Educational Tips

Sprint start on race track

Beyond the Sprint

Why it is important for an Agile software development team to understand that the work they produce is a corporate investment expected to yield value in the form of an internal process improvement or marketable commodity.

If an Agile software development team is treated merely as a “staff augmentation” line item, and not as a strategic partner in an investment project, there is a high risk that stakeholders will not achieve the results they originally intended – they will not achieve maximum process development / improvement levels, cost savings, or highest possible returns on investment that the business has intended. The teams in such a scenario risk falling into an “order-taking” mindset vs. a more proactive and innovative mindset. If this occurs, the project execution results risk being only marginally better than in a “Waterfall” approach…the return on investment will be low, because sprint over sprint, low-commitment “order-takers” will not succeed in delivering the highest quality of acceptable software…this phenomenon results in reduced value delivered over the duration of the project. In other words, in terms of cost analysis, the company will have just paid for less than they had planned for.

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The Agile Retrospective as a Process Improvement Tool Focusing on Business Value Reengineering and Cost Analysis

There is nothing new about associating the Agile Retrospective with Continuous or “Relentless” Improvement. That’s what it is for, that’s why we do it. However, often in the Agile Coaching world, we notice that Retrospective ideas that are “out of” an individual team’s control don’t get any traction. This becomes a missed opportunity for organizational Process Improvement and Business Value Reengineering. It is also a missed opportunity to analyze potential cost savings that could result from addressing the larger organizational impediments that the Agile teams are raising.

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Introducing “Value-Side” Thinking & Decision Making

It is common for corporations to focus on “cost-cutting” measures. While it is an extremely important economic principle to maximize profits by lowering costs, ignoring the impacts of business investment decisions on value creation can be detrimental to the quest for maximum profits. In this light, making cost-based or “cost-side” decisions without adding “value-side” thinking and decision making is not advisable.

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