Be more Agile with Continuous Improvement

Earlier this year we talked about becoming more agile and two key items to get you started on your agility journey.

  1. Visual representation of the work in progress
  2. Retrospectives

Now, let’s admit it, there was an underlying theme: Incremental.

And why do we want to deliver incrementally?

Last century we focused on execution rather than innovation. We had clarity on what to accomplish and how exactly to deliver it. We had defined modules, with defined roles, set processes, set practices… to deliver defined plans. Made sense.

Nowadays things change more quickly, and to stay competitive we need to inspect and adapt more rapidly and deal with greater uncertainty. Only learning organisations will keep up with the future.

The concept of Inspect and Adapt is key. Whilst you have a product on the market/in use, it can always get better.

For an implementation or a new area of functionality you may have already come across the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) concept, which allows you to launch earlier and hence get feedback on what is really wanted earlier, so that you can Inspect and Adapt to the ever changing environment and reduce waste.

Within our Salesforce context, product improvement is the process through which we make meaningful changes that results in added value to our customers or our employees.

Alright, so let’s say your product is already live. Yet it is key to keep the application evolving as your business does. You can either:

  • Add New Features, or;
  • Improve Existing ones

1. New Features are risky

You must be quite sure that it will add value, as it adds scope to your product and requires important effort on ‘marketing’ and adopting it (even when is an internal new feature).

Generally we tend to ask ‘Do you want to develop this new thing?’, which has a Yes or No answer, and that leads to a ‘Yes’ response rather than getting nothing at all, of course.

We perhaps should instead be asking ‘Do you want to develop this new thing or extend this other thing already in use?’. You may get a different answer. Asking these questions takes us to:

‘Ruthless’ prioritisation

2. Improving an Existing Feature

Here it can be either (1) making it better (deliberate) so the change is appreciated by current users, for example improving something that is used by all users, or (2) making changes to another area so that it is used more often (frequency), for example now it may be used weekly but there is value to use it daily, or (3) changing it in a way so that more people can use it (adoption) where changes can make it easier for more users to get on board.

I hope these key messages have sparked some ideas on what you could potentially be looking at, as a product owner (and let’s be honest a Salesforce Admin is often acting as one) is key to balancing that prioritisation, and to getting most return with the least effort.

A prioritised one dimensional list is most often called The Backlog

 

Reinforcing the importance of a visual representation, you will need somewhere to keep that backlog so that it too can get scheduled in increments. And why not do it in Salesforce?

Salesforce Backlog Agile Accelerator

Check out this free app, The Agile Accelerator, put together by Salesforce Labs. It has sooooo much more than a backlog. Who knows, we may tackle the app on its own in a future post. Stay tuned, and stay agile!

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