Saturday, August 23, 2014

How to eliminate the waste associated to prioritization and estimation activities?

How to eliminate the waste associated to prioritization and estimation activities?
  1. 5 minutes per participant meeting: Business stakeholders periodically (depending on how often there are slots available from the IT team) sit to discuss a list of features they need. This list must be short and to ensure that it is stakeholders come with just one feature per participant (if the number of slots is bigger than the number of participants then adjust the number of features by participant). Each feature must be presented with the numeric impact for business ( expected return in terms of hours saved, dollars saved, dollars earned, client acquisition and retention, etc ) and a concrete acceptance criteria ( a feature must be testable and the resulting quality must be measurable ). Each participant is entitled to use 5 minutes maximum to present his/her feature. Not all participants will make a presentation. Sometimes the very first participant shows a big saving idea that nobody else can compete with and the meeting is finalized immediately. That is the idea which should be passed to the IT team.
  2. The IT team does a Business Analysis, an eliciting of requirements. The responsible IT person (let us call that person Business Analyst or BA) divides the idea implementation in the smallest possible pieces that will provide value after an isolated deployment, no bells and whistles. In other words divide in Minimal Marketable Features (MMF)
  3. The BA shares with the IT development team the top idea and the breakdown.
  4. IT engineers READ the proposal and tag each piece with 1 of a limited number of selections from the Fibonacci sequence representing the time in hours (0 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89). Hopefully there is nothing beyond 21 and ideally everything should be less than 8 hours (an MMF per day!!!)
  5. BA informs Business and gets approval for the MMFs. Note how business can now discard some bells and whistles when they realize few MMFs will provide the same ROI. Ideally the BA actively pushes to discard functionality that is expensive without actually bringing back a substantial gain.
  6. Developers deliver the MMFs and create new slots for the cycle to start all over again.
The Organization can calculate an expected Return on Investment (ROI) for the Minimal Marketable Features related to any idea that without doubt should be implemented next. All that without unnecessary "muda" (lean term for waste) related to prioritization and estimation.

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