Co-written with PST Ryan Brook
Picture this scenario: a Scrum Team, working in a company called Magnum Opus, is creating iris-scanning security machines, deployed at airports worldwide. Biometric security machines are expected to be a massive trend in Q4 of 2023 and '24 onwards. How can a Scrum Team working on such a device ensure that it keeps doing the right things? Well, the short answer to this (and to every other existential life question) is "It depends". There are many options that follow "it depends". In this blog series, we will talk you through one of the options at your disposal; creating a Product Wall. This scenario comes from the upcoming book that we (Ryan and Sander) are writing that takes you through the entire product development endeavor they embark on.
The Magnum Opus I-Candy Team (the team that builds the iris scanner) is using this Product Wall:
As you can see, there are six different elements:
- The roadmap
- Market and domain information
- Value Metrics
- Customer Journey Map
Each and every one of those elements will get its own blog, but let's dive into why we recommend using Product Walls first. Let's even take one step further back. What are the two main reasons for using Scrum? To deliver faster and save mo... NOPE! To deliver value, and to limit risk. And to do that, you need information. To be more specific, you need transparent information. Product Walls make information very transparent and ready to use. And much like metrics, none of the elements provide any value by themselves. The value lies in the conversation that follows and the decisions that are being made based on the information. That is what drives your product and its market position forward.
This particular Product Wall is a virtual one, but we encourage you to build a physical version if your team and stakeholders are in a position to get together at the same place.
This Product Wall is built with components that fit the narrative that we describe in the book. This, by no means, implies that this is an exhaustive list of components. You can make it as big or small as you want (or as makes sense, really). Put your Product Backlog next to it and you have a great backdrop for a Sprint Review, combined with the Increments of course. An additional benefit is that it creates instant focus on that what is relevant and what is not. New ideas emerge constantly. This transparency enables you to reflect on this new idea's position to the goals you're trying to achieve and what to do with it. You can even add a "Discarded Work" area to show how much you have saved to the organization from investing in!
Product Walls support the empirical process by providing a solid foundation to inspect and adapt. Again, there are a lot more options and this is just one of them. Magnum Opus uses it to see where it stands right now, what kind of trends it can spot, what the forecast of features looks like, when releases are planned, and how its target audience could use its product within the whole ecosystem.
Stakeholders holding their stake
This transparency holds answers to many questions stakeholders might have. Our top 3 hits of Summer '23:
- When is my feature done?
- Who needs this anyway?
- But... why?
Questions like this can easily be answered by providing transparency to your Product Wall (and Product Backlog for that matter). How we can do that, is for the following articles to clarify! Stay tuned for more.