SPA Conference session: The Business Value Game

One-line description:Playing to learn how to release the right products with the right features at the right time
Session format: Simulation (150 mins) [read about the different session types]
Abstract:Agile teams want to deliver maximum business value. That's easy if the Onsite Customer assigns business value to each story. But how does the Customer do that? How can you estimate business value?

How do you decide between stories? How do you decide between projects? How do you decide between clients?

This session gives you some simple business value estimation techniques that are "good enough" for everyday use.

The session is run as a game, where teams of 'account managers' have estimate business value and prioritise to make plans for their development team. The goal of the game is to earn as much money as possible by delivering features and stories with the highest possible business value, like in the XP Game.

Each account manager in the team represents one (or more) clients who will buy the team's product IF their feature(s) is in the product. The team is going to have to make some tough decisions; the team is going to have to disappoint some clients, because the development team has a finite capacity.

We provide the clients and their wishes. We suggest the techniques to estimate business value. The rest is up to you.

After the game we look at the different strategies that were used and see how these can be applied to different types of projects.
Audience background:- No previous experience in sales or product management required
- Some knowledge about Agile planning like user stories, estimates in story points or velocity is useful
Benefits of participating:- Learn techniques to estimate the value of features
- Learn techniques to prioritize projects, features and your story backlog
- Learn how to integrate release and iteration planning
- Experience the issues that product owners, product managers are salespeople faced with
- Use this game to teach others about the techniques and issues
Materials provided:- Game materials
- Handout summarizing the points of the sessions
- The game is available under a Creative Commons license, so participants can use this game in their own company
Process:The first part of the game is a simulation where teams compete to earn as much money as possible by implementing customer's requests.

In the second part, participants work together to apply techniques from the game to their situation. Participants work in groups with people who work in similar environments, depending on number of customers, planning horizon and variety of work.
Detailed timetable:00:00 - 00:35 Create teams and play 2 iterations + debrief
00:35 - 01:00 Play iterations 3 - 4 and debrief
01:00 - 01:30 Play iterations 5 - 6 and debrief
01:30 - 01:45 BREAK
01:45 - 02:15 Groups apply the technique to their real life
02:15 - 02:30 Groups present their work on a poster
Outputs:- Handout for all participants
- Poster per group on how to apply the session's topic in real life
History:- Agile 2008
- Belgian XP Group
- Brain Train
- Agile Business Conference 2008
- XP Days Benelux 2008
- Scandinavian Agile Conference 2008
- Agile Open France 2009
1. Pascal Van Cauwenberghe
2. Vera Peeters
3. Portia Tung