Or Don’t Let Your Lack of Ability To Do a Part-of-it Stop You from Doing What You Want to Happen
Let us face it. Either we have all the talent needed to pull off an idea or we do not have all the talent to pull off the idea. Should this lacking stop us from going ahead and follow the idea?
Conventional wisdom says, if you can’t do it, you won’t be able to do it. So forget it.
In a modern market, a businessman should have multiple capabilities to survive. Not every entrepreneur can hire accountants, financial advisors, lawyers, technical experts for advice. They start with limited resources and consultants don’t come cheap.
All entrepreneurs have one common quality. They are good at multiple tasks. If a successful entrepreneur was good at computers, sure there was at least one more field which the entrepreneur had a “natural knack” for. Maybe marketing, finance or any other area that helped in converting an “idea” into a business reality.
But at times either that is not sufficient or there maybe a lack of “natural knack”. It can discourage an entrepreneur into inaction. A Dirty-Work Group model can be a good approach to walk away unscathed by all these problems.
As you follow the Beating Down the Idea you would have broken down your projects into activities. The thing different in this break-down is that the activities are classified as per your (the initiator’s) capabilities. It will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses. Use this list to look for a team that will make up for these lacking.
Besides a help in forming a team, the process is useful in:
Identifying the strength and weakness of team members
Identifying weakness that is not covered by another team member and thus identify a weak link
Taking the first step where the results of analysis can be directed inwards rather than outwards. Most planning and analysis tools are for “telling” others about a project. The DWG method is easy to adapt and hence greater advantage for the project itself.
It is a great team-work promoting method.
It helps the “purpose” rather than “people” become the leader and guiding principle.
A backlog is a list of features or technical tasks which the team maintains and which, at a given moment, are known to be necessary and sufficient to complete a project or a release:
if an item on the backlog does not contribute to the project’s goal, it should be removed;
on the other hand, if at any time a task or feature becomes known that is considered necessary to the project, it should be added to the backlog.
These “necessary and sufficient” properties are assessed relative to the team’s state of knowledge at a particular moment; the backlog is expected to change throughout the project’s duration as the team gains knowledge.
The backlog is the primary point of entry for knowledge about requirements, and the single authoritative source defining the work to be done.
Not That Backlog
Various terms exist for a backlog being used in Agile development. Based on scope / tradition, terms Story Backlog, Feature Backlog, Epics Backlog, Development Backlog and at times Product Backlog too are used.
I will refer to these as Story Backlog so I can differentiate it with the Product backlog I am introducing in this write-up.
The agile story backlog in Scrum is a prioritized features list, containing short descriptions of all functionality desired in the product. A typical Scrum backlog comprises the following different types of items:
A story backlog is a prioritized list of work for the development team that is derived from the roadmap and its requirements. The most important items are shown at the top of the story backlog so the team knows what to deliver first. The development team doesn’t work through the backlog at the product owner’s pace and the product owner isn’t pushing work to the development team. Instead, the development team pulls work from the story backlog as there is capacity for it, either continually (kanban) or by iteration (scrum).
A Product Backlog is prioritized features list, containing short descriptions of all functionality desired in the product, with a business value for each feature clearly quantified along with source of the feature request / inspiration.
Product Backlog Card
A take at what a Product Card can look like:
Theme / Module
Action – Expected Result / I want to – So That / Feature / Inception time Epic
Success Metric (to judge value delivered)
Failure Metric (to trigger a re-learn / re-analyze)
I am still not sure if Priority would still make sense given that Value Ranking is there. The reason I have added it is because Priority represents the perspective on person who is creating this card and Value Ranking is a quantitative analysis based on weightage. Value Ranking is a kind of check on the ‘gut feel’ or ’emotional’ Priority.
I think Source is important. We should link back to the CRM entry, the social media post, a market study, email, etc that lead to creation of this. It is important to refer to that original content which can be referred to as-is in future and considered as ‘interpretation free’ source which a ProMa used.
Scoping Product Backlog Card
How much work is a feature? There are some questions that a ProMa should ask to give BAs, IMs, Dev a good idea of breadth of work involved. There is, always, more to a feature than just implementation. Look at the suggested list to get an idea what I mean here:
Is a GTM time identified?
If yes, date?
Does it need marketing collaterals?
Does it need sales collaterals?
Does it need support collaterals?
Does it need user collaterals?
Does it need change in process?
Does it need change in people & behaviour?
Does it need change in how users interact?
Does it need change in tech?
Does it bring in regulatory & legal aspect?
Does it bring in un-handled regulatory & legal aspect?
Does it need extra/new licenses?
Does it get covered by existing licensing model?
Security & Safety
Does it need extra security focus?
A yes on any of these, will affect the scope of work and for folks other than the Devs. It is important to look beyond the functionality during implementation.
Prioritizing Product Backlog
Quantifying Product Vision
A feature can be seen to provide / contribute to one or more of following values at various levels:
Based on the vision, these six can be given various weightage.
Eg: 1/ A product like say ‘Am-Behind App’ is playing catch up on feature parity with competition, the weightage can be: