TL; DR: Product Discovery for Scrum Teams
While Scrum excels at building and releasing Increments, it does not guarantee that those are valuable—garbage in, garbage out. Scrum teams can equally make things no one is interested in using at all. The critical artifact to create value is the Product Backlog, “an emergent, ordered list of what is needed to improve the product.” (Source.) However, Scrum does not elaborate on how the Product Owner identifies Product Backlog-worthy work items. That would be the job of the process that feeds into the Product Backlog: product discovery.
Learn more about which frameworks have proven useful to augment Scrum with product discovery practices.
TL; DR: The Costs of an Oversized Product Backlog
Some Product Owners believe that a comprehensive Product Backlog is the best way to accomplish the Product Goal and be fully transparent simultaneously—never let a possibly valuable idea slip away. However, a comprehensive backlog may quickly become an oversized Product Backlog with unintended side effects.
Learn more about an oversized Product Backlog’s negative impact on innovation, your Scrum team’s ability to create value, and your relationship with stakeholders.
TL; DR: Value Creation in Scrum
As a tactical framework, Scrum is good at delivering Increments into customers’ hands. As we work in iterations, we probably do that several times per month, mitigating risk by closing feedback loops. Nevertheless, there is a potentially hazardous void in the framework that successful Scrum teams start plugging early: how to figure out what is worth building—product discovery—in the first place. As a result, value creation in Scrum is not as straightforward as you might have thought.
TL; DR: HoA #44: Honey, I Shrunk the Backlog w/ Allan Kelly
In this energizing 44th Hands-on Agile session on product backlog management, Allan Kelly clarified one thing: The backlog was a great idea until it wasn’t. Many successful teams deliver backlog items daily, but their backlogs aren’t getting smaller. The never-ending backlog overshadows delivery success. Product discovery, dual-track agile, OKRs, etc., make it worse by accelerating backlog growth without taking any of the rotting items away.
Learn more about Allan’s remedy for oversized product backlogs in less than an hour.
📺 Watch the video now: Allan Kelly: Honey, I Shrunk the Backlog — Hands-on Agile 44.
TL; DR: Product Backlog Principles
Contrary to popular belief, the Product Owner does not have dictatorial powers regarding the composition and order of the Product Backlog. Instead, Scrum as a framework is based on a delicate system of checks and balances, collaboration, and joint decision-making to mitigate risk; for example, the Product Owner falling in love with their solution over the problem of the customers. Learn more about critical Product Backlog principles, from the size and growth of the Product Backlog to whether a Product Backlog is necessary in the first place. (Some lean practitioners dispute its existence is justified.)
TL; DR: Product Backlog Refinement First Principles
The Product Backlog refinement is a continuous process to create actionable Product Backlogs, enabling a Scrum Team to run Sprint Plannings at a moment’s notice. Consequently, refinement is about creating alignment among all team members about the Why, the What, the How, and probably even the Who regarding the upcoming work for the Scrum team’s Product Goal. As a result, Product Backlog refinement is a critical success factor as it drastically increases the team’s capability to deliver valuable Increments regularly.
The following 14 first principles describe in broad strokes the foundation of a successful approach to refinement.