Home > Agile > The value of product backlog items & User stories

The value of product backlog items & User stories

During this summer and autumn, I’ve been discussing and reading even more on kanban, Theory of Constraint and how to deliver more business value. Reading David Andersson has really been a revelation, and I’m looking forward trying to implement some of his findings at work.

One of the many things that caught my attention was his discussion of the value of a feature. His idea is that the moment an idea is born, it starts to loose value. The longer it stays on the shelf, it looses value. Like the products at the store. Last year’s ideas are not worth as much anymore.

Rationally, this should not be the case: the value should be the same independent of if we develop the feature this or next year, but if we think about it: of course this is the truth in many cases. If you see an idea as a potential Blue Ocean or an Innovation, the risk that someone else thinks of the same idea becomes greater every day. Being second is seldom as valuable. What is hot today may not be that hot tomorrow.

This is of course more true with the cool features.

Another aspect is of course the perceived value with the idea creator. He is probably very happy if his idea is implemented soon, but many just get frustrated if the same feature sits on the product backlog a year before implementation.

This is of course just one reason among many for keeping short cycle time and speedy delivery, but this was something I hadn’t thought of before.

Categories: Agile
  1. mostofa
    2010/09/04 at 8:48 am

    But don’t you think that the opposite is true as well in the sense that ideas before being implemented have costs of implementation attached with it . These must be balanced as well .

    On the other hand it could also be that the business is not yet ready to implement the feature that we have developed for them .

    • Anna Forss
      2010/09/04 at 5:58 pm

      Yes, this can often be true for innovative ideas. Just look at the Apple Newton. Either the technology or the customers were ready for the handheld revolution. But I do believe that this is not the most common cases. Ideas tend to lose in value if not implemented.

  2. mostofa
    2010/09/04 at 11:23 pm

    But then again do we push out our ideas to the users or do we collect it from their problems and try and solve them by finding solutions ?

    But yes I do agree that an idea when left unimplemented does lose value .

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