As a BI Practioner
I want I want to understand how to scope things quickly and early
So that so I can estimate and prioritise without a lot of upfront effort

When starting an AgileBI project there is often a need to undertake a prioritisation phase before you can start the delivery phase.

If you are running a waterfall / Agile hybrid process, then you may need to do a project initiation or business case phase before you can start the delivery phase.

As part of this, you often have to do an estimate of the resources required to deliver or agree on the order in which you will deliver. The old “give me a dedicated team and 12 months and I’ll deliver your hearts desire” trust me approach is not so successful sometimes.

Of course, we don’t want to do [Big Requirements Upfront].  The challenge is how do you do enough work up front to be able to give confidence you can deliver but not spend months stocktaking the current environment or gathering masses of detailed requirements that will change before you start delivering.

One of the ways to do this is to create an [[Information Product Roadmap]] to articulate what might be delivered, and when, during the delivery phase.  This gives confidence you have done enough work to have a high-level prioritisation and estimate of effort, and that you understand enough about the requirements to have some focus when you start building.

To do this we use the concept of an Information Product.  Information Products are a way of describing something that bounds together:

  • The business outcome or benefit that will be achieved by using the Information Product;
  • The business questions that will be answered by using the content;
  • The data-driven business processes that are required by the users;
  • The audience (persona’s) that will use it;
  • The visualisations that might be delivered;
  • The features the users will require.

Each of these are defined the way we define them in the delivery phase using our AgileBI techniques such as BEAM, Story boards and wireframes.

I often think of Information Products as apps on your smartphone, something you click on to achieve a tasks.  [[or a cereal box]].

Like a lot of the artefacts we deliver in our AgilebI approach the Information Product template is updated multiple times as we progress through the process.  Each time more detail is added to the template as we discover and document it.

There are four major stages where the Information Product template is updated:

  1. Prioritisation
    The initial version of the Information Product template is created, with the minimal amount of detail required to allow prioritisation to be undertaken.  It can also enable the product roadmap/backlog to be created and an initial High-Level estimate fo effort for each Information product (in terms of number of sprints)
  2. Sprint Estimation
    The Information Product template is updated with more detail to enable it to be included in a sprint.  This is often done as part of the backlog refinement.  The aim is to ensure it can be delivered within the sprint (or a number of sprints) that is expected.
  3. Build Design
    The Information Product template is updated with enough detail to enable the dev team to start building.  This is typically done at the beginning of the sprint process, in conjunction with the Vision, BEAM and wireframing workshops.
  4. As Built
    The Information Product template is finally updated as an as-built document to confirm what the dev team delivered.

The following template is how I describe an information product.

[[template]]

It has the following sections:

Description

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