How Backlog Items and public johns are related

When in my trainings I reach the part about Product Backlogs and Backlog Items, I try to explain to the participants the reasons why Backlog Items just need a fuzzy description of a required functionality by showing them, that written requirements are usually far from perfect. The details will show up in the conversations between team and Product Owner. I use examples like “The appetizer will be served with soup or salad and bread” and ask the participants to choose their garnish to show the imperfection of the written word. As you probably can imagine there’s usually some confusion, because it’s not clear, if it’s “(soup or salad) and bread” or “soup or (salad and bread)“. Another example is a simple name input field with arising questions like “Is it mandatory?“, “What’s the maximum length?“, “Are special characters allowed?” and so on. But sometimes I get the feeling that there are some hardcore product managers among the participants who are still convinced they would be able to write the perfect requirements document (Let’s not discuss the time needed for that, please). So I thought about another example and found one in my own context which is a lot easier to remember (especially for men). Continue reading “How Backlog Items and public johns are related”