Last Friday I went to the Des Moines Agile conference. I know what your thinking, Des Moines has an Agile community? It actually has a very vibrant Agile group called Agile Iowa and they do a great job. I saw a lot of great speakers their but, one of my favorites is Kristin Runyan. She brings great experience and enthusiasm to her session. Kristin is so knowledgeable that she recently published a college textbook called, Introduction to Agile Methods. Her session was called “Work on this, Not That. The Science and Art of Prioritization.”
Should we do this at all?
Kristin stated that before we do anything we should ask one simple question first, “Should we do this at all?” She stated you would be amazed at how this question will stop a lot of projects from moving forward. Kristin said that a project needs to meet three criteria before you act on it. First is it Urgent? Could we put it off and do it later with similar level of success? Is it pervasive? Will it spread throughout the organization and naturally gain steam. The last and most important question, will the market pay for it? We are in business for a profit and getting someone to pay for the product or service is fundamental. If you can get a yes for each of these questions you are ready to move forward.
Next she shared with us a few tools for prioritization. The first one is called MoSCoW Method a technique used in software development and business analysis. It involves breaking requirements down with a common understanding for stakeholders.
- Must Have
- Should Have
- Could Have
- Want to Have
This is a process that can be done collaboratively together in one or more meetings. The process of breaking down all of the requirements to four distinct categories will help everyone understand where everything belongs. I have not used this technique before but would like to add that to my repertoire.
The next tool Kristin shared with us was the Kano Model. It is a model for product development and understanding customer satisfaction. It breaks down the customer preferences into five distinct categories. The horizontal axis is the degree of achievement or implementation. The vertical axis is the degree of customer satisfaction. As you can see from the graph, the red line is meeting basic needs. The green line is performance and the yellow line is delight.
Kristin used the example of a hotel with hot water in the shower as a basic need. Then she said if they had hot cookies and milk in your room that would excite you. She also mentioned how delight items over time move down the scale, we become used to them and they eventually move to basic needs. I look forward to putting these two tools to use.