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Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?

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  • Nikhil Singhal
    Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit more seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool on which the executive mgmt
    Message 1 of 25 , Jan 29, 2009

      Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit more seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool on which the executive mgmt can agree for maintaining the product backlog. Some seem to like excel, some like activeCollab and some word.

       

      Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side note, we do have Microsoft TFS for source control, reporting, etc.

       

      Thanks for the advice.

      Nikhil

       

    • Roy Morien
      Simplicity is a virtue. What is the Product Backlog? It is a list of User Stories (or other statements of requirements, however called) with an indication of
      Message 2 of 25 , Jan 29, 2009
        Simplicity is a virtue. What is the Product Backlog? It is a list of User Stories (or other statements of requirements, however called) with an indication of complexity / difficulty / potential time consumption, stated as Story Points (or ideal days, or some other measure of estimated effort, however of called), and a level of priority.
         
        So what is wrong with a simple spreadsheet? Each Product Backlog item can have a hyperlink to a Word document in which more detail is stated, if that is considered reasonable.
         
        New Backlog items can be added, given a level of priority, the list can be sorted. Maybe completed items can be given a priority of 100 and so when they are completed they will be sorted to the bottom of the priority list. They can even be hidden rows so don't appear unless you specifically unhide them.
         
        What more do you need to maintain the Product Backlog?
         
        Don't fall into the trap of utilising more technology than you need. Fancy tools often take on a life of their own, demanding significant maintenance time.
         
        Regards,
        Roy Morien




        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        From: nikhil@...
        Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 20:22:50 -0800
        Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?


        Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit more seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool on which the executive mgmt can agree for maintaining the product backlog. Some seem to like excel, some like activeCollab and some word.

         

        Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side note, we do have Microsoft TFS for source control, reporting, etc.

         

        Thanks for the advice.

        Nikhil

         




        Get what you want at ebay. Get rid of those unwanted christmas presents!
      • David H.
        ... or just use 3x5 cards and a shoe box and yes that still exists and I use it quite successfully :) -- Sent from gmail so do not trust this communication. Do
        Message 3 of 25 , Jan 29, 2009
          2009/1/29 Roy Morien <roymorien@...>:
          > Simplicity is a virtue. What is the Product Backlog? It is a list of User
          > Stories (or other statements of requirements, however called) with an
          > indication of complexity / difficulty / potential time consumption, stated
          > as Story Points (or ideal days, or some other measure of estimated effort,
          > however of called), and a level of priority.
          >  
          > So what is wrong with a simple spreadsheet? Each Product Backlog item can
          > have a hyperlink to a Word document in which more detail is stated, if that
          > is considered reasonable.
          >  
          or just use 3x5 cards and a shoe box and yes that still exists and I use it quite successfully :)


          --
          Sent from gmail so do not trust this communication.
          Do not send me sensitive information here, ask for my none-gmail accounts.

          "Therefore the considerations of the intelligent always include both benefit and harm." - Sun Tzu
        • Roy Morien
          Yeah, that too! To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com From: dmalloc@gmail.com Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 23:54:08 -0500 Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Any
          Message 4 of 25 , Jan 29, 2009
            Yeah, that too!

            > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
            > From: dmalloc@...
            > Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 23:54:08 -0500
            > Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?
            >
            >
            >
            > 2009/1/29 Roy Morien <roymorien@...>:
            > > Simplicity is a virtue. What is the Product Backlog? It is a list of User
            > > Stories (or other statements of requirements, however called) with an
            > > indication of complexity / difficulty / potential time consumption, stated
            > > as Story Points (or ideal days, or some other measure of estimated effort,
            > > however of called), and a level of priority.
            > >  
            > > So what is wrong with a simple spreadsheet? Each Product Backlog item can
            > > have a hyperlink to a Word document in which more detail is stated, if that
            > > is considered reasonable.
            > >  
            > or just use 3x5 cards and a shoe box and yes that still exists and I use it quite successfully :)
            >
            >
            > --
            > Sent from gmail so do not trust this communication.
            > Do not send me sensitive information here, ask for my none-gmail accounts.
            >
            > "Therefore the considerations of the intelligent always include both benefit and harm." - Sun Tzu
            >


            Let ninemsn property help! Need a new place to rent, share or buy?
          • Bas Vodde
            Hi, How can a tool be a roadblock (especially since you didn t selected it yet!) Bas
            Message 5 of 25 , Jan 29, 2009
              Hi,

              How can a tool be a roadblock (especially since you didn't selected it
              yet!)

              Bas

              On Jan 30, 2009, at 12:22 PM, Nikhil Singhal wrote:

              >
              > Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit
              > more seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool
              > on which the executive mgmt can agree for maintaining the product
              > backlog. Some seem to like excel, some like activeCollab and some
              > word.
              >
              >
              >
              > Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side note,
              > we do have Microsoft TFS for source control, reporting, etc.
              >
              >
              >
              > Thanks for the advice.
              >
              > Nikhil
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • Roy Morien
              Don t these executives have any idea about a decision making process, where at first all ideas are put forward, each one is then explained to all interested
              Message 6 of 25 , Jan 29, 2009
                Don't these executives have any idea about a decision making process, where at first all ideas are put forward, each one is then explained to all interested parties, and then a decision is made and one outcome is converged upon.
                 
                Are these executives so egotistical that they can't give up their favourite tool suggestion, and see the benefits of any other suggestion.
                 
                Anyway, what do they actually want in such a tool? Perhaps you can ask them to list the characteristics of such a tool that they see as necessary. Then you can pick the tool that best meets their requirements.
                 
                HAven't these executives got anything better to do than squabble about this. Why don't they leave it up to you to decide?
                 
                Regards,
                Roy Morien

                > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                > From: basv@...
                > Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009 13:43:53 +0800
                > Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?
                >
                >
                > Hi,
                >
                > How can a tool be a roadblock (especially since you didn't selected it
                > yet!)
                >
                > Bas
                >
                > On Jan 30, 2009, at 12:22 PM, Nikhil Singhal wrote:
                >
                > >
                > > Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit
                > > more seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool
                > > on which the executive mgmt can agree for maintaining the product
                > > backlog. Some seem to like excel, some like activeCollab and some
                > > word.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side note,
                > > we do have Microsoft TFS for source control, reporting, etc.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > Thanks for the advice.
                > >
                > > Nikhil
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                >
                >
                > ------------------------------------
                >
                > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
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                Get what you want at ebay. Get rid of those unwanted christmas presents!
              • Vikrama Dhiman
                It would depend on the product you are building and your corporate environment. Here is what I use: 1. Clear reporting of business metrics through a custom
                Message 7 of 25 , Jan 29, 2009
                  It would depend on the product you are building and your corporate environment.

                  Here is what I use:

                  1. Clear reporting of business metrics through a custom built web based software for Analysis - MOST IMPORTANT
                  2. Corporate Email from Google, as this keeps me mobile [their search works like a dream] - and I read each and every email that comes on support
                  3. MS-office [Word/ Excel/ PowerPoint]/ Google Docs
                  4. Whiteboards for quick discussions and pasting stories for next sprint/ sprint discussion
                  5. Google Alerts to keep track of industry trends and coverage
                  6. RSS feeds to keep updated from thought leaders in technology and domain
                  7. VSS to make textual changes in web application myself
                  8. MS-SQL Server querying for ad-hoc analysis
                  9. I use Survey Monkey for some surveys sometimes
                  10. I am trying to learn Fitnesse too
                  11. You also need a tool to give you infinite patience to explain business context again and again :)

                  Hope that helps!

                  Thanks

                  ================================================================
                  Participate in "Are we Really Agile Survey" - It only takes a minute.
                   
                  Vikrama Dhiman
                  [Product Manager]
                  Please visit my blog at:
                   


                  --- On Fri, 1/30/09, Roy Morien <roymorien@...> wrote:
                  From: Roy Morien <roymorien@...>
                  Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?
                  To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Friday, January 30, 2009, 10:25 AM

                  Yeah, that too!

                  > To: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
                  > From: dmalloc@gmail. com
                  > Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 23:54:08 -0500
                  > Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > 2009/1/29 Roy Morien <roymorien@hotmail. com>:
                  > > Simplicity is a virtue. What is the Product Backlog? It is a list of User
                  > > Stories (or other statements of requirements, however called) with an
                  > > indication of complexity / difficulty / potential time consumption, stated
                  > > as Story Points (or ideal days, or some other measure of estimated effort,
                  > > however of called), and a level of priority.
                  > >  
                  > > So what is wrong with a simple spreadsheet? Each Product Backlog item can
                  > > have a hyperlink to a Word document in which more detail is stated, if that
                  > > is considered reasonable.
                  > >  
                  > or just use 3x5 cards and a shoe box and yes that still exists and I use it quite successfully :)
                  >
                  >
                  > --
                  > Sent from gmail so do not trust this communication.
                  > Do not send me sensitive information here, ask for my none-gmail accounts.
                  >
                  > "Therefore the considerations of the intelligent always include both benefit and harm." - Sun Tzu
                  >


                  Let ninemsn property help! Need a new place to rent, share or buy?


                • Nikhil Singhal
                  Don’t get me wrong!!! These executives are not fighting as such over the tool. We have a ton of ideas for 2009 that need to be prioritized and then executed
                  Message 8 of 25 , Jan 29, 2009

                    Don’t get me wrong!!! These executives are not fighting as such over the tool. We have a ton of ideas for 2009 that need to be prioritized and then executed upon.

                     

                    The problem I am seeing is that arriving at a consensus on deciding which is the right order of tackling those priorities is getting difficult. Believe me that these guys have the best in their hearts for the growth of the company but I seeing them struggle in order to find a common way in which to prioritize all the # 1 and # 2 items.

                     

                    My reason to ask for a tool recommendation was simple. I am sure that every company with limited dev resources struggles at some point in deciding which projects amongst the 100’s will have the most bang for the buck. How to finalize on that list is the key issue here. Tool is just to make the mundane part of the job easier.

                     

                    Being a developer my first thought was on how I can automate (or make it easier) the task of listing the projects, their business value and a rough estimation of time so that a logical priority can emerge.

                     

                    Thanks

                    Nikhil

                     

                     

                    From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Roy Morien
                    Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2009 9:50 PM
                    To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?

                     

                    Don't these executives have any idea about a decision making process, where at first all ideas are put forward, each one is then explained to all interested parties, and then a decision is made and one outcome is converged upon.
                     
                    Are these executives so egotistical that they can't give up their favourite tool suggestion, and see the benefits of any other suggestion.
                     
                    Anyway, what do they actually want in such a tool? Perhaps you can ask them to list the characteristics of such a tool that they see as necessary. Then you can pick the tool that best meets their requirements.
                     
                    HAven't these executives got anything better to do than squabble about this. Why don't they leave it up to you to decide?
                     
                    Regards,
                    Roy Morien

                    > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                    > From: basv@...
                    > Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009 13:43:53 +0800
                    > Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product
                    Owner?
                    >
                    >
                    > Hi,
                    >
                    > How can a tool be a roadblock (especially since you didn't selected it
                    > yet!)
                    >
                    > Bas
                    >
                    > On Jan 30, 2009, at 12:22 PM, Nikhil Singhal wrote:
                    >
                    > >
                    > > Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit
                    > > more seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool
                    > > on which the executive mgmt can agree for maintaining the product
                    > > backlog. Some seem to like excel, some like activeCollab and some
                    > > word.
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side note,
                    > > we do have Microsoft TFS for sourc e control, reporting, etc.
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > Thanks for the advice.
                    > >
                    > > Nikhil
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    >
                    > ------------------------------------
                    >
                    > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
                    > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...!
                    Groups Links
                    >
                    > <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
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                    >
                    > <*> Your email settings:
                    > Individual Email | Traditional
                    >
                    > <*> To change settings online go to:
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                    >
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                    >
                    > <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
                    > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                    >


                    Get what you want at ebay. Get rid of those unwanted christmas presents!

                  • Roy Morien
                    Got it! :) But your explanation here makes me more convinced that you should start simple, and take it from there. First establish a need for something more
                    Message 9 of 25 , Jan 29, 2009
                      Got it! :) But your explanation here makes me more convinced that you should start simple, and take it from there. First establish a need for something more technically complex than the shoe box and 3" x 5" cards that someone else has suggested, or the simple spreadhseet that I have suggested, then upgrade if necessary. Gain the experience of the simple solution before you assume it is inadequate. A simple solution is quicker and easier to implement, and iof you get it wrong, your wasted time is minimal.
                       
                      The other end of this scale was demonstrated in the 80s with the huge, monumental CASE tools tha were available at the time. Companies that bought into these had a huge job of implementing them, training personell, getting them to work in their organisation. They then found that they were tied in very tightly. If they decided to move away from them, the sunk cost was enormous, the transfer costs were enormous.
                       
                      So, don't try to 'get it right' right at the start by introducing apparently useful but complex tools, just in case the features are needed.
                       
                      Regards,
                      Roy Morien




                      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                      From: nikhil@...
                      Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 23:06:47 -0800
                      Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?


                      Don’t get me wrong!!! These executives are not fighting as such over the tool. We have a ton of ideas for 2009 that need to be prioritized and then executed upon.

                       

                      The problem I am seeing is that arriving at a consensus on deciding which is the right order of tackling those priorities is getting difficult. Believe me that these guys have the best in their hearts for the growth of the company but I seeing them struggle in order to find a common way in which to prioritize all the # 1 and # 2 items.

                       

                      My reason to ask for a tool recommendation was simple. I am sure that every company with limited dev resources struggles at some point in deciding which projects amongst the 100’s will have the most bang for the buck. How to finalize on that list is the key issue here. Tool is just to make the mundane part of the job easier.

                       

                      Being a developer my first thought was on how I can automate (or make it easier) the task of listing the projects, their business value and a rough estimation of time so that a logical priority can emerge.

                       

                      Thanks

                      Nikhil

                       

                       

                      From: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:scrumdevelo pment@yahoogroup s.com] On Behalf Of Roy Morien
                      Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2009 9:50 PM
                      To: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
                      Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?

                       

                      Don't these executives have any idea about a decision making process, where at first all ideas are put forward, each one is then explained to all interested parties, and then a decision is made and one outcome is converged upon.
                       
                      Are these executives so egotistical that they can't give up their favourite tool suggestion, and see the benefits of any other suggestion.
                       
                      Anyway, what do they actually want in such a tool? Perhaps you can ask them to list the characteristics of such a tool that they see as necessary. Then you can pick the tool that best meets their requirements.
                       
                      HAven't these executives got anything better to do than squabble about this. Why don't they leave it up to you to decide?
                       
                      Regards,
                      Roy Morien

                      > To: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
                      > From: basv@...
                      > Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009 13:43:53 +0800
                      > Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?
                      >
                      >
                      > Hi,
                      >
                      > How can a tool be a roadblock (especially since you didn't selected it
                      > yet!)
                      >
                      > Bas
                      >
                      > On Jan 30, 2009, at 12:22 PM, Nikhil Singhal wrote:
                      >
                      > >
                      > > Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit
                      > > more seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool
                      > > on which the executive mgmt can agree for maintaining the product
                      > > backlog. Some seem to like excel, some like activeCollab and some
                      > > word.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side note,
                      > > we do have Microsoft TFS for sourc e control, reporting, etc.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Thanks for the advice.
                      > >
                      > > Nikhil
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      >
                      >
                      > ------------ --------- --------- ------
                      >
                      > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@ eGroups.com
                      > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment- unsubscribe@ eGroups.comYahoo ! Groups Links
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                      >



                      Get what you want at ebay. Get rid of those unwanted christmas presents!




                      Sell your car for just $40. It's simple!
                    • Nikhil Singhal
                      Excellent advice. We have a prioritization meeting tomorrow again and I will get the ideas on 3 * 5 cards and take it. Also, how about taking poker chips in
                      Message 10 of 25 , Jan 29, 2009

                        Excellent advice. We have a prioritization meeting tomorrow again and I will get the ideas on 3 * 5 cards and take it.

                         

                        Also, how about taking poker chips in addition to these cards and handing lets say 50 of them to each exec and ask them to place them across all the cards. This way, we can get a relative weight too.

                         

                        From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Roy Morien
                        Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2009 11:13 PM
                        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?

                         

                        Got it! :) But your explanation here makes me more convinced that you should start simple, and take it from there. First establish a need for something more technically complex than the shoe box and 3" x 5" cards that someone else has suggested, or the simple spreadhseet that I have suggested, then upgrade if necessary. Gain the experience of the simple solution before you assume it is inadequate. A simple solution is quicker and easier to implement, and iof you get it wrong, your wasted time is minimal.
                         
                        The other end of this scale was demonstrated in the 80s with the huge, monumental CASE tools tha were available at the time. Companies that bought into these had a huge job of implementing them, training personell, getting them to work in their organisation. They then found that they were tied in very tightly. If they decided to move away from them, the sunk cost was enormous, the transfer costs were enormous.
                         
                        So, don't try to 'get it right' right at the start by introducing apparently useful but complex tools, just in case the features are needed.
                         
                        Regards,
                        Roy Morien



                        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                        From: nikhil@...
                        Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 23:06:47 -0800
                        Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?

                        Don’t get me wrong!!! These executives are not fighting as such over the tool. We have a ton of ideas for 2009 that need to be prioritized and then executed upon.

                         

                        The problem I am seeing is that arriving at a consensus on deciding which is the right order of tackling those priorities is getting difficult. Believe me that these guys have the best in their hearts for the growth of the company but I seeing them struggle in order to find a common way in which to prioritize all the # 1 and # 2 items.

                         

                        My reason to ask for a tool recommendation was simple. I am sure that every company with limited dev resources struggles at some point in deciding which projects amongst the 100’s will have the most bang for the buck. How to finalize on that list is the key issue here. Tool is just to make the mundane part of the job easier.

                         

                        Being a developer my first thought was on how I can automate (or make it easier) the task of listing the projects, their business value and a rough estimation of time so that a logical priority can emerge.

                         

                        Thanks

                        Nikhil

                         

                         

                        From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Roy Morien
                        Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2009 9:50 PM
                        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?

                         

                        Don't these executives have any idea about a decision making process, where at first all ideas are put forward, each one is then explained to all interested parties, and then a decision is made and one outcome is converged upon.
                         
                        Are these executives so egotistical that they can't give up their favourite tool suggestion, and see the benefits of any other suggestion.
                         
                        Anyway, what do they actually want in such a tool? Perhaps you can ask them to list the characteristics of such a tool that they see as necessary. Then you can pick the tool that best meets their requirements.
                         
                        HAven't these executives got anything better to do than squabble about this. Why don't they leave it up to you to decide?
                         
                        Regards,
                        Roy Morien

                        > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                        > From: basv@...
                        > Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009 13:43:53 +0800
                        > Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product
                        Owner?
                        >
                        >
                        > Hi,
                        >
                        > How can a tool be a roadblock (especially since you didn't selected it
                        > yet!)
                        >
                        > Bas
                        >
                        > On Jan 30, 2009, at 12:22 PM, Nikhil Singhal wrote:
                        >
                        > >
                        > > Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit
                        > > more seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool
                        > > on which the executive mgmt can agree for maintaining the product
                        > > backlog. Some seem to like excel, some like activeCollab and some
                        > > word.
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side note,
                        > > we do have Microsoft TFS for sourc e control, reporting, etc.
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > Thanks for the advice.
                        > >
                        > > Nikhil
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        >
                        >
                        > ------------------------------------
                        >
                        > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
                        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...!
                        Groups Links
                        >
                        > <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
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                        >
                        > <*> Your email settings:
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                        >
                        > <*> To change settings online go to:
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                        >
                        > <*> To change settings via email:
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                        > mailto:scrumdevelopment-fullfeatured@yahoogroups.com
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                        > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                        >


                        Get what you want at ebay. Get rid of those unwanted christmas presents!

                         

                         


                        Sell your car for just $40. It's simple!

                      • Thibaut Barrère
                        Hi, my first post here so Hello! ... Sometimes (especially at the beginning of a project) I find that mind-mapping [1] is very valuable to brainstorm, quickly
                        Message 11 of 25 , Jan 29, 2009
                          Hi,

                          my first post here so Hello!

                          > Don't get me wrong!!! These executives are not fighting as such over the
                          > tool. We have a ton of ideas for 2009 that need to be prioritized and then
                          > executed upon.

                          Sometimes (especially at the beginning of a project) I find that
                          mind-mapping [1] is very valuable to brainstorm, quickly extract top
                          ideas and prioritize them, either alone with my customer
                          stakeholder(s) or as a team.

                          Once we have the rough edges I tend to switch to some spreadsheet. For
                          ~ 20 days projects I use a shared google spreadsheet that mixes users
                          stories and tasks, with daily budget use so I can have a burndown
                          chart mixing the remaining budget curve and the estimated remaining
                          work.

                          I've tried tools like Mingle but went back to some spreadsheets later
                          on because it was too constraining for me. I think at some point I'll
                          try using something like http://www.dabbledb.com/ to store both the
                          product backlog and the sprint backlog.

                          hope this helps!

                          [1] - see here for more details: http://evolvingworker.com/tags/mind-mapping

                          cheers,

                          Thibaut Barrère
                        • Roy Morien
                          Don t get too excited :) Taking poker chips might seem a bit over the top at this stage, and might make the exercise appear to be a bit strange or trivial :)
                          Message 12 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
                            Don't get too excited :) Taking poker chips might seem a bit over the top at this stage, and might make the exercise appear to be a bit strange or trivial :)


                            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                            From: nikhil@...
                            Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 23:18:28 -0800
                            Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?

                            Excellent advice. We have a prioritization meeting tomorrow again and I will get the ideas on 3 * 5 cards and take it.

                             

                            Also, how about taking poker chips in addition to these cards and handing lets say 50 of them to each exec and ask them to place them across all the cards. This way, we can get a relative weight too.

                             

                            From: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:scrumdevelo pment@yahoogroup s.com] On Behalf Of Roy Morien
                            Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2009 11:13 PM
                            To: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
                            Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?

                             

                            Got it! :) But your explanation here makes me more convinced that you should start simple, and take it from there. First establish a need for something more technically complex than the shoe box and 3" x 5" cards that someone else has suggested, or the simple spreadhseet that I have suggested, then upgrade if necessary. Gain the experience of the simple solution before you assume it is inadequate. A simple solution is quicker and easier to implement, and iof you get it wrong, your wasted time is minimal.
                             
                            The other end of this scale was demonstrated in the 80s with the huge, monumental CASE tools tha were available at the time. Companies that bought into these had a huge job of implementing them, training personell, getting them to work in their organisation. They then found that they were tied in very tightly. If they decided to move away from them, the sunk cost was enormous, the transfer costs were enormous.
                             
                            So, don't try to 'get it right' right at the start by introducing apparently useful but complex tools, just in case the features are needed.
                             
                            Regards,
                            Roy Morien




                            To: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
                            From: nikhil@groundspeak. com
                            Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 23:06:47 -0800
                            Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?

                            Don’t get me wrong!!! These executives are not fighting as such over the tool. We have a ton of ideas for 2009 that need to be prioritized and then executed upon.

                             

                            The problem I am seeing is that arriving at a consensus on deciding which is the right order of tackling those priorities is getting difficult. Believe me that these guys have the best in their hearts for the growth of the company but I seeing them struggle in order to find a common way in which to prioritize all the # 1 and # 2 items.

                             

                            My reason to ask for a tool recommendation was simple. I am sure that every company with limited dev resources struggles at some point in deciding which projects amongst the 100’s will have the most bang for the buck. How to finalize on that list is the key issue here. Tool is just to make the mundane part of the job easier.

                             

                            Being a developer my first thought was on how I can automate (or make it easier) the task of listing the projects, their business value and a rough estimation of time so that a logical priority can emerge.

                             

                            Thanks

                            Nikhil

                             

                             

                            From: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:scrumdevelo pment@yahoogroup s.com] On Behalf Of Roy Morien
                            Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2009 9:50 PM
                            To: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
                            Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?

                             

                            Don't these executives have any idea about a decision making process, where at first all ideas are put forward, each one is then explained to all interested parties, and then a decision is made and one outcome is converged upon.
                             
                            Are these executives so egotistical that they can't give up their favourite tool suggestion, and see the benefits of any other suggestion.
                             
                            Anyway, what do they actually want in such a tool? Perhaps you can ask them to list the characteristics of such a tool that they see as necessary. Then you can pick the tool that best meets their requirements.
                             
                            HAven't these executives got anything better to do than squabble about this. Why don't they leave it up to you to decide?
                             
                            Regards,
                            Roy Morien

                            > To: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
                            > From: basv@...
                            > Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009 13:43:53 +0800
                            > Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?
                            >
                            >
                            > Hi,
                            >
                            > How can a tool be a roadblock (especially since you didn't selected it
                            > yet!)
                            >
                            > Bas
                            >
                            > On Jan 30, 2009, at 12:22 PM, Nikhil Singhal wrote:
                            >
                            > >
                            > > Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit
                            > > more seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool
                            > > on which the executive mgmt can agree for maintaining the product
                            > > backlog. Some seem to like excel, some like activeCollab and some
                            > > word.
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side note,
                            > > we do have Microsoft TFS for sourc e control, reporting, etc.
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > Thanks for the advice.
                            > >
                            > > Nikhil
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            >
                            >
                            > ------------ --------- --------- ------
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                            Get what you want at ebay. Get rid of those unwanted christmas presents!

                             

                             


                            Sell your car for just $40. It's simple!




                            Get what you want at ebay. Get rid of those unwanted christmas presents!
                          • Ron Jeffries
                            Hello, Nikhil. On Thursday, January 29, 2009, at 11:22:50 PM, you ... Please describe your organization, size, distribution, etc. Ron Jeffries
                            Message 13 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
                              Hello, Nikhil. On Thursday, January 29, 2009, at 11:22:50 PM, you
                              wrote:

                              > Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit
                              > more seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool
                              > on which the executive mgmt can agree for maintaining the product
                              > backlog. Some seem to like excel, some like activeCollab and some word.

                              > Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side
                              > note, we do have Microsoft TFS for source control, reporting, etc.

                              Please describe your organization, size, distribution, etc.

                              Ron Jeffries
                              www.XProgramming.com
                              www.xprogramming.com/blog
                              It is better to attempt something great and fail that attempt,
                              than to attempt to do nothing and succeed.
                              --Cookie, Garden Court Chinese Restaurant, Hamburg, MI
                            • Jesse Stockall
                              If you use Jira for issue tracking there is a nice plugin called GreenHopper for managing stories, but I d stick the index cards or a simple spreadsheet until
                              Message 14 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
                                If you use Jira for issue tracking there is a nice plugin called
                                GreenHopper for managing stories, but I'd stick the index cards or a
                                simple spreadsheet until you have a compelling reason to switch.

                                Jesse

                                Nikhil Singhal said the following on 29/01/09 11:22 PM:
                                >
                                > Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit more
                                > seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool on which
                                > the executive mgmt can agree for maintaining the product backlog. Some
                                > seem to like excel, some like activeCollab and some word.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side note,
                                > we do have Microsoft TFS for source control, reporting, etc.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Thanks for the advice.
                                >
                                > Nikhil
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > --
                                > This message was scanned by ESVA and is believed to be clean.
                                > Click here to report this message as spam.
                                > <http://smoker.embotics.com/cgi-bin/learn-msg.cgi?id=>
                              • George Dinwiddie
                                ... That s not a bad idea. See Luke Hohmann s Innovation Games. ... Another technique is to have them arrange the 3 by 5 cards in a strict priority. Is this
                                Message 15 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
                                  Nikhil Singhal wrote:
                                  > Excellent advice. We have a prioritization meeting tomorrow again and I
                                  > will get the ideas on 3 * 5 cards and take it.
                                  >
                                  > Also, how about taking poker chips in addition to these cards and
                                  > handing lets say 50 of them to each exec and ask them to place them
                                  > across all the cards. This way, we can get a relative weight too.

                                  That's not a bad idea. See Luke Hohmann's Innovation Games.

                                  > The problem I am seeing is that arriving at a consensus on deciding
                                  > which is the right order of tackling those priorities is getting
                                  > difficult. Believe me that these guys have the best in their hearts
                                  > for the growth of the company but I seeing them struggle in order to
                                  > find a common way in which to prioritize all the # 1 and # 2 items.

                                  Another technique is to have them arrange the 3 by 5 cards in a strict
                                  priority. "Is this card more important or less important than this
                                  other one?" It's a combination of an insertion sort and a bubble sort.

                                  A bunch of 3x5 cards and a wall covered in corkboard can be a great
                                  enterprise planning tool. There are many different ways of arranging
                                  it. You can mark off rows and columns and special areas with blue
                                  painters' tape.

                                  - George

                                  --
                                  ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                                  Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                                  Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                                  ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                • mp7@sbcglobal.net
                                  Hi Nikhil, It sounds like a spreadsheet, and for meetings, a whiteboard, would do the job. As others have said, you need the story/feature description, the
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
                                    Hi Nikhil,

                                    It sounds like a spreadsheet, and for meetings, a whiteboard, would do
                                    the job. As others have said, you need the story/feature description,
                                    the effort/complexity, and the priority.

                                    Perhaps your executives are struggling because they have several types
                                    of priority, but don't realize it, or they have not decided which kind
                                    of priority is most important.

                                    For example, on the whiteboard, they might need to group
                                    stories/features by what business functions are affected (a story
                                    might improve results for three departments at one time, like IT,
                                    Finance, and Sales). Or, group the stories according to whether they
                                    have the strongest impact outside the business (big benefits for
                                    customer or other outside stakeholders) vs inside the business (impact
                                    on internal stakeholders/departments).

                                    The key is make it easier to see the different ways improvements can
                                    be considered. From a business perspective, they may all agree that
                                    customers need to see obvious improvements fast, or the business will
                                    fail. In that case, priority goes to stories that directly affect
                                    customers.

                                    Conversely, if the company is doing well with its customer base, then
                                    that might provide the opportunity to focus first on inwardly-obvious
                                    improvements.

                                    Just get them to focus on WHY each "priority = 1" item is important.
                                    They'll find that there are only 2-3 significant "types of priority."
                                    In the spreadsheet, assign each story one "priority type." Then just
                                    sort by priority type to see all the stories grouped into sensible
                                    clusters based on what effect they have on the company.

                                    Hope this helps,
                                    Monica


                                    --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Nikhil Singhal" <nikhil@...>
                                    wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Don't get me wrong!!! These executives are not fighting as such over
                                    the tool. We have a ton of ideas for 2009 that need to be prioritized
                                    and then executed upon.
                                    >
                                    > The problem I am seeing is that arriving at a consensus on deciding
                                    which is the right order of tackling those priorities is getting
                                    difficult.
                                    <snip>
                                    > Being a developer my first thought was on how I can automate (or
                                    make it easier) the task of listing the projects, their business value
                                    and a rough estimation of time so that a logical priority can emerge.
                                  • Amanda Abelove
                                    Google docs!
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
                                      Google docs!

                                      On Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 8:22 PM, Nikhil Singhal <nikhil@...> wrote:

                                      Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit more seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool on which the executive mgmt can agree for maintaining the product backlog. Some seem to like excel, some like activeCollab and some word.

                                       

                                      Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side note, we do have Microsoft TFS for source control, reporting, etc.

                                       

                                      Thanks for the advice.

                                      Nikhil

                                       


                                    • rodney_carvalho
                                      If you want something simple, but good for distributed teams you should try ScrumNinja (scrumninja.com)
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
                                        If you want something simple, but good for distributed teams you
                                        should try ScrumNinja (scrumninja.com)
                                      • Mark Levison
                                        ... Why some many ideas? Take a page from the Kanban folks if you re not going to act on it in the immediate future (few months at the outside) - why track it?
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
                                          On Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 2:06 AM, Nikhil Singhal <nikhil@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > Don't get me wrong!!! These executives are not fighting as such over the tool. We have a ton of ideas for 2009 that need to be prioritized and then executed upon.

                                          Why some many ideas? Take a page from the Kanban folks if you're not
                                          going to act on it in the immediate future (few months at the outside)
                                          - why track it? You're just creating false hope with the customer...

                                          Cheers
                                          Mark

                                          Blog: http://www.notesfromatooluser.com/
                                          Recent Entries: Agile/Scrum Smells:
                                          http://www.notesfromatooluser.com/2008/06/agilescrum-smells.html
                                          Agile Games for Making Retrospectives Interesting:
                                          http://www.notesfromatooluser.com/2008/10/agile-games-for-making-retrospectives-interesting.html
                                        • Mike Cohn
                                          Hi Nikhil-- We created http://www.userstories.com as a site for vendors to list their product backlog tools _and_ for users of those tools to write reviews and
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
                                            Hi Nikhil--

                                            We created http://www.userstories.com as a site for vendors to list their product backlog tools _and_ for users of those tools to write reviews and rate their experiences with the tools. All of the tool vendors (big and small) I'm aware of have listed their products there, including screenshots. It would be an excellent starting point for your research.

                                            Additionally--anyone who has used one of the product backlog tools, please add your review/rating to the site to help others in their decisions.

                                            Thanks,
                                            Mike Cohn
                                            Author:
                                              Agile Estimating and Planning
                                              User Stories Applied



                                            On Jan 29, 2009, at 9:22 PM, Nikhil Singhal wrote:


                                            Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit more seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool on which the executive mgmt can agree for maintaining the product backlog. Some seem to like excel, some like activeCollab and some word.

                                             

                                            Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side note, we do have Microsoft TFS for source control, reporting, etc.

                                             

                                            Thanks for the advice.

                                            Nikhil

                                             



                                          • Jim York
                                            Agreeing on priorities is more important that agreeing on the tool. Regardless of which tool you are considering, ask yourself if the tool supports the
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
                                              Agreeing on priorities is more important that agreeing on the tool. Regardless of which
                                              tool you are considering, ask yourself if the tool supports the conversation or gets in the
                                              way of it.

                                              Jim York, CST | FoxHedge, Ltd |www.jim-york.com



                                              --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Nikhil Singhal" <nikhil@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit more seriously, the
                                              biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool on which the executive mgmt can agree for
                                              maintaining the product backlog. Some seem to like excel, some like activeCollab and
                                              some word.
                                              >
                                              > Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side note, we do have
                                              Microsoft TFS for source control, reporting, etc.
                                              >
                                              > Thanks for the advice.
                                              > Nikhil
                                              >
                                            • Nikhil Singhal
                                              Great job Mike. Thanks. From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mike Cohn Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009
                                              Message 22 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009

                                                Great job Mike. Thanks.

                                                 

                                                From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mike Cohn
                                                Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 11:52 AM
                                                To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                                Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?

                                                 

                                                Hi Nikhil--

                                                 

                                                We created http://www.userstories.com as a site for vendors to list their product backlog tools _and_ for users of those tools to write reviews and rate their experiences with the tools. All of the tool vendors (big and small) I'm aware of have listed their products there, including screenshots. It would be an excellent starting point for your research.

                                                 

                                                Additionally--anyone who has used one of the product backlog tools, please add your review/rating to the site to help others in their decisions.

                                                 

                                                Thanks,

                                                Mike Cohn

                                                Author:

                                                  Agile Estimating and Planning

                                                  User Stories Applied

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                On Jan 29, 2009, at 9:22 PM, Nikhil Singhal wrote:



                                                 

                                                Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit more seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool on which the executive mgmt can agree for maintaining the product backlog. Some seem to like excel, some like activeCollab and some word.

                                                 

                                                Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side note, we do have Microsoft TFS for source control, reporting, etc.

                                                 

                                                Thanks for the advice.

                                                Nikhil

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                              • Tim Walker
                                                I like Rally the best, with VersionONE and Mingle a close second. Tim
                                                Message 23 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
                                                  I like Rally the best, with VersionONE and Mingle a close second.

                                                  Tim

                                                  On Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 9:22 PM, Nikhil Singhal <nikhil@...> wrote:
                                                  > Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit more
                                                  > seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool on which the
                                                  > executive mgmt can agree for maintaining the product backlog. Some seem to
                                                  > like excel, some like activeCollab and some word.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side note, we do
                                                  > have Microsoft TFS for source control, reporting, etc.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Thanks for the advice.
                                                  >
                                                  > Nikhil
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                • Mike
                                                  Hi Hikhil, Since you are using TFS I would suggest using the Share Point site TFS creates for your project and creating a custom list. I have been successfully
                                                  Message 24 of 25 , Feb 1, 2009
                                                    Hi Hikhil,

                                                    Since you are using TFS I would suggest using the Share Point site TFS
                                                    creates for your project and creating a custom list. I have been
                                                    successfully using custom Share Point lists for Product Backlog in the
                                                    last 3 years.

                                                    You can add any fields you want to the list including the description,
                                                    acceptance criteria, priority, estimated size, etc. You can create a
                                                    view sorted by priority to show the backlog items in the correct order.

                                                    I am also utilizing some fields like status to be able to filter
                                                    stories that are still not ready for development, stories that are
                                                    currently under development or completed stories.

                                                    Another option is to use the Concahngo template for TFS
                                                    (http://www.scrumforteamsystem.com/en/default.aspx). It has internal
                                                    product backlog and you can use it through the TFS web access interface.

                                                    Hope this helps.

                                                    Mike Robski

                                                    --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Nikhil Singhal" <nikhil@...>
                                                    wrote:
                                                    >
                                                    > Now that our management is taking the SCRUM concept a little bit
                                                    more seriously, the biggest roadblock (as I see it) is a good tool on
                                                    which the executive mgmt can agree for maintaining the product
                                                    backlog. Some seem to like excel, some like activeCollab and some word.
                                                    >
                                                    > Is there a tool which most SCRUM product owners use? On a side note,
                                                    we do have Microsoft TFS for source control, reporting, etc.
                                                    >
                                                    > Thanks for the advice.
                                                    > Nikhil
                                                    >
                                                  • Mattias Skarin
                                                    Google Spreadsheets allows distributed work, and is usable for anyone with Excel experience You could look into Share Point if you are MS focused. Worked for
                                                    Message 25 of 25 , Feb 2, 2009
                                                      Google Spreadsheets allows distributed work, and is usable for anyone
                                                      with Excel experience

                                                      You could look into Share Point if you are MS focused. Worked for my
                                                      PO's after a bit of setup and tweaking.
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