Derive Scope from Goals

Derive Scope from Goals

“Successful problem solving requires finding the right solution to the right problem. We fail more often, because we solve the wrong problem than because we get the wrong solution to the right problem.” (Russel Ackoff, 1974)

Unfortunately, most of the software development projects we are dealing with are so called “wicked problems”, where the definition of the problem changes with the point of view from different stakeholders, and also over time. Since the problem cannot be described definitely, there is also no point in describing a definite solution. Instead you need to optimize the solution until it is “good-enough” from all involved perspectives.

Agile projects continuously strive for optimizing the scope to reach “good-enough” solutions. They try to identify key stakeholders and their goals, and then derive useful scope to implement for supporting these goals.

There are different methodologies in agile product planning that help with deriving scope from goals. Some of them are:

  • Effect maps break down high level business goals into individual goals of actors and stakeholders and are used to derive scope from these individual goals.
  • Story maps can be used to visualize and manage parts of a product backlog according to a specific aspect such as roadmaps, a concrete actor goal or a minimum marketable feature set (or walking skeleton) of the product.

SpecLog is designed to build and maintain the product backlog as more than just a list of epics and user stories:

  • Workspaces can be used to arrange requirements (such as user stories) like in story maps or effect maps. Users can share and collaborate on these maps through SpecLog.
  • Relationships between requirements can be visualized on the maps.
  • Searches in requirements can be visualized on the maps.
  • The structure of requirements can be customized for different goal levels and styles.

V1.13 released (July 4th 2014)