I read a lot and the books I choose to read always seem to give me some incredible nugget of wisdom that I can put to use immediately. Take for instance “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. Right now I am applying what I learned to our new product offering, Strong(ER). Strong(ER) is being produced as a minimum viable product (MVP) with a product roadmap designed to release and test its viability in the marketplace over the next several months – without any up-front capital.
We are starting out with several strategic hypotheses. The first is to find out if visualizing your strengths produces emotional resonance (ER), i.e. a good feeling about your skills and abilities as a software development professional. Initially marketed to software development professionals with 2 to 10 years of experience, the outcome of the Optimization Challenge will produce a pleasing visual display of varying shades of blue ovals for just about everyone that takes it. I do most certainly enjoy mine. The second is to find out if software development professionals want to do more of what they do BEST. Do they actually want to get Strong(ER). If they do they will take advantage of the coaching services available within the product. These and the remaining strategic hypotheses (i.e. Business Goals) are being managed for the Strong(ER) product in an Agile Lifecycle Management (ALM) tool.
I have read a lot of articles/blogs going back and forth about the benefits of doing Agile with a manual board rather than an electronic board. But as the Product Owner for Strong(ER), I have found the real benefit and power of using an electronic board comes with the requirements management capabilities. I am able to track our strategic initiatives by entering them into the Enterprise Edition of VersionOne as Business Goals. I then assign the goals to Feature Groups which are in turn associated with User Stories. As the stories get implemented, I am able to visualize the progress of each initiative – which proves to be extremely useful in determining the priority of new user stories.
We use VersionOne as our ALM at Salt Productions because as a Community Partner we get to use the Enterprise Edition for FREE.