BBC) conference, where passionate practitioners shared and learned from each other.

For the third year in a row, BBC attendees took advantage of an open jam format to better explore a wide variety of agile topics. We at EBG were pleased to continue serving as the organizer and host of the Agile Open Jam at the BBC, the official conference of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®).

Participants at the jam said there was “great collaboration of ideas and problem solving” and “awesome conversations.” Continue reading | 2 Comments

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Decide How to Decide: Empowering Product Ownership

Common Decision Rules

As the product owner, you are responsible for the product’s vision, and ultimately, the value of your product. You “own” the backlog. If your responsibilities include upstream product management—what I refer to as strategic product ownership—then you also shepherd your product through its entire lifecycle.

Bottom line, your prime responsibility is deciding what to build and when to build it. Your decisions guide not just the health and well being of your product, but also all the people engaged in product discovery and delivery.

Yet a common product ownership struggle I see in agile teams—regardless of industry and product type—is determining how to make decisions. As an agile coach, I use a pattern I call “Decide How to Decide.” It’s a simple technique to help people make transparent, participatory, and trusted decisions. Continue reading | 2 Comments

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Boosting Confidence through Successful Agile Business Analysis

Confidence

In our prior blog post we shared nine practices of great agile teams. They are powerful confidence builders for individual members, and even more so when the entire team lives the practices.

Here, we’re focusing specifically on a number of practices that are the hallmark for successful agile business analysis work. Gaining proficiency in these practices is a sure way to increase your team’s confidence and help them be successful.

VALUE Keep the product’s vision visible! Build the vision collaboratively, using visuals before turning it into a textual vision statement. Amplify the vision with qualitative goals, then quantify the goals with testable objectives. Ground your structured conversations in value as you explore product options, evaluate and select high-value options, and confirm that the options will meet the objectives. Value is the byword of agile business analysis work. Continue reading