How to increase the business value of your team
Five ways to increase their business impact
By Humphrey Fredriksz
Agile teams differ from project teams because agile teams can be accountable for the value created by them. Where project teams are mostly responsible for building what they are asked. Agile teams must measure their work. For example, how much extra revenue did the new payment method feature generate or how much costs did we save with replacing an old system. Agile teams more like work with business KPI, less project KPI’s.
The challenge is that not all agile teams are capable of measuring their deliverable or are too much depending on other teams to justify their specific contribution. A common practice in working agile is to prioritize the backlog based on business value. This way you at least generate the most value of the possible work you can pick up. It’s the role of the product owner to facilitate this process.
So, how to increase the business value generated by your team? Below I have listed options which start with the easiest way up to the more mature way of measuring impact.
- Prioritize your backlog
As mentioned above, the easiest way is to make a list of all the feature or requests which hits your team and start prioritizing them. You can do this with your business owners, stakeholders and or team. The good thing about this process is that it can be quick, and you directly align with the group. The downside is that you actually don’t really know, and the risk is that you are prioritizing items on opinions or politics.
“For an agile team it’s not only required, but also needed to be entrepreneurial. Go out and find more business.“
- Sizing your epics
When you have your product backlog and all the stakeholders have given their input, you should build your epics as clear grouped items which can be seen as deliverables. Second step is to size the epics using the ‘sizing technique’. You will calculate impact by using simple formula as traffic x time x revenue per user. One extra trick is to add ‘probability‘ to the formula, which means what is the probability that this feature will technically be a success.
- Understand your business and the customer
Don’t just start working on all the ideas and requests that come your way. Find out what is really going on. What are the biggest customer issues and find out if the current business model works. Yes, this can be challenging for the business, but an open mind and maybe a fresh mind can tackle bigger opportunities. For an agile team it’s not only required, but also needed to be entrepreneurial. Go out and find more business.
- Experiment first.
If you can base your decisions on data, then that is the best way to know what will have the biggest impact. If you have read the book the ‘lean startup’ you know that it’s best to first test your hypotheses before building and spending all your money. Example tests you can do are A/B testing, small MVP (max 1 sprint of work) or fake buttons to measure interest. In case your team is mature enough they should have a backlog of experiments justifying their future roadmap.
At all time, your team should be measuring their impact, work with dashboards which makes the results transparent and actionable. You can use tools like Google Analytics and JIRA to get the basic insights. It’s nowadays accustomed to work with quarterly objectives which the team commits to, you can read more about Objectives and Key Results (OKRS) here. It’s a method to make teams work on topics which are measurable and in line with the company objectives.
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