The Dark Side: Using Dark Stories to Help Product Owners Prioritize Mundane Maintenance

Delivery teams know from experience the importance of maintenance such as applying patches, upgrading, and conforming to the latest security and accessibility regulations. Product Owners, other value team members, and system stakeholders are focused on functionality and end user satisfaction. Maintenance isn’t sexy and can sink in priority until it fails to be included in releases.

 

The Security community has been using Dark/Abuser/Evil Stories using the persona of a Black Hat Hacker to uncover vulnerabilities. In this workshop participants will assume the role of Delivery Team members and use the power of personas to write “Dark Stories” that bring to life the full impact of failing to perform necessary maintenance.  The intent is to give Product Owners a complete understanding of the importance of maintenance so they can appropriately prioritize maintenance and keep their systems strong.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

  1. Introductions and What are dark stories and why would we use them (5 minutes)
    • Example of a Dark Story for discovering Cyber Security vulnerabilities
    • Example of a Dark Story for Maintenance
    • The Power of Personas
  2. Workshop participants are given sticky notes and markers to write down maintenance topics that would normally go into a backlog as boring technical stories but could be written into Dark Stories. They post their sticky notes at the front of the room. (5 minutes)
  3. Participants are given dot stickers to vote up the topics that they think would make the best Dark Stories. Participants will be seated at the tables and each table will become a small team. Each small team will choose one person to take one the roll of Product Owner. The presenter will organize the topics in order of the most votes. The topics that the group has found the most interesting will be assigned to the teams. (5 minutes)
  4. The small groups proceed to create a persona (get creative!) for the Dark Story,  write a compelling Dark Story, and put it on the flip chart. (10 minutes)
  5. Each small group presents the persona and Dark Story they created and the presenter facilitates a discussion of the story. Participants will be asked about why they made the choices they did. (15 minutes)
  6. The Product Owners will use dot stickers to vote up the Dark Stories they find the most compelling and appropriate. The attributes of the story receiving the most Product Owner votes will be discussed. (5 minutes)
  7. Closing statements and opportunities for participants to discuss their insights on the use of Dark Stories, as time permits.

Learning Outcome

  • Attendees will be introduced to the utility of Dark Stories
  • Attendees will have the opportunity to practice writing Dark Stories and to gain the insights of the other workshop participants
  • Attendees will learn how personas and story writing can be used to help Product Owners prioritize important maintenance

Target Audience

Scrum Masters/Agile Facilitators, Delivery Team Members, and all other Agile Practitioners who have an interest in ensuring systems are well maintained

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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  • John Hughes
    By John Hughes  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Maintenance is often forgotten and the value of security and maintenance usually is not seen by the business side, at least in comparison to their business features. I can see Dark Stories as a great way to communicate the value of addressing this work with the limited capacity a team shares with business side features. 


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