Proven techniques for finding the high-value, high-learning slices to maximize impact and minimize risk.

One of the most powerful skill-sets for Product Owners and Agile teams is being able to find the thin slices in every big idea, every feature, even every story that will deliver maximum impact with minimum time and effort. The 80/20 principle suggests that most of the value in every project, feature, or user story (the 80%) comes from just a small slice of it (the 20%).

Are you sure you’re spending your team’s time on what matters most? The average Scrum team in the US costs over $5,000 per day. Odds are, you’re wasting hundreds or even thousands of dollars every day on the low-value parts of your projects, features, and stories.

There’s an old saying in poker: “If you’re at the table 30 minutes and you don’t know who the sucker is, get up—you’re the sucker.” The same sort of thing applies here. If you don’t know what the low-value part of a project, feature, or story was—the part you intentionally cut out—you spent money building it.

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Our story splitting resources account for over half the visits to our website.

Agile practitioners everywhere are struggling with this. But it doesn’t have to be hard. You can learn to split stories faster than you probably estimate them today.

“Richard’s story-splitting technique has been a huge boon to our backlog grooming and has enabled our teams to reduce our sprints to one week on our way to continuous delivery.”

PAM FOX Bridgepoint Education

Story splitting is only the tip of the iceberg, however. This 80/20 Product Ownership Online Course covers content previously only available through our in-person training and coaching, including:

  • Feature Mining, our approach to finding the first Minimum Marketable features in a big idea or project
  • How to slice even small stories to deliver increments of value and learning every few hours
  • How to structure your backlog to have just the right level of detail at just the right time

Instead of those painful 3-hour backlog grooming meetings you have today…imagine what it would be like to fluently split any project, feature, or story and know right where to focus first.

Instead of your stakeholders demanding roadmaps, metrics, and progress reports…imagine them being so pleased by what you deliver week after week that they’re saying, “This is awesome, let’s ship it!”

“Yesterday, I practiced Feature Mining with two members of my team: my manager representing the business perspective and one of our senior engineers representing the technical perspective. We focused on a project that we had recently started but we all felt was going to require a lot of upfront work before we could deliver anything to our customers or start seeing any results on our end… All of us were dubious on some level we would be able to find any smaller items to work on by the end of the meeting. To our surprise, we walked away with a solid game plan that should allow us to start answering some questions quickly.”

ANDREW 80/20 Product Owner Participant

80/20 Product Ownership includes video lessons teaching and demonstrating the concepts, together with hands-on practice activities and cheat sheets for you to apply the techniques to your own backlog. By the end of the course, you won’t just know about these techniques—you’ll have used them to transform your backlog and dramatically increase the value you and your team deliver.

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rlawrence-80/20 Product Ownership is taught by expert trainer and coach Richard Lawrence, using the brain-friendly instruction approach that makes our in-person training so effective and popular. Richard has taught hundreds of Product Owners and agile teams to find the high-value slices in their work. This course is the first time you can learn his complete splitting approach outside of in-person training and coaching.

Once you study all the content and do all the exercises in the 80/20 Product Ownership course, you’ll be able to:

  • Define good Minimum Marketable Features (MMFs) and user stories.
  • Find the first high-value, high-learning MMFs inside a big idea for a new product, project, or release.
  • Quickly and fluently split MMFs and big user stories into small stories.
  • Structure your product backlog so you have just the right level of detail at the right time—and turn backlog grooming into a low-stress, continuous activity rather than a painful meeting.
  • Find the 20% of the potential effort that delivers 80% of the value over and over again, dramatically improving your team’s results.

80/20 Product Ownership is the online equivalent to about 8 hours of classroom time. So, expect to spend a similar amount of time watching the videos, doing the practice exercises, and applying the concepts to your work for the first time. Unlike our in-person training, you don’t need to complete the material in one day. You get lifetime access to this material, so there’s no need to rush. In fact, we recommend that you don’t try to do it all in one day. Instead, block out 2 hours a week for 4 weeks. Each week, go deep on one concept, practice it, make the skills yours. Then, when you’re ready, move on to the next concept.

Scrum Product Owners will benefit the most from 80/20 Product Ownership, simply because splitting big ideas into small slices is the core of their job. However, anyone who has responsibility for the direction of a product at any level of detail can benefit from this content. Senior technical team members, for example, often collaborate closely with Product Owners in slicing projects, features, and stories, and the stronger their slicing skills, the better that collaboration goes.

There’s no substitute for in-person engagement, and there’s nothing like getting expert coaching on your own work. If you can get training or coaching from me or one of the other excellent Agile For All trainers and coaches, I strongly recommend you do.

This online course is designed for 3 situations:

  1. You can’t get in-person time with us to learn these skills because of location or money. There are thousands of people who use our story splitting poster but can’t afford to bring us on-site. We wanted to provide something for them.
  2. You’d prefer to work at your own pace. Rather than doing a 2-day Product Owner class, you’d rather learn slowly over several weeks, practicing as you go. That’s great—in-person classes can be like drinking from a fire hose, and if you have the discipline to stick with it, taking your time is good for your brain. (By the way, remote coaching is available if you’d some help applying these concepts to your work as you learn them. Choose the 80/20 PO Mastery option below.)
  3. You’re already an Agile For All client, and you’d like a refresher or reference for these concepts and skills. Because you get lifetime access to the material in this course, you can dip into a particular module as you need it.

Considering the ROI of this course, you can’t afford not to do it.

For an average sized Scrum team in the US, you have to save your team 19 minutes of wasted effort to pay for this course. This material has helped hundreds of teams avoid building low-value features, streamline or eliminate backlog grooming meetings, and dramatically increase the flow of value by focusing on the right slices. If you do what you learn in this course, you’ll easily save at least 19 minutes of wasted effort in the first week!

Honestly, as we see how much effort software teams waste building the wrong things or just overbuilding the right things, we don’t see how you can afford not to learn these skills.

80/20 Product Ownership is based on material we’ve refined with hundreds of Product Owners and teams at dozens of clients (and in our own work) over the last several years. Everyone who puts these skills into practice improves their results.

If you believe you’re the exception and have given reasonable effort to the course, exercises, and applying it to your work, and don’t get results, reach out to us. First, we’ll personally try to help you get unstuck. If that still doesn’t work, we’ll happily refund your money.

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