Human-centred design starts with human-centred specification
It doesn’t help, you will do it anyway (you will specify). The question is “when”. In particular in development situations, where teams are geographically distributed and stakeholders don’t necessarily clearly state, what they want (not to say that they know or agree on what their users need) a clear common understanding of what has to be delivered is crucial for the project to not end up in Babylon and become a negative reference. But stakeholders are not IT Professionals and tend to have a rather “notationless” style of articulating themselves. To reach a common understanding between stakeholders and supplier in a project asap, it is crucial is to specify the system in the way the users will anticipate it. The keynote introduces core elements of a lean requirements specification that is truly user-centred and helps sponsors and stakeholders to “get their head together” right at the beginning of a project.
You will take away:
a requirements specification framework that stakeholders, users and the supplier understands
how to focus your stakeholders towards their users systematically
how to stabilize stakeholder expectations on project outcomes from stage zero of a project
Pseudo Multitasking of Business Analyst. How to survive?
An ideal, but almost unreal case: you receive a task, complete it, switched to the next one, and so on. In reality, we are often expected to be multitasking and be able quickly switch context. The reason is simple: the business environment is changing, more and more information between the customer and the team, as well as within the team, is transmitted through verbal communication, rather than detailed specifications, the practice of business analyst participation in several projects simultaneously is widespread. As a result, our efficiency is decreasing and we do not have time to complete our tasks in time. Is there any universal way to solve this problem? No, but there are several techniques that allow us to make our life a little less chaotic, more orderly and efficient. We will talk about them.
A product tango: keeping the focus on vision while adapting to change
One of the key tasks for Product Managers is defining the product vision and product strategy, and making sure that the organization is aligned around it along the entire value chain of delivering a product. Vision and strategy define direction and need to be firm enough to guide organizations along the way. And here’s the challenge – how do we as Product Managers “dance” along the need to provide a firm direction while also experimenting and learning from the market?
In this session, we’ll discuss how product vision and strategy evolves along the lifecycle of a product, and we’ll look at industry examples of such evolution. We’ll try to answer questions such as:
(Why) is product vision important?
What are some elements of the product strategy?
How are they interdependent and what provokes change of strategy?
How do we communicate and align key stakeholders and players along the way?
Measuring the Right Thing: A Framework for Nailing Product Metrics
ARR, CCR, LTV, MAU, DAU… WOW! Today, product managers are able to collect data from just about anything. But how can we make sure that we’re focusing on the right metrics? Join Atlassian Product Manager Isha Mehta as she delves through how to navigate the world of product metrics and ensure that you're focused on the right metrics to measure user success. Throughout the talk, she will walk through real life examples of good and bad metrics. With a focus on the Goals, Signals, and Metrics Framework, we’ll cover detailed features to showcase how best to measure and choose the right set of success, supportive, and counter metrics. Walk away with tips and learnings from Atlassian’s approach to measuring success, and learn how to use to data and metrics to inspire action.
In recent years we see a growing interest in innovative development methodologies labeled as Design Thinking. Several different approaches are on the market, and they all have certain basic principles in common: they are human-centered, aim at ill-defined problems, reject early commitment to a single solution, co-create with users and apply frequent learning – making – evaluating cycles.
The core of all these methodologies is the ‘diamond’: an alternation of divergent thinking, creating a large set of new ideas and convergent thinking, pruning these ideas until a single solution remains.
In this talk, I will first show how this diamond fits in some of the major Design Thinking variants. However, you don’t have to convert to a hard-core Design Thinker to apply the diamond in your daily work. With the right mindset, everybody can use this concept in every phase of developing new solutions.
I will concentrate on the alternation of divergent and convergent thinking, and on techniques that can help you to use this approach: how to generate more useful ideas and how to prune and filter until one valuable solution. Some simple practical examples will help you to grab to essence of it.
The diamond approach - divergent thinking first to generate ideas, followed by convergent thinking to filter a solution - is useful in any development effort
Many techniques are available to support this approach
There are a lot of ingredients needed to build great products. However, the role of pricing is often undervalued.
Pricing helps you not just earn more money. It could uncover deeper problems in your business model or product strategy and could lead you to a much better understanding of your customers.
I was investigating this question for a while and discovered a few common mistakes easy to avoid. We will discuss these mistakes and the suggestions of what to do instead, illustrated by pricing models of well-known products.
Weighted Shortest Job First approach - how to use in distributed team of Product owners with shared responsibilities and distributed decision making
Pros and cons of WSJF approach, how to define measures and based on what prioritization should be done. How to coordinate distributes PO team with different level of responsibilities and in reality when decision should be made fast but nobody is ready to take this responsibilities. We will discuss the real case from the existing product development process.
The IT Paradigmologist / Global Ambassador
If-then-maybe - the thinker's nightmare
In case you hadn't already noticed, the 'systems' that you work with, are not always predictable. There is not always enough information available for analysis and decision-making. Part of the world is simply unknowable. This is frustrating for thinkers who are used to the ‘if-then-else’ mental model. So how do we deal with 'if-then-maybe'?
Fortunately for thinkers, a model with four boxes comes to the rescue. It's called the Cynefin Framework. It helps you make sense of the environment and decide on the most effective way of working. Many people have found it liberating, because they always had doubts about the control that those thick projects plans promised.
The major takeaway of this session is a better understanding of how the world really works, and different approaches to deal with ordered, complex and chaotic systems.
Many organizations struggle with roadmaps, finding them difficult to maintain and hardly ever coming true. They say, a roadmap in its first edition barely resembles what they get in the end.
It all misleads into believing that the product roadmap is just some mumbo jumbo that has little in common with real business problems.
Those not given up the fight, experiment with crossbreeds of the roadmap and the release plan. Eventually, they create Frankenstein that is then preferred to be kept out of everyone’s sight, as the only thought of updating it gives a heart attack.
Whether you have already tried the above scenario or you are just about to create your very first roadmap, this session should give you some good food for thought.
Core characteristics of impactful roadmap
Advantages of the outcome-driven roadmap over the solution-based roadmap
Suggested format of the outcome-driven product roadmap
Designing a roadmap that enables quick alignment of stakeholders and fast re-prioritization
Let's talk about the value generated by software companies and the value that a business analyst makes. According to the definition, value - is the importance or worth of something for someone.
A software development company can sell "Google-paste" service, and it will be practically worthless. A business analyst who serves as a scribe can be replaced easily as well.
Your services will be valuable if you can document the problem and propose an adequate business solution. Right kind of service, but still not the most valuable.
However, if you can find the revealing problem(s), which went unnoticed for years, ready to provide solution options and able to prove an advantage of the proposed change in terms of money - your service is priceless.
We'll talk about simple yet powerful methods of transforming chaos into systems, pitfalls, bad habits, and life-saving tricks.
Master-class: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – requirements quality matters
Every software development effort starts with the establishment of requirements. They may be initial, high-level, coarse, to be refined later, but they should be there. And right from the start, high quality of these requirements is essential for further development. In practice however, quality is often disappointing, leading to inefficiency, massive refactoring, delays, budget run-overs, and the delivery of software products that are abandoned by the users.
From the Boehm curve, we learn that defects in requirements are among the worst ones:
late discovery, costly fixes. Therefore, quality of the requirements should be validated as early as possible. However, it is not always easy to recognize bad requirements. This may result in missing defects until they show up as failures in production.
In any development approach, BA’s should always validate their output before handover to users, developers and testers. There are several ways of dealing with defects in requirements. In case of doubt or open issues, contingency measures should be taken to mitigate the risk.
In this workshop, I will highlight key elements of requirements validation. It is vital to distinguish good from bad requirements, and to detect and remove the ugly ones (e.g., inconsistent, contradictory or missing).
We will discuss some examples of bad and ugly requirements, look into various validation aspects and exercise with the ‘given … when … then’ paradigm.
High quality requirements are essential for any system development approach
Thorough validation helps to deliver good requirements
Early validation prevents inefficiency and unnecessary refactoring
There are several ways of dealing with defects in requirements
Master-class: Financial Forecast and Metrics in Agile Product Development
Taking investment decisions in product organizations follows a similar model to investment in startups. Decisions are typically based on business cases, which include financial projections on estimated benefits and cost for building the product. These forecasts can also serve as a guideline for product managers later on in product development to manage risks and take strategic decisions.
In this workshop, we’ll be discussing:
What are leading and lagging financial indicators?
What are some of the popular methods for creating financial forecasts (NPV, Payback period, ROI)?
How can we take a value-based approach to prioritizing themes and epics?
How do we monitor performance along the project using Agile Earned Value Management approaches?
The workshop is suitable for product managers who are expected to provide strategic inputs towards product investment decisions and manage investments along the product lifecycle.
Master-class: Story Mapping - elicitation workshop and multi-dimensional backlog
You or your client have an idea of a new software product - that's great! But what next? How to shape the idea and get the input from multiple stakeholders, ideally during the shortest possible time? The answer is – run a workshop on Story Mapping!
User Story Mapping - is interesting and popular technique for capturing and structuring requirements from multiple stakeholders. During the workshop we will take an interesting idea of the application and divide it into components of different sizes, that correlate with how user experience the product. We will make the decomposition of large parts of the functionality to a multi-dimensional backlog, which will show both the user journey and priorities for implementation.
As a result, you will have a clear view of the product as a whole and implementation plan for it!
Chief Business Analyst/Global Implementation Manager
Healthcare Software: Vanilla or not Vanilla
In nowadays healthcare for IT is one of the biggest and in the same time most complex domains. From one side, healthcare IT market is growing incredibly fast that attracting new players, but from the other side very strong government regulations make entrance and efficient operations on this market very challenging. One of the biggest problem that faced by many software vendors is balancing between two strategies in development process: client-oriented development and out-of-the-box approach. In this presentation both approaches will be analyzed based on author`s experience and related recommendations will be provided.
Data Driven Product Management at the Largest Online Apparel Resale Marketplace
thredUP is largest online apparel resale marketplace with millions of customers how are suppliers and buyers. Our major product is e-commerce marketplace website, however we also offer goody boxes, receiving secondhand clothing right to your door and selecting what you like and don't like without shipping fees or commitment to keep the clothes, brick and mortar retail stores, partner stores, listings on partner e-commerce websites, e.g. eBay. For all the products including physical retail stores we adopt data driven product development practices.
Data is first class citizen at thredUP to enable rapid cycling in Build-Learn-Scale iterations. Time to iterate defines the speed of innovation even with low success hit rate. We do embrace failure if learn along the way. Transparency in general is one of 6 core culture values. In data realm this results in open governance and democratization of data across entire organization.
Opening access to data is needed but not sufficient for fast speed data driven product development. Second secret sauce is the full-cycle product engineering mindset of small cross-functional teams. The talk covers the specifics and side effects of that.
Organization has open data, and the right structure and mindset of engineering teams, what next? The right experimentation environment including infrastructure and toolset should be in place. Augment this with the right KPIs and metrics to measure business impact, i.e. linking results of product experiments to company’s PnL and your are have true data driven product development.
We will share 2 case studies to exemplify the concepts we are discussing, The first case study is about cross converting suppliers and buyers at thredUP. The second case study is how we are approaching goal to increase seasonal assortment of the inventory.
Product management skillset: what you need to become an awesome PM
The product manager should be as a swiss army knife with a variety of business, tech and UX skills. But it’s almost impossible to be an expert in everything, right? This speech will explain, what critical skills do you need to develop to be a successful product manager.
The presentation answers the following questions:
What skills do you need to get the first PM job?
What are the core competencies of a product manager in the product company?
Junior to Senior PM: how to move from execution to strategizing?
What skills do you need to solve specific PM challenges (prioritization, focus, dealing with metrics, user empathy)?
The topic will be interesting for those who want to switch into the product management and for product managers who are going to advance their skills.
The business models of software-related professional services and software products differ significantly. Establishing a Software Product Business in a Professional Service Organization is always a significant challenge, e.g. with regard to financial model, measurement system, career paths, skills, and culture. This keynote will address these challenges and show a case study and a roadmap how to get there.
This report is devoted to risks on the project. I will describe the difference between the risk managed by an analyst, project manager and product managers. I will introduce you to the risk management tool that you can use for your project. I'll tell you about the types of risks that are typical in all information systems and the popular ways to overcome them. How to minimize potential issues and how to properly integrate risk management into your product life cycle.
To build a successful product, you have to be fast to validate your hypotheses early and often. But are we asking all the right questions including how well it is expected to work? Had we addressed its hidden properties that often create strong emotional connection for customers? This presentation focuses on the importance of designing product quality attributes (also known as non-functional requirements) while keeping the balance between agility and taking risks.
How to build products that scale with desired quality attributes;
More realistic understanding of required time and efforts;
Learn approach for defining non-functional requirements.
During the requirements analysis and software design process, a lot of time and efforts are devoted to understanding actual user needs. Expected business value becomes a driver of the system, it determines future functionality and work priorities.
The classic approach that works well before implementation. But in rush of a new project with new challenges and new user stories, we usually forget to do post-analysis of the previous project.
Do users know about the new functionality? Do they use the capabilities of the system as intended? How can we learn it? What if we have no opportunity to ask end-users?
In the presentation, we will go from the first hypothesis about the work of users to the focused data collection and analysis. Our goal is understanding the real actions and real needs of our users.
The talk will be interesting for product managers who analyze the quality of their work and for analysts, who want to improve the product.
Urgency and value in product development should be a key focus for any business. To make sure you drive value, you need to navigate in a complex changing business environment. And this is pretty tricky, especially now when technology is everchanging. We will talk about how you can work with the requests coming from multiple sources to discover and speed up the delivery of value to end-users. We will focus on understanding the value as a concept, and how it correlates to when that value to be delivered. In this talk, you will see how urgency can minimize or maximize the impact you’re trying to achieve with your product. We will talk about the cost of delay framework and how it can help you to manage demand from multiple stakeholders, prioritize and make better trade-off decisions within the team.
Usage of Agile approaches gives huge opportunities for the successful development of IT products. But development teams, that are moving from classical approaches to Agile, often have difficulty with a clear distribution of the roles and responsibilities between team members. This is especially true for such an important role in product development as a Business Analyst, since flexible teams have a Product Owner, and the role of Business Analytics in Agile is not described at all.
- So what is the role of BA in Agile team?
- What is the difference and distinction between Business Analytics and Product Owner?
- What techniques and methods should be known and used by modern Business Analytics working in Agile projects?
- How to plan and implement a business analysis process in a rapidly changing Agile environment, especially in Product Companies or even Startups?
I will answer these and other questions about the specifics of the business analysis process in an Agile environment, and share a lot of real cases from my own experience.
Requirements management during active products portfolio growth
When you are a startup and your team is small, almost everything depends on the wish. And when you start to grow fast, even quality communication becomes a desire. But everything can be solved! This presentation is an attempt to share the experience because Uklon company ALREADY coped with the following challenges:
- growth of the R&D department from 15 to ~60 people in 6 months;
- change of approaches to the requirements formation in rapid growth context;
- the effect of growth on the type and amount of requirements;
- product approach as an element of scaling and management.
Let’s start to play: system of rules, maps, art, and characters for gamers. Tolkien bestiary representatives as different types of stakeholder’s negotiation styles:
What are their behavior types and how to communicate with them? “New old” Instruments to develop tactics and predicting enemy maneuvers. How to use stakeholder matrix to achieve a power of engagement. Death and Immortality, Love and Acceptance: “The mystery of the love of the world in the hearts of a race ‘doomed’ to leave and seemingly lose it; the anguish in the hearts of a race ‘doomed’ not to leave it, until its whole evil-aroused story is complete”
Getting questions and consulting a lot of people, I realized that the market does not have the same understanding of how to maintain documentation in a project. With this presentation, I want to share my vision of how to do it and what are the advantages in this approach.
Deep dive to React/Redux world for system analysts
Are you going to be a kind of system analyst as a part of the React/Redux team? Feels that reducers going to eat your after action dispatch? And do not understand why you need thunk? Let's be prepared to this! Let's review the tech stack, understand development approach and what could be helpfull to you to do your system analysis task. Key patterns, key design principles applicable for React world needed to know to work with the React team. This is hardcore intro.
The IT Paradigmologist / Global Ambassador
Master-class: The IT Renaissance - opportunity or threat?
The IT Renaissance is upon us. Things feel fundamentally different. Whether the discussion is about Agile, DevOps, Product vs Project, Machine Learning or whatever, things have changed. Traditional roles and functional silos that were useful in the Dark Ages of IT, are evaporating in favour of multidisciplinary T-shaped people and small independent teams. Business Analysis is still needed, but not necessarily performed by traditional Business Analysts, who need to develop and reposition themselves in order to survive.
This interactive masterclass explores various aspects of this brave new IT world, including empathy, business-IT relationships, value chains, the digital enterprise, and product ownership.
The main takeaway is a better understanding of how traditional roles such as the Business Analyst are changing, and how to remain relevant and valuable.
“Time to market” is one of the most critical success factors. What if you had only 5 days from bare idea to the pitch in front of potential investors? How would you structure your efforts? Which steps are more important than others? On the master-class you will learn:
Master-class: Using of templates M++ to improve the quality of the received information
When collecting information, a good analyst cares about its quality, including completeness, truth and sufficiency.
But how to check these qualities of the collected information? How to increase them?
British analysts Jim Arlow and Ila Neustadt suggest using a set of templates developed by them, called M++. M ++ templates allow you: - to detect distortion, deletion and generalization of information during communications; - to propose strategies for additional communication to improve the quality of the received information.
At the workshop you will:
Learn the principles of M++;
Use in practice the templates M++;
Improve your skills in interviewing and knowledge sharing;
Add one more analysis technique to your competencies.