Ordering the product backlog

Several posts in this blog discuss the order in which new features should be implemented. In this post I try to summarize some of my thinking so far. The following terminology will be used in this post: New proposed features are described in “change requests” that are in effect small documents or records in a database describing various aspects of the proposed feature. To realize a change request a number of “tasks” Continue Reading

I wasn’t first – this time either

Having Googled around a little bit more I realize that what I wrote two posts down wasn’t exactly new thinking. Similar ideas were described by Robert C. Cooper in this article. I didn’t read the paper before I wrote my post, I swear :) Even if I didn’t earn the Nobel Prize in management this time either, I’m happy to see my ideas corroborated.

The discovery backlog

I have realized that engineers use words differently from other people. When an engineer says “problem” he or she often doesn’t mean anything negative (except in “Houston, we have a problem”). Problems are engineers’ raison d’être; engineers thrive on solving problems. When the problems get tough, the tough engineers get going. The same goes for the word “risk”. We have “risk lists” in our projects. We do “risk mitigation”. There are entire Continue Reading

Risk-driven development

Several project management models include provisions to manage risk. Risk is here defined as a probability for an adverse event times the quantified consequence of that adverse event. The IBM Rational Unified Process recommends addressing risk while planning the iterations of what in RUP is called Elaboration phase. Barry Boehm’s Spiral Model is guided by risk considerations. So are the various versions of the Stage-Gate model. The Scrum literature, while mentioning risk Continue Reading

Understanding and misunderstanding the Stage-Gate model

Many project management models are based on Robert Coopers original Stage-Gate model [1][2]. My experience is that it is often misunderstood. Two common such misunderstandings are: That the stages in the Stage-Gate model imply a waterfall development process in which development activities are mapped onto the stages and performed in a strict sequence. That a Gate is some sort of project impediment or, marginally better, any old milestone. I will below suggest Continue Reading