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Scrum: Project Focus or Product Focus

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by Robert Boyd

Scrum/Agile Product over Project

Look at how the Agile Manifesto and Scrum sets up the team to be Product and Customer focused. We’ll look at the first two principles of the Agile Manifesto and how these lay the groundwork to keep the customer and the product or service we provide them foremost in our priorities. We’ll look at specific Scrum roles and expectations found in the Scrum framework and how these too center our attention on product and the customer..

Delivery: Product over Project

We’ll look at how having a project delivery focus can reduce understanding the customer. We’ll look at how having a product focus helps drive more frequent deliveries. We’ll also take about the winners and losers when we have the project focus driving our delivery rhythms. We’ll also provide some tips on to make your product & customer central to your delivery strategy.

Team: Product over Project

We’ll look at the downside of having project teams including how the temporary nature of projects affects business success. This may include less innovation, no appetite for risk, less opportunity to end the project early, burned out team members, transient team members, and less understanding of product and customers. We’ll look at ways of moving to product teams, some hard, like absorbing backend platform team into the product team or creating end-to-end product teams with no external dependencies.

Customer: Product over Project

We’ll see how the project focus can neglect the customer even when the customer’s feedback is most needed. We’ll hear the story of our company, the Mickey MouseTrap Co, and how we get it all wrong because we are too strongly focused on the project and project delivery date. We hear the lessons learned and how having a product focus would have mitigated our loses. Our view of the customer’s advantage when we have a product focus ties together Delivery and Team product focus.

What you can do

Here we’ll see how having a project as a wrapper around our product work acts as a timebox and target. Highlight some of the actions to start the movement towards Product Teams. We’ll review today’s outcomes.

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Scrum: Project Focus or Product Focus

  1. 1. Scrum: Project Focus or Product Focus Robert Boyd, Agility Coaching Email: Robert.boyd.au@gmail.com Web: www.improvingagilepractices.com Scrum Australia 2018
  2. 2. Robert Boyd Agile & Scrum Enthusiast since 2007 CSP - CSM - CSPO 6 Years Nuclear Submarine 22 years Submarine Combat Systems Stood on the North Pole 1979
  3. 3. Agenda: • Scrum/Agile Product over Project • Delivery: Product over Project • Team: Product over Project • Customer: Product over Project • What you can do • Questions?
  4. 4. Product over Project Focus Customer & Users and Sprint Goals & Outcomes Product and Product Backlog Story Map (timebox) Delivery Dates Deliverables Milestones over over over That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more. We are uncovering better ways of developing product by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:
  5. 5. Scrum & The Product If you’re primarily project focused, Can you be Scrum? “Scrum is a framework for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products” - Scrum guide
  6. 6. Scrum Supports Products Product Owner Sprints considered projects Sprint goal
  7. 7. More Product Focus Product backlog Potentially releasable
  8. 8. Agile Principles Principle #1: “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery …” Principle #2: “Welcome changing requirements, even late in development … for the customer’s competitive advantage” Very few customers would care about a project and fewer still buy projects 8
  9. 9. Product or Project in 3 Dimensions How having a Product or Project focus can affect Delivery Teams Customers The first person the customer or business talks to when a product is late is not the Development Team; it’s the Product Owner. No one says to the Product Owner, “You did your best” and then talks to the Development Team.. – Jeff Patton
  10. 10. Project or Product Focus on Delivery Projects release at milestone dates vs Product potentially releasable each sprint Projects use big bang / feature heavy releases, approvals vs Products releasing small batches for customer testing & feedback (PO)
  11. 11. Project or Product Focus on Delivery Project deliveries end when the project ends vs Products are delivered until end of life Projects have a “more is better” delivery philosophy vs Products have a “learning is better” through frequent delivery philosophy
  12. 12. Winners & losers RUP & Scrum BUSINESS VALUE Agile Development Traditional Development Source Wikipedia – Public Domain
  13. 13. How Delivery Benefits from a Product Focus
  14. 14. How Delivery Benefits from a Product Focus Product team uses frequent deliveries to get customer & user feedback (PO accountability?) Take full advantage of a Build-Measure-Learn loop through frequent deliveries and fail faster Source: http://radar.oreilly.com/2015/06/plan-to-learn-faster.html
  15. 15. How Delivery Benefits from a Product Focus Each sprint results in a potentially releasable product
  16. 16. How to move Delivery to a Product Focus
  17. 17. How to move Delivery to a Product Focus Funding model aligned to products & teams Multiple platforms and isolated/siloed components cause hand-offs and delay Source: Doc Searls https://www.flickr.com/photos/docsearls/5500714140 Source: Pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/money-grow-interest-save-invest-shares-f-1604921/
  18. 18. How to move Delivery to a Product Focus Break down into small, valuable pieces of product Find ways to use the business goals or customer numbers instead of ‘delivery dates’ 18 Source: Dave McClure http://500hats.typepad.com/500blogs/2007/09/startup-metrics.html Source:: Unknown
  19. 19. Product or Project in 3 Dimensions How having a Product or Project focus can affect Delivery Teams Customers The most successful organizations define a Product Team. – Jeff Patton
  20. 20. Project Team Focus Project teams, doers considered resources within project vs Product teams exist as long as the product is viable Project team focus on specialized & individual skills vs Product teams focus on product and customer
  21. 21. Project Team Focus Project team unlikely to finish early building in layers vs Product teams build E2E, maintaining an always releasable product Project teams may not have intimacy with product or customers vs Product team engages customers frequently
  22. 22. Project Team Focus Projects have defined delivery dates leave little time to innovate vs Product teams more likely to have time for innovation and larger appetite for risk Project teams do whatever it takes to meet the delivery dates vs Product teams do whatever it takes to satisfy the customer “Threatening, firing, killing are very effective but only get compliance. You want commitment.” - Linda Rising
  23. 23. How Teams Benefit from a Product Focus
  24. 24. How Teams Benefit from a Product Focus Team feels a collective responsibility to product & customers Delivering on business goals & objectives first sprint Source Unknown Source: Flickr-vjpaul
  25. 25. How Teams Benefit from a Product Focus Project can end early when customer is satisfied More experiments & innovation Source: Pixabay Source: Pixabay
  26. 26. How Teams Benefit from a Product Focus Product teams are more likely to be cross-functional, T-Skilled Product teams can focus on end-to-end value Source: Robert Boyd Source: Sakurambo - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=794844
  27. 27. How Teams Benefit from a Product Focus Product teams are created to serve the product and users of the product Source: Unknown
  28. 28. How to Move to Product Teams* * A product team may be made up of one or more Scrum teams (sub- product teams).
  29. 29. How to Move to Product Teams Start with a cross-functional team Source: Vater_fotografo Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/vater_fotografo/15589424511/
  30. 30. How to Move to Product Teams Business creates & funds persistent, E2E product teams Source: www.kisspng.com
  31. 31. How to Move to Product Teams Create means to ensure architectural integrity Credit: Robeyclark
  32. 32. How to Move to Product Teams Team members involved with customer interviews and testing Source:U.S. Air Force photo/Sara Vidon https://www.eglin.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/814386/toy-drive-delivers-christmas-cheer-to-eglin-families/
  33. 33. How to Move to Product Teams Build T-Skills 30 Source: Robert Boyd
  34. 34. Product or Project in 3 Dimensions How having a Product or Project focus can affect Delivery Teams Customers A singular focus on a potentially shippable product is likely to be disastrous. The Product Owner helps the team understand that a key outcome of every iteration is knowledge. – Jeff Patton
  35. 35. Product or Project Focus on Customers DILBERT © Scott Adams. Used By permission of ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION. All rights reserved.
  36. 36. Product or Project Focus on Customers Credit: Wendy Ingram / UC Berkeley
  37. 37. Product or Project Focus on Customers “Customers don’t care about your solution. They care about their problems.” -McClure Project moved once the customer said, "I want a better mousetrap“ and built it fast to meet a ‘hard’ delivery date Actual problem is they don't want any mice or messy traps Project team found out after delivery to the market they built the wrong product
  38. 38. Product or Project Focus on Customers Driving a project as if the project itself was the goal, has a higher risk of failure Projects can usually deliver faster but there’s a bigger risk it’s the wrong thing Customers can lose if project delivery dates are more important than customers
  39. 39. Focus on achieving project goals VISIBILITY Agile Development Traditional Development Focusing attention on project goals instead of getting customer feedback on incremental product releases adds risk
  40. 40. How to move to a Customer & Product Focus
  41. 41. How to move to a Customer & Product Focus The best way to a customer's heart is through your product/service Credit: Sumber : moillusions.com
  42. 42. How to move to a Customer & Product Focus The best way to achieve business goals is through your customers Customer+Product = Business Goals Source:Wikipedia-PublicDomain Source: Pixabay Source: Pixabay Source: Pixabay
  43. 43. How to move to a Customer & Product Focus Customers attend Inception workshops, user story mapping, release planning Swedish Organization & Business Agility consultants Dandy People help create a 7 meters long User Story Map for the Royal Swedish Opera standardization project Source: Mia Kolmodin - Dandy People - https://dandypeople.com
  44. 44. How to move to a Customer & Product Focus Challenge executive expectations of dates Experiments Metrics Pivot / Persevere / Stop
  45. 45. How to move to a Customer & Product Focus Measuring project success 40 Credit: Photo: Koh Mui Fong/TODAY
  46. 46. We’ve seen Delivery, Teams, and Customers benefiting from a Product Focus But what about Projects in Scrum?
  47. 47. Project Becomes the Wrapper Project is a wrapper around product teams Project is a time box, a challenge/goal for the team Project forecasted end date is provided by scrum teams Project delivery plan is mapped out using story mapping or release planning Projects can succeed, or fail, early because of frequent incremental deliveries and customer feedback
  48. 48. Summary: What you can do
  49. 49. How To move To A Product Focus Explore what would happen if the funding model is by team, not by project Work with management to reduce the number of platform teams & independent / siloed component teams
  50. 50. How To move To A Product Focus Start off project with a releasable product then maintain it as releasable Involve customers & users in inception workshops, user story mapping, and release planning events
  51. 51. How To move To A Product Focus Practice grooming to create work items small enough to fit in a sprint and provide some value Work to make each sprint outcome potentially releasable Get sprint outcome in front of customers & users
  52. 52. How To move To A Product Focus Tie the business goals to customer satisfaction & product Use customer satisfaction as the measure of project success Most businesses care about the customer – leverage this into a product centric environment
  53. 53. How To move To A Product Focus Get all team members more involved with customer interviews and testing Involve management in running a long term experiment with persistent teams Experiment in building cross-functional teams and maintain architectural integrity 45
  54. 54. Today’s outcomes You have seen how to move toward having product teams over project teams for long term consistency You have seen a way to support frequent deliveries for customer testing and feedback Product & customer focus may allow projects to end early with the customers satisfied and business goals met You have seen how having a product focus serves to better keep the customer engaged throughout the project You have seen that the project serves as a wrapper around the product work and a challenge to the product team
  55. 55. Contact Robert Boyd Twitter: @ImplementAgile LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/robertboydagile Website: www.improvingagilepractices.com Email: robert.boyd.au@gmail.com

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