Pruning the feature list to identify the Minimum Viable Product

Posted on March 28th, 2011 in Lean, Product design by siddharta || 8 Comments

This weekend I had the opportunity to mentor some of the teams at The Startup Center during the in50hrs event. The idea of the event was to conceptualize and build a minimum viable product within one weekend.

As a mentor, my role was to sit with teams and make sure that their product idea really was the “minimum viable product“. When you conceptualize a product, chances are you’ve got all these fancy use cases in your head. You’re thinking “Oh wouldn’t it be cool if we had this features” and “That feature would really be neat”. Before you know it, you’ve got a complicated product with many useless features.

Lets look at an example of how we can pare back the features into a minimum viable product.

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Silver Stories in Action: Story Trees

Posted on May 21st, 2010 in Agile, Kanban, Product design, Silver Stories by siddharta || 2 Comments

In a previous post I introduced the Story Tree functionality of Silver Stories. Here is a video that shows how you can go about creating such story trees.

We had three goals when developing the interaction interface for story trees:

  • Support different feature hierarchies: The video shows how we can use the Story Tree functionality to build a user story map, but you can create any other feature hierarchy too. You use a Theme->Epic->MMF structure? Or Goal->Feature->Story? You can model those too.
  • Keep it visual: We are big believers in visual management, especially in the 10 foot, 3 second rule. We could have shown trees using the regular collapsible tree structure, but you lose all the context as you drill down or roll up the tree. By visually depicting the entire tree at once, you can always view your operations in the context of the entire story tree.
  • Make it fluid: If the story tree is to support collaboration, the interaction had to be fluid. You should be able to create cards and move them around as if you were on a card wall. You can get remote stakeholders on skype conference call, share your desktop, and collaboratively build up the tree in real time as the conversations are happening. You can see that fluidity in action in the video above as we build up a small story tree in only three minutes.

So what do you think of the story tree functionality? We would love to hear your comments below.

User Story Mapping with Silver Stories

Posted on May 7th, 2010 in Agile, Product design, Silver Stories by siddharta || 34 Comments

We recently announced Silver Stories, a tool for agile portfolio management. In this post, I explain some of the problems that we hope to solve with Silver Stories. Click here for the entire series of posts on Silver Stories.

About User Story Mapping

User Story Mapping is a technique popularized by Jeff Patton that allows teams to build up a set of user stories by looking at the software from a user centric point of view. You could say that Story Maps are a combination of user centric design and feature breakdown trees. User Story Mapping is a powerful way to gain an understanding of scope for new product development.

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Mindmap of Kevin’s talk on User Experience Design @ Serendio

Posted on December 8th, 2009 in Product design by siddharta || 2 Comments

Kevin Mullet was in Chennai yesterday and he gave a talk on User Experience Design. Thanks to Serendio for organising the talk. I’ve attached below a mindmap of the talk based on my notes. Click the image to see the whole mindmap.

Kevin Mullet Mindmap - Thumbnail

Deploying a Django app on the desktop

Posted on May 31st, 2007 in Catalyst, django, Product design, python, Tool by siddharta || 39 Comments

One of the cool things about Silver Catalyst (which is a Django app) is that you can start using it right out of the box. I didn’t want the team working their way around Apache and MSSQL configurations, Python version incompatibilities, database access issues and deployment hassles. The final solution was a simple executable, which when run would start everything required to get going.

In this post, I’ll explain how that was achieved.

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