What Makes A Good Product Backlog?

Everyone who designs and manages products is familiar with the situation in which different ideas, requirements, market demands and legal regulations just pile up. You end up with a big stack of wishes and requirement and need to refine and prioritize them for implementation. Therefore a well maintained product backlog is highly beneficial and supports you in creating a good product. Here are practices that have proven useful to me over the years.
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Posted in Planning, Product Development, Scrum, User Stories Tagged with: ,

The Importance of Ready User Stories

User stories in Scrum are work items that the team implements and turns into working software. The product owner is mainly responsible for developing user stories. However the team will have to work with the product owner to refine the user stories to ready user stories. This means the stories must be clear, concise, and immediately actionable. I’ve personally seen many teams struggling through the sprint, holding endless debates and get nothing done by the end of the sprint. The reason was simple that the user stories were not actionable and the result was frustration amongst team member as well as product owners.
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Collaboration vs Negotiation

All of you who are familiar with the Agile Software Development Manifesto, this post seems familiar. Actually the inspiration for it comes from the Agile Manifesto, which says:

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

My inspiration for this post actually comes from that. Only that I don’t want to limit collaboration to contracts. Collaboration is something that I find usefully in any part of software development, even outside of software development. But let’s focus on work space in this post. Whenever I worked in an collaborative environment, I enjoyed it. It wasn’t that important what the subject of the project was or which methodology or project management framework was used. What brought the joy was collaboration with colleagues, clients or other stakeholders instead of negotiating.

There is a nice quote goes perfectly with my experience:

„Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much“

Helen Keller

We will shed some light on collaboration over negotiation with considerations for daily use in software development.
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Launch Products powered by Minimal Marketable Product

In a previous post I covered the concept of minimum viable product (MVP) as a means of  supporting learning and validation of ideas during product development. To complete the picture I would now like to address the concept of minimal marketable product (MMP), which is a version of the product that is just sufficient to go to market with. On the one hand, MVP is used to validate whether you’re on the right path in creating a product that is valuable for users while reducing the risk of failure and waste; MMP is, on the other hand, aimed at achieving short time-to-market while delivering the right functionality to provide value to customers.



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Posted in Product Development Tagged with: , ,

Iterate Instead of Working Towards Deadlines

Many Agile projects still stick to working towards deadlines instead of iterating and building product increments. When working towards a deadline, building feature after feature per iteration, the benefits that one would normally have with an incremental way of working, such as learning about users, market, technology, and architecture are lost. The risk of waste is taken for granted in that case. Nevertheless the agile manifesto is violated on several points such as simplicity or delivering valuable software to users.
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Posted in Agile Manifesto, Product Development, Scrum Tagged with: , ,