47054RE: [scrumdevelopment] Prioritization of Stories in Business Productivity Automation
- Jun 1, 2010
Peter - Thanks for taking the time to reply. The dossier approach is interesting and I will discuss with the team. I wonder though how much it saves you given the object oriented nature of programming with today’s workflow engines.
Tara E. Santmire, CSM, PMP
You have identified one way to think about the business process: Considering it as a sequence of steps to be executed one after the other. Is that the only way to think about it? Is it the best way?
I once worked for a company which had a several processes to automate. The first such project I worked on, the program was conceived to implement its process step by step. This seemed logical at the time, but it made the software extremely difficult to test or change, and equally inflexible for the user.
Later, I worked with two domain experts on the visioning of a similar project. We found that if we took an objected-oriented approach, the process became much simpler: The user would create a dossier, the former steps in the process became operations on the dossier, and a new 'make it so' operation (order) would complete the process. Once a dossier was created, it could be completed. The steps in the middle became optional (even though they remained important enough that most users in most cases would apply them). This made it possible for the P-O to prioritize the value of the operations, but also to add or remove alternatives in repesonse to changing priorities, time pressures, user/customer demands etc.
For example: Most airline ticketing processes are sequential: 1) enter travel dates, number of passengers and departure and destination point 2) find flights 3) select flights 4) decide to order, 6) identify passengers 7) pay. What happens if your mother in law decides to join you on the trip? You have to start over. Why not just add her to the dossier? Why do you have to reenter the passenger data every time you want to consider a new alternative?
If you were going to apply the dossier approach to airline ticketing, how would you do it? Which functions would you implement first? Maybe create dossier, pay for flight. Once these are implemented, you can potentially generate revenue. Next might be select alternative flights by price or by schedule, add spouse and kids. Now the customers can easily book the flight they want and bring the whole family. Probably adding your mother-in-law after the rest of the family has already booked a ticket won't be top on your priority list, but you may decide it's important later (especially if she offers to babysit ;-) ). Of course, this function will be competing with 'book rental car' and hotel booking functions which might have more value...
If you were going to apply this approach to your application, how would you do it? What advantages and disadvantages would you have? Why are the advantages more important (or why aren't they)?
On 01.06.10 02:07, Tara Santmire wrote:
Ron – Thanks for taking the time to reply.
On business value – I think that the PO is taking the point of view that she does not want to deploy until the entire process is deployable and so there is no business value in partial process so just do it in order. Do you have any suggestions about how I might disabuse her of that notion? Or might she be correct? Even if she is wrong, if she is so engrained in thinking this through in terms of the process, might there be value in proceeding in this order?
On risk – the team has reviewed the process and the associated user stories and their estimation of technical risk is that they are all in the same bin. The team feels that they have done something fairly similar, for the various pieces of the process. I can try and go back and elicit more granularity.
On amount to learn – you may be right. I don’t have good ideas about how to elicit more information about prioritization in terms of “amount we need to learn”. Do you have suggestions? Even if you are correct, if the PO and users are so engrained in thinking this through in terms of the process, might there be value in proceeding in this order as this is the only way they can think through all the ramifications of decisions?
Tara E. Santmire, CSM, PMP
Hello, Tara. On Monday, May 31, 2010, at 8:23:52 AM, you wrote:
> The product owner wants to prioritize these stories in the same
> order that they occur in the business process. I don't see any problems
> with this, but I have a nagging feeling that I am missing something. Does
> this seem like a reasonable way of prioritizing the stories? Does it have
> any potential drawbacks?
It seems unlikely to me that the business value of the stories is
decreasing with ordinal position in the business process. It seems
unlikely to me that the risk of the stories decreases with ordinal
position in the business process. It seems unlikely to me that the
amount we need to learn decreases with ordinal position in the
Therefore it seems unlikely to me that priority is in same order as
the position of the item in the business process.
You can observe a lot by watching. --Yogi Berra
Peter Stevens, CSM, CSPO, CSP
tel: +41 44 586 6450
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