Product-Box (aka organization character)

Scrum Product Box 01

Scrum Product Box 02

It was interesting session during Deep Agile on May 15th, 2010, in Cambridge, MA which Lyssa Adkins facilitated to build a Scrum Product-Box® . A Product-Box® is one of the  innovation games from http://www.enthiosys.com/. In this post I am giving my own reflections. The  description of this game can be found in this book by Luke Hohmann.

This game helps  the vendor to collaborate with the customer. The customer will design the product-box of the product which the vendor is trying to sell her so that she can resell to her end customers. The process of directly working with the customer and allowing her to design her own flavor of the  product is so powerful. I found that the customer  is  hesitant to buy the product unless she can resell to her own stakeholders. This collaborative game early resolves doubts and risks and allows the vendor to have more understanding of the concerns of the customer.

Scrum Product Box 03

During the game, each attendee played the role of the customer to design her own product box to so that she can resell internally. The product was Scrum itself. Imagine the roles as The vendor (Agile consultancy) and The customer ( IT services in a large organization who are considering using agile/ Scrum). By designing the product-box herself, the customer in-fact formulates the story in a way that she can resell to her management.

The second phase of the game starts after the customer finished designing the product-box. The customer begins reselling her product-box to her own customers by describing the drivers for her design and the benefits to the organization as indicated by the product-box. The box at the top has attracted my attention. This product-box reflected waste removal as result of implementing Scrum by limiting the team’s commitment in fixed length Sprints and have team members do different things. This should have  economical appeal from the perspective of the organization in addition to the promise of delivering something valuable every iteration.

Before playing the product-box, the team had identified the impediments towards Scrum implementation, please see the picture below. During selling the product-box, we related each design to how it can address the identified impediments.

Impediments to Scrum Implementation

It appeared during the selling session that each product-box is able to address certain impediments that are different from the ones addressed by others. This for me reflects the importance of design in selling our proposal to our organizations. The customer can make sure that her design addresses certain concerns that are particularly important to her organization. In other words, the product-box reflects the character of the organization.

The selling session is the most important part of the game. The customer is going to be challenged on the effectiveness of her product in addressing the pains of her organization.

Finally

If we know that we will be challenged by our organizations, then why should not we by prepared by creating a design addressing the impediments before attending selling session? Also, as a vendor we should put ourselves in the shoe of the customer and understand her situation and the requirements of the end user, who we don’t directly deal with.

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