Re: [agile-usability] Choice modeling and Agile?
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
each workshop participant was given some "pocket money" to shop for
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
:: RFID and Human-centred Design Innovation Centre in Asia ::
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Jl. Rasuna Said Block X-5, Kav 2-3
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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".
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Ron Jeffries
Sent: Monday, July 04, 2005 2:51 PM
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.
Analysis kills spontaneity.
The grain once ground into flour germinates no more. -- Henri Amiel
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- Ron wrote:
>Analysis kills spontaneityA 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?
If you're looking for an approach to determining ROI you might want to
view Jared Spool's article:
- 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.
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.
- 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.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Desilets, Alain
> Sent: Monday, July 04, 2005 5:52 PM
> To: 'firstname.lastname@example.org'
> 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".
- On Monday, July 4, 2005, at 5:35:22 PM, Kevin Narey wrote:
> Ron wrote:Actually, Henri Amiel wrote that, and the complete quote, randomly
>>Analysis kills spontaneity
selected by my email client, is:
>> Analysis kills spontaneity.It might be wise not to read too much into the workings of a random
>> The grain once ground into flour germinates no more. -- Henri Amiel
> A curious statement.
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, enjoyWell, I find that that doesn't happen, and the form and tone of the
> 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?
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
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
> Can I also ask what your views on innovation withoutWell, briefly, if you can imagine that, I think that innovation is
> analysis/research are?
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.
> //elseIt's an interesting article. As my original response said, at least
> If you're looking for an approach to determining ROI you might want to
> view Jared Spool's article:
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
Perhaps this Silver Bullet will tell you who I am ...
- 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.