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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Any recommendations on tools for Product Owner?

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  • 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 1 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
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      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 2 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
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        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 3 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
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          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 4 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
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            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 5 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
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              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 6 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
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                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 7 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
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                  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 8 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
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                    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 9 of 25 , Jan 30, 2009
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                      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 10 of 25 , Feb 1 3:58 PM
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                        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 11 of 25 , Feb 2 10:51 AM
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                          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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