Agile PM Process Grid–6.6 Agile Tooling (3)


In John Stenbeck’s book “PMI-ACP and Certified Scrum Professional Exam Prep and Desk Reference”, he creates an “agile project management process grid” which describes 87 processes used in agile project management.   These processes are divided into five process groups (Initiate, Plan, Iterate, Control, and Close), which are analogous to the five process groups in traditional project management, and seven knowledge areas which can be mapped, more or less, onto the ten knowledge areas in traditional project management.

Now I am starting on a block of four processes that are part of the sixth knowledge area of Communication that are done during the Planning phase of the project.   The first three of these four processes are 6.3 Communication Protocols, 6.4 Information Radiators, 6.5 Team Space, covered in previous posts.   This post continues discussing 6.6 Agile Tooling.   The first of the agile tools is a product vision box, which often includes a vision statement, sometimes often referred to as an elevator statement.    The second of the agile tools is a flexibility matrix, which was covered in the previous post.    The third of the agile tools is a product data sheet. 

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.

This agile tool actually combines the other two, the vision statement (aka elevator statement) and the flexibility matrix.   The whole purpose is to give all the information that would be of value to the customer.

The next post will start covering the next block of processes that deal with the next knowledge area, Continuous Improvement.

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