Prioritizing Business Value through the Bockman Technique (Agile Release Planning Prioritization)

location_city Washington schedule Sep 23rd 01:00 - 01:45 PM place Room 5 people 13 Interested

Agile release planning provides a high-level summary timeline of the release schedule based on the product roadmap and the product vision for the product’s evolution. It allows the a product team to decide how much needs to be developed and how long it will take to have a releasable product based on business goals. Since features represent value to the customer, it is crucial that we prioritize a release in order of highest to lowest business value. Often times, this poses a challenge as various roles prioritize differently. In this session, individuals will work in teams to prioritize hypothetical user stories according to the business value of the given scenario. Individuals will leave this session with a game/technique to efficiently prioritize his or her backlog according to value with input from the entire team.


Outline/Structure of the Talk


  • Release Planning
    • How do you define and measure business value?
    • What does release planning mean to your organization?
    • What are recurring issues with release planning?
  • Introduction to the Bockman Technique
    • Purpose: The purpose of this game is to arrive at a collectively agreed upon story order by placing cards in priority order on the table
      • Agile Teams can use the Bockman Technique to assign effort, business value, risk, etc. to any group of stories. It’s a game!
    • The Bockman Technique for Release Planning
      • Scenario: TBD
      • Roles
        • Product Owner (1 person)
        • Scrum Master (1 person)
        • Development Team (Can be multiple people)
      • Rules
        • Team is given a set of pre-constructed stories from a hypothetical scenario (above)
        • Rules
          • Place Story Cards in pile on table.
          • First player places top card on playing surface.
          • Next player places top card on playing surface relative to first card.
          • Next player can either:
            * Play top card from pile, or
            * Move a card on the playing surface, or
            * Pass
          • Repeat Step 4 until
            a) no more cards remain in pile, and
            b) no player wishes to move a card
        • The game is to be played silently until everyone passes
        • If a card shifts a set number of times (usually 3), then the scrum master flags and removes it to discuss openly among teammates after the conclusion of the game
          • At the end, perhaps the team needs to discuss a few stories that are in contention, but the vast majority have been silently sorted
      • Result
        • An ordered list of stories ranked from highest (top) to lowest (bottom)
      • Debrief/Lessons Learned

Learning Outcome

Learning Outcomes

  • Individuals will leave this session with a game/technique to efficiently prioritize his or her backlog according to value with input from the entire team.

  • They will also:
    • Have the ability to acknowledge potential attachment of stories/cards
    • Gain team consensus in organizing releases
    • Build a shared commitment to backlog
    • Learn how to quickly deal with contentious cards/stories that hinder efficient release planning
    • Have a team that feels responsible for the product

Target Audience

Product Owners, Scrum Masters, Development Team Members, Agile Consultants/Coaches (Open to All)

Prerequisites for Attendees

Teams should have a basic understanding of business value and experience prioritizing features or backlog


schedule Submitted 2 years ago