Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Agile Product Needs book: Sneak Peek

Mary Gorman and I are in the midst of writing a book.  The title is still a WIP (work in process). A couple of contenders are “Agile Product Needs: <subtitle1:> ” and “The Agile Product Partnership: <subtitle2>”.  We’ll be looking for your help on settling on a compelling title – stay tuned, we can use your creative inspiration!

Our goal is to provide practical guidance on challenges agile teams face. Wrestling the “right” user stories out of the product backlog. Slicing user stories into “right-sized” chunks so they are ready for estimating and planning. Deciding on the next high-value product needs for delivery. Planning more than two weeks ahead (realizing you need a longer time horizon). Using acceptance criteria and examples to deepen shared understanding. Exploring product needs in a holistic way. The list goes on.

Who are our potential readers? You are from the business or technical community. You are searching and yearning for agile approaches to analyze and plan your work. You recognize the power of collaborating to deliver value.

We want to share our experiences and techniques so you have useful ways to form and maintain a product partnership.

We’re doing our best to use agile to write this book. You know, to “drink our own prosecco” (a tastier version of the dog food expression).

Some of the things we’re doing? Pair writing. Lots of pictures. Discussing (dare I say, productive arguing at times?). Co-locating at regular intervals to work. Pomodoros. Simplicity. Iteration. Using an evolving backlog. Refactoring. Retrospectives. LOTS of caffeine.

One of our biggest (and simplest) tools is THE WALL. Yep, just as with a storyboard, from the start of this adventure we’ve been visualizing our book content on walls. This greatly helps us revise, re-prioritize, discover dependencies, highlight our big ideas, select for value, re-structure, and yes, rewrite.

This page shows a recent photo of the book on the wall.

Please stay tuned for more in upcoming blog posts!

Topics: Agile, Agile Business Analysis, Agile Business Analyst, Agile Planning, agile requirements, Agile Workshops, Books, Business Analysis, Business Analysis Training, Business Analyst, Business Value, collaboration, Discovery Workshop, Elicitation, Elicitation Workshops, Facilitation, mary gorman, Product Partnership, requirements, Structured Conversation, Workshops

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5 Responses to “Agile Product Needs book: Sneak Peek”

  1. [...] a prior blog post, you learned about the in-progress book Mary Gorman and I are writing. We are thrilled to have our workshop proposal for the Agile 2011 [...]

  2. Hi Ellen,

    I’m really looking forward to your book. Are you still using agile to write the book? Do you use retrospectives to improve the writing process?
    I also used agile principles when I wrote my book about requirements (in Dutch). Every iteration of 6 writing days, I delivered an increment of the book (text that could be published as an article). After the 5th day of every iteration, I handed over fresh text to my review team. They gave me feedback within a week. It took me almost one day each time to rewrite according to the feedback. This approach helped me a lot to stay focused and to deliver a book that covered the needs of the potential readers.
    What is your experience so far? Which agile principle or practice helps you the most?

    Nicole de Swart
    (We met at the DREAM-congress in September in the Netherlands)

  3. Hi Ellen,

    I’m really looking forward to your book. Are you still using agile to write the book? Big chance you have improved the writing process in the meantime (inspect and adapt). I would like to hear more about that.
    I also used agile principles when I wrote my book about requirements (in Dutch). Every iteration of 6 writing days, I delivered an increment of the book (text that could be published as an article). After the 5th day of every iteration, I handed over fresh text to my review team. They gave me feedback within a week. It took me almost one day each time to rewrite according to the feedback. This approach helped me a lot to stay focused and to deliver a book that covered the needs of the potential readers.
    What is your experience so far? Which agile principle or practice helps you the most?

    Nicole de Swart
    (We met at the DREAM-congress in September in the Netherlands)

  4. Admin says:

    hi nicole:
    oh yes we are indeed using agile, and have many stories to tell about that! ;-) look for future posts…we are currently working on doing more ‘one piece flow’ for our writing, so we are keeping blog and article posts to a minimum as we work toward the finish line!
    thanks for your comments!
    bests,
    ~ ellen

  5. Admin says:

    Hi Nicole:
    we published our book just 3 weeks ago (http://www.discovertodeliver.com/). and indeed we used agile practices to discover and deliver it. Great story about your positive experience with book writing and using fast iterations!
    all the best (and of course i remember our conversations at DREAM in 2011 ;-)
    ~ ellen

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