12.22.22Requirements Business Analysis Scrum Agile
BUILD ONE-PAGER DOCS TO SHARPEN PRODUCT FOCUS IN SCRUM
Getting custom software products to market fast takes process and commitment. If you want to evolve your MVP concept quickly as a product owner, focus on answering this question: “How can I quickly build shared language around my product goals?”
Along with formal requirements documentation and a focused product backlog, sometimes we need additional tools to bring technical and business ideas together to create value for our clients.
Our team has found success on tough topics by building one-pager documents in tools like Figjam. These group sketches are a great tool to help visualize technical or business requirements in a collaborative format.
Why, when and where to use one-pager docs
SketchtheDevs offers a good explanation of why this type of approach can be powerful:
- 65 percent of humans are visual learners. We absorb information by sight, detecting patterns and making connections that can improve our retention and recall of what we learn.
- One third of students are visual-spatial learners. We think in pictures, and can learn better when we see “the big picture” (concept or workflow) before we dive into the details.
When our teams use Scrum and Agile ways of working, we spend a lot of time in near-term planning for the next sprint or two of work. Defining each sprint’s backlog requires detailed discussions to target each change in the application code. This part of the software development life cycle — short term planning — is where time spent creating one-pager docs can pay off.
One-pagers in action
In a couple recent projects at Shift, we’ve used Figjam to enhance our planning discussions. Multiple authors can draw, comment or react with emojis in this real-time whiteboard format. If you haven’t checked out Figma, there are a couple links after this post to get started. It’s one of the tools we use to enable great remote collaborations at Shift.
In the first project example, our team needed to create more focus on each sprint’s specific work requirements. We had savvy clients, smart devs,and a solid product idea — but we lacked some clarity in our planning. We needed to zoom in on the details of each feature.
Our team built this swimlane view of user groups and their lifecycle in our app. In planning meetings, we could quickly identify when we were off topic. Any team member could take a visible note on open questions for a future discussion. Using this tool, we improved our shared language around each feature and our understanding of how users would get value from our application overall.
Other use cases
Another use case for visual one-pagers like this is onboarding. Whether welcoming a new dev or a new leader, it can be difficult to “zoom out” to the right level when bringing new team members into a project.
For this, our team created a quick “ABCs” doc for a 30 minute onboarding conversation. With this, a new team member can quickly learn and reference the “elevator pitch” summary of how the product creates value for the user.
Even when the topic is complex a visual one-pager may still be effective. A larger doc might require a bit more effort to organize and display for complex systems — such as in this example: Azure Data Factory One-Pager.
Is it really a ‘one-pager’ if you just make the page bigger? Fine. It may be overwhelming at first, but this visual does allow the viewer to quickly connect core concepts. The graphics team even indulged some artistic touches to feed the reader’s mind while they soak in the big picture concepts.
Transparent communication between product owners and developers is the base currency of good custom software development. When the requirement details are dense or the feature ideas are too broad, a one-pager doc can focus our team’s shared language on key details.
Tools like this are a great way to enrich team interactions, but remember the goal here is to enhance those planning conversations — not to replace them.
At Shift, we measure success by shipping software that delivers business value. Documents and processes aren’t the end goal. But a smart team on the same page with your product idea - that can change the game.
Interested in learning more about how Shift can help focus your product thinking? Reach out today!
This article was written by Cliff Thompson, Delivery Lead at Shift.