Thursday, January 30, 2014

Scrum Achilles' heel and ProdThink

What is Scrum?

I discovered this extremely well done video made by a young Scrum master and talented communicator, named  Hamid Shojaee. Hamid competes with movie stars, as his video has so har three quarter of a millions views. Wow.  I embedded the video here for easy reference



Naturally, every new product request starts with some features request. Supposedly each feature is associated with a benefit. How this is done? Customers, executives and perhaps some team members request those features. Each feature and benefit is collected as a User Story. 

Then all the user stories  are placed on a product backlog, a wish list. Someone, called the Product Owner looks at this wish list and decides which features to implement as minimum to reach product success.

At this moment the Scrum Master appears on the scene. Before he steps in to  take the lead, we had a feature selection process taking place outside the Scrum framework. The input provided from executives, customers, some engineers, may be somewhat hazy and eclectic.  Umair Haque had a tweet today, describing how things may work when trying to repair something.  In my opinion, Scrum's fogging feature decision process qualifies.
Scrum is a well designed methodology to deliver clean products in the shortest time. The human ability and intuition is key to give a credible input for the product destined to be a triumph. The Project Manager, or Scrum  Master estimates the effort, creates various sprints, burn down charts, velocity slope and keeping the project on track. This is great.

And the video of Hamid is a spark  of genius.

What is ProdThink?

This comes from another tweet today, after reading Laura Klein blog
The best way to explain what  ProdThink does, is to watch their home page video


ProdThink HomePage Video from ProdThink on Vimeo.

I quote an email I received today from ProdThink CEO Steven Cohen, with some  of ProdThink's key features:
  1. Recruit: Ask users to give feedback on specific features
  2. Survey: Dig deeper with customers and stakeholders with audience specific surveys
  3. Record: Share a URL with users and record their screens
  4. Roadmap: Share your Roadmap with stakeholders for them to vote on key features
  5. Analyze: Filter survey results to find features that match certain criteria
This is fantastic piece of technology, that took pains and hard work to develop. Now the web site is open for business.

The Obvious Take Away 

ProdThink is the solution to the Scrum's Achilles' heel  Both are tools. ProdThik is a tool for Product Managers. Scrum is a tool for Project Manager, aka Scrum masters. Tools don't replace people.

But by using in tandem Scrum + ProdThink  we have an elegant framework that minimizes risk to let the wrong features slip in,  and to create a beautiful product nobody wants to buy or adopt.

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