Curating a Product Backlog - Sriram Narayan, ThoughtWorks


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For any product that has users and a future, inputs for product direction come in from different quarters.

- Product marketing and sales guys
- Senior management
- Product manager's vision
- Existing customers
- Prospective customers
- End user input via support channel
- End user feedback via social media
- Competition
- Industry trends
- Product development team

These inputs may be at the granularity of feature requests or more strategic. If these inputs are collected and curated carefully, it can be an invaluable basis for prioritizing the backlog. But this calls for a fair amount of effort and typically, the product owner or product manager don't have the time to do justice to this job. As a result, we end up with a uncurated backlog that is scattered in people's minds, emails, ticket management system, project management tool, presentations etc. This leads to somewhat unscientific prioritization.

There is a role of backlog curator lurking in here. Need not a full time role but something that a product analyst (BA) can do for say one-third of the time. In the talk/workshop we'll explore some techniques for effective curation and retrieval that enable a more data-informed approach to backlog prioritization.

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Curating a Product Backlog - Sriram Narayan, ThoughtWorks

  1. 1. Workshop  on   Cura-ng  a  Product  Backlog   Sriram  Narayan   BAconf   Aug-­‐2013  
  2. 2. Quick  audience  poll  
  3. 3. Timely         Early  entrant   Stable  product  business  –  many  customers   Challenges  to  sales  growth   Increasing  compe--on  
  4. 4. Product  backlog    =    story   (requirements)  backlog  
  5. 5. What  are  sources  of  valid  input?  
  6. 6. Sources   Marke-ng   Sales   Product  Vision   Execs   Prospects   Customers   End  users   Compe--on   Industry  trends   Prod  dev  team   Other  internal   users   Channels   Email   Mee-ng   Social  Media   Blog  post   Support   Call  center   VoC  interviews   Surveys  
  7. 7. How  do  we  keep  track  of  all  this   informa-on?  
  8. 8. What  fields  to  track?  
  9. 9. To  what  end?  
  10. 10. What  insights  do  we  want?   •  Top  missing  features/capabili-es  leading  to   opportunity  loss   •  Our  weaknesses  compared  to  compe--on   •  Our  strengths  compared  to  compe--on   •  Overlap  of  vision  with  demand   •  Top  missing  features/capabili-es  leading  to   customer  aVri-on  
  11. 11. •  Most  used  features   •  Most  un-­‐used  features   •  Most  liked  features   •  Most  requested  S/M/L  features,  by  user   segment   •  Top  usability  complaints   •  Most  under-­‐documented  features  
  12. 12. What  fields  to  track?  
  13. 13. Date   Name   Org  Name   Source  Type   Channel   Area   Insight  
  14. 14. Form  teams  of  4-­‐6   45  seconds  per  card   Ques-ons  welcome  
  15. 15. Tips   •  Cura-on,  not  priori-za-on   •  Don’t  think  about  accep-ng/rejec-ng  the   input   •  Rota-ng  scribe   •  Use  the  bigger  s-cky  to  copy  the  descrip-on   •  Curate  on  the  fly   •  First  one  -­‐  sample  
  16. 16. 14-­‐Mar-­‐13   Who:  ITC   Via:  f2f   Allow  me  to    add  resources  (rooms,  projectors)  to   meeEngs  created  by  others   1  of  20   Date   Who:  Customer/ other   Via:  email/social   media/f2f…   DescripEon  of  input  
  17. 17. 01-­‐Jan-­‐12   Who:  Pd  Mgr   Via:  Vision   2  way  sync  with  mobile   2  of  20  
  18. 18. 01-­‐Feb-­‐13   Who:  Pd  team   Via:     Show  room  in  weekly  summary   3  of  20  
  19. 19. 19-­‐Oct-­‐12   Who:  Flipkart   Via:  SF-­‐lost  prospect   fdbk   Migrate  entries  from  Google  calendar   4  of  20  
  20. 20. 10-­‐May-­‐13   Who:  Tata  Motors   Via:  SF-­‐lost  prospect   fdbk   Ability  to  toggle-­‐view  all  events  that  I  haven’t   responded  to   5  of  20  
  21. 21. 21-­‐Jan-­‐13   Who:  Google   Via:  CompeEEon   Integrate  todo  list  with  calendar   6  of  20  
  22. 22. 22-­‐Jun-­‐13   Who:  ITC   Via:  Support   Support  offline  mode  so  that  I  can  see  details  en-­‐route   to  room  without  wifi   7  of  20  
  23. 23. 12-­‐Dec-­‐12   Who:  Sr.Mgmt   Via:  f2f   Quickly  see  if  I  am  required  or  opEonal   8  of  20  
  24. 24. 06-­‐Apr-­‐13   Who:  Rita  (free   user)   Via:  twi]er   I  wish  Emely  would  also  let  me  manage  my  todo  list   9  of  20  
  25. 25. 10-­‐Oct-­‐12   Who:  Pd  Mgr   Via:  Vision   Provide  stats  of  Eme  spent  in  meeEngs.  Break  down  by   f2f,  web  conf,  tele  con   10  of  20  
  26. 26. 23-­‐Jan-­‐13   Who:  Redbus   Via:  SF-­‐lost  prospect   fdbk   Create  meeEngs  from  mobile   11  of  20  
  27. 27. 22-­‐Sep-­‐11   Who:  Google   Via:  CompeEEon   Agenda  view   12  of  20  
  28. 28. 12-­‐Feb-­‐13   Who:  Amit  (free   user)   Via:  blog  post   Too  many  steps  to  create  an  event  and  send  invite   13  of  20  
  29. 29. 27-­‐Jan-­‐13   Who:  Axis  Bank   Via:  Sales  current   prospect   Migrate  entries  from  Lotus  Notes   14  of  20  
  30. 30. 16-­‐Aug-­‐13   Who:  Rang  De   Via:  f2f   Show  venue  in  weekly  summary   15  of  20  
  31. 31. 13-­‐Mar-­‐13   Who:  Goonj   Via:  Sales   Ability  to  mark  a  meeEng  as  f2f,  web  conf  or  tele  conf   16  of  20  
  32. 32. 14-­‐Dec-­‐12   Who:Industry   Via:HBR  blog   Shorter  meeEngs.  Default  to  half  hour   17  of  20  
  33. 33. 18-­‐Mar-­‐13   Who:Tyto   soeware   Via:  Support   Please  add  support  for  changing  Emezone.  (resolved  by   showing  them  how)   18  of  20  
  34. 34. 15-­‐Nov-­‐12   Who:MarkeEng   Via:   (Opt-­‐out)  Ability  to  auto-­‐schedule  promoEonal  events   into  the  calendars  of  free  users   19  of  20  
  35. 35. 09-­‐Jun-­‐13   Who:Zinnov   ConsulEng   Via:Support   Why  isn’t  it  possible  to  change  from  24  hr  clock.   (resolved  by  showing  them  how)   20  of  20  
  36. 36. Time  to  test  our  cura-on  
  37. 37. Select,  organize,  and  look  ager  the   items  in  (a  collec-on  or  exhibi-on).  
  38. 38. Good  curator  types   Type   CharacterisEcs   VocaEons   INFJ   Observer,   organized,  values   solitude   Art/museum   curator,    archivist,   librarian,  art   historian   INTP   observer,  relies   more  on  mind   Researcher,   historian   INTJ   observer,    orderly,   clean,  organized   Researcher,   curator,  librarian   Source:  
  39. 39. What  next?   •  A  curated  backlog  can  be  used  as  a  sound   basis  for   – Valida-ng,  tweaking  the  roadmap   – Deciding  the  next  set  of  features  to  work  on   – Data-­‐informed  priori-za-on  
  40. 40. Thank  you   @sriramnarayan     comments,  ques-ons,  feedback?