Questions not Stories, Agile 2013
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Questions not Stories, Agile 2013

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User Stories are a fantastic agile tool, but they are not the only way for the product owner and team to reach a mutual understanding of what needs to be delivered. ...

User Stories are a fantastic agile tool, but they are not the only way for the product owner and team to reach a mutual understanding of what needs to be delivered.

This workshop explores the use of hypotheses and experiments from the Lean Startup community as an alternative to user stories.

We examine ways for agile teams to reframe stories (e.g. As a traveller I want to know the weather so that I can plan my journey) as a series of hypothesis (e.g. Supplying weather information will increase ticket sales) that are validated by experiments (e.g. Does supplying hard-coded weather data for our two most popular routes increase ticket sales?).

Having the whole team involved in discovering business value ensures alignment across the organisation. You will see how using hypotheses and experiments brings advantages to the development team, the customer, and the user - ensuring we only build valuable features.

Stop telling stories about your product - start asking questions.

(presented at Agile 2013)

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Questions not Stories, Agile 2013 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Questions not Stories Agile 2013, Aug 7 2013 Adrian Howard (@adrianh) quietstars.com
  • 2. Hello!
  • 3. Please ask questions
  • 4. Disclaimer 1: Eh?
  • 5. Disclaimer 2: I could be confused and stupid
  • 6. Disclaimer 3: Be careful if you’re new to agile
  • 7. Who am I?
  • 8. I <heart> feedback
  • 9. Swear Jar
  • 10. (obligatory cute animal slide)
  • 11. Who are you?
  • 12. Exploring user stories
  • 13. Chatham House Rule applies please
  • 14. “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed”
  • 15. Exercise • Everybody write a user story • Real (if you can) or made up
  • 16. Exercise • Each person explain their user story to the group • Card. Conversation. Confirmation.
  • 17. Stories?
  • 18. Relax
  • 19. Why stories?
  • 20. Stories are statements
  • 21. Stories describe the product
  • 22. Product owner says “X will return business value”
  • 23. Splitting & Thinning
  • 24. Stories = known knowns
  • 25. What about known unknowns?
  • 26. What about unknown unknowns?
  • 27. The Lean Startup “A true experiment follows the scientific method. It begins with a clear hypothesis that makes predictions about what is supposed to happen. It then tests those predictions empirically”
  • 28. The Lean Startup • Come up with hypothesis • Design experiment • Run experiment • Validate/Invalidate hypothesis • Repeat
  • 29. The Lean Startup
  • 30. Moving from Stories to Hypotheses
  • 31. As a potential user, I want register using twitter so that I don’t have to fill out a registration form.
  • 32. Step 1
  • 33. As a potential user, I want register using twitter so that I don’t have to fill a registration form ?
  • 34. As a potential user, I want register using twitter so that I don’t have to fill a registration form ?
  • 35. Step 2: Ask why? • Increase # registrations? • More social media penetration for marketing? • Allow notification features?
  • 36. Step 3: What’s our hypothesis?
  • 37. Allowing users to register with twitter will drop abandoned registrations by 5%
  • 38. Exercise • 5m • Pair up • Pick a story card and apply: 1. Question mark 2. Why (or “whys”) ? 3. Generate hypothesis
  • 39. Building Experiments
  • 40. Experiments produce learning not product
  • 41. Experiments can get thrown away
  • 42. Focus on cost & feedback time
  • 43. Allowing users to register with twitter will drop abandoned registrations by 5%
  • 44. Example • Built fake “register with twitter” link which led to nice error message • Released to segment of customers on live site • Measured how many new users tried it • <1% - hypothesis invalid
  • 45. Not just A/B testing
  • 46. Example •Zappos •Annual sales > US$1 billion •Hypothesis: Is there a demand for superior online shoe shopping •Experiment: Took photos from shoe shops, came back and bought them full price if customer bought them online Example from The Lean Startup, p57-58
  • 47. Exercise • 5m • Pair up • Pick a hypothesis • Come up with as many ways to validate the hypothesis as possible
  • 48. Why hypothesis?
  • 49. The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
  • 50. Hypotheses talk about business value directly
  • 51. It’s hypotheses before, during and after development
  • 52. Alignment on value
  • 53. Helps build an experiment culture
  • 54. Encourages value-oriented infrastructure
  • 55. Splitting/thinning changes
  • 56. Where’s the user?
  • 57. Success changes
  • 58. Where are the running, tested features?
  • 59. Where’s the delight?
  • 60. Horde of zombie experiments
  • 61. What happens when I can’t validate cheaply?
  • 62. What about non- startup contexts?
  • 63. Some folk find reality hurts
  • 64. Further Reading • Lean Startup by Eric Ries • The Startup Owner's Manual by Steve Blank • Running Lean by Ash Maurya • The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank • The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development by Brant Cooper & Patrick Vlaskovits
  • 65. Remember your feedback forms
  • 66. @adrianh quietstars.com slideshare.net/adrianh adrianh@quietstars.com Questions