Posts tagged ‘Product manager’

January 5, 2013

Progressive elaboration of user stories

by Sampath Prahalad

Progressive elaboration of user stories just means that big user stories are broken down into smaller ones and filled up with more detail when they appear closer to implementation. This video below from Rally explains the progressive elaboration of user stories in an iceberg metaphor and also brings in a water line. Quite interesting.

November 29, 2012

Documentation updates in Scrum projects

by Sampath Prahalad

Scrum and other flavors of Agile expect a potentially shippable product at the end of each Iteration or Sprint. This typically means that each user story within the Sprint has to be developed, integrated, tested, documented and made deployable to production. While this is not new, I have seen many variations to this in my experience with Agile teams. I am going to deal now only with the Release documentation part here. Everything else is out of scope for now.

Consider the scenario below. In a reasonably small organization, we have the Product Marketing manager Laura who doubles up as Product manager of a desktop application GoldSpot that back-ends with a database server. Laura is responsible for pretty much everything on GoldSpot. She is always seen juggling and shuffling between business case evaluation, wire-framing, product backlog creation and constant prioritization, user acceptance testing, creation and updates to user and admin documentation, customer demos, marketing communication, etc. The product development team consists of 3 developers, 2 test engineers and a Scrum master. The team and Laura meet over Skype for the Sprint planning meeting, the daily stand-ups, Sprint review and retrospectives. The team is in their third Sprint, have just created a prototype worth showing to customers and have 3 more Sprints to go in this Release.

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July 6, 2012

Inspect and Adapt for Agile Product Managers

by Sampath Prahalad

As organizations make their movement from Waterfall to Agile software development, a shift in culture takes place. One discipline that is most affected in this whole change is Product Management. They have to cope up with the demand for more releases within the same time and each release has to have meaningful content.

I have tried to list the traits needed for a successful Agile Product Manager here.

  • The clarity for the near term goals along with a vision for the medium term.
  • The ability to constantly prioritize and groom the product backlog so that the most important business requirements are placed at the top.
  • The ability to split requirements into granular user stories so that they can be completed within a Sprint.
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April 23, 2012

Scrum rituals, summarized…

by Sampath Prahalad
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Ritual

Happens on

What gets done

Significance

1

Sprint planning meeting

First day of the Sprint

  • The capacity of the team for the Sprint is determined.
  • User stories for the sprint are presented by the PM, and agreed upon between the team and the PM based on team capacity
  • The team then breaks the User stories into tasks and assigns the tasks to themselves.

Sprint planning meeting is complete only when both the above are Completed

  • If there is an investigative User story, a specific time period (maybe a week) is alloted to that with the aim ofcoming up with the next steps.
Once planned, the contents of the Sprint are to remain constant for the duration of the Sprint. Any recurring activities like Production Support can be put in as a separate user story or their effort need not be tracked as part of the Development sprint.

2

Daily Scrum meeting

Every day of the Sprint

3 questions to be answered by the team.

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What will you do today?
  • What impediments do you face?
This is not for the managers but for each other. If it is becoming a status meeting, the manager can be asked not to participate

3

Sprint Review / Demo

Last day of the Sprint

An informal demo of what was achieved by the team to the Product manager and other stakeholders in the Sprint. Anyone in the Delivery team can give the demo. The Sprint review focuses on the product and not the Process

Only User stories that are developed, tested and ready to deploy are ones that classify as Done.

4

Sprint Retrospective

Last day of the Sprint

The team (minus the managers) reflects on what went well during the Sprint and what processes can be changed for the better.

Continuous process improvement.

The Sprint Retrospective focuses on improving the Process and not the Product.

5

User story Sizing (Optional but recommended)

Once every 2 (or 3) weeks

Sizing of the user stories in the prioritized backlog list. The PM and team go through the user stories, play the planning poker game and assign story points to the user stories. Pace: 6-10 user stories per hour. The Intention is to have a backlog that is prioritized and well sized at any point of time so that the PM has enough information ahead of Sprint planning to identify the user stories that provide the most business value.
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