When I first came up with the idea of this website I thought it might be rather hypocritical of me to look at its delivery as anything other than Agile. So I looked at the “Iron Triangle” of time, cost and features and decided that my budget and time were the two elements to remain fixed while I flexed on the features delivered.
To my mind the core of Agility is the ability to flex the requirements in the face of changing environments (both internal and external). This doesn’t mean that I wont get the features I want – ever. No; what it means is that I prioritise what’s important to me up front and make a decision to focus on the features that deliver most business value. This is a common misconception about Agile delivery; business think that unless they prioritise everything in the product as a “must have” requirement, then they wont get it at all. The reality is we focus on fewer items in the short term to order to deliver the right thing for our customer. We can then successively or incrementally add those set of features in future releases of our product.
Delivering Business Value
A key question that was important for me to address as the Product Owner of my website was “what delivers greatest value?”. In the past I had convinced myself that sexy websites with all the bells and whistles were what would sell the services that I offered. Wrong! As I have become to understand my market a little better I have learned that there is no value for my customer in an attractive website that tells them how brilliant I am. What actually delivers value for my clients is providing information or content that can help them make more meaningful decisions or improve their business or personal performance in some small way. Yes usability is important, but that is something that I can improve over time with enough feedback from the marketplace. Again my experience informs me that my customers value content quality content over sexy graphics.
Now can I honestly say that I became enlightened overnight? No; I have made many mistakes overtime and repeated some of them because I wanted to be sure they were mistakes in the first place. And who knows: maybe this latest product in my evolution will also tank, but at least this time I know I have done something different and changed my behaviours and attitudes in the meantime. For this at least I can feel satisfied and continue to be informed by reality rather than my own biases and patterns.