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Product Vision And Goals In Scrum

Mon 26 Sep 2016 10:41

In Scrum, a project starts when an individual - the client - or a group of people - stakeholders - realise that end users have certain requirements which can be fulfilled by developing a project that can best satisfy their needs. The objective is to deliver a product which has been designed and developed exactly as per the vision seen by the client - What an ideal product should actually contain, or consist of. The primary reason for developing a project is to earn out of it, therefore it is necessary to reduce operational overheads and keep other expenses in check. One of the best ways of developing a successful project is to develop it as per the client’s needs and to keep to delivering product features on a consistent basis. Moreover, the client is invited to remain closely attached with the development process and confirm the features developed by the team. As a result, the client remains satisfied with how the project is proceeding and offers valuable suggestions from the end user’s perspective. This can further add on to what the project proposes to deliver in terms of its business value. At the same time, care should be taken to develop those features which have a certain market value or business worth. When useful product features having high business values are developed, tested, corrected, and delivered to the client at regular intervals, the project automatically acquires a certain business worth. Scrum proposes to do this in the best possible manner.

Every project needs a vision to steer itself in a proper direction. A properly envisioned project provides a definitive path that can best fulfil the project’s objectives or goals. If a project lacks a clear vision, it will deliver a product that is not as per what the client has envisioned at the project’s onset. This can seriously hamper the product’s potential to earn when it is launched in the market.

In Scrum, a project can successfully deliver a profit-making product only when the project vision is clearly seen, and its goal are precisely defined and followed by the entire team. A vision, and its goal are separate entities, and it is important to know how they differ.

product vision

What is a “vision” in Scrum?

Visions are basically a reflection of the thought process and are abstract in nature. Visions are different from dreams, in the fact that they are not based upon fantasies and whims of an individual’s inherent desires. A vision can be best understood as an aspirational description explaining what an individual, or an organisation plans to accomplish or achieve in the near or long term future. A vision serves as a guide for choosing the current as well as future course of actions.

In Scrum, the project starts when a client feels it is possible to develop a project that can fulfil certain end user requirements. Most often, the client is a market-oriented person, and has a clear understanding about what users need in the form of a working product. The client “visions” the project in his or her mind, and later conveys that vision to the product owner – a person appointed to represent client’s interests, and support his or her vision by developing a product release that closely resembles the working product “seen” by the client. Therefore, the vision fundamentally defines the process used to design and develop the product.

How should a vision exist in Scrum?

Project development and its success are affected by several factors. It is, therefore, important to have a vision that can sustain throughout the tenure of the project. So what is it that can sustain the vision on a continued basis?

  • Keep the vision “visible”. Ensure that the team “sees” and understand the project vision at all times.

  • Review the vision at regular intervals. What was envisioned much earlier on – is it practical and viable now?

  • Can the vision change itself, or adapt to changing market conditions and end user requirements? Does the project vision have enough scope to change itself?

What are goals in Scrum framework?

In simple terms, a goal can be understood as an observable and measurable outcome, or result, of one or more objectives required to be achieved within a certain timeframe. Goals are what the vision targets. The vision focuses upon accomplishing something and the “something” aspect actually defines the goal.

Goals are what Scrum proposes to achieve. The framework defines the project goal in the form of a master list containing all features required to develop the product in entirety - the product backlog. The backlog fundamentally reflects the product vision, and functions as a backbone for the entire project development process. As per the Scrum process, product backlog items having high business values are selected for development from the product backlog, and fully functional, shippable product features are delivered to the client through product incremental cycles known as sprints. So, it is the project gaol that eventually delivers the product.

Principles characterising goals in Scrum

It is important to have clear goals if product features are to be effectively developed. Ideally, what should goals be like in Scrum? What characteristics should they have to ensure that the final product developed by the team satisfies the business objectives of the project? It is worth knowing what can make goals more effective and meaningful - SMART:

product vision
  • S = Sustainable

  • Is it possible to sustain the goal and follow it? If necessary, can the goal be broken down or changed so it can be easily developed?

  • M = Measurable

  • Is it possible to measure the goal, or count how much of it is developed using a tracking process or check-in system?

  • A = Attainable

  • Is it possible to attain the goal? Can the team develop the product features effectively without any bugs?

  • R = Realistic

  • Can the goal be realistically achieved? Is it humanly possible?

  • T = Time based

  • Can the goal be developed within the period allotted for developing it?

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