The Power of Agile and Lean Combined

Lean methodology allows the customer to create a product of high value. Value in this example is a product, which allows the customer to prove or disprove their business model hypothesis.

Agile is the means and methodology, which allows developers to efficiently deliver a product in a timely manner. Below is a diagram, which depicts how Lean and Agile are combined.

Scrum Master

The ScrumMaster is responsible for facilitating the team, protecting the team and removing impediments. This is the typical role for someone who is focused on Agile software development. But if you apply the Lean methodology to this role; the role includes dealing with customer team components, which equates to the Product Owner.

As a result, the Project Manager role is heavily involved in the customer product definition process. This involves facilitating product requirements, understanding technical limitations and more importantly tying this back to the market opportunity of the product.

The breakdown of the responsibilities of the Project Manager consists of:

1.) Define the MVP (minimal viable product) and create the requirements for the SOW (statement of work)
2.) Assesses Market Opportunity
3.) Provides insight on Go-To-Market strategy from a product perspective
4.) Build a Lean Canvas
5.) Storyboard the essentials needed to create a high value product

Agile (Scrum Master):

1.) Manage developer timelines/deliverables
2.) Storyboard the essentials needed to drive a high value product
3.) Assess resources/ impediments
4.) Becomes the Product Owner (contrary to the traditional Scrum Master role)

The Overall Process Flow

The overall software process begins and ends with the customer. Below is a decision tree, which depicts a high level representation of the process.
Software Process

Customer

There are 2 types of customers : 1.) Customers who already have existing code and 2.) Customers who are building an application from scratch. Both of these kinds of customers require different approaches within the product development process.

Existing Code

If a customer already has existing code, this typically requires a discovery session to evaluate the code and provide action items on next steps. Potential next steps include: 1.) Redesign application from scratch OR 2.) Enhancements/modifications to existing code

New Code

If a customer does not have an existing product and no code then the following are options to move forward: 1.) A Lean Canvas session, to help define a true minimum viable product (MVP).

Lean Canvas

The Lean Canvas is a blueprint of the customer’s business. It’s the equivalent of a business plan or executive summary. Below is an example of a Lean Canvas. This will help add clarity to the project and provide tremendous value to the customer.

Lean Canvas_blk

Scope of Work (SOW)

The SOW is written by the Project Manager and is formal document that captures and defines the work activities, deliverables and timeline a vendor must execute in performance of specified work for a customer The SOW usually includes detailed requirements and pricing.

Development

Development consists of the software design/development process. This process will be tracked through Pivotal Tracker and Basecamp, which are tools, which help manage the user stories and velocity of the projects.

Deliver Product

At the time to deliver the product to the customer, it is a requirement to go through the SOW by line for verification of completion of items.

Support/Post Delivery

Once a product is delivered to the customer, standard support policies for the product are available to the customer.

A Project Manager is required to follow up with the customer post delivery questionnaire to get feedback on their experience. Sample questions include:

1. Are you happy with the deliverables? Is that what you wanted?
2. Was there any moment(s) that frustrated you? Do you think we could have avoided it?
3. Did our development process go well? Or do you want us to improve?
4. Are there enough questions and communications from the team to understand the scope?
5. Did we provide enough time for you to review interim updates?
6. Did the team work collaboratively with you and your team?
7. Did the team listen to you? or do they need to be more attentive to the details?
8. Do you think we added any values to the deliverables?
9. Will you come back to us? (For new or existing projects)