The Agile Manifesto gives us 12 principles to abide by in order to implement agility in our processes. These principles are the golden rules to refer to when we’re looking for the right agile mindset. But are we getting the right meaning out of them?
In my latest article for Gurock TestRail blog, I examine what we mistakenly hear when we’re told the 12 principles, what pain points the agile team face due to these misunderstandings, and what each principle truly means.
Principle 1: Our Highest Priority is to Satisfy the Customer Through Early and Continuous Delivery of Valuable Software
What we hear: Let’s have frequent releases to show the customer our agility, and if they don’t like the product, we can redo it.
The team’s pain points: Planning frequent releases that aren’t thought out well increases repetitive testing, reduces quality and gives more chances for defect leakage.
What it really means: Agile requires us to focus on quick and continuous delivery of useful software to customers in order to accelerate their time to market.
Here we have for you another Innovation Game centered around prioritization. It is a visual and crisp way to chart out and understand priorities of upcoming tasks , features or stories.
Game : 20/20 Vision
Aim : To chart out the RELATIVE priorities of the tasks at hand
Method: The 20/20 game elaborates the prioritization of each task in relation to a benchmark task of medium priority and complexity.
Just like a visit to the Optometrist, where he makes you compare the various lenses to find the best suitable for your sight, in this game we make the team compare all stories / requirements / tasks and find the right place for them on the chart of priority in relation to the one benchmark level.
Description: Write down all stories on post-its. With the team’s consensus and decision, decide on one story which is of medium level and put in on the board in the middle.
Now the team goes through each story one by one, and places the story on the board as higher or lower priority in relation to the benchmark story. At the end of the exercise, we arrive at a visual representation of the story or task prioritization, giving us a clear road-map for future!
This game takes almost 15-30 minutes only depending on the number of tasks at hand, as compared to long planning meetings.
Hope you are enjoying our series on Innovation Games, and learning some new techniques to engage your Agile team. In Part 1 and Part 2 we discussed some really fun and interesting Agile Innovation games.
In this part we shall discuss a really unique Innovation Game which helps the team and stakeholders to gather a broader perspective on the product or project they are working on. While working on small components and intricacies of the project, it is possible for us to loose perspective and be confined in a narrow zone.Our game helps us to ‘Zoom-Out’ periodically and get a bird’s eye view of the project, its future and the road-map ahead. It is called –
Prune The Product Tree –
To identify the most important features, aspects of the product as per the stakeholders and to elicit feedback from the customers.
Draw a big tree on the chart and draw its branches. The thick branches represent the major functionalities of your system. The smaller branches are the functionalities within each branch.
Participants place the index cards in their respective branches after writing the new expected features.
We may also add apples for functionalities that will be very useful for next releases, and flowers for the good-to-have features that may wow customers!
This will give an overview of the future direction of the product and gives visual representation on which branch of the product tree is expanding the most.
Try this out with your team , and you shall see the benefits soon! 🙂
As promised, I am now beginning the series on learning the most popular Innovation Games, some of which I also featured in my Session at UNICOM World Business Summit.
The first one we take up is “Mitch Lacey Team Prioritization”
Objective: The objective of this game is to prioritize the items in our ever-increasing backlog, which if not tracked can prove paralyzing for the agile team.
Method:Draw a chart with x axis as Size (small to Large) and y axis as the priority (lower to higher). The graph is divided into three columns for easier segregation.
Start out by handing out post-its having each backlog item listed, and the team places each item in the corresponding area as per their perception and discussion.
This is how your chart must look like:
Top-left corner of the graph will be the items with high priority and low effort, so automatically be the first items to be picked.
Top-right corner, on the other hand, will be items with high priority and high complexity, so will be picked next.
By placing the ideas in the 2D space, it gives a clear visual representation of the next logical steps for the team, and also answers the vital question —“What should we do that will generate maximum value with minimum effort and complexity?”