Social backlog prioritisation
Most developers will probably agree that the shower is a magical place. During a morning shower you're (usually) alone, refreshed after a good nights sleep and don't have the noise of a whole day's thoughs going on in your head. Strange ideas can come along during this part of the day and here is a brain dump of one an idea I recently had, using the Reddit engine to prioritise a Scrum backlog.
The trigger for my thought process was the following tweet from former colleage, and good friend Mathieu.
would like to see a BTS with reputation points assigned to people by topics/tags.
For the uninitiated BTS stands for Bug Tracking System.
Application to bugs
Many bug trackers today offer some kind of voting feature where users can vote for bugs that they want fixed. Unfortunately this is usually a bolted on feature as an afterthought and still doesn't address reputation or comments.
What about my backlog?
Alert readers might notice that I've drifted a little from the title of this blog post. Developing the ideas from a bug tracker further, you could utilise such a social system for prioritising backlog items in an agile project. This could be an especially useful technique for systems with large amounts of users.
Rather than having an expert user or the project owner prioritise items you could expose the voting system for all users of the system and get a real view of what the users actually have use for rather than what the expert users think they need. Obviously to account for business motivations that your average end user may not have knowledge of, some levels of management should have boosted reputation from the beginning but ideally it shouldn't be so high that they can vito a userstory that a significant proportion of the user base has voted for.
Agile methodologies promote close interaction with users. When developing a system for a large userbase it's unlikely you will find one or two users that can accurately represent the priorities of the whole. Using social, reputation based tools could be one solution to this and I hope that this braindump of one crazy idea can be inspiration for some interesting discussions.