Upstream Kanban: Modelling Discovery and Innovation in the "Fuzzy Front-End"

How do your features land in the Product Backlog? Perhaps your team uses "design sprints", "design thinking" workshops, a "UX research" phase, ongoing "grooming" sessions., or a combination of all that. When all that is happening, how do you narrow down your options to select the best ideas amongst all the good ones that come out of brainstorming sessions? Perhaps through long "prioritization" sessions, where it's difficult to come up with an objective criteria. And then, how does commitment and scheduling happen? How is it decided that an idea will be worked on now, later or perhaps never? 

All teams have processes in place to do all these things, but most have trouble describing how it actually happens, and therefore reasoning about its effectiveness and ways to improve it to remove any frustration that they may be causing. Upstream Kanban is an answer to these challenges.

This talk will explore the use of Upstream Kanban to visualize, model, and manage the "fuzzy front-end" activities that are often used to drive discovery and innovation. We will describe what to look for in a "healthy" upstream workflow, the role of experimentation, and the use of "custom risk assessment frameworks" to drive selection and commitment.

 
 

Outline/Structure of the Talk

  • Modeling the "Upstream Funnel": moving ideas from "vague" to "ready to select"
  • Patterns of commitment
  • Common patterns observed in "unhealthy" upstream workflows
  • How experimentation, design, and "backlog grooming" fit in
  • Using Custom Risk Assessment Frameworks to drive selection: risk dimensions, refining risk profiles to drive consensus, visualization with Kiviat charts.

Learning Outcome

Participants can expect to leave the session with:

  • Better understanding of the structure for a "healthy" upstream workflow
  • Practical ways to visualize discovery and backlog refinement  activities
  • An introduction to the use of Custom Risk Assessment frameworks and Risk Dimensions to make prioritization and selection decisions

 

Target Audience

Delivery Managers, Scrum Masters, Product Owners, Team Members

schedule Submitted 2 months ago

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