The goal is to realize the most value in the shortest time with the capability we have. This is a multi-faceted problem and requires several inter-related activities:
Work not being properly prioritized and being too big
These two challenges are inter-related. Most companies have a jammed development pipeline. This results in a “getting while the getting is good” phenomenon. When budget is available people ask for all they might need instead of all they know they need. Technology also trains business stakeholders to do this in that there is much less justification required at the start than a change control board will demand later.
Another challenge is in the word ‘priority.’ Typically most, if not everything, is considered a high priority. This sets the stage for working on many things at the same time since they are all high priority. The focus should be on realizing value quickly, which means to put the necessary capacity of your technology teams on the most important item. Don’t slow a more important item down for one of lesser importance. This requires an ordering of work. We order the work by determining which items will cost us the most if their delivery is delayed. As Don Reinertsen puts it: “If you only quantify one thing, quantify the Cost of Delay”. Cost of delay for a particular product is the amount of value that will be lost because of the delay.
Using MBIs and aligning the work around them
Unless you are a start up, you already have your minimum viable product out in the field. We must identify the Minimum Business Increments (MBIs) that we want to work on. Please read about MBIs before going on.