Finish What You Start
In the last video we talked about product teams taking longer to deliver than originally estimated. We briefly touched up the aspect of the teams having various initiatives which are almost done but not done!
It is this last piece that we will explore in todays video.
Very often what happens is that the team starts working on an initiative, lets say A. When they are halfway through A, something new comes up, say B. When this new thing, B, comes up, you pause working on A, which is partly done and you start on B.
Halfway through B a new thing C, comes along and you start on that!
A month later when stakeholders ask what happened to A, B and C, you say they are all "almost done".
The challenge now is that when you go back to A, it takes time to get back in the context! The fact that this consumes time is also frustrating. By now, there is also pressure to start working on D.
What we need to keep in mind while developing products is that any feature or capability in a product is a value exchange - if you deliver value to customers with a feature they give you value in return.
Starting new development doesn’t deliver value. Even if you finish and take new features to market, value is not guaranteed. Because:
Some of them may deliver value right from go
Some of them would require some tweaking before they start to deliver value, and
Some of them would never deliver value
In such a scenario, when you start several initiatives and but don’t finish anything, you are not giving a chance for successful value exchange to take place.
So it is extremely important to be finishing things, not just starting new things.
Having many things going on simultaneously will give you a sense that you are doing a lot of things and making progress. But at the end of the day its only value delivered and value extracted that counts!
One of the tricks is to use the technique of user story slicing, which will allow you to prioritize at a more granular level - Do only what is absolutely necessary to reduce your time to value. Managing scope ruthlessly also gives you the flexibility to complete things and yet change direction as required!