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From Product Vision to Story Map - Lean / Agile Product shaping

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A lot of Software Engineering projects fail for a lack of shared vision due to poor communication among people involved in the project.
A sound maintenance of the product backlog can only be achieved if all the people have a good understanding of what they have to do (common vision).
Roman Pichler, in a post originally written in Jul 16 2012, has proposed a really interesting approach: use various canvas to create and share product vision and product backlog creation and refinement.
This presentation is a drive through these various boards and canvas that should be designed in prior to any product development: the Product Vision, the Lean Canvas, The Product Definition and the Story Map.

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From Product Vision to Story Map - Lean / Agile Product shaping

  1. 1. 1 © Jerome Kehrli @ niceideas.ch From Product Vision to Story Map Lean / Agile Product shaping
  2. 2. 2 1. Introduction
  3. 3. 3 A lot of Software Engineering projects fail for a lack of shared vision due to poor communication among people involved in the project. A sound maintenance of the product backlog can only be achieved if all the people have a good understanding of what they have to do (common vision). Roman Pichler, in a post originally written in Jul 16 2012, has proposed a really interesting approach: use various canvas to create and share product vision and product backlog creation and refinement. False assumptions: The customer knows what he wants The developers know how to build it Nothing will change along the way Requirement discovery process The customer discover what he wants The developer discover how to build it Many things change along the way ! Purpose
  4. 4. 4 Lean / Agile Visual Workflow Product Idea 1. Captureandvalidateinitial assumptions 2. Definethebusinessmodel 3. Definetheproductfeatures 4. Designtheproductfeatures THE STORY MAP Workshop 1 : Product Vision Workshop 2 : Lean Canvas Workshop 3 : Product Definition Workshop 4 : Story Map
  5. 5. 5 Lean / Agile Visual Workflow Product Idea 1. Captureandvalidateinitial assumptions 2. Definethebusinessmodel 3. Definetheproductfeatures 4. Designtheproductfeatures THE STORY MAP
  6. 6. 6 Workshop 1 : Product Vision
  7. 7. 7 A clear and ambitious vision provides the following for the team working on developing the product: A clear articulation of the Problem-Solution fit that can be evolved into a sustainable product. A clear articulation of the market opportunity & high level features (and/or organizational capability) that will realize the opportunity, Creates meaning beyond the solution itself which is both: Inspirational - pulls the team forward. A decision making standard - allows the freedom to create a solution that delivers on the vision however necessary, whilst providing measurable success metrics. It will serve as hypothesis for the product at the highest level. Some alternatives that may be used instead, or in conjunction include: Elevator pitch Product Hypothesis Capability Hypothesis Questions to answer and/or follow up with deeper research. Why is a product vision useful ? USE A PRODUCT VISION IF YOU: • Need to consolidate the fuzzy ramblings of your stakeholders. • Have an idea for a product or service, and would like to progress it. • Need to compare possible initiatives to invest in. THE PRODUCT VISION WILL ALLOW YOU TO: • Get buy-in with executives and sponsors. • Influence and get agreement regarding budget or other resources to bring the vision to life. • Compare, evaluate and make decisions across multiple products / the portfolio. • Throw tomatoes at it.
  8. 8. 8 Key Components Capture the overall goal and intent of the product in a single statement. Define the audience (user). Define the relevant needs of the audience (needs). Define key features / capabilities that will support the needs (features). Define the relevant business goals (business goals). Bringing it all together The User, Needs, Features, and Business Goals need to align. They don’t have to line up individually, but there must be a clear relationship between all categories. The above mentioned elements must deliver on the vision statement, nothing more, nothing less. SMART Goals You need to be clear about how you will measure the success of the product if all goes according to plan. You don’t need to predict a specific number at this stage, but you do need to define the thing that you would measure. Qualitative measurements are ok, provided you can sample them reliably, and consistently. Key goals of a product vision A PRODUCT VISION: • Is visionary by definition • Supports generative (abductive) thinking • Articulates what could be, not what is • Tells a narrative (right brain) TO GET GOOD METRICS Use S.M.A.R.T. Goals to help you think about the business and user value. (https:// www.projectsmart.co.uk/smart-goals.php)
  9. 9. 9 Caveats to the following process: It assumes there is enough latent knowledge in the stakeholders who will be involved in the visioning session, that they may be able to define the most important elements in all categories, as well as the important relationships between them. It does not describe the previous stages (that are not mandatory), but are recommended. Those stages include: Understand and define market needs. Understand and define general user needs of the domain. Understand and define broader organisational needs. Synthesise and make connections between the above internal and external elements. It’s perfectly reasonable to start at this point (visioning the product) if practicing a lean product development process wherein you are afforded the ability to very quickly build and test the product vision (which in effect serves as a product hypothesis, subject to the scientific process). Preconditions and assumptions in this process
  10. 10. 10 Pre work The facilitator of this process (you) will likely have a vision. Note it down by creating your own canvas using the template, but do not share it. Make a list of the key stakeholders who you will need for this product. They may include: Subject Matter Experts Executive Sponsors The intended or actual Product Owner/Manager Experience Designer and/or Business Analyst (whoever has done the primary research) Map the stakeholders on a grid to help you frame how you plan to engage and or manage them Use the grid shown on the right. Identify which of the stakeholders need to create the Product Vision. Invite key stakeholders, prepare workshop room with large template of canvas, and paper on the walls. Critical preparation before the workshop
  11. 11. 11 Workshop Organization 3 to 6 hours max need to be present : Sales rep. Exec rep Architects and tech leads Team leaders. Business Analysts Results : The Product Vision Board The Vision statement Caveats Ensure all voices are heard and stop the louder from dominating the others Workshop flow Focus on every cell of the vision board, one after the other Give participant 5 to 10 minutes personal thinking time Have them present their idea one after the other and defend them Every other participant can challenge the findings of the presenter Workshop Organization WHERE DO THE INPUTS COME FROM? • Stakeholder bring with them many facts, insights, and opinions. They are all useful and relevant. • If there is any primary research, the outputs and ideally the person leading that research should be in attendance. They may share the outputs, and or present a summary. • It is often useful to run a sensemaking session prior to the visioning session as to surface all inputs, then distil them down to only what’s important. • The session itself provides a sensemaking function by way of it being in a diverse group, and through collaboration. It is also ok to accept that our collective vision is still a hypothesis that needs validation as a next step and or as part of the development process
  12. 12. 12 Workshop 1 : Product Vision Definition Workshop1 - we will be feedingthiscanvas:
  13. 13. 13 Example – product vision canvas – RIA Organizer
  14. 14. 14 From Product Vision to Vision Statement For (target customer) Who (has needs) The (Product Name) Is a product That (Product Description) For (Goals and Value)
  15. 15. 15 Things to ensure about the resulting vision The vision should be evaluable using SMART goals Target and needs should be specific enough to provide meaningful guidance later Features and Capabilities should be of a high level and not drilled down too far Bringing it to life All elements of the vision are hypotheses in a system that we have imagined. Our job now is to proceed to define the biggest risks associated with bringing the vision to life. Risks usually map from Existential at the top (most important), to operational/ technical at the bottom. Now we systematically test each risk. If a risk cannot be solved or mitigated, we do not proceed with the product. We use a bias for action as our guiding principle now and for the duration of the development. Aftermath
  16. 16. 16 Workshop 2 : Lean Canvas
  17. 17. 17 Workshop 2 : Lean Canvas - organization The Lean Canvas Is a different way to capture a business model Created by Ash Maurya, inspired from the Business Model Canvas and adapted to the Lean Startup Methodology Objectives Synthesize the Business Model on one slide (as opposed to a dozen of pages document) Align stakeholders in beginning of a project / product development Identify risky hypothesis to be validated Easy to understand, create, adapt and communicate The Lean Canvas is really about identifying hypothesis to be validated Through experimentations Through customer discovery (Lean Startup Methodology) Business Model vs Business Plan Business Model : a single diagram of your business (max 1 day) Business plan : a document investors make you write and that they don’t read (several months) Why do startup fail ? Lack of focus / Not understanding the market / wrong assumptions / not understanding the value driver The Lean Canvas will not guarantee success, but it will help minimize the areas of risks The question is not “Can this product be built ?” but “Should this product be built ?” = “Can we make a sustainable business around this product / services ?”
  18. 18. 18 Lean Startup The Lean Startup Method combines fast, iterative and incremental development methodologies (Agile Development) with Customer Development. ( Source: NewEntrepreneurship: https://newentrepreneurship.nl/lean-startup-method/)
  19. 19. 19 Validated Learning: Regularly gather evidence about your ideas to test your assumptions and make decisions based on facts. In situations of extreme uncertainty Validated Learning is the best approach for making decisions. Build-Measure-Learn: The fundamental activity of a startup is to turn ideas into products, measure how customers respond, and then learn whether to pivot or persevere. Innovation Accounting: Accounting designed for startups. A method to monitor how to measure your progress, how to set up milestones, and how to prioritize your work. Lean Startup principles ( Source: NewEntrepreneurship: https://newentrepreneurship.nl/lean-startup-method/)
  20. 20. 20 Lean Canvas Principles “Love the Problem, not your Solution (Ash Maurya) “A problem well stated is a problem half-solved” (Charles Kettering) Caveats write sentences that are specific and concise. Don’t just write “time” as a problem, but, for example, “the process of finding the right supplier is complex and requires too much time” . Keep sentences simple, straight to the point, short (maximum 10 words each) and meaningful. after you have prepared a draft, go through each step, telling this story to yourself: we will help these people (customer segments) to solve (problem) by providing them (solution). They will know about us through (channels) and they will be convinced to join us because (value proposition) and because we already (unfair advantage). We will charge them by (revenue) and we believe this will cover our (costs). We will measure our performance by tracking (key metrics). It should all flow and make sense, like it is a story where everything is linked. If it doesn’t, the Lean Canvas needs more work. prepare a Lean Canvas for each customer segment of your business idea. This is because each customer segment may have different problems, solutions, channels, revenue, costs, etc.
  21. 21. 21 Workshop Organization 4 to 8 hours max need to be present : Sales rep. Exec rep Business Analysts Results : The Lean Canvas Board Caveats Ensure all voices are heard and stop the louder from dominating the others Workshop flow Focus on every cell of the Lean Canvas board, one after the other Give participant 5 to 10 minutes personal thinking time Have them present their idea one after the other and defend them Every other participant can challenge the findings of the presenter Workshop Organization
  22. 22. 22 Workshop 2 : Lean Canvas Workshop2 - we willbe feedingthiscanvas:
  23. 23. 23 Lean canvas - principles Value Generation Product
  24. 24. 24 Lean canvas - principles Value Delivery Market
  25. 25. 25 Lean canvas - principles Profit
  26. 26. 26 Workshop 2 : Lean Canvas – Noteworthy elements Distinguish between customers and users, customers pay you, users don’t. Early adopters will help you test and refine your product For new products, the initial battle is about how to get noticed ? How will you get the customer’s attention ? One of the riskiest item on your canvas ! Start testing from day 1 ! - Social networks - Newsletter - Ads - Friends - Events - SEO - Etc. Pirates Metrics (by Dave McClures) Awareness (when users know you) Acquisition (when users find you) Activation (users have a first experience) Retention (users come back) Revenue (when you make money) Referral (when users tell others) Calculate your break- even point Examples: - Insider Information - Personal authority - A dream team - Existing customers - “Right” celebrity endorsement - Large network effect - Community - SEO ranking - Patents - Core values
  27. 27. 27 Example – Lean Canvas - RIA Organizer
  28. 28. 28 Workshop 3 : Product Definition
  29. 29. 29 The Story Map The Story Map is a handy tool that lists the outstanding work necessary to develop a product. But it can be insufficient to create a brand-new product or an update aimed at a new market. Its linear structure makes it difficult to capture all product aspects including the user interface design and the user interaction; there is no place to state assumptions about the target group, the users and customers of the product and their needs, etc. The Product Canvas When initiating a new product, trying to create a Story Map out of the blue from a Business Model or Lean Canvas can be tedious. Something in between to capture the most essential aspects and the big picture of the product to be developed is required. Enter the Product Canvas ! Purpose of a product definition canvas
  30. 30. 30 The Product Canvas aims at capturing ideas and requirements Presents the big picture Describes the product details Covers the user interaction, the functionalities, the design and the operational qualities such as required performances The Product Canvas is a tool for capturing the Big Picture in an Agile environment Works well within Scrum or Kanban Teams, fits well a Lean Startup environment It is the Big Picture of the Story Map (which is the Big Picture of the product Backlog) The Product Canvas captures the User eXperience and supports a user-centered design approach What is the product definition canvas ? ABOUT THE PRODUCT CANVAS Purpose: Define the perimeter and the depth of the feature-set The product Canvas • Is derived from the vision • defines the features in respect to the vision • shapes the feature-set perimeter • summarizes the product backlog • The Canvas assumes that one (roughly) knows • The target group with the needs the product should address • How the product is likely to benefit the organization investing in it • The Product Canvas is compatible with he Lean Canvas (Business Model) • The Product Canvas refines the product’s target group and makes the need explicit
  31. 31. 31 Workshop Organization 4 to 8 hours max need to be present : Product Owner Architects and tech leads Business Analysts Whole Development Team Results : The Initial Product Canvas Workshop flow Write personas Picture and name Relevant characteristics Needs Describe the big picture Start with epics Refine uncertain epics into scenarios and story boards Create design sketches to capture important design ideas Identify important operational properties that relate to more than one epic or scenario Describe the product details Identify a sprint goal Determine what’s required to reach the goal Workshop Organization UPDATING THE PRODUCT CANVAS • Feedback • Feedback can be obtained from users, customers, internal stakeholders, etc. depending on the sprint goal • Effective research including presentations, test users, releasing the software, etc. • A product canvas update workshop • Same team • 2-4 hours workshop • New insights should lead to a new version of the canvas • 2 options: • Before more development work is carried out, i.e. ASAP • After some milestone has been reached and relevant feedback can be gathered
  32. 32. 32 Workshop 3 : Product Definition Workshop3 - we willbe feedingthiscanvas:
  33. 33. 33 The canvas is designed so that the information flows from left to right starting with the target users and customers and the needs to be addressed. This puts the user at the center of the development effort, and it ensures that you develop a product that is beneficial and desirable. The journeys, epics, sketches and constraints sketch the future product, and the ready stories ensure that there are implementable items.
  34. 34. 34 Workshop 3 : Product Definition Target group and needs Imple- ment- able items Product Sketch
  35. 35. 35 Workshop 3 : shape of result ( Source: RomanPichler2012- https://jaxenter.com/introducing-the-product-canvas-105480.html)
  36. 36. 36 Workshop 3 – product canvas – RIA Organizer
  37. 37. 37 The biggest challenge when developing a new product or a major update is to deal with uncertainty and lack of knowledge. The Product Canvas is therefore designed as a learning tool: to sketch our initial ideas and assumptions, to get stories ready for implementation, and to adapt and refine the content based on the insights gained Consequently, you should expect your canvas to change as you learn more about the users and customers, and how to best address their needs. Even bigger changes that involve clearing out and refilling one or more canvas sections (including the personas one) are common. These indicate that the initial product strategy was inappropriate and has to be adapted (also called pivot). ( RomanPichler2012- https://jaxenter.com/introducing-the-product-canvas-105480.html)
  38. 38. 38 Workshop 4 : Story Map
  39. 39. 39 Purpose of a Story Map The problems with usual one dimensional backlogs Do you understand the workflow ? Are you able to see the relationship of larger stories to child stories ? How do you validate that your backlog is complete ? What context do you use for prioritization ? Story Maps Help see things from a user perspective Design is collaborative and fosters co-owner ship User tasks make ideal user stories Reading the activities across the top of the system helps understand end-to-end use of the system One can test for gaps by walking the map
  40. 40. 40 Workshop 4 : Story Map - organization Workshops flow Step 1 : Start from the Product Canvas Recover the epics and ready stories from the product canvas Challenge and enrich the epics, identify subsequent tasks Choose a persona from your product canvas Someone play part of this persona and in the contexts of the product canvas journeys and features, she describes what she would like to do with the product The rest of the group writes these tasks down on post-its. Step 2 : Merge these post-its into a single model Arrange them left to right in an order that makes sense to the group Eliminate duplicates Group items belonging to same epics underneath the epic Step 3 : Determine the MVP and subsequent releases Walk the map to determine necessary steps Draw a line below these tasks : this is your MVP Discuss with stakeholders to determine subsequent logical releases
  41. 41. 41 Workshop 4 : Story Map Workshop4 - we will be feedingthiscanvas:
  42. 42. 42 Example – Story Map - RIA Organizer THE STORY MAP
  43. 43. 43 Conclusion
  44. 44. 44 Lean / Agile Visual Workflow Product Idea 1. Captureandvalidateinitial assumptions 2. Definethebusinessmodel 3. Definetheproductfeatures 4. Designtheproductfeatures THE STORY MAP
  45. 45. 45 Lean / Agile Visual Workflow – RIA Agenda Product Idea 1. Captureandvalidateinitial assumptions 2. Definethebusinessmodel 3. Definetheproductfeatures 4. Designtheproductfeatures THE STORY MAP
  46. 46. 46 Thanks for listening

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