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The two dimensions of Business Value

Business Value is defined as  the potential incremental benefit realized by an organization through the delivery of a product backlog item.

The First dimension

Bain & Company Inc. categorizes business value in four categories: Functional, Emotional, Life Changing and having a social impact – The picture below shows the hierarchy of business value patterned after the hierarchy of needs.

I call these four categories as the first dimension of business value

Most of my clients focus on functional value in their product vision. Revenue, Pricing, Risk, etc. Interestingly most customers become become life long customers if your product offers value beyond functional value in the realm of emotional, life changing and social impact

I want to share a few examples that underline this first dimension

According to the Scrum Guide: A product a) a physical product, b) a service and c) a vehicle to deliver value

  1. I provide training to professionals looking to further their career or get a new job. When they sign up for my public classes, they are looking for a functional benefit, which is a certification or developing a skill. When they actually experience my class, the benefit they say they experienced goes way beyond certification. They have tons of fun, they are motivated, they believe they can rise above what is happening in their organization and can become a change agent and make an organizational and social impact. This is why they like to sign up for other trainings that I offer.

2. I am a product owner for a telemetry product At a Glance

At a Glance is a Telemetry Dashboard is a Jira Plugin that brings data and information from all the tools you might use in your software delivery pipeline like Jira, Jenkins, SonarQube, Git and more on one dashboard to make it easy to visualize progress across all the tools. This saves time, simplifies at a functional level. It reduces anxiety at the emotional level. We haven’t yet reached the life changing level yet, but hope to get there at some point


Products like the Apple iPhone, Electric cars from Tesla, Video streaming from Netflix have a loyal customer base that tend not to consider a competitor product because they have made an emotional connection with their customers with their product. Its really important for product owners and product managers to envision the value of their product beyond just the functional benefits

The second dimension:

Most of my clients think of what the value of their product will be for their customers and sometimes for their organization. There are three stakeholders that a product owner should consider when thinking of business value. Value to their customer, their organization and the teams that are working to build the product. Below is an example for the three for a smartphone

Why the team? I can understand customer and business, why as a product owner should I care about the value to the team? You as a product owner are the leader in your organization, your work and the product you are leading should inspire the team. The team should feel a pride and ownership in the product they are building. You as that leader should create and share a vision that communicates that value. 

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2 Comment on this post

  1. Funny to hear the “Emotional Connection” as an Apple customer I believe in there values of privacy as well as the conveniance of the ECO System. After reading this I can truly relate.

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