Agile Transformation at an International Media Conglomerate: Based on a True Story | Part Five




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Agile Transformation at an International Media Conglomerate: Based on a True Story

Scott M. Graffius, CEO of Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions™, helps companies achieve their strategic objectives and business initiatives through project management leadership. A fantastic agile transformation outcome with a client organization in the entertainment industry was the inspiration for Scott's award-winning book,
Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions. This is the story behind the book—told by Scott. Identifying details have been changed and certain elements are not included.

This article is the fifth installment of the eight-part story. If you haven't already read the earlier parts, you can find them here:


Part Five: The Pilot – Vision, Roadmap and Release Plan, and Product Backlog

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We advanced to the pilot—which included doing many things differently. Examples follow.

The Product Owner and I discussed techniques on developing a product vision statement. He opted to use the template attributed to Geoffrey Moore. The Product Owner created a draft of the vision and sent it with a request for feedback to the stakeholders. After receiving feedback, the Product Owner revised and finalized the product vision. He wrote the statement on oversize paper and posted it in a prominent location where the Scrum Team (Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Development Team) and stakeholders could easily see it.

The Product Owner and I then discussed techniques on creating and maintaining a product roadmap/release plan. He opted for a simple table with four rows and four columns. The rows included:

  • Name (the title of the product or major release),
  • Goal (the reason for creating it),
  • Features (a high-level list of features), and
  • Estimated number of sprints.

For the columns, there was one for each quarter of the year. Similar to what was done with the product vision, the Product Owner sent the plan with a request for feedback to the stakeholders. After receiving feedback, the Product Owner revised and the plan, wrote it on oversize paper, and posted it next to the product vision statement.

Aspects of team formation were covered already. The new Scrum team totaled 11 people. All were co-located and 100% allocated to the project.

The Product Owner and I discussed techniques on developing and maintaining the product backlog. He opted to employ a simple table format with six columns:

  • ID#,
  • User story/description,
  • Category (he decided on four types: feature, bug, technical debt, and other),
  • Story point estimate for complexity,
  • Priority based on business value, and
  • Status.

To help with user stories, the Product Owner often referenced the INVEST (Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimable, Small, and Testable) model developed by Bill Wake. For priority, the Product Owner initially used the MoSCoW method (Must have, Should have, Could have, or Won't have). Later, the Product Owner found the business value/risk method (where each item is rated as high or low in two dimensions—business value and risk, ...) to be the most beneficial, and the Product Owner continues to use that approach today. In a session facilitated by the Scrum Master, the Product Owner presented the user stories to the Development Team, and participants provided story points (using physical cards for the exercise) for estimates of complexity of each item. Later, the team tried t-shirt sizing—S, M, L, and XL designations—for estimates of complexity, but they decided to return to story points.

Previously, sprints were four weeks in length. Now the team was using the shorter duration of two weeks. A key benefit was that the Scrum value of focus was improved.

Agile Transformation at an International Media Conglomerate: Based on a True Story continues with Part Six: The Pilot — Sprint Planning and Sprint Execution.

© Copyright 2019 Scott M. Graffius. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written permission of Scott M. Graffius.





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