Icebox Zero: Agile UX and the Lean Backlog

location_city Washington schedule Sep 23rd 03:15 - 04:00 PM place Board Room people 5 Interested

One of the most disregarded principles of the Agile Manifesto is one of the most important: Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done. Simplicity seems simple enough, but in reality it’s as complicated as the work we are so often asked to deliver on—work that we may ultimately find was not worth doing. This session explores the complexities of this sort of counter-intuitive workstream optimization, with low-effort tactical approaches to preventing such waste in software and product development. The session attempts to codify the things teams need to do to truly execute on simplicity, and as a bonus, fulfill what is likely the most important principle of the Agile Manifesto: satisfying the customer.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

Session Flow & Timings

This session is the outcome of a year of collaboration and exploration between Justin & Scott on the topic, which was birthed at Agile 2018.

After numerous encounters with teams that produced countless hours of wasteful development work, often resulting in bloated product functionality the bulk of which has gone over gold plated and underused, we decided it was time someone take a stand to remind everyone that it doesn’t have to be this way!

===== Introductions: 2 Minutes =====

  • Who is Scott
  • Who is Justin
  • Topic origination - Agile 2018

===== Optimizing for Work Not Done (Long Lost Agile Manifesto Principle): 2 Minutes =====

  • Manifesto origins
  • Simplicity

===== What is an Icebox - Value of Icebox Zero: 3 Minutes ====

  • Pivotal Icebox - unprioritized backlog items - Backlog is not a dumping ground for ideas
  • Icebox Zero
  • Optimize Work Not Done
  • Determine Customer
  • Value of Edge Cases
  • Prioritizing Work

===== Beautiful Airplane: 5 Minutes ====

  • Activity they can take back to work, to prove the likelihood that most ideas will fail

===== Prevention & Practice: 2 Minutes ====

  • Why afraid to lose ideas?
  • Margin to Fail
  • Choices
  • Local Maximum Trap

===== Delete Something: 5 Minutes ====

  • Ask audience to delete something off their phone or computer
    • An app
    • A photo
    • A reminder
    • An alarm
    • A tab
    • An Email
  • Live Menti Survey / Word Map of Items Deleted

===== Cost of a Backlog: 2 Minutes ====

  • Queue of work adequately scoped - inventory
  • Value of Information
  • Certainty
  • Cost of Definition of Ready
  • Last Responsible Moment
  • Finite Tasks

====Alternatives: 2 Minutes ====

  • What to do if we cannot plan our work months in advance?
  • Whole Team

===== Write Stale Feature: 5 Minutes ====

  • Prime audience for elimination of waste backlog items / features by asking each one to write down at least one item to be thrown away

===== UX Experiment: 3 Minutes ====

  • Form a hypothesis
  • Ethnography
  • Build / Measure / Learn
  • Experiments
  • 3 Days
  • Evolving Landscape
  • Currencies of Genuine Product Validation
  • Determine Extreme Pain Around the Problem
  • Outcomes

===== Prototyping: 2 Minutes ====

  • Action Effect Loop
  • MVP
  • Throw It Away
  • MLP

===== Rapid Prototyping: 5 Minutes ====

  • Low fidelity prototype creativity exercise

===== Meet Del: 2 Minutes ====

  • Collect stale backlog items
  • Place into the backlog dumpster, Del

===== Debrief: 5 Minutes ====

  • One Question: “What learnings will you take with you back to work?”

Learning Outcome

  • Generate value by embracing Lean UX in an Agile environment—practicing the art of maximizing the amount of work not done.
  • Judge the overall systems cost of unhealthy backlogs.
  • Use experiment patterns to invalidate the wrong ideas.
  • Instill a true sense of purpose and passion in our team members through customer-centered empathy & team autonomy techniques.

Target Audience

Beginner to Intermediate Agilists, Anyone Struggling With Big, Complicated Backlogs Filled With Questionable Items

Prerequisites for Attendees


schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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