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Re: [agile-usability] Choice modeling and Agile?

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  • Adi The
    Jeff, Thanks for sharing the information about the choice modeling. One of our researchers conducted a similar workshop session called Idea Shopping after
    Message 1 of 12 , Jul 2, 2005
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      Jeff,
      Thanks for sharing the information about the choice modeling.
      One of our researchers conducted a similar workshop session called
      "Idea Shopping" after
      preceding ethnographic field work results analysed and synthesised.
      For the "Idea Shopping" workshop, several UI paper prototypes, such as
      login UI prototypes, were prepared.
      Each prototype was assigned some "Kroner" values (Scandinavian
      currency) based on the analysis and synthesis of field work results
      and
      each workshop participant was given some "pocket money" to shop for
      the prototypes.
      The workshop participants could shop until they spent all their "money".
      During the shopping, the participants could provide instant feedback,
      ask questions, have dialogues with the other shoppers, etc.
      The results of the workshop were then used to narrow down the choices
      and refine the prototypes.

      --
      Adi B. Tedjasaputra

      IT and User Experience Manager
      TRANSLATE-EASY
      :: RFID and Human-centred Design Innovation Centre in Asia ::
      http://TRANSLATE-EASY.com

      Menara Kadin Indonesia 30th Floor
      Jl. Rasuna Said Block X-5, Kav 2-3
      Jakarta 12950
      INDONESIA

      Direct. +45 - 20 27 77 53
      Fax. +45 - 28 17 09 78
    • Ron Jeffries
      ... Well, of course they should be able to express the ROI. But I d suggest that it s not necessary . Given two features, if they can decide which one to do
      Message 2 of 12 , Jul 4, 2005
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        On Monday, July 4, 2005, at 4:16:15 PM, Robin Dymond wrote:

        > That valuation dilemma is exactly the problem I have on one
        > current project. The client has a long list of features for an
        > Intranet, their priorities, and a limited budget. They know the
        > features are valuable to the users, but they don't know how
        > valuable, therefore they don't know how to come up with an ROI.
        > Even if they did come up with an ROI (a valuable exercise for
        > dealing with CFOs) the assumptions in the ROI are WAGs (wild ass
        > guesses). As with most projects, the wish list far exceeds the
        > funding available.

        Well, of course they "should" be able to express the ROI. But I'd
        suggest that it's not "necessary".

        Given two features, if they can decide which one to do first, that's
        often "enough".

        Sometimes folks have trouble doing that. I help them along by
        picking something obviously valuable and something obviously dull.
        (There are always features that qualify.) Then I suggest that we do
        the dull one first, and defer the valuable one for a long time. They
        call me an idiot, and get about the business of deciding what to do
        next.

        > Another project has a very clear ROI: reduce call center calls by
        > X %, and reduce costs per interaction by Y%. These are great
        > metrics to prioritize and build against, because the guidance is
        > clear for everyone. It also gives guidance on budget available and
        > feasibility.

        Yes, it's good when it happens. But there are good things to do,
        even when it doesn't.

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        Analysis kills spontaneity.
        The grain once ground into flour germinates no more. -- Henri Amiel
      • Robin Dymond
        No question there are interesting things to do that an ROI is not required for, however, getting the customer to tell me do do something is not the problem,
        Message 3 of 12 , Jul 4, 2005
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          RE: [agile-usability] Re: Choice modeling and Agile?

          No question there are interesting things to do that an ROI is not required for, however, getting the customer to tell me do 'do' something is not the problem, they are full of that. Lack of ROI analysis impacts project visibility, management buy-in, and budget availability. It make projects easier to kill, and introduces risk for all parties working on the project. Scope management is harder, because project owners are often not the users, or the system is being designed based on what we think we need. The key issues are budget CFO: "Why should I give you $2M if you can't show me an ROI?") and scope Client: "We must have features X,Y, Z, because it just 'won't work' if we don't".

          Cheers,
          Robin Dymond

          -----Original Message-----
          From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Ron Jeffries
          Sent: Monday, July 04, 2005 2:51 PM
          To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Re: Choice modeling and Agile?

          On Monday, July 4, 2005, at 4:16:15 PM, Robin Dymond wrote:

          > That valuation dilemma is exactly the problem I have on one current
          > project. The client has a long list of features for an Intranet, their
          > priorities, and a limited budget. They know the features are valuable
          > to the users, but they don't know how valuable, therefore they don't
          > know how to come up with an ROI.
          > Even if they did come up with an ROI (a valuable exercise for dealing
          > with CFOs) the assumptions in the ROI are WAGs (wild ass guesses). As
          > with most projects, the wish list far exceeds the funding available.

          Well, of course they "should" be able to express the ROI. But I'd suggest that it's not "necessary".

          Given two features, if they can decide which one to do first, that's often "enough".

          Sometimes folks have trouble doing that. I help them along by picking something obviously valuable and something obviously dull.

          (There are always features that qualify.) Then I suggest that we do the dull one first, and defer the valuable one for a long time. They call me an idiot, and get about the business of deciding what to do next.

           
          > Another project has a very clear ROI: reduce call center calls by X %,
          > and reduce costs per interaction by Y%. These are great metrics to
          > prioritize and build against, because the guidance is clear for
          > everyone. It also gives guidance on budget available and feasibility.

          Yes, it's good when it happens. But there are good things to do, even when it doesn't.

          Ron Jeffries
          www.XProgramming.com
          Analysis kills spontaneity.
          The grain once ground into flour germinates no more. --  Henri Amiel



           
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        • Kevin Narey
          ... A curious statement. Do you find that users of software, built using agile methods, enjoy it when they can t use the software because the architect of that
          Message 4 of 12 , Jul 4, 2005
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            Ron wrote:

            >Analysis kills spontaneity

            A curious statement.

            Do you find that users of software, built using agile methods, enjoy
            it when they can't use the software because the architect of that
            software, as a result of not performing a prior phase of analysis (and
            design) 'spontaneously' second guessed what their goals were? Can I
            also ask what your views on innovation without analysis/research are?

            //else

            If you're looking for an approach to determining ROI you might want to
            view Jared Spool's article:

            http://www.uie.com/articles/cost_of_frustration/

            Kevin
          • Desilets, Alain
            Well, of course they should be able to express the ROI. But I d suggest that it s not necessary . Given two features, if they can decide which one to do
            Message 5 of 12 , Jul 4, 2005
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              Well, of course they "should" be able to express the ROI. But I'd suggest that it's not "necessary".

              Given two features, if they can decide which one to do first, that's often "enough".

              Sometimes folks have trouble doing that. I help them along by picking something obviously valuable and something obviously dull. (There are always features that qualify.) Then I suggest that we do the dull one first, and defer the valuable one for a long time. They call me an idiot, and get about the business of deciding what to do next.

              -- Alain:
              Great suggestion Ron! I'll have to remember that.

              Most people (including myself) can't quantify things in abolute terms. But they can usually rank things one against the other.
              ----
            • Jim Kauffman
              That s one great thing about Agile, if it s being done right. Customers get lots of chances to change their priorities along the way. Jim K.
              Message 6 of 12 , Jul 4, 2005
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                That's one great thing about Agile, if it's being done right. Customers get
                lots of chances to change their priorities along the way.


                Jim K.


                > -----Original Message-----
                > From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                > [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Desilets, Alain
                > Sent: Monday, July 04, 2005 5:52 PM
                > To: 'agile-usability@yahoogroups.com'
                > Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Re: Choice modeling and Agile?
                >
                > Well, of course they "should" be able to express the ROI. But
                > I'd suggest that it's not "necessary".
                >
                > Given two features, if they can decide which one to do first,
                > that's often "enough".
              • Ron Jeffries
                ... Actually, Henri Amiel wrote that, and the complete quote, randomly ... It might be wise not to read too much into the workings of a random number
                Message 7 of 12 , Jul 5, 2005
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                  On Monday, July 4, 2005, at 5:35:22 PM, Kevin Narey wrote:

                  > Ron wrote:

                  >>Analysis kills spontaneity

                  Actually, Henri Amiel wrote that, and the complete quote, randomly
                  selected by my email client, is:

                  >> Analysis kills spontaneity.
                  >> The grain once ground into flour germinates no more. -- Henri Amiel

                  > A curious statement.

                  It might be wise not to read too much into the workings of a random
                  number generator. It might be more fruitful to comment on what I
                  wrote, not on what Mr Amiel wrote. However, your questions below are
                  answerable. These are my answers: I don't know what Mr Amiel would
                  say, had he not unfortunately passed away in 1881.

                  > Do you find that users of software, built using agile methods, enjoy
                  > it when they can't use the software because the architect of that
                  > software, as a result of not performing a prior phase of analysis (and
                  > design) 'spontaneously' second guessed what their goals were?

                  Well, I find that that doesn't happen, and the form and tone of the
                  question makes me want to recommend a bit more study of agile
                  methods. Here are some reasons why:

                  Agile methods do analysis all the time, not just in a prior phase.

                  Agile teams work with the users of the software, addressing only
                  features that those users ask for, in the order they are
                  requested. The goals are explicit, discussed continuously.

                  The software is delivered frequently, every couple of weeks, or
                  every month, so that the customers can see it, use it, test it in
                  any way that they see fit.

                  Agile teams do design all the time, not just in a prior phase.

                  Agile teams start with a simple design at the beginning, enough to
                  support the few features they need to deliver at the beginning. In
                  order to sustain continuous delivery

                  Agile teams generally do not have an individual designated as "the
                  architect".

                  Agile teams generally share the conventional duties of development
                  teams, analysis, architecture, design, testing, coding, and so on.
                  Certainly each team will have individuals who are more or less
                  skilled in these areas, but it is rare to have specific
                  individuals called out into roles.

                  Agile teams value spontaneity, but also discipline.

                  Agility is about noticing what's going on and responding to it.
                  But spontaneity alone, the late Mr Amiel notwithstanding, does not
                  accomplish much. That's why Agile teams follow a discipline that
                  keeps them in touch, at all times, with the customer and what the
                  customer wants.

                  > Can I also ask what your views on innovation without
                  > analysis/research are?

                  Well, briefly, if you can imagine that, I think that innovation is
                  at its highest when one maintains a bit of distance from "reality",
                  but is quite aware of all that is going on. If by "analysis" we mean
                  "paying attention", if by "research" we mean "looking around", then
                  they're quite valuable to innovation.

                  If on the other hand we mean something more formal, rigid,
                  stratified, phased, then I would likely begin to come down more on
                  the side of the sadly departed Henri-Frederic.

                  Analysis and research, in the conventional sense, are likely to lead
                  to refinement. I would be less sanguine about their leading to true
                  innovation. But there's always a spectrum, a continuum: innovation
                  is very likely a soup made up of many ingredients.

                  > //else

                  > If you're looking for an approach to determining ROI you might want to
                  > view Jared Spool's article:

                  > http://www.uie.com/articles/cost_of_frustration/

                  It's an interesting article. As my original response said, at least
                  twice, I'm all for knowing ROI. I'm also pointing out that projects
                  can proceed on the basis of less detail, specifically users' ability
                  to choose between alternatives, even when they don't have detailed
                  numbers.

                  Ron Jeffries
                  www.XProgramming.com
                  Perhaps this Silver Bullet will tell you who I am ...
                • grahamastles
                  While the emphasis on finding a dollar ROI for each feature may be an idea to make the customer more aware of the resources she is spending, I think that there
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jul 5, 2005
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                    While the emphasis on finding a dollar ROI for each feature may be an
                    idea to make the customer more aware of the resources she is spending,
                    I think that there is a risk to fall into the same legalistic trap
                    that traditional project management does when it treats estimates as
                    commitments and a schedule as a prediction.

                    It seems to me that the core purpose behind any prioritization is to
                    work on the most important things first. For this need, a ranking
                    gives you 90% of the value with 10% of the work.

                    Thus, I think that the discussion on "feature ROI" should be part of a
                    pep-talk in the initial project definition phase, with occasional
                    reminders during the planning game, but the tough work required to get
                    an actual ROI for each feature sounds non-agile in the sense that it
                    is "up-front work" that does not produce working code that the user
                    can actually approve. Since priority ranking is a cheaper alternative
                    that can get you to actual coding quicker, I would recommend keeping
                    feature-ROI as a conceptual construct and not a mathematical process.

                    In any case, if we go down this path, Agile would require having a
                    feedback process where you actually do testing to determine if your
                    calculations corresponded to reality, so that you could improve the
                    process on the next round. That sounds like a very long feedback loop
                    to me, and I wonder if the ROI is positive at all, and I certainly
                    think that most of our teams would find a higher ROI from implementing
                    or improving other aspects of our craft.
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