Choose Your Own Adventure: Presenting Multiple Scenarios to Meet Client Needs
In the summer of 2016, I was asked to fill some big shoes. The product owner for the team supporting one of our biggest clients decided to move on, the client wasn't particularly happy, and the delivery team was facing a large and challenging backlog with a fast approaching deadline. I was asked to step in as the product owner/project manager/account manager all while continuing to lead the project management department. Sounds like a fun summer, right?
Actually it was! Well, it ended up being fun after becoming a part of the delivery team, understanding their pain points, removing blockers, and creating paths forward. One of the paths that I was able to present to our client was multiple staffing and pricing scenarios based on what they wanted to achieve in the coming year. With our contract quickly coming to an end, the delivery team worked with the client-side product owner to roadmap what the next quarter, and the next year, could look like. Like most clients, they have a lot of innovative project ideas and things they want to accomplish. Together, we prioritized which projects would get the biggest bang for their buck. Being careful of the Mythical Man Month (aka Brooks's Law), our internal "two-pizza rule" for team size, and the existing teams skillset, I could confidently present the following four options for team size and price point for the first quarter of 2017.
"Wow, look at all these options! We've never seen this before!" they exclaimed. After mulling it over, they ultimately went with Scenario B which was a really good choice. Scenario D would have likely resulted in Brooks's Law, yet they wanted a bit more velocity than what they were currently experiencing with Scenario A. Metal Toad was able to accommodate the staffing adjustment and bring on two more talented Toads.
Estimating backlogs, assessing the value of future projects, communicating with the delivery team, listening to our client, and providing them multiple options to choose their own adventure for 2017 feels great!