Friday, February 24, 2017

Slicing User Stories, Delivering Value

Are you on one of the many agile teams struggling with backlogs and user stories? Don’t give up. I teamed up with Jeff Sutherland, CEO of Scrum Inc., to deliver a webinar called “Slicing User Stories”. We focused on helping teams manage their backlogs, improve sprints and release planning, and increase delivered value using practices Mary Gorman and I wrote about in Discover to Deliver.

Here’s a summary of what we discussed. And stay tuned; I’ll go deeper into this in an upcoming webinar with the Scrum Alliance on March 15th. Continue reading

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Five Ways a Product Owner Can Build Trust

For project teams to work together effectively, team members and stakeholders need trust. Each team member (product managers and owners, leaders, subject matter experts, and technical staff) have different roles and different interests.

As a product owner responsible for defining (and refining) the product backlog, you are expected to juggle a variety of issues including: choosing the most valuable work, meeting deadlines, controlling costs, incorporating bug fixes, addressing technical debt, ensuring quality, and communicating the changes to your users. If that trust breaks down, your product and process will, too. The result may be hidden agendas, rumors, gossip, no shows to standups, whining, or even subversive behavior. Continue reading

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Factors for Making Value-Based Product Decisions

Value

Making value-based decisions on what to deliver and when it needs to be delivered is one of the most important responsibilities of product ownership. What exactly is value? Value is fair return in goods, services, money, or some other benefit in exchange for something.

Value is what you get in exchange for what you give. In software development, we tend to identify value in terms of features. They are related to be sure, but quite different. Features as cohesive bundles of functionality that align with business goals and objectives. Features can come in various formats and levels of granularity, including user stories, minimum marketable features, minimum viable product, epics, and so on. Continue reading | 1 Comment

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

~   update: join Ellen Gottesdiener and Scrum Alliance for a webinar highlighting backlog refinement and slicing for value on March 15th 2017: Making Your User Stories “Ready” to Get to “Done”  (register here) ~

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

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 | 5 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