📬 The Backlog

📬 The Backlog is Thomas van Zuijlen's weekly newsletter on practical agility, with annotated articles on Scrum, facilitation, collaboration, and (product) development.

20 June 2022

📬 The Backlog #183

Starting out with User Story Mapping, absorbing agile product ownership in a nutshell, and knowing what’s too long of a pause in online conversations.

  1. Found a 2021 episode of The Product Experience podcast with guest Jeff Patton on getting started with User Story Mapping. Patton tells how he got started with it - as a foundation for building product backlogs without limiting oneself to thinking in features. He, of course, literally wrote the book on user story mapping, and it’s fun to hear him talk about the technique.

    Writes Kelly: “By its nature ‘strategy’ is big, which means that the feedback cycles are long and the problems of excess strategic WIP take time to play out. What is a WIP problem looks like another failed strategy.”

    While he doesn’t have an immediately implementable cure for this variant pattern, he does have a starting point for people noticing a similar challenge in their own environment.

    In the process, Kelly also vocalises some actionable views on what constitutes proper use of OKRs (and what the opposite of that looks like).

    If you’re into Lean and/or are using OKRs, do read!

  2. I linked to Henrik Kniberg’s video Agile Product Ownership in a Nutshell in issue 70 of this newsletter; it was old then and it’s even older now, but crikey - when you want to get people onboarded on the bigger picture of “Agile” as I’m currently doing for a client, it sure is the most packed 15-minute piece of content you can find.

    As a prep exercise, I ask participants in my programme to watch it before our first group session; to write down what stands out to them and how their day-to-day practice compares to what’s in the video.

    This way I’ll see what they find weird/cool/difficult and I can get them to think about potential focal points in their own practice.

  3. Daniel Stillman helps you Know Your Conversation Design Facts in the area of sound and timing. Like, “200 milliseconds. That’s the general, global average, expected pause between when one person finishes speaking and another person starts.” Stillman shares a couple of these nuggets and connects them to understanding and sense-making in conversations online. Nice to keep in mind when you’re eager to jump in.

Have an interesting week and Scrum on,
Thomas van Zuijlen