Scrum Master's service to the Product Owner
Of the duties listed in the scrum guide, Scrum Master's service to the Product Owner, one of the points is
Understanding product planning in an empirical environment
This, to me is a whole area in itself, left for interpretation. Are there any real world examples / pointers that can elaborate this point more? Also is this same as :
Finding techniques for effective Product Backlog management
I like Mike Cohn's planning approach:
There are other resources from him too.
Empiricsm is based on making decisions on the information you have available, then re-evaluate that as new informaiton is recieved. There was a long period of time where product planning was done based upon expected needs or hypothesis. That served well when the ecomony was slower moving and technology was not as readily available. In today's world things change rapidly. So product planning needs to be able to react to changes quickly. For example, you are building a product feature that none of your competitors have. Halfway through your development your largest competitor released functionality that was a portion of what you were building. Do you release what you have already built given that each sprint created a potentially releasable increment or do you continue on to your full feature and run the risk of delivering after more of you competitors? That is empirical product planning. Make a plan but be willing to change it at any point in time based on new information.
Effective Product Backlog management techniques could be changing the way you order the items. A lot of people will prioritize the backlog. But I have worked on many situations where a lower priority item would garner higher customer loyalty. The higher priority are important the companies long term strategies but the lower priority is something that the customers have been asking to have. So ordering the backlog based on the value to the user instead of the priority of the item to the company is one technique that can be used. There are others and as a Scrum Master you should be working with the Product Owner to find techniques that ensure the Development Team is working on the items that provide the most value.