Building trust through right-sized initiatives
Is a one-month initiative a good idea? Is a year too long?
We’ve gone back and forth on how big our initiatives should be. A couple of years ago, we brought Don Reinertsen in to teach a course about his book, “The Principles of Product Development Flow”. We certainly internalized a sensitivity to batch size. Minimizing feature batch size has been one of our great tools for accelerating flow. (We use a hierarchy of initiatives broken down into features broken down into stories).
It’s easy to jump ahead and assume that you should be striving to minimize batch size at all levels of your portfolio, and we have tried this. For a while, product owners tried to keep their initiatives small - one to two months in size. This had some benefits:
- Each initiative was less expensive, so less money was at risk
- Cards moved across our initiative kanban board regularly - progress was obvious
- It wasn’t practical to approve all of the cards at the portfolio level, so we gave product owners more discretion in deciding how to manage work in their area.
But there were downsides - largely the converse of the benefits:
- Because each initiative was small it was harder to understand exactly...read more
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