Prioritization Techniques for Agile Teams

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Have you ever been in a prioritization discussion where the only priorities are High, Higher, and Highest? Or tried using MoSCoW to prioritize user stories only to find
that 80% of the cards are 'Must Have'?

In this tutorial, we introduce a gamut of different prioritization methods, ranging from simple techniques like stacked ranking or MoSCoW that classify items along a single dimension to multi-dimensional techniques like priority quadrants, Story Maps, and Innovation Games®. We cover pruning feature trees, spending fake currency, and using visual metaphors, while truly identifying what the most important stuff really is. This was most recently presented at the Agile India 2013 conference in Bangalore.

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Prioritization Techniques for Agile Teams

  1. 1. Beyond MoSCoW:Prioritization Techniques for Agile Teams Tarang Baxi Chirag Doshi @gnarat @chiragsdoshi
  2. 2. In this session...1.  Explore a variety of prioritization techniques o  From simple to sophisticated o  1 game and 2 exercises to get your hands dirty2.  Understand: o  Common pitfalls o  Tips for making them effective o  When to use a technique © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  3. 3. Exercise 1
  4. 4. Client Context•  Online-only seller of premium wood furniture•  Just started TV & newspaper ad campaign•  Already has a reasonable inventory, ready to ship•  A couple of big industrial houses are rumoured to be eying the market © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  5. 5. Project Context•  Basic shopping experience already in place•  A whole bunch of new features required – derived from market & competitor research•  Budget available may not even cover half the desired items•  Smart Recommendations is the CEOs pet feature © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  6. 6. Simulation 1 - Feature list (with size)1.  Product Ratings & Reviews (M)2.  Live Agent Chat (S)3.  Interactive 3D models of products (L)4.  ‘Smart’ Recommendations (L)5.  Social Media Integration (S)6.  Daily Deals (M)7.  Loyalty Points (M)…and 15 more such features of varying sizes © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  7. 7. A. Classification-based Techniques
  8. 8. Common Variants•  High-Medium-Low•  MoSCoW•  1-2-3-4-5•  Stacked Ranking © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  9. 9. Common Pitfalls•  Everything is High Priority!•  How can you call this Low Priority?•  Priority 1 for one stakeholder, Priority 3 for another•  Cant remember why this was a Must Have…•  Time consuming discussions on low value features © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  10. 10. Tips•  Make it Visual, Tactile, Collaborative•  Use positive category labels•  Agree on category definitions first•  Impose forced limits•  Show suggested priorities•  Use a combinations of techniques © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  11. 11. B. Value-Mapping Techniques
  12. 12. Mapping Value - Priority Quadrants x x x x x Revenue Impact x x x x x x x Effort © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  13. 13. Revisiting iFurniture Inc… © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  14. 14. Client Context•  Online-only seller of premium wood furniture•  Just started TV & newspaper ad campaign•  Already has a reasonable inventory, ready to ship•  A couple of big industrial houses are rumoured to be eying the market © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  15. 15. Project Context•  Basic shopping experience already in place•  A whole bunch of new features required – derived from market & competitor research•  Budget available may not even cover half the desired items•  Smart Recommendations is the CEOs pet feature © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  16. 16. Suggested Dimensions xImpact on Conversions x x x x x x x x x x x Time to Market © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  17. 17. Extending quadrants further...Credit:(Des(Traynor,(Intercom.io5
  18. 18. Other Value-Mapping Techniques•  Systemico modelCredit:(Barry(O’Reilly,(ThoughtWorks5
  19. 19. Other Value-Mapping Techniques•  AARRR Mapping o  Acquisition o  Activation o  Retention o  Referral o  RevenueCredit:(Dave(McClure,(500hats.com5
  20. 20. C. Marketplace Simulation Techniques
  21. 21. Buy a Feature Game •  Each group is a family, whove just bought a car •  Want to buy accessories •  Total cost of all accessories is $1200 •  Budget per family $430, i.e. $86 per person.Credit:(Innovation(Games®,(innovationgames.com5 © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  22. 22. Add-ons for your car © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  23. 23. Why it works...•  Factors in scarcity•  Cost v/s value evaluation•  Encourages negotiation amongst stakeholders•  Builds consensus © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  24. 24. D. Context Evaluation Techniques
  25. 25. Story MapsCredit:(Jeff(PaIon,(agileproductdesign.com5
  26. 26. Prune The Product TreeCredit:(Innovation(Games®,(innovationgames.com5
  27. 27. Wrap Up
  28. 28. © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  29. 29. © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  30. 30. © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  31. 31. © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  32. 32. © 2013 Tarang Baxi & Chirag Doshi
  33. 33. Questions? Comments?chirag@thoughtworks.com tarang@thoughtworks.com@chiragsdoshi @gnarat

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