From Vision to Value

October 27, 2020

Companies have always faced challenges with building technology that is both functional and delivers the user wants and needs. The days of unusable software are long over.  

Customer perceptions and expectations have changed. It is no longer acceptable for companies to release unreliable, unwanted or unused software features. Some technology companies have seen more success than others for a multitude of reasons. There is no specific formula that equals success, making processes all the more important.

Building the right product for the right customer, and at the right time, is an ongoing challenge. Product Owners who collaborate with development, as they integrate product discovery with delivery, have greater success with delivering product value.  

Focusing on the product backlog

As stated in the Scrum Guide, the Product Owner should be maximizing the value of the work performed by the Development Team.  The Product Owner works to maintain a healthy, lean and evolving product backlog.    

On highly effective teams, backlog management and refinement are second nature. There is a strong understanding of business priorities and the product development team knows what to work on now, next and later.  This is where the Vision to Value approach comes in.

Three Areas of Focus

Value

Understanding business priorities is about appreciating stakeholders’ needs and prioritizing those needs based on value.  Stakeholders are partners in the journey.  In the Vision to Value approach, stakeholders are considered product partners and fall into three categories: Customer, Business, or Technology.  

Why segment stakeholders? Well, what might be essential to one person or group, may not be ideal for another.  Definitions of value might vary and not always mean revenue.  Exploring value from the perspective of the partners opens options for better product backlog prioritization.

Collaboration

Collaboration and alignment are heavily dependent upon a common approach to communication.  To reduce communication breakdown between product partners, product managers and product owners, Vision to Value emphasizes using Structured Conversation.  

Structured Conversations provide a repeatable and natural way for Product Owners to collaborate with product partners. They do this by exploring potential needs, evaluating those needs against value, and then confirming the high value needs through validation.

The Structure Conversation: Source

See the whole

It is important to view a product holistically. Vision to Value uses the 7 Product Dimensions to do so. The dimensions encompass functional and non-functional views of a product, helping generate conversations that deepen insights about the product, and align understanding between product partners and the development team.  

A by-product of exploring the 7 Product Dimensions is better refinement.  Structured Conversations, combined with the 7 Product Dimensions, yields a lean backlog containing items that are valuable and well-understood by the product development community.

7 Product Dimensions: Source

Improving Your Product Backlog Practices

We often see teams struggle to master their backlog refinement practices, never getting to a high-performing state because of it. Classes like the CSPO are great at exploring the Product Owner role, responsibilities and tools across a breadth of topics.  Unfortunately, there is never enough time to learn advanced practices at the level of granularity needed to develop excellence in backlog refinement.  

For this reason, we are partnering with EBG Consulting to provide Ellen Gottesdiener’s course on this topic. Our consultant, Michelina DiNunno, has worked closely with Ellen over the last several years, supporting product consulting work and delivery of the Vision to Value course.  

Register for the Value to Vision Backlog: Refinement Practitioner and come and expand your backlog management skills!

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