Strategic MVP and Iterations

Each strategic project is a set of related user stories – Liz Rice, MindTheProduct

The lively discussion continues around exactly how strategic is Agile if you constantly run short Sprints. Doesn’t it take longer to be strategic?

Actually no…The two concepts (Agile & Strategic) are not mutually exclusive! I read a very interesting article this weekend by Liz Rice who outlines exactly HOW to do this. She’s keen on being realistic and keeping on track.

Liz advocates using a roadmap and planning to prioritize User Stories needed to build the MVP, keeping in mind that it is best to not bog down in details. Plan for the predictable things and get buy-in from your development teams. We all know priorties can and will change, that’s what Agile does so well. Don’t sweat the small stuff but remember if you don’t consciously integrate critical MVP “must have” features into the Quarterly Plan you’ll be forever dealing only with short-term and “urgent” requests.

And that’s no way to develop world class software.

Fictitious Characters in Agile Development?

I recently attended an interesting and interactive NPD learning event about using “Personas” to define product features.  Very much like User Stories but made using ethnographic (field research) methods.  Personas tell their story in terms of goals, the “why” and “how” of what they do.  It’s not at all easy to be good at defining unique and evidence based personas, but the outcome is worth the effort.

The speakers introduced our personas by name, provided us Post-it notes, Sharpies and paper iPads. We broke into teams of 6-7.  Our goal: to create a wireframe of a Tablet App front page appealing to the travel requirements of our assigned persona.  In about 20 minutes, we were ready to showcase our work.

Here’s the interesting point>>throughout the designing,  the teams remained focused on the person in the persona.  Features, elements, text, flow were all designed with the persona’s needs top of mind. It was as if the persona was there with the team. There was a shared understanding of needs within the context of the persona’s world, and the outcomes were all awesome (and quite different).

I am a believer!  By including personalities and behaviors of  the buyer, early and often, into product decisions, teams will make great product design decisions.

Priority is to Satisfy the Customer.

Cheers!