Software development is not all about the business value, you need to enjoy what you are doing as well. And this is a good idea for a retrospective meeting for an agile team. My team decided to test if there is any correlation between enjoying working on a story and its business value.
The source of data were about 20 completed stories from the backlog put on post-it notes. The very latest completed story landed in the middle of a graph, where X axis represented Enjoyment (did we enjoy the work, was it fun, technically challenging, insightful?) and Y axis represented Business Value (how useful do we feel the story was to the business).
Having judged the latest completed stories, it was interesting to see where the upcoming stories would be placed. We put them on the graph in orange.
- Larger pieces of work
- Time to get stuck in
- Genuinely interesting and novel work
- Business value is very clear
- Lots of coding involved
- Requires creative problem solving
- No external dependencies on other teams
- Really positive user feedback
- Well aligned with the team purpose
- Not sure why we are doing it
- No feedback or metric that it made any difference
- Not much coding – think config changes and software upgrades
- Always blocked on other teams
- Seemingly simple change but large time investment
- Delayed business value – no immediate benefit
Is there a correlation?
- Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel S. Pink
A good summary of the latter can be found on this youtube video.
Can bad stories be mitigated?
- You will understand what is really driving the team.
- You’ll have a chance to improve upcoming stories.
- It’s always good to discuss the business value.