Digging For Gold - The Hunt For Value

Does every item on your teams backlog have the same value to the business?

“We need everything in the spec…tick tock…we don’t need that…that can wait…this can be simpler…oh wait I forgot what this is!”

Neil Killick hit the nail on the head for me when he said “a backlog is just a list of ideas” and like all ideas, some are better than others. Think about the backlog on your current project, is it just a waterfall style requirements document in disguise?

I read an article recently from Woody Zuill where he argued that the 80/20 rule of 80 percent of the value being delivered in 20 percent of the features was more like 95/5.

“How much? That depends if you want a Holden or a Mercedes. With software we can delay that decision, you may be thrilled with a scooter” Neil Killick

In the past I have been a big proponent of trying to find the MVP in projects and push for that to be built first and then grow the solution from there. I think we can take this idea to a whole new level by changing our thinking to: what are the 5% of features that will deliver 95% of the value.

How cool would that be for the business and how rewarding for the developers? The business gets maximum value for minimum investment and developers get to work on software that people want and will use. Maybe it’s pie in the sky for your organisation, or maybe it could just be a great way to frame meetings around the what next question, “c’mon guys let’s roll up our sleeves and start panning for gold”.

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