Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Backlog Poker Prioritization...

Peter Stevens wrote a great post over at the Agile Software Development blog about how to tackle prioritizing your product backlog when starting a new project. He lists several approaches to this including:
  • Minimum Marketable Feature Set - the first pass to narrow the list of stories
  • Business Value First - Focus on High Value Functions
  • Bang For Buck - Go for easy wins
  • Technical Risk First - Do the hard things first
  • Defer Risk - Do the hard things later (or never)
  • Vote - Ask your users
He then provides an overview of each of these which I will let you read on your own there.

When he asked for other experiences, I mentioned the following:

We had a product where the backlog clearly could not be covered in the first release. Our customers were hospitals that didn't budge on "their needs".

We pulled our top 10 highest paying potential customers into one site and gave each one a bag of poker chips. They were asked to "pay" using their chips for certain features. They were told they could plop all their chips on one feature, or spread evenly across many.

As they saw each other "pay", they shifted their chips around. They didn't "waste" money where their peers didn't care, and they spread money to provide emphasis where peers needed help.

We walked away with a greatly pared down set of features that everyone was invested in (pun intended) and they felt like they were part of the process.

That's what we ended up building.

1 comment:

  1. I liked the idea of chips too.

    Actually, altho poker cards tries to minimize the influence of other participants on the individual estimate, poker chips encourages it, which is needed in this case.