In an organisation that no longer wants to waste time and resources putting its ideas into action, making use of Lean Inception is critical. With it, there are improvements not only in the way the work is carried out, which becomes agile and allows the construction of effective product, according to the real needs of users. Lean Inception also improves the relationship between the team members, aligning all the people involved in the same purpose.
In this article, you will see how to use the agile methodologies Scrum and Kanban to deliver the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), planned in a Lean Inception. Used in a complementary way, these methodologies enable you to build very successful product.
What is Scrum?
Considered the most famous agile methodology, Scrum is based on the concept of Sprints – short cycles, typically one or two weeks – to maintain the cadence of a team. Scrum is used in all areas, not just in the scope of software development. Thus, it is recommended that each Sprint starts with a planning meeting (Sprint Planning) and ends with a meeting to review the work done (Sprint Review).
Image: Sprint a Sprint book (http://www.caroli.org/livro/sprint-a-sprint)
In addition, it is suggested that an event be held every Sprint: the so-called retrospective. It aims at continuous improvement regarding the process, delivery and also the interaction between people. There is also the Daily Sprint, a daily meeting to check the progress of the work planned for the Sprint (the Sprint Backlog).
What is Kanban?
Kanban is a method created by David J. Anderson for managing the workflow of an incremental and evolutionary process. Influenced by the Toyota Just-In-time model, Kanban makes it visual all phases of the workflow, including the people and the tasks to be performed.
Kanban recommends limiting work in progress (WIP). As a result, a the team collaborates in a “pull system”, that is, a new work item is only “pulled” to the workflow stage when there is available capacity within the WIP limit. This makes for organisation, planning, agility and does not overload the team.
MVP delivery using Scrum
When the team needs to build the MVP features, Scrum becomes an excellent framework to help both in Product Backlog management for the MVP and in aligning each Sprint Backlog work to be developed, mapping output items to the desired outcome. Soon, after a Lean Inception, the Scrum framework helps the team to deliver the MVP, via the cadence of Sprints with stories (output) and features for the Minimum Viable Product to validate the business in accomplishing a desired outcome.
Prior to Sprint Planning, a feature is detailed in user stories. For this work, the Product Backlog Building (PBB) method, created by Fábio Aguiar, will help you to break the MVP features into user stories, that is, the PBB helps you with the refinement work.
During the Sprint, the Scrum team works on user stories. In Sprint Review, the team will check the progress of stories, features and the MVP, talking about outputs and outcomes.
Image: Scrum team working.
From there, the Scrum team continues working story by story, feature by feature, until all the respective stories and features of the MVP are ready. Then, the MVP is delivered (it goes to the end user) and the team continues working on the next features and stories, for the next product increment, the next hyphotesys to be validates, the next outcome to be achieved.
MVP delivery using Kanban
As with Scrum, Lean Inception and Kanban can also be complementary. While Lean Inception helps a team to be effective, aligning people on the product, Kanban helps this team to be efficient in the flow and way of working.
Taking into account that you have already done a Lean Inception, understood the features, broken them into stories (hint: use PBB to create and prioritize stories), the next step is to follow the creation of the MVP. And how is that making use of Kanban?
Image: Kanban board template.
In a simplified Kanban board, you will select and refine the next features into user stories. In the imagem above, you will move the Feature card from Next Feature to Feature Under Construction. Then you refine the Feature into User Stories and place them in the To Do stage. The User Stories that are in work goes to the Doing stage, and, whenever ready they move to the Done stage. Once all user stories and tasks of a Feature is completes, the feature card moves to Feature Ready.
So, the previously mentioned “pull system” applies: when you finish all the stories of a feature, you open space on the board and pull the next feature. If necessary, run a PBB session, refine and write user stories for the next feature, and put them on the Kanban board, in the To Do column. And the team keeps working, pulling them into Doing until they are completed (Done).
It is worth remembering that it is necessary to make it visible on the Kanban board, whether physical or virtual, when a certain feature is from the next increment and not from the MVP. When the team finishes all the MVP features, it will indicate that it is finished, deliver the MVP and continue working on the next features and stories, for the next Product Increment.
Once you’ve delivered the MVP and placed it in the users’ hands, the team will likely receive important usage feedback. Regarding this feedback, which will involve improvements (and bug fixes, at times), it is necessary to define who will take care of this demand and who will work with the features of the next product increment, all this, aiming to organize the workflow, in an agile way and without overloading any member of the team.
It is possible to verify that the results of a Lean Inception and the progress of the work after this team alignment and MVP planning can be improved with the use of excellent frameworks such as Scrum and Kanban. Regardless of the choice, always be aware of the workflow, understand the preferred ways of working for your team, in order to deliver very successful products, in an agile and effective way.
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>> If you liked and are interested in the subject of this article, check out Lean Delivery Training. The main focus of this training is to understand, especially, the post Lean Inception planning and to monitor the delivery of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) based on flow metrics. You will also understand how to use Scrum and Kanban to build your MVP functionality.