Managing Product Development by Integrating Around Concerns

In list form
  1. How valuable is this, from the perspective of the customer’s problem?
  2. How necessary is this, from nice-to-have to must-have?
  3. How far do I have to take it? How good should this particular piece be in order to call it ”done” and move on?
Where the value is
Map of the registration form concern
Todos by role
Todos by concern
Progress over time
  • View undeveloped parts of the product as contingencies, not truths.
  • Bundle contingencies into areas of concern so you have a mental map of the main pieces of the product.
  • Consciously judge the value of each area, with regard to how necessary it is and also how domain-specific it is. Don’t be fooled by focusing on “necessary” things that don’t differentiate, like user authentication.
  • Areas of concern are themselves bundles of contingencies, and you can recursively apply the same analysis to find where the value is and what needs to be done.
  • Tracking work by role doesn’t show progress. Group tasks by concern so checking off a set of contingencies means you have covered all aspects of one piece of the product and you can move on.
  • Integrating all roles around one piece of work allows everyone to keep the problem in context while feedback, pushback and new insights arise.
  • A healthy development process is a steady, gradual transformation of unproved contingencies into settled facts.
  • The goal is a clear head focused on outstanding unknowns. The manager should be able to ask “where are we?” at a high-level at a given moment and see what is done, what is not, what’s in process, what is open, what is satisfactory and what isn’t.

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Founder of Felt Presence | Software Designer, Advisor, Product Strategist | Author of Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters

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Ryan Singer

Ryan Singer

Founder of Felt Presence | Software Designer, Advisor, Product Strategist | Author of Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters

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