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• Hi Matt, ... I think it matters, but only very little. One way to convince the customer is to make the possibilities visible. Put various scenarios on the
Message 1 of 7 , Apr 30, 2004
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Hi Matt,

> I know the answer is that it doesn't matter if they get it
> wrong because early feedback will allow them to make changes
> afterwards but how do you convince a customer of that?

I think it matters, but only very little. One way to convince
the customer is to make the possibilities visible. Put various
scenarios on the wall, so that it's easy to see the differences.

Here's one way. Suppose the customer isn't sure whether to do
story X this iteration or next. One choice is to do story X this
week. Take this week's cards and plop them up on the wall. Draw
a vertical line to the right of these. Take next week's cards,
and plop them on the wall to the right of the line.

Draw a horizontal line below that whole scenario.

Then use a duplicate set of cards to show the other scenario. If
you shift story X to next week, you can do a few other stories
from next week to this week. Call those stories Y and Z. Plop
them up on the wall, along with the rest of this week's cards, to
the left of the "this week" line. Put story X, along with any
other "next week" stories, to the right of the line.

Then it's easy to show the cost of getting it wrong. Let's say X
is more valuable than Y and Z, but you make a mistake and put X
next week instead of this week. The cost is that you get story X
next week instead of this week. As partial compensation, you get
stories Y and Z this week instead of next week. Total cost: One
week times the difference between X and Y+Z.

Not zero cost, but probably not so big either.

If you have any other scenarios (for example, if the customer
will take a week to sort out the value of X, Y, and Z, leaving
you to do some /other/ set of stories this week), put them on the
wall, too. I'll bet that will make it clear that "getting it
wrong" costs less than taking another week to get it right.

> In order for a customer to "define user stories, decide what
> business value the user stories have and decide what stories
> to build in this release" they need to know what a user story
> is for starters. That's ok, we XPers can help them with that.
> Then they need to think about the business value of doing that
> story first - "ok", they say, "let me go away and do some
> cost/benefit analysis, I'll get back to you in a week".

If the Customer needs a week to sort out priorities, then fill
the Customer's pipeline. Find some set of stories to do this
week (see the technique above). Then define enough stories for
another week or two. The Customer can evaluate those while
you're doing this week's iteration.

Next week, the Customer comes to the Planning Game with
priorities for this iteration. During the Planning Game, define
more stories for the Customer to evaluate while you're doing the
iteration. And so on.

Dale

--
Dale Emery -- Consultant -- Resistance as a Resource
Web: http://www.dhemery.com
Weblog: http://www.dhemery.com/cwd (Conversations with Dale)

Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength. --Eric Hoffer
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