So now you’re thinking, “Okay, I get it. How do I start? Where do I start?” Well, with all good things, we start at the beginning. And with Agile, it’s by asking yourself “What business value do I want to deliver?” After all, that’s why we undertake projects, to generate business value. In order to establish if the project is worth undertaking to derive the business value, you need to understand whether it is feasible.
Is your project projected to increase revenue, enter a new market, acquire more customers, improve customer perception, or make life easier for a given problem you’ve identified? With this in mind, you can state your “vision.”
· Your vision may come from different sources—your own bold startup to fix a common problem, business management strategy, your CEO’s pet project, a specific product team, or even your customer’s needs.
· Try to take a step back from your own shoes and “see” what the future looks like with your new product or service in the hands of your customers.
· Engage your stakeholders—the CEO, product guy, and customers. Workshop it, don’t attempt this in isolation. Challenge assumptions and validate arguments.
· Write it down, keep it short. Focus on the business value.
· Refine it until you all agree the vision resonates with everybody and meets a common interpretation that states where you’re heading.
· Your vision, if valid, rarely changes. How you get there most certainly will.
People don’t buy what you do, or how you do it. They buy the “why” you do it. This is what creates the emotional connection between your business and your customers. The vision will help illustrate this.
Is It Feasible?
Feasibility comes in at least a couple of shades. Typically, you’ll want to understand if your vision of a brighter future for your business and customers is both technically feasible and that it’s feasible for your business to make it happen.
· If your vision is to make travel to anywhere across the world in under an hour, you may have a problem with the technical feasibility. Since science, physics, and technology haven’t quite caught up with that dream yet, your technical solution may not be viable in anything other than theory. In addition, if your solution was new, this would go well beyond the idea of a minimum viable product (MVP).
· To test the technical feasibility of your product, consider either exploring it further in a Discovery prototype project or by running a spike in the early stages of the project. You’ll know which method to use by thinking about the scale or complexity of the solution you have in mind.
· “Some of the best knowledge my teams have gained in understanding technical feasibility have come from performing a spike. And often, it’s the simplest solution that wins out!”
· The second shade of feasibility to consider is whether you, your team, or your business has the skills and motivation to make it work. Using an example, if you’re great at baking cakes at home for your kids birthday, that’s sweet. But if you want to turn this into a business selling the finest cakes to the world, you need to understand if you can make it scale, handle the business as well as the production, manage distribution and fulfillment, and take care of customer service.
· This type of vision might be achievable in the long run. But for now, possibly not. So scale it back, think small, take a small chunk that looks realistic and concentrate on delivering the best smaller aspiration you can. If that manages to engage and delight your customers, get them coming back for more and telling their friends, then scale it up from there using your customer feedback as your guide and compass.
· Also, you need to know if your project is feasible in terms of budget and timeframe. Can your business afford to deliver this project ? Is the timeframe achievable? Time and money are two of the three constraints in an Agile project that are fixed. We aim to deliver within a given fixed time and within a given fixed budget.
· The quality of a product refers to the end product that your customers use and the engineering practices your team uses to deliver great, robust, and reliable software. Quality is also something we don’t short change. Quality criteria, on the other hand, can change. If you’re not setting out to build a Ferrari, the product may not have a high quality perception. If you’re not building space rockets, then the tolerances attained in production terms may be much higher. Set the appropriate tone and expectation early on.
So now you’ve confirmed your dream is more than chocolate fancy, set about testing your assumptions and proving to people that this endeavor is worth investing in.