Product management is a vital aspect of lean product management, as it helps reduce waste and increase efficiency. In this lesson, we will explore the concept of epics, how to define them, and how to break them down into manageable tasks.

What Are Epics?

An epic is an agile artifact that originated from the agile manifesto. It is a large piece of work that can be broken down into specific tasks or user stories based on customer needs. Epics encompass more than one functionality or feature, making them a substantial task that can be divided into smaller, more manageable stories or tasks. They often span multiple sprints and releases, depending on the organization’s classification.

Defining Epics

Defining what qualifies as an epic versus a user story is an essential skill in product management. Epics typically describe the desired output of a user requirement. They follow a standard structure, similar to user stories, but are more comprehensive due to the volume of work involved. The structure of an epic includes a value statement, a business outcome hypothesis, a leading indicator, and non-functional requirements.

Value Statement

The value statement highlights the value your product creates and how it outperforms existing products. It answers questions like “For X, who wants to do Y, what is the solution, and how does it benefit them?” This statement showcases the unique value proposition of the product.

Business Outcome Hypothesis

The business outcome hypothesis outlines the economic benefits the business can expect if the hypothesis is correct. This component should contain measurable elements to evaluate the success of the epic.

Leading Indicators

Leading indicators are early measures that can predict the business outcome. These metrics validate assumptions made in the epic hypothesis statement. Examples of leading indicators include adoption rate, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth.

Non-Functional Requirements

Non-functional requirements are used to judge the operations of a system. They focus on aspects like scalability, capacity, reliability, and other factors that impact the overall performance of the product.

The Origins of Epics

Epics originate from larger focus areas called themes. These themes span the organization and align with business objectives. Initiatives are then derived from these themes, representing the specific actions required to achieve the desired outcomes. Teams break down initiatives into manageable chunks of work to form epics. This hierarchical structure ensures alignment between the overarching business objectives and the day-to-day tasks performed by product teams.

The Importance of Epics

Understanding and effectively utilizing epics is crucial, especially when managing multiple products or product lines. By defining and breaking down epics, product managers can align the desired user requirements with the overall business objectives. Epics act as a bridge, connecting themes, initiatives, and user stories, ensuring that every task contributes to the overall product vision.

Conclusion

Epics play a vital role in lean product management, enabling teams to work efficiently towards achieving their business objectives. By defining and breaking down epics, product managers can effectively align customer needs with the organization’s goals. Remember to clearly define the value statement, business outcome hypothesis, leading indicators, and non-functional requirements when creating an epic. Embrace the power of epics and maximize your product management skills!

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