In this episode of Trainer Talk – the supplemental series to the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast – Sam Falco, an agile coach and Certified Scrum Professional, answers the question, “How do you deliver business value in every Sprint?”
Prove Your Infrastructure Works
One common question I hear from students in my Professional Scrum Master classes is, “How do you deliver business functionality every Sprint, including the first one? Don’t you have to build out all your infrastructure first?”
It’s true that on a new software development initiative, there’s a lot of architectural and infrastructure work to be done at the beginning. But infrastructure alone doesn’t give stakeholders the information they need to decide whether to continue funding the project. You need to deliver some kind of business functionality to prove that the infrastructure you’ve built actually works. Stakeholders need to know that work they care about is happening.
Deliver Business Functionality
What might that look like? There’s a great example in Ken Schwaber’s book, “Software in 30 Days.” He describes a project to build a mobile banking app. In the first Sprint, the development team did a lot of work on architecture and infrastructure, but they also provided a way to connect to a web portal; designed a basic front end; and created a landing page where customers would ultimately be able to log in. They didn’t even build the capability to log in — all you could do was hit the front page.
Obviously, you wouldn’t want to release that as a product, but it still provides some small slice of business value. It provides something for stakeholders to evaluate and collaborate on with the Scrum team: What’s the response time? Does the design look good? What might customers want to see once they log in? Was it worth continuing this project? They decided that it was. And if they hadn’t, the team wouldn’t have wasted time building out a platform that was never going to be used.
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