Using the Agile Roadmap to Value to Manage Project Scope

The agile Roadmap to Value provides a good way to look at scope management throughout an agile project. The scrum team manages product scope — all the features and requirements a product includes and project scope — all the work involved in creating a product —in different ways at each stage of the project:

  • Stage 1 — Vision: The product vision statement is the first step in establishing project scope. The product owner is responsible for ensuring that all members of the project team know the product vision statement and that everyone on the project team interprets the statement correctly.

  • Stage 2 — Product Roadmap: During product roadmap creation, the product owner refers back to the vision statement and ensures that features fit the vision statement. As new features materialize, the product owner needs to understand those features and clearly communicate their scope to the development team and stakeholders.

  • Stage 3 — Release Planning: During release planning, the product owner needs to determine a release goal and select only the scope that supports that goal.

  • Stage 4 — Sprint Planning: During sprint planning, the product owner needs to ensure that the scrum team understands the release goal and plans each sprint goal based on that release goal. The product owner also selects only the scope that supports the sprint goal. The product owner also ensures that the development team understands the scope of the individual user stories selected for the sprint.

  • Stage 5 — Daily Scrum: The daily scrum meeting can be a launching point for scope change for future sprints. The daily scrum meeting is a focused, 15-minute meeting for the development team to state three things: the preceding day's completed work, the scope of work for the coming day, and any roadblocks the development team may have. However, the three subjects of the daily scrum often reveal larger opportunities for scope changes.

  • When topics come up that warrant a bigger discussion than the time and format of the daily scrum meeting allows, a scrum team can decide to have an after-party meeting. In the after-party, scrum team members talk about anything, including potential changes, in detail.

  • Stage 6 — Sprint Review: The product owner sets the tone of each sprint review meeting by reiterating the scope of the sprint — the sprint goals that the scrum team pursued and what was completed. It's important, especially during the first sprint reviews, that the stakeholders in the meeting have the right expectations about scope.

    Sprint reviews can be inspiring. When the entire project team is in one room, interacting with the working product, they may look at the product in new ways and come up with ideas to improve the product. The product owner updates the product backlog with new scope based on discussions in the sprint review.

  • Stage 7 — Sprint Retrospective: In the sprint retrospective, the scrum team can discuss how well they met the scope commitments they made at the beginning of the sprint. If the development team was not able to achieve the sprint goal identified during sprint planning, they need to refine planning and work processes to make sure they can select the right amount of work for each sprint. If the development team met their goals, they can use the sprint retrospective to come up with ways to add more scope to future sprints. Scrum teams aim to improve productivity with every sprint.

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