Discovery & Planning - Amazee Agile Agency Survey Results - Part 4
This is part four in our series, of unpacking the results of the Amazee Agile Agency Survey. I previously wrote about forming teams, so let’s focus on discovery and planning this time. When do you do "discovery"? When do you focus on "features & functionality"? Or do you focus on "providing value"?
The time when teams do most of their "discovery" is a mix of "upfront planning" and "within each iteration". A few do it fully upfront (6.9%) and a few more do it just within each iteration (13.8%). Some respondents answered a mix of both: 24.1% with a tendency to fully upfront, another 24.1% with a trend to within each iteration. The most voted answer was in between (31%).
In the freeform comments, it was suggested that this also depends on the customer’s expectations. This is not always the case. As an agency, you can convince your customers that in-depth discovery is needed and do the minimum requirement. When it comes to negotiating a price tag, organisations tend to make an upfront discovery to be able to better assess the complexity.
At Amazee Labs, we are also doing a mix of both. Larger web projects usually start with a dedicated discovery phase where we get to know the client, the business goals, what the project is about and the creation of an overarching concept together. Personas will help the development team understand the context and intent behind specific requirements. At the same time, we continuously discover as part of our two weeks sprints. Features that aren’t clear will be discussed further with the client, stakeholders or other members of our team such as UX & Design, to get more information about what should be done before implementing. We believe it is important that our team is empowered to pull in the resources needed to accomplish a task. Often this is a matter of providing communication channels and regular feedback to those involved in a project, so that they can collaborate in the best way.
In our second question, we asked for weighted answers on “What has the top priority when you talk about project increments”. “Features & functionality” was assigned a “1” and has been selected by 10.3% of the respondents whereas “providing value” was assigned a “5” and has been chosen by 31%. The second most chosen option was a “2” - 27.6% tend towards “features & functionality” and option “4” received 17.2% of the votes which means a tendency to “providing value”. Finally, a “3” stating both would be equally balanced, was chosen by 17.2%.
When comparing focusing on "features & functionality" or "providing value", we see that most of the answers went into an apparent value focus. On the other hand, the second most rated option is tending towards a "features & functionality" focus. At Amazee I’d say we are at a 3. "Features & functionality" are easily understood by clients and are often what they ask us for. On the other hand, "providing value" is what we strive for and continuously try to explain.
How do you do "discovery" and "planning" and what are your experiences around talking about "features & functionality" versus "value"? Please leave us a comment below.
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Stay tuned for the next post where we’ll look at team communication & process.