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Maximize the value!

Scrum as a Value-Driven Approach

Let me say the conclusion first. If Scrum is in action in a project it means the project is a value-driven project.

In a classical way there are 4 main parameters to manage and take under control projects.

  • functionality (scope)

  • due date

  • cost

  • quality

Scrum adds a new item to the list

  • value

Well, how Scrum does it, how a project thought as a value-driven project?

The Product Vision

At the big-bang time you need a "product vision". It is a lighthouse while cruising through. Without it a project team may find itself like a wayward ship, lost in sea.

Hear Ken Schwaber out : “The minimum plan necessary to start a Scrum project consists of a vision and a Product Backlog. The vision describes why the project is being undertaken and what the desired end state is” (Schwaber 2004, p. 68)

Unlike a company vision, in a good product vision statement there should be more detail; a product name, type, targeted customers, addressed customer needs, key benefits and differences from competitors. However It should be short and memorable and pass the "elevator test".

Here is an example, the BlackBerry product vision statement :

"For business e-mail users who want to better manage the increasing number of messages they receive when out of the office, BlackBerry is a mobile e-mail solution that provides a real-time link to their desktop e-mail for sending, reading and responding to important messages. Unlike other mobile e-mail solutions, BlackBerry is wearable, secure, and always connected."

How can you maximize the value?

To maximize the value and return of investment (ROI) you have to eliminate waste through a good product vision and well-prioritized product backlog.

As per statistics most of the projects have two-third unused functionalities. In other word they have only one-third functionalities used by their customers.

Here is a motto to determine waste :

"Do not design anything which will not be implemented, do not implement anything you do not need"

Another one :

"Do not implement anything if it does not get you closer to the product vision, remove everything if it impede you while walking on the way to your product vision"

Who responsible for maximizing the value?

The Product Owner maximizes ROI by managing value delivered with fixed iteration lengths by a self-organize team.

In Scrum the value is managed by PO with:

  • product vision : details above

  • prioritized value : creating high level requirements and prioritizing business needs by value with the help of the stakeholders

  • groomed backlog : writing user stories to manage production risk

  • release planning : predicting value earned per sprint and managing the product backlog to maximize delivered value

It is impossible without referring Lean

Lean thinking is a principle-based approach with empirical inspect-and-adapt iterations instead of defined process steps. Agile is lean applied to software development.

How does Lean maximize the value?

  • Eliminate waste. Waste is any non-value adding activity that a customer is unwilling to pay for.

  • Utilize overloaded processes in the hope of achieving more

  • Smooth inconsistent flows through the system. So you will have smaller lead time, less tasks in progress at the same time.

If you have a dynamic system and so much instant change you cannot get the maximized value with strictly defined processes.

You should implement an empirical approach with inspect-and-adapt iterations and Think Lean!

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