A “Scrum Lego City” Relative Weight Workshop

by sebsonconferences

A Relative Weight Backlog is one of the key artifacts in scrum. I always had a hard time to explain it to people. Since we are doing regular workshops in our company we had an excellent opportunity to let our product owners experience building a relative weight backlog in a safe environment. The whole exercise is based on the User Stories from Agile 42’s Scrum Lego City game.

Participants

  • Product Owners
  • Product Managers
  • Managers

Timing

2 hours

Materials

  • Timetable
  • Prepared (cut) User Stories from the “Scrum Lego City” Game
  • Pictures of already build “Scrum Lego Cities”
  • Fibonacci Sequence from 1-20 on Post its. Sticked to tables for Estimation
  • Example Calculations on a Flip Chart, in Form of a 3 Story Backlog
  • Google Docs Relative Weight Backlog

Instructions

1. Form a Circle
2. Introduce the Topic
3. Introduce Benefit
3.1 Introduce Value vs. Penalty
4. Let everyone state what Value is in his particular Product
5. Let everyone explain what Penalty would be in his particular Product
6. Introduce Cost
6.1 Explain Effort
6.2 Explain Risk and the Difference to Penalty
7. Let everyone state what constitutes Effort in his environment (more than just development)
8. Let everyone explain sources of Risk in his environment
9. Present the Relative Weight Backlog and explain the Calculations

You should do part one in about 30-40 Minutes

10. Form Groups of up to 8 People (One group per set of Stories and a table)
11. Let each group decide for 3 things that constitute Value in their Lego City (e.g. mobility, space for living, ecological factors)
12. On the Fibonacci scale, let them estimate Value and have them enter it in the google docs (remember them to clone the document). Each group should present the one story with the most value to all participants and explain why it got that value.
13. On the Fibonacci scale, let them estimate Penalty and add it to the backlog
14. What are the top 3 Stories? Let each group explain in a sentence
15. Let them estimate effort (no roleplay, let them think about building with their hands). All values go into the Backlog.
16. Let them estimate Risk and let them add it to the Backlog

There should be 30 Minutes left for a discussion at this point

17. Let each Team decide on an order for the stories in the backlog (Note: There is a logical order Tractor before house, tell them about strategies for risk aversion or maximizing Value)
18. Each Team presents the Backlog to the other teams and explain their decisions

19. Lessons learned

Questions for “Lessons Learned”

How did the “3 things that constitute Value” influence your Value discussion?
How is the order different from the original backlog?
How is that different to you actual process of coming up with a priority in the actual backlog?
Are there any conflicts with stuff you do, e.g. Epics?