Business Agility Blog

Delivering People Powered Agility

What is Pretotyping?

If you have never heard the term pre-to-typing before, don’t despair, you are not alone. Most folks have not and hence are not familiar with the concept and approach it represents.

The term, as explained by its founders: pretotyping is a way to test a product idea quickly and inexpensively by creating extremely simplified versions of that product to help validate the premise that “If we build it, they will use it.”

The basic theory, practice and tools for pretotyping were developed by Alberto Savoia while he served at Google (2008-2012) as Engineering Director and Innovation Agitator. Alberto set out to determine the cause of product failures. He discovered that products failed in the market most often because they were not the “right” fit, and not due to poor execution (of course this has its fair share too).

The purpose and intent of creating a product pretotype is to validate the product idea before putting in time and money building an actual “prototype”. So there is a key difference between a prototype and a pretotype. Alberto explains the difference beautifully by citing the example of Jeff Hawkins’ use of a pretotype of a Palm Pilot to validate the idea and determining a market need for a PIM (Personal Information Manager), a new product category that he pioneered.

Hawkins mocked up a Palm Pilot with wood and paper; he carried it with him to simulate (pretend) the experience of a “real” device. He showed the device to several people, explaining how it would work aod provided a (simulated) real experience of a product. His goal was to determine if people would actually buy such a device before building an actual “prototype,” which would be time consuming and expensive.

The key differences between pretotyping and prototyping are:

Pretotyping Prototyping
Would people be interested in it? Can we build it?
Will people use it as expected? Will it work as expected?
Will people continue to use it? How cheaply can we build it?
Will people pay for it? How fast can we make it?

The concept of pretotyping has close affinity and practice to Eric Ries’ high Lean Startup Movementand the practice of building the Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Beyond commercial (B2C) product development, pretotyping can be applied to:

  1. Business-2-Business Products
  2. Internal Products (for employees within an organization)
  3. Government Products (for individual or corporate taxpayers).

Pretotyping helps eliminate the Bad Ideas from the Good. It helps Fail Fast and Fail Often, facilitating product idea evolution towards the “right” product with minimum possible investment of time and money.

Posted by Manjit Singh

What is the Difference Between a Use Case and an Agile User Story?

The user story originated in XP but is a key tool used in Scrum to build the product backlog. The user story, written from the perspective of a user role, is used to capture the business value or benefit (to be) achieved when the user role performs an action (funct.on) User Stories are comprised of 3 elements:

  1. a brief statement, of the form “As a ___, I want to ____, so that ____,” used for planning (commonly written on a note card)
  2. conversations that elaborate on the story
  3. tests that convey and document details used to determine (confirm) when a story is “complete”

Ron Jeffries has named these 3 elements: Card, Conversation, and Confirmation.

Details of the story do not appear in the brief statement; these are left to be developed later through conversations and acceptance criteria between the team and the product owner. User stories are not detailed requirements specifications but are negotiable expressions of intent. They are short, easy to read, and understandable to developers, stakeholders, and users. They represent small increments of valued functionality that can be developed in a period of days to weeks. They are relatively easy to estimate.

Use Cases became common within the context of the Rational Unified Process (RUP). A Use Case is a list of steps (possible scenarios), usually describing interactions between a user and a system, related to achieving a particular goal.

The main differences between Use Cases and User Stories are:

  • Use Cases are designed to get requirements elicited and recorded ahead of development (not necessarily *all* the requirements but enough to do a considerable depth of Analysis if required).
  • User Stories are designed to get the requirements “Just in Time” for development and record (on the “Card” part) just enough information to decide the sequence in which the stories will be addressed, who to have the “Conversation” with when its time comes, and what the conversation will be about.

The whole idea of Agile is to dissuade people from doing the work up-front. A User Story is an ideal tool designed to encourage minimal work up-front. Remember, don’t put the requirements on the card; the card is just a placeholder for a conversation to have later between the Product Owner and the Team. The card holds just enough information to allow the Product Owner to schedule the conversation by priority.

In summary, it helps to remember this statement:

One [User Story] is a value statement, the other [Use Case] transactional. ~ Steve Adolph

Posted by Manjit Singh

Agilious Joins Business Agility Institute


Agilious Joins Business Agility Institute as Founding Corporate Member, Releases Book on Lean-Agile Experiences

The Lean Playbook, co-authored by Agilious founder Manjit Singh, to be released at Business Agility Conference 2018 in New York City on March 15, 2018

[Bethesda, MD, March 12, 2018] Agilious, a niche Business Agility and Agile Transformation consultancy, is proud to be a founding Corporate Member of the newly launched Business Agility Institute. The institute’s mission is to advocate for and guide organizations towards the structure, mindset, and behavior of Business Agility.

In an environment of constant change driven by market needs, customer expectations and evolving technological innovation, companies are striving to retain their leadership and market share. The fundamental premise behind Business Agility is to build learning organizations and the capabilities to identify business opportunities or changes, respond to them, and capitalize on the opportunities. Agilious is a consulting firm specializing in applying Agile-Lean methods to help organizations accelerate their business agility.

Manjit Singh, founder and President of Agilious, stated: “We have deep passion and experience in applying Agile-Lean thinking and design to all aspects of an enterprise. We help companies and their leaders shape their strategic vision and craft a roadmap to improve their organizational agility. The Lean Playbook provides various lean and agile practices that we have applied successfully with clients and helped them improve their agility at all levels of their business.”

The Lean Playbook – No Ordinary Book

Most of the usual books are read from the beginning to the end, and we see the story unfold through the pages. The Lean Playbook has no story. At least not in the conventional way. It has lots of stories, and you do not need to read them in any particular order.


The Lean Playbook is a compendium of real success stories where Lean and Agile tools and

techniques were applied. Behind this work, there is more than eight years of experience applying Value Stream Mapping, Voice of the Customer, Visual Management and Agile Cost Estimation.


And what about results? They can vary depending on the business objectives. They can be reflected in terms of cost optimization, team or business unit performance improvement or increased customer satisfaction, but in general, they seek to reach a profound mindset change in employees, empowering them to lead improvements.

Evan Leybourn, Founder, and CEO of the Business Agility Institute noted, “We are a species of storytellers; it is how we learn, share new ideas and improve. That is why we are excited for Manjit’s new book and to welcome Agilious as a Corporate Member of the Business Agility Institute. They were a proud supporter of ours last year, and we’re delighted to have them, and their experience coaching agile leaders, contributing to the community as key members of the Institute.”

Business Agility Conference 2018 will be held on March 14-15 in NYC. To learn more and to register for the Business Agility Conference, visit:

About Agilious: Founded in 2013, Agilious’ mission is to assist organizations in achieving the highest levels of business agility through the pragmatic application of Agile and Lean methods. As passionate practitioners, we bring over 17 years of real-world Agile and Lean experience to serve our clients in enhancing their organization’s Agile DNA. We accomplish these results via groundbreaking agile transformation practices, coaching, training, and agile product development. We have led Agile and Lean adoption and implementations for a diverse array of public sector and commercial clients, including several Fortune 500 companies.

Kerunet Digital Publishing is a Spanish editorial that was born out of a global vision and digital culture. It has more than 10 years of experience in this market and it was conceived to represent a key differentiator versus other existing editorial models. Its purpose is to offer new models and communication platforms to leverage the new scenarios generated in the context of digital economy. For more information visit:


For more information or to schedule an interview, please call: Angela Gillen at (240)244-3311 or email angela (AT)

Posted by Manjit Singh