What do you do when they start asking for cost per point?
This issue often arrives wrapped in requests that are pure in their intent and seem to be reasonable requests from the business…
How much are we spending each month and how many points are we delivering for that spend?
Since we are now estimating work in User Story Points, we need to be able to determine how much to charge for the work that clients are asking for. So how much does a point cost us?
We need to evaluate the change requests so we can decide which ones to move forward with and which ones to reject. We’re estimating them in User Story Points, which gives us a relative idea of risk, complexity, and effort, but not cost. We need to be able to translate points to dollars so we can understand if the value we’d receive from the change is worth the cost.
I had a student recently who was qetting requests like this from the business, so I asked Agile Coach Troy Lightfoot to join me for a podcast where we could unpack the issues that often come with the cost per point question, the pros and cons of tracking it, and some things to take into account when you formulate your response to the request.
Links from the Podcast
Since the Covid-19 Quarantining began, we’ve all had to adjust to our work-life taking place 100% online. Whether you are working in a traditional environment or in Agile, this change has impacted your teams’ ability to engage, learn, and collaborate online. In this episode of the podcast, I am joined by Braden Cundiff who works in the International Division of McGraw-Hill Education serving in a Product Ownership role for international education products.
Braden’s work involves creating tools and products that are used in collaborative, educational environments all across the globe. He also has a background that includes teaching, agile coaching, and transformation. This allows him to offer a unique perspective on how to create an effective online environment for your teams.
At the start of the interview, Braden and I also discuss his role as a Product Owner and he offers his take on the one question that comes up in every single Product Owner class I teach … “How do I get better at saying ’No’?”
This is not part of the regular blog/podcast, but it might be interesting, so I'm sharing the link... Jessica Wolfe, Derek Huether and I recorded a Zoom call discussing what we'd learned from our first week of working in quarantine. We each experienced things that week that caught us by surprise. In some cases, those surprises were pretty awesome. In other cases, not so much.
We're going to try and make this an ongoing thing.
When I am teaching CSM and CSPO classes I frequently get questions from students who have trouble understanding how work flows from the release level down through product backlog items like User Stories on down to the task level. I do cover this in class but for some, it is not so easy to see.
If you'd like to reach out to Judy with follow up questions, here is her contact info:
You go to conferences… and there are moments when you pick stuff up that can help you do your job. But, once and awhile, there are those special moments when people share things in sessions that permanently change how you look at the work you do. It’s rare… but it’s awesome.
That happened for me this September in Memphis at the 2018 Digital PM Summit. I attended a session led by Abby Fretz called "Sustaining the Project Honeymoon Phase: How to Build Effective Client Education.” In the session, Abby drew a connection between the relationship we have with our clients and the relationships students have with teachers. She reminded everyone that all of our clients are not just emotional humans, but they are also family members, friends, and experts, and that we need to care for them as a teacher would care for a student. Moreover, she reminded everyone that as much as we are the teachers of our clients, they are our teachers as well.
I wish someone had said this to me 20 years ago.
In this podcast, Abby and I discuss her session from the 2018 Digital PM Summit, what led her to her metaphor, and how it has impacted her work. There is some powerful stuff in this interview and I hope it will be as valuable for you as it was for me. I am very indebted to Abby for teaching me something that seems like such common sense— I’m a little ashamed I had not though of clients this way before.
Here are some of the links mentioned in the podcast: