As it turns out, at least for me, the answer is a resounding – NO! Here’s the fortune I got after a delicious Chinese meal. So the fortune said, “Before you wonder ‘Am I doing things right,’ ask ‘Am I doing the right things?'"
My Agile lens (see my Scrum Alliance article) had me see another great reminder about the importance of prioritizing your product backlog. There are great methods for getting the most important backlog to the top of the list – such as MoSCoW (Must-Should-Could-Won’t) or WSJF (Weighted Shortest Job First), and we have found some great outcomes from using these methods. More important than any method though is “Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools” – when applied to backlog prioritization means “talk to your stakeholders and talk to the right ones.” We know Agile is working well when it is focused on maximizing business value delivery. Collaborating with the right people, asking the right questions, asking the “5 Whys” and working to understand the value in what they are seeking to get from a new or enhanced system – these are the steps that lead to a backlog assembled and ordered to maximize business value delivery. It is important not to rush backlog prioritization – get it right. However, you should make sure to balance this by avoiding getting caught in a cycle of “prioritization procrastination” – get it started. If you keep these few ideas in mind, when asked about your Agile execution, “Am I doing the right things?”, you can answer a resounding – YES!