Chris' lastest InfoQ article surveys several other writers' methods for bringing business value to bear on Agile Estimation. Pascal Van Cauwenberghe points out, usefully, that Agile estimation techniques that put the user story first may be putting the cart 10 or 15 degrees askew of the horse: "Pascal proposes that a better starting point is with the question: 'How do we find the User Stories that deliver the Business Values?'" My favorite, however, is Brandon Carlson’s application of Thin Slicing, a concept he discovered while reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. Carlson writes:
The book cites an example of how doctors at Cook County Hospital improved patient care and throughput using the technique. I thought to myself, if doctors at Cook County Hospital can use a small subset of relevant attributes to effectively prioritize patients in life or death situations such as an ER, it could certainly be applied to even more important decisions such as the prioritization of features, right?
Carlson describes how he turned a "sick" 90 minute weekly meeting into a hummingly efficient 30 minute process that got better results and left all the stakeholders more satisfied. The idea of looking to the Emergency Room for for triage practices that can help other businesses keep an eye on the vital signs is a brilliant example of the value one adds by reading across other disciplines.