[Back to the point] 4 Proven Steps to Realign on the Product
Back to the Point Workshop, realigning people to build the right product
This is a workshop to realign a product team strategy against the MVP, typically held three months after the Lean Inception.
I have performed this workshop more than ten times. All with a similar schedule and duration. Given the excellent feedback, I record and share this post.
Are you in the beginning of an engagement? You have just finished the Lean Inception? So here’s the tip: Block two afternoons or a full day in the team agenda for three months from now. If you can, even name the event: Back to the point, realigning people to build the right product.
Please find below the step by step and photos of a team that went through this workshop.
I. Describe all Features
To describe the features, I suggest that the team do 3 things: (1) reflect on the OKRs, (2) check the Lean Inception sequencer, and (3) analyse the User Stories backlog. Below is a photo of the workshop, in this case the team was divided into three groups where each group attacked one of these fronts.
Reflect on OKRs
I facilitate an OKR activity — Objectives and Key Results — for the team. From OKRs, we try to identify new features. I typically use the following template to foster the conversation abotu new features:
We believe that <this new Feature>
will help us achieve <this Objective>
we know we are getting there based on <these Key Results>
The image below demonstrates a sample result of this step.
Check the Lean Inception Sequencer
Check the Lean Inception Sequencer. Analyse the features identified at the time of Lean Inception (probably 3 months ago). Rewrite the features if necessary; discard what no longer makes sense. The image below shows some people from the team in this step. On the laptop, a photo from the inception. On the table, the features that were rewritten.
Analyse the User Stories backlog
Open Jira or whatever tool the team uses for their backlog of work (usually described via User Stories). Group User Stories from the same Feature. The User Stories are probably described at a more detailed level than the Features. Group the User Stories by Features in a way that helps the team understand what should be done, in what order and priority. The image below shows some people from the team in this step (the backlog opened on a laptop, tags created to represent Features that are also described on the coloured cards).
II – Perform the Technical, UX and Business Review of the features
You can do this while people are writing/rewriting the Features (OKR activity, Sequencer, Backlog Review) or after they are written, all together. Going through the graph and table presented below (the same activity as described in the Lean Inception book), each feature receives a color (green, yellow or red identifying the level of uncertainty) and marks of effort, user value and business value, in the same way as performed in Lean Inception.
III. Create a new Sequencer
Create a Feature Sequencer, remind participants of the sequencer rules, and redo it.
Here’s an image of the team building the new sequencer.
IV. Create the MVP Canvas
Similarly to the Lean Inception activity, identify the MVPs in the sequencer, and create the MVP Canvas for the next product increment.
In the image below, the PO with the MVP Canvas in hand talking about it with some people in the team.
That’s it. MVP Canvas in hand. The team is aligned. Follow the game!
And here’s a final thought:
Plans, alignments and realignments are important, but usage feedback is more. Align and realign, but always looking at usage data, listening and improving the user experience.