While the Scrum framework has lots of benefits for the businesses that are into product development, there is one benefit that most of the product people often overlook. Scrum helps you ensure that you are building the right product.
So how does Scrum do that? Scrum is a process framework that tries to ensure that the development team is delivering products of the highest possible value. It does so through Product Backlog and Sprint Review.
Product Backlog as a value optimization tool
Product Backlog subtly introduces a resolution to a few typical anti-patterns of product development. For a start, it ensures that the development team is first working on the best-understood requirements. It’s easy to get tempted to start working on the items that seem the most important, but still hazy in terms of understanding.
The Product Backlog in Scrum also breaks the product committee anti-pattern. Some companies used (or still) have product management committees, where each major decision needs to be put to the vote. The problem with that approach is twofold:
1. Most decisions take much time. Teams are often afraid to make any decisions on their own, as there usually is no clear boundary between a major and a non-major decision.
2. The decision responsibility is dispersed. By placing the responsibility on a dedicated person, that is Product Owner, you are ensuring that the best decisions are always being made. Those decisions tend to be better than those that are satisfying the mass.
Product people can be wrong
Any sane company assumes that a person can and will make mistakes. Smart companies have measures that will not only try to prevent the mistakes to an optimal extent but also have failsafe measures that will mitigate the mistakes as much as possible. Sprint Review is one of those measures.
If you build your product until your budget runs out and then release it to the market - your survival depends solely on the mercy of the market. If you instead iterate it in small chunks and gather feedback, you have way better chances of releasing a product that people want to pay for, before your budget runs out.
By doing Sprint Reviews with relevant stakeholders, you are ensuring that a wrong product decision won’t repeat in the next Sprint. You might even do a review with your (potential) customers. That way, you are ensuring minimizing the risk of building the wrong product, by not betting solely on the assumptions of a single product person. Which I deem smart, as the 100% of the product people I have meet are human.
If you feel like discussing this topic, feel free to reach out on Twitter