A Scenario and Feature Frame is a quick way to show your project’s incremental value and dependencies. It’s helpful for showing your management what you’ll deliver in terms of a baseline release. It’s helpful for you in terms of finding ways to reduce dependencies. If you have a bunch of scenarios that depend on certain features, then you don’t have cuttable scope. The key is to find ways to factor your scope into incremental value.
Scenario and Feature Frame
A Scenario and Feature Frame is a powerful tool for analyzing your incremental value and dependencies.
To make a Scenario and Feature Frame, list your scenarios in terms of minimum set, nice to have, and vNext down the left. Across the top, identify your cross-cutting features, and your vertical features.
Mapping Your Scenarios to Features
You walk each scenario and identify whether a feature is cross-cutting or vertical.
Cross-cutting means that feature supports multiple scenarios. Vertical mean this feature supports just one particular scenario.
Example Scenarios and Features Matrix
The matrix is a simple chart for management and for the delivery team:
Each row is a scenario. Each scenario shows an X next to which features it needs. You can use the chart to see at a glance where you have cross-dependencies dependencies.
Incremental Scenarios and Cuttable Scope
If multiple scenarios you plan to deliver have dependencies on the same feature, you don’t have cuttable scope. In other words, cutting a scenario won’t necessarily save you time since other scenarios already depend on it.
Baseline Release and vNext
You can quickly identify the minimum set of scenarios you need to deliver for a successful product. This is your baseline release. It’s what you MUST ship. Your vNext then is your incremental value scenarios.
Lessons Learned at Microsoft
One of the best ways to do this chart is to start at a whiteboard with the team. List your key scenarios. These should be the ones that your stakeholders are excited about. Identify the minimal set of scenarios to ship for your first release. Next, identify the key features you need to support these scenarios. If you have the right people in the room, this is relatively quick exercise since you’re just ballparking and sketching out the frame.
After the whiteboard exercise, you’ll want to turn to a spreadsheet. I use one worksheet to list out all the scenarios and features. I use another spreadsheet to show the simple matrix above. I keep this simple matrix easy to update. It’s easy to paste into a slide and show management at a glance, what the current plan is for shipping.
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