Posts on Product Backlog

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.

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Backlog Refinement Takes You from Vision to Value

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.

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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.

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Agile 2014: Two Requirements-Focused Sessions You Don’t Want to Miss

IM_A_SPEAKER_AT-300pxAre you headed to Agile 2014 this year? We are—and we are eager to introduce audiences there to our unique approach to agile requirements.

You’ll find EBG’s Nanette Brown and me speaking in the Working with Customers track, as we explore ways to discover a product’s quality attributes—things like performance, usability, robustness, and more. EBG’s VP of Quality and Delivery Mary Gorman is co-presenting with Terry Weigmann in the Testing and Quality Assurance track on the topic of test analysis and how it enables teams to strengthen and produce higher quality requirements on agile projects.

In this blog post, we want to offer you a sneak peak into these sessions, both in terms of how crucial they are for success with agile and also in regard to why they were chosen for this year’s program. Oh, and if you can’t make it to Orlando, we’ll be tweeting throughout the conference, so follow us (@ellengott, @mbgorman, @nanettebrwn) the week of July 28th!

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Focus on Value: 4 Factors Every Team Should Consider

1Most of our clients share the same goal: deliver value. Yet often we find that these same clients cannot define what value looks like for their companies, or determine how to use value to inform project decisions.

We’ve identified 4 key factors to help your team bring value into focus:

  • Involve the Right People
  • Define Value Transparently
  • Look Toward the Short Term
  • Have the Vision to Change

Involve the Right People

Defining a product’s desired result, before building it, is fundamental to that product’s success. To do this successfully, you need to identify all of the key stakeholders from the customer, business, and technology realms. These stakeholders need to work together, as collaborating product partners, to envision the product, define goals, and specify measurable objectives, thereby creating a high-level view of the desired product outcomes. Having these key markers will ensure that the team is always building the most valuable thing.

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