Information is Power.

I have spent the past couple of weeks handing over our discovery work to the scrum teams who are now in charge of developing the feature for our application. My team spent a lot of time and effort developing materials, preparing mock-ups and user stories and essentially produced a wealth of information to share with the product owner, business analyst and technical team due to take over the project. Since this was one of the first times we handed over a project with this level of complexity, naturally, we came across a few snags in our process…

While we spent a lot of time defining a lot of details and answering questions, it seems we should have spent more time and effort condensing the information into manageable bites, as opposed to giving the team all the info upfront. We were very thorough and tried to think about all the variations and problems that might occur, in order to build a certain level of trust and comfort in our work and our findings, on the flip side, all the information makes it more difficult to really focus on the core requirements as it’s too easy to get lost and confused in the detail.

They say “information is power”and this is definitely true, however too much information seems to result in uncertainty, rather than empowerment. We learnt a big lesson this week, that while it is great to have all the detail available to refer back to it, it seems to be better to start with a much more high level overview of what we are trying to achieve and why. Only once the big picture is actually understood can the thought process be followed that prompted certain questions to be asked and decisions to be made and ultimately will allow others to understand what led to proposing a certain solution. 

Based on our experience over the past weeks, we definitely haven’t found the perfect balance between the big picture and the detail. Doing the discovery in advance, as opposed to just in Sprint Zero certainly accelerated the understanding for the development team, but not quite to the level that were hoping for. Then again, expectations are probably too high, hoping that the team would literally be able to just “run with it” and we should accept that a certain level of re-discovery is needed to fully get the information across.

We will continue to seek feedback and tailor our approach, so ultimately our information will put the power in the hands of the scrum team.

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