Backlog Refinery - Adarsh Sridhar and Rajeev Nair, ThoughtWorks
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Backlog Refinery - Adarsh Sridhar and Rajeev Nair, ThoughtWorks



From our experience of working with various clients, we would like to share the various innovative methods the Product/Project directors use to prioritize the feature/product backlog and how it varies ...

From our experience of working with various clients, we would like to share the various innovative methods the Product/Project directors use to prioritize the feature/product backlog and how it varies from business to business. For eg: Concept triage, Email campaigns etc.



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Backlog Refinery - Adarsh Sridhar and Rajeev Nair, ThoughtWorks Backlog Refinery - Adarsh Sridhar and Rajeev Nair, ThoughtWorks Presentation Transcript

  • Rajiv Nair - @rajeev_nair_tw Adarsh - @aadarsh__
  • What forms your Backlog? ü New Features ü Defects ü Code Refactors, Redesigns, Technology Upgrades
  • Backlog - Challenges Flickr photo courtesy - Jaaron
  • Backlog - Challenges
  • Backlog - Challenges
  • Need for a Refined Backlog ü  Value Maximization ü  Balance ü  Business Alignment
  • Steve Scale Research Intuitive
  • Concept Triage
  • Concept Triage - What? ü  What ? Product Sponsor/Owner is responsible for creating a business case that demonstrates why we should do a project and where the business value is derived from.
  • Concept Triage - How? ü  How is it done ? PO/Business presents the case to a larger audience. Like pitching a new Idea to a bunch of VC’s…
  • Concept Triage - Who? ü  Who is involved? –  PO’s, –  Tech leads, –  BA’s, –  QA’s, –  Marketing, –  Ops, –  IS –  Legal –  Compliance
  • Concept Triage - Key Inputs ü  Problem/Opportunity Statement –  Implementation approach should be avoided as much as possible. ü  Financial (Business Case & Business Value) –  Regulatory/Mandatory –  Maintenance/Replacement –  Enhancements –  ROI Projects –  Risk Mitigation –  Client Funded
  • Concept Triage - Key Inputs ü  Key Drivers –  Why should this feature be in our Product ü  Benefit Analysis –  Increases or protects Revenue –  Increases or protects Cash Flow –  Decreases or protects Cost in line with Company Strategy ü  Success Criteria –  how would we define success –  This should tie directly back to the benefit analysis
  • Concept Triage - Key Inputs ü  Trade Offs BudgetMost negotiatiable Least negotiatiable TimeMost negotiatiable Least negotiatiable Most negotiatiable Least negotiatiable Scope Most negotiatiable Least negotiatiable QualityMost negotiatiable Least negotiatiable Customer Experience
  • Concept Triage - Key Outputs ü  T-Shirt Size(s) ü  Concept Evaluation Recommendation –  Can this concept go to discovery –  Back to the customer for more feedback –  If the business case doesn't match the high level T-Shirt size, call it out now, rather than recommending a full discovery. T-Shirt Cost (Lower) Iterations Cost (Upper) Iterations Band Size XXS < £25,000 0.5 £25,000 XS £25,000 0.5 £50,000 1 £25,000 S £50,000 1 £100,000 2 £50,000 M £100,000 2 £250,000 5 £150,000 L £250,000 5 £500,000 10 £250,000 XL £500,000 10 £1,000,000 20 £500,000 XXL £1,000,000 20 £2,000,000 40 £1,000,000 E > £2,000,000 40
  • Concept Triage ü  Ideas get questioned ü  Business case gets validated ü  Involvement of business, IT, compliance, IS ü  Rough idea of size & cost ü  Collective Wisdom!
  • Concept Triage ü  Good ideas may get trashed due to cost ü  Another process before development
  • Customer Insights
  • Customer Insights - What ü  What ? –  Include customers in the process of Refining Backlog. Engage customers until you get to understand the minimum set of features required to satisfy what you try to achieve/what the customer need.
  • Customer Insights - How ü  How is it done ? –  A simple communication is sent to customers briefing them about the new product/ Feature - what the feature does and why it exists - what are the features and benefits –  Ask for their interest or feedback about a product (yet to be launched). –  A twitter handler is created and circulated to understand market sentiments
  • Silver Users Platinum Users Gold Users 48+ tx in 12mnts6 - 12+ trxn in 12months 12 - 48+ trxn in 12months ü  Who is involved? –  PO's. –  Marketing Team –  Customers (Platinum or gold customers) –  Internal Employees Customer Insights - How
  • Customer Insights - Pros ü  Tap the loyal customer base who are power users ü  Feedback valuable and as they will use n market the product ü  fleshing out the concept and achieving clarity of thought about what we will ultimately go off and build
  • Customer Insights - Pros ü  One section of users are ignored ü  Customers do not like to fill surveys without incentive ü  People may not really know What they want
  • The Systemico Model Source :
  • Common anti patterns ü   Focus on managing cost and not value. ü  Prioritize with size as the most important input.    
  • We create value !
  • But  how do we prioritize value ?
  • Sytemico model
  • User goals “I want to login” “I want to search for tickets” “I want to select different delivery options”
  • User engagement ü  Core –  Functionality that satisfies users’ basic needs   ü  Use –  Enhanced functionality that increases the usability of the product ü  Engage –  Functionality that draws the user to interact with the product   ü  Explore –  Functionality that entices the user to go beyond simple interactions
  • Applying user stories to the Systemico model
  • Example
  • That’s what we need to build !!
  • That’s when we will build !
  • Systemico : Pros ü  Provides additional dimensions which helps in prioritization ü  Very useful when there is little validated learning in the product space
  • Systemico : Cons ü  May not be the best framework for matured products
  • Lets recap.. Concept Triage Customer Insights Systemico Model What ? Present the business case Seek feedback from actual users Prioritize value How ? Like you pitch to a VC Email campaigns, Social media User goal & User engagement Ideas gets questioned & sized Feedback from early adapters/power users Additional dimensions Too much focus on cost Feedback limited to the chosen customer set Matured products ?
  • Thank You!