How do scrum teams deliver value?

There are only two ways to deliver more value! Either the development team deliver faster or increase the value of the work they are doing.

No matter how fast a development team becomes, if the product owner feeds them worthless requirements, then the output value of the scrum team is zero. The product owner must ensure the work they prioritise for the development team each sprint is of genuine value. To maximise the value delivered, a product owner orders the product backlog. They can choose to order the product backlog anyway they wish. Often, they will use one or more of the following to help them with this ordering.

  • Product value
  • Return on investment
  • Technical coherence
  • Feature coherence
  • Technical risk
  • Customer adoption
  • Cost of delay
  • Regulatory/legal compliance

What is considered valuable for a product fluctuates depending upon the nature of the problem and business. For some products, the volume of users is a key value measure, while for others it may be advertising revenue.

Product owners must decide what value means in their product context. Once agreed, this helps with value-based prioritisation decisions. Product backlog ordering decisions are assumptions about a future product state. The product owner validates these assumptions by gathering data and feedback about the product, ideally from real users.

Scrum is founded on the empirical approach: transparency; inspection and adaption. When looking at the value delivered by the team, the same empirical approach should apply so that the product owner, in particular, understands the items that will deliver the greatest value and can measure the outcome once implemented.

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