Zanshin Labs Newsletter - January 22nd 2017
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First: crafting backlog items


Do you find that creating Product Backlog Items is easy?

In popular Scrum literature, we are often told to create INVEST style PBIs. A common practice is to capture them in the user stories format and to estimate them using story points. A PBI may at times look scruffy, but an upcoming sprint’s backlog items must be pristine (as our DoR surely prescribes).

How can you start refining backlog items?

Here is a modest approach. Start lightweight and iterate! Backlog items must above all add to the product’s ROI, so first make sure they are indeed Valuable. Then, process them to make them Independent. Can you develop them atomically with no circular dependencies, or do you need to drag-in everything? You’ll know that you can promise to deliver them when you know that you can test them. So next, make them Testable.

Now, with your  V I T baseline start thinking about the effort needed to deliver each SBI. Are they small? As a rule of thumb try to make them cost no more than 3 days of effort each….yes ‘days’ not ‘story points’ or something more exotic. Boring? Not hip? Well maybe, but try it as an experiment. It will help you think, focus and move towards your INVEST goal fast. Simple works as long as you iterate!

When you try this or if you have another approach that you want to share please do tell us.

Second: a UX video

Erika Hall gives a super entertaining and insightful presentation at the UX Salon 2016 about examining assumptions, good design and being right..or not so right! This fun short video on UX research is spot on and very practical.

Just Enough Research / Erika Hall - UX Salon 2016
[during research] "The best question is the thing you don't know, that introduces the most risk into your process"

Third: new year, new jobs, new opportunities

Tourism seems to be a tech sector hotting up in Athens.

The funded startup team at are looking to expand their platform for the chartering of yachts and boats across the Mediterranean with a front-end developer who cares about UX and loves to code in CoffeeScript, modern HTML/CSS and Javascript frameworks. Vyra are also looking for a talented Ruby on Rails back-end developer eager to work with open source CMS frameworks.

ProjectBeagle’s family keeps expanding and is looking to add an HTML/CSS developer who wants to fuse the art of design with the art of programming. A UX/UI position is also available for someone who wants work with multidisciplinary teams in an agile environment for enterprise Web-apps.


We bring people and projects together to help the community. We are not recruiters nor we charge anyone money for this. Our network continuously adds new interesting projects and requests for people to work on these projects; so we try to connect them as much as we can, when we can.



John & Sotiris

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