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Building a Better Backlog

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by Charles Randles



Scrum is a great way to smash through a backlog. But where does the backlog come from, and why is it such a mess?

Great outcomes have three ingredients:

A great team: that’s you;
A great way of working: that’s Scrum; and
A great backlog.

If your backlog is not really good, you’re going to waste time on building the wrong thing.

Some backlogs are huge, wild and unruly, with many items that never get built. Some are minimal almost to the point of absence. There may be vague, undefinable features. Alternatively, you could have hundreds of micro-detail things that nobody cares about.

This session describes a simple approach to Building a Better Backlog. It’s based on five simple questions that focuses everyone on real customer value:

Who cares? Identify your real customers – the people who will get the value.
What do they care about? – What do your customers actually need? What are the actual outcomes they will thank you for?
How will they know that you’ve solved the problem? What are the objective success measures for your delivery? By having actual measures, we can test which features really create value.
What do we need to have? What are the delivered features that will completely and minimally meet our objective success criteria?
What do we need to do? What are the activities, people, resources and commitments we need to create our features, and how does that map to a timeline?

These simple questions, captured in a lightweight framework, will give you a tight, focused, clear, and deliverable backlog.

Published in: Business
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Building a Better Backlog

  1. 1. Idea: Wouldn’t it be great if we could reduce the cost of mailings by doing more renewals electronically?
  2. 2. People: Customers who receive renewal proposals by mail The CFO Everyone who benefits from less paper consumption
  3. 3. Problem: Goals: - Reduce renewal mailings - Maintain renewal rate - Maintain Customer satisfaction
  4. 4. Problem: Benefits: - Save $600,000 on mail costs - Save 8 tonnes of paper
  5. 5. Problem: Success Criteria: - Mailings reduced by 50% - Maintain renewal rate over 82% - Maintain Customer NPS at +20
  6. 6. Solution: 1) With Pilot - Identify 1,000 customers with known good email details, currently on paper renewal, renewing in September - Offer incentive to switch to email - Send renewals by email - Monitor renewal rate - Monitor NPS
  7. 7. Solution: 1) Without Pilot - Identify all customers with email on record - Test emails for positive response - Shift customers with known good email to electronic renewal - Flag customers with no or known bad email in CRM system - Get call centre to update email at next contact - Analyse renewal rate daily - Measure NPS monthly

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