This exercise is performed in 3 rounds (15-3-5) and can be completed in 45-60 minutes. You can skip the second round if pressed for time or use the abbreviated version (see below) with a smaller backlog and shorter rounds (10-2-4) in about 30 minutes.
Get the material. One set for each group of 3-5 people. Either print and cut the cards yourself without values and with stakeholder values or order a complete set of compact playing cards online through Make Playing Cards.
Show the Foodride vision above, and explain that a minimal viable product of Foodride has launched and is successful in the market. There is a working app and customers are placing orders, restaurants are preparing the meals, and couriers are making deliveries.
The big question is: what to do next.
This round runs for 15 minutes and helps to get familiar with the backlog, and to experience the default prioritization method: opinion.
Read backlog item
A out loud and explain
A is just an identifier. The item is described as a story from the perspective of a particular user; a common format for backlog items. Then clarify that the entire backlog was estimated by the development team, and that the number
5 signifies the effort (cost) for that item.
Hand out the backlog without values to each group, and ask them to put them in priority order as one list, from highest to lowest.
To speed up this process, instruct them to read and put down the first item and then decide as a group if the next one should be above or below the first item, and repeat that process. This is an effective facilitation technique called the ‘bubble sort’.
Emphasize that they need to create one list for all three stakeholders.
Start a 15 minute timer visible for everyone.
Read out loud the top four identifiers of one group. Then ask another group for their top four items. Ask why they chose different items. You well get their opinion. This is the prevalent prioritization: opinion, often the highest paid person’s opinion, the HiPPO.
This round is optional and runs for 3 minutes.
Tell the groups there is a crisis: the couriers are unhappy about their pay, because they have too few deliveries, and they are leaving. We’re about to start a new sprint. Quickly re-prioritize the backlog for the next sprint. Our previous velocity was 10 points.
Check the top backlog items. They will be often be for the courier. We just shifted our opinion from what it is to who it is for. But when is the courier happy?
This is the final round and runs for 5 minutes.
We need to be more explicit about what our stakeholders’ value. And we need to quantify it, so we can compare it to other options.
A as an example. Ask whether they think implementing it is good or bad for the Courier. Then ask about the Customer. What would the impact be on Meal.Appreciation. This is green because it is an improvement. And Delivery.Speed? This is red, because it makes it worse.
Explain that this is just quantification: talking about stakeholder value in numbers. It has no inherent cost, because it is just language. That is different from measurement, which has a cost (and accuracy, delay, and reliability).
We need measurement to know where we are compared to our goals. Explain that the couriers aren’t happy until they have 3 deliveries on average per hour, and that we hope to improve meal appreciation and delivery in the short term.
Now hand out the backlog with values and tell the groups to bring the as many arrows as possible to green in 10 points, starting with the courier.
You can remove the cards marked under the Full column below to get an abbreviated version of the exercise. Then you can run the exercise with shorter rounds in about 30 minutes.
Let us know what you think of it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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