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Tips to better refine your product backlog

Here is a list of tips to improve your product backlog – reminder: still around conversation!

  • Impact mapping: link business with user stories (impactmapping.org)
    • It does answer the question: what is end goal of such user story: increasing sales? Remaining competitive? Catching up with the competition? etc
  • User story mapping: link
  • Low fidelity prototyping: using powerpoint, drawing, balsamic etc
    • Before trying to get UX details, allow you to test a new idea
    • Using powerpoint is very easy and everybody can reuse the work and collaborate:
  • Define UX: drawing on a piece of paper or on visio for instance can be very quick and can help refine some user stories: this is very effective when having a UX parallel development track
  • Having INVEST user stories: the best way to know whether this is testable is to write some example tests and using BDD format is great (Given/When/Then)
    • The great thing about examples, apart from confirming the user story, is that some examples become user stories. Examples help flash out critical details.
  • Make business rules explicit: rules are quite often “embedded” in the user stories. I have found make them explicit (When “event” Then “Action”) can be helpful especially when documenting your software product. You can add these rules in your UX design too.
    • Example: When password or username is incorrect, Then user should try to reset their password or try another time (up to 3x)
      • When user has failed 3 times, then user must reset his password

Quite a lot to get on with it – but don’t forget this is a collaborative effort whatever options you use!

Secrets of video scribing

You have ever wondered how to get these short videos on Youtube where you see a hand writing or moving pictures?

And you thought how tricky it must be!

This is not. Tools exist. They do most of the work for you: you can get your first animation in 15 minutes by simply following their tutorials. Download videoscribe from videoscribe.co or use powtoon from http://www.powtoon.com/

Here is my first presentation on creation of Definition of Done.

This is magic: impressive but very easy. The background music is provided, you can record the voice over by the click of a button, etc

Visual facilitation and thinking – round up on ideas on improving collaboration and understanding

Visual summary

This post is a list of videos and websites where you can find more information.

I have tried to capture different ideas: how to draw something and how to draw a problem, how to facilitate a meeting using visual facilication and games to explore business ideas and constraints:

 

Agile: common sense, simplicity, execution – Planning

Each project is different although the approach is the same: common sense, simplicity and capacity of a team to execute a high level plan i.e. deliver working software. This is a model that can fit some types of projects where governance is important to an organization, where project management is being used and where UX work is key to the launch of a product.

I would highlight again “simplicity”: agile is about making improvement and a good way to identify improvements is to ask yourself: “Can this cost less energy? Can this be reused? Can this be replaced by something that already exist if I change it?”

This picture shows 3 levels of planning, a gated process with review of business cases (yearly budgeting and quarterly funding) as well as quality criteria such as INVEST, DEEP for the product backlog, DoD etc

 

Big picture

Image

Agile definition

Everybody is talking about “agile” but hardly nobody agrees on the meaning? What is “agile”? I have tried to see what makes you agile and thought…

Common sense is key to success: without common sense, you get mindless chaos (Steve McConnel) and smart people will not stay round for long.

Common sense drives simplicity: you cannot solves issues you do not understand; you cannot make progress if your people don’t understand what directions you are taking etc

Simplicity drives values: you clarify the key values; what is really important and people is “something” you value more than processes and documentation

Values drive principles: once your values are clear, you set out principles to follow

From your principles, you establish and improve a framework driven by common sense and simplicity and that support your values and principles.

 

 

Agile Definition

Enterprise Agile Project Management: where does “Agile” fit?

Although it may look similar at first sight, Agile project management has a far bigger part to play in the Enterprise. The key difference is first in the values and the desire to apply common sense in the Enterprise.

High Level

Then, going deeper, into more details:

Medium Level

Finally:

Low Level

The paragraph from Ken Schwaber that everybody should read again…

Extract from Ken Schawber, Project Management with scrum, 2004:

“Common sense is a combination of experience, training, humility, wit, and intelligence. People employing Scrum apply common sense every time they find the work is veering off the path leading to the desired results. Yet most of us are so used to using prescriptive processes—those that say “do this, then do that, and then do this”—that we have learned to disregard our common sense and instead await instructions.”