Principle #2 of the Project Action Principles is stated as “Fulfil Customer Value, Interactively”.
As an aside, the only reason it is number 2 and not number 1 (“Achieve Outcomes, Rapidly“), is that we need the motive force of pro-active outcome focus that is outlined in PAP#1 to make PAP#2, and the rest of the Principles, work for us.
I found this video (“Beyond User Stories: Taking your Team to Next Level of Awesome !!!” by Kalpesh Shah) in my feedly inbox today, and to be honest I wasn’t that enthused about reading it. I’d already read and rejected a number of fairly wishy-washy, product-serving or self-serving listicles.
But I made myself watch it this morning and I was blown away. It is really worth the time to go through to the end. If this topic interests you, then the time is well invested.
The case study for the presentation looks like so many agile projects I’ve watched or worked in. (and a lot of projects with other methodology approaches too).
I bet it looks a lot like yours.
The problem that Kalpesh Shah addresses is where the customer, the actual customer who is the target user for your product, appears in the end-to-end process that delivers the project outcomes.
The answer in many projects is “nowhere” – That’s “nowhere” inside the project delivery process. And even if they are represented somehow, then it is very indirect and almost always a “one-shot” deal: locked in virtual stone in the User Stories that are the feeding trough for all Agile teams.
Check out the slides at 12:39 or so into the preso. How much does that reflect your current project? Or perhaps its worse. I had one stakeholder tell me that his requirements came from “Gartner”.
Kalpesh Shah takes you extensively through the problem and a number of solutions, with humour, fact and good examples. I love the soccer team analogy of team alignment at 15:32 and it makes telling analysis.
So go ahead. read this and use it as the springboard for further research into how to get your prospective users more engaged throughout the project.
And remember, “Fulfil Customer Value, Interactively”
Great teams make great products, but what fuels this greatness? It’s the common understanding and passion for the product but more importantly the singularity of purpose and the feedback loop and how the users are responding to the teams work.
The new world of product development is no longer about scope management and delivering the project on time and within budget but it’s now more about hypothesis validation and learning from the users and their behaviors.
The dynamics of product development is changing. As more and more organizations are moving towards maturing their agile software development approach the traditional barriers of roles are being broken creating new opportunities and fostering a shift in the mindset. Instead of being tied down to scope management and delivering the project on time, Agile teams are focused and inspired by hypothesis validation and learning from the users and their behaviors.
In this case study we will go over how a portfolio of 12 SCRUM Teams adopted a more outcome approach and how they shifted their mindset from project delivery in Agile way to adopting the Experiment-Measure-Learn-Repeat loop which plays a crucial role in teams overall motivation, performance and moved from being SCRUM Teams to “Product Teams”.
We will also see how we experimented with different team formats and how exposing the team members to different events and user research changed the way they perceived the information of the problem they were solving via features and user stories.