Agile PM Process Grid–Process 1.6 Minimal Marketable Features

John Stenbeck created an Agile Project Management Process Grid in his book “PMI-ACP Exam Prep”, which divided the 87 processes he named into 5 process groups and 7 knowledge areas.

I am currently covering those processes in the Planning process group and the External Stakeholder Engagement knowledge area.   The first process in this block of processes is 1.5 Product Roadmap, the second process, 1.6 Minimal Marketable Features (MMF), is the subject of this post.

In the last process, the stakeholders were engaged in the process of setting up the product roadmap and its relationship to the various releases of the product.   In this process, the development of the product is refined even further, down to the level of Minimal Marketable Features (MMF), which might be considered the equivalent of work packages in traditional PM.

However, the difference here is that MMF comprise the smallest set of functionality that provides satisfactory customer value.   Just to take an example, the version of the software for a cellphone might be called 1.2.4, where 1 is the large-scale version of the product as designated in the product roadmap, 2 is the second release of that product version, and 4 is the 4th MMF that is being developed within that second release.   So it all fits together like Russian matrioshka dolls.

Defining and then sizing the MMF is important, because this will enable the team to use a calculation to determine the probability of meeting any given release date.   This is a “team velocity” calculation, and is done by taking the number of story points for any given feature, and then taking the mean value for the team’s productivity during a given iteration.   So 500 story points divided by 50 story points (on average) per iteration means that the project will most likely take 500/50 = 10 weeks.

If the resulting schedule estimate ends up being too long for the customer, then the process of reassessing the MMF needs to take place, so features can be prioritized and then lower-priority features can be modified or eliminated.

That process 1.7 Prioritization is the subject of the next post.




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