Concept Introduction


In order to clearly illustrate the concepts of the preceding chapters in a way that most closely resembles how the process might actually take place, the next several chapters will present each step of a cohesive and more expanded example application.

The application in question is more complicated than our ToDo app and is called "MyFlix." This application is an online video streaming service, slightly similar to others about which you may have heard. While we won't develop every single nuance of the planning process, we will do deep-dives into portions of the application, so you are able to see how an initial idea can be expanded into a product backlog that drives software development.

Our Team

Because so much of the Agile Planning process involves synthesizing conversations into actionable artifacts, we will present portions of our cohesive example as a dialog between two team members. Think of the characters as two buddies that are planning to build an app to launch the next great idea. The players are:

  • Kelly - Kelly has good experience with the agile planning process and has worked on several agile projects before.
  • Pete - Pete is full of great ideas but hasn't done much work in industry yet. Fortunately he is good friends with Kelly who is willing to guide him through the process.

The two characters have decided to work together to build and launch our app concept. We'll present many portions of our example as a conversation between these two:

  • Kelly: Hi Pete, ready to get to work?
  • Pete: Sure thing Kelly, I'm excited!

Trello: Our First Tool

As our team moves through the Agile Planning process they will need a way to organize all of their work and discussions. We recommend Trello as a light-weight "card board" application that will help you organize various parts of the planning process. We will introduce other tools that are helpful to Agile Planning as we get to each respective section.

Feel free to follow along and create your own free Trello account here:

When we first create a new board for the project you'll have a blank set of columns like so:

We'll show you how the "Trello Board" changes as we work through each stage of the planning process for this application.

The Application Concept

  • Pete: Isn't it a pain to have to mail back all of these DVDs when we are done watching them?
  • Kelly: Yeah it sure is, plus driving to the movie rental place takes forever and they have such a small selection.
  • Pete: Wouldn't it be cool if we could just rent the movies online, and stream them like on YouTube?
  • Kelly: Hey that's not a bad idea, you could, like, have reviews and some sort of social media component?
  • Pete: Yeah! I'm sure movie producers and what not would love to get paid a small fee, or some licensing fee every time people watch the movies. I know I'd pay a monthly fee to rent any movie without having to deal with the mail or driving around.
  • Kelly: Yeah, I would too! This is really a good idea Pete, I think we could develop an initial prototype and maybe start a company if people like it.
  • Pete: That sounds awesome, man, there are so many things we could do with it. I'll start programming a data model! We'll need movies, people, views...
  • Kelly: Whoa, whoa, hold on Pete, there are some things we can do to plan this a little better, if we just start in programming we might waste a lot of time on things that don't matter. We have to be sure we build the right things first. We can always grow our application if it's successful.
  • Pete: Oh it WILL be successful, I'm sure of it! Let's just get started.
  • Kelly: Well, I think it's a good idea too, but you never know how things shake out, remember how they thought the Segway would change the world? Don't you think it's smarter to plan a little first, build a little bit, then validate our idea in the market? What if we worked for 6 months and then realized no one actually wanted it?
  • Pete: That's true, I'd hate to do all that work for nothing. You've done this type of planning before, right? How do we get started?
  • Kelly: Well how about we write down our initial concept for the application, what's the thing, above all else, that we offer?

We propose to build an application, called MyFlix, that will allow users to discover and watch movies and TV shows online. They'll be able to write reviews and engage with their friends. This service will be provided for a small monthly fee.

  • Kelly: That looks pretty good. Let's move on to the next step.

Now that the team has the idea, they can move on to the next step of Agile Planning: developing the user personas.