Monday, April 4, 2016
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
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
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
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
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
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
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
We’ve noticed something about the high-performing agile teams we work with: their confidence. They truly believe and trust in their individual and collective abilities. Their confidence extends to how they go about managing their product and delivering value, continuously.
Inspired by Lisa Crispin’s blog, we have compiled our own list of confidence-boosting practices that we suggest when coaching agile teams. We hope they’ll help you and your team as you strive to discover and deliver great products. Continue reading | 2 Comments
Sunday, June 28, 2015
I’ve long been an advocate for visual learning and discovery tools. Models, maps, prototypes, along with the use of symbols and color, aid in understanding complex ideas. So what I saw in a recent Agile Requirements training class I taught in Tokyo, Japan—hosted by our training partner OGIS-RI—took my love of visuals to a new level. One attendee, Hidehiko Akasaka, was especially engaged. To my delight, he was using mind maps to help him organize and amplify his learning!
I use mind maps for a variety of topics. For example, recently I “wrote” a book review using a mind map. Yet, for me, Akasaka-san takes mind maps to a new level Continue reading | 4 Comments
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
I love the latest book from Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin, More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team. My own copy is littered with dog-eared pages, highlighted text, and stickies marking ideas I want to come back to, bring to my own work, and share with others.
When I sat down to write this book review, I started with a mind map, as Janet and Lisa often suggest. My plan was to turn this organized brainstorm into a standard text-heavy book review that would elegantly and persuasively describe how valuable I find the book. Yet as the mind map began to take shape, I paused to reconsider. I wondered if perhaps using the mind map as my book review would be the best solution. Continue reading
Monday, April 20, 2015
Agile Requirements – Creative Collaborative and Colorful Discovery – was the title of a workshop held on March 16, 2015, at the RE Conf (Requirements Engineering Conference) in Munich. Coach Ellen Gottesdiener (founder of EBG Consulting) is a renowned pioneer in the field of collaborative partnerships for Requirements Engineering and Management. During this workshop we experienced her creative and colorful way of thinking – and were quite impressed by her “retro approach” based on flip charts and colored post-its.
What’s more, we were not allowed to forget the “mantra of value” during the one-day workshop! Every software application (or even hardware component) upgrade must add value for the various customer, business and technology stakeholders or partners involved. Otherwise the requirement should be disregarded. Continue reading
Monday, March 30, 2015
We’re big fans of the latest book from Gojko Adzic and David Evans, Fifty Quick Ideas to Improve Your User Stories. After all, who isn’t always looking for ways to improve? We encourage you to check it out.
Whether you’re looking for new ideas for creating stories, planning with stories, discussing stories, splitting stories, or managing iterative delivery, you’re sure to find a number of improvement ideas. Continue reading