Agile Project Management Processes Grid–Process 1.3 Product Data Sheet


In the Agile Project Management Processes Grid presented by John Stenbeck in his book “PMI-ACP and Certified Scrum Professional Exam Prep and Desk Reference”, the process that comes right after Process 1.1 Stakeholders Identification is Process 1.2 Vision Statement.

For reference here the four agile tools which are used in the process of defining and clarifying the vision for a releasable product:

  1. Vision Statement (Process 1.2)–sometimes called an elevator statement, an uncomplicated way to define the product vision in a short statement
  2. Product vision box–a tangible expression of a solution that includes whatever context is necessary to convey what the product will be
  3. Product data sheet or PDS (Process 1.3)–one-page summary of key project objectives, capabilities, and information that convey how a project fulfills the product vision
  4. Flexibility matrix–a tool that communicates how to handle trade-offs with a grid showing the relative importance of constraints such as scope, schedule, cost, and quality by defining them as fixed, firm, or flexible (only one constraint may be fixed)

The last post covered the second agile tool listed above, the Product vision box.   This post will cover the third agile tool listed above, the product data sheet, which just happens to be Process 1.3 of the Agile Project Management Processes Grid.

Product Data Sheet

This is a one-page summary of key project objectives, capabilities, and information that convey how a project fulfills the product vision.    According to author Jim Highsmith in his book Agile Project Management, Creating Innovative Products, the product data sheet provides the project information that the team and all the stakeholders need in an appealing, condensed format which constantly refocuses them on the strategic aspects of the project.

Here are the typical elements of the Product Data Sheet:

  • Project Start Date
  • Project Finish Date
  • Agile Leader (the project leader who guides the process)
  • Customer/Proxy (the project leader who guides the product)
  • Elevator Statement (see previous blog post on this agile tool)
  • Customer Segment(s)
  • Customer Benefits
  • Flexibility Matrix
  • Milestone Table

Using the example I’ve used for the previously presented agile tools in the series, let me take the example of an app that is already in existence called Duolingo, which I use every day to study foreign languages.    The following is an example of a product data sheet which uses my own made-up content to give an example of everyone of the elements listed above.

Project Start Date:   10/01/2015 Project End Date:  07/01/2016
Agile Leader:   Jerome Rowley Customer/Proxy:  Luis von Ahn
Elevator Statement:

For all those who want to learn a foreign language, the Duolingo app is an free app that can take you from having no knowledge of a foreign language to fluency by using it just 10 minutes a day, unlike other foreign language programs like Rosetta Stone that can cost up to hundreds of dollars and require a much larger time commitment.  Our product teaches the user the basic and intermediate levels of any one of a dozen or more European languages.

Customer Segment(s):

1) Independent language learners

2) High school and college students

3) Travelers

Customer Benefits:

1)  Learn practical language skills

2)  Fun, engaging application

3)  Built-in review system

Flexibility Matrix Milestone Table
  Fixed Firm Flexible Milestone Est. Date
Scope   X   Kickoff Meeting 10/15/2015
Schedule X     Planning Meeting 11/01/2015
Cost     X Coding/

Internal QA

03/01/2016
Quality   X   User Acceptance Signoff 07/01/2016

You can see how the customer will be focusing on the elevator statement, the customer segment(s) and the customer benefits, whereas the team will be focusing on the flexibility matrix and the milestone table.    It is more left-brained and logical in its presentation as opposed to the more right-brained product vision box which is more visually-oriented and geared more strictly for the customer than for the team.

The flexibility matrix is used when making a decision about what features have priority and need to be developed first. I have saved an explanation of this last of the 4 agile tools for product development for the following post.

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