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Good agile / Bad agile: Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization

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Is Agile worth it?
What value can being Agile bring to your organization?

Done right, Agile software development methodologies can help your organization deliver greater value to customers and other stakeholders more efficiently and with reduced risk.

Done wrong, Agile methodologies become an endlessly iterating feature factory, facing an ever-growing backlog.

In this interactive session, attendees discussed:
- How to identify what’s most valuable to build next
- How to ensure that the features you build are not just functional, but used and valued
- How to measure and effectively communicate the value that you create

Led by Alan Albert of MarketFit, this session at Agile Vancouver explored theory, examples, and exercises showing how to unlock the power of discovering, creating, and communicating value.

Published in: Technology
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Good agile / Bad agile: Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization

  1. 1. Good Agile / Bad Agile Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization Alan Albert marketfit.com alan@marketfit.com linkedin.com/in/alanalbert @a_albert
  2. 2. A story of failure [ mine ]
  3. 3. From this… To this… Greater functionality More configurable Easier to learn and use Faster
  4. 4. School board: New multi-million $ software delays start of school year across metro area DAILY NEWS Costs and duration of delay unknown
  5. 5. “ You're going on an apology tour! ”
  6. 6. Bugs? No Missing features? No Slow performance? No Hard to use? No Bugs? Missing features? Slow performance? Hard to use? Discovering where we went wrong
  7. 7. What I learned… sparked a journey that led me here today
  8. 8. Who are we? • Who is personally doing Agile (in some form)? • Whose organization wants you to become Agile? • Whose organization is currently Agile? Waterfall? Both? • Who wants their organization to become Agile? • What is your role? Software engineer? Product Owner? Scrum Master? Product Manager? Agile Coach? Manager or Exec?
  9. 9. Good Agile / Bad Agile Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization
  10. 10. Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization Good Agile / Bad AgileGood Agile / Bad Agile Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization Good Agile / Bad Agile
  11. 11. Good Agile / Bad Agile Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization
  12. 12. Why are organizations skeptical of Agile? ?
  13. 13. You say you want a revolution?
  14. 14. From US Dept. of Defense Defense Innovation Board DIB Guide: Detecting Agile BS Oct 09, 2018
  15. 15. Much of the time, it can look like we’re off course Really? Image Credit: Henrik Kniberg
  16. 16. More reasons to be skeptical When asked, many agile teams can’t accurately commit to… • What the end product will look like • How full-featured it will be • When it will be done • How much it will cost to build Most agile teams will admit… • We expect to fail along the way
  17. 17. Sh*t anti-agile people say • “Agile development doesn’t fit in our Waterfall organization” • “With Agile, we can’t make commitments to customers” • “When they say they’re an agile shop, I assume they have no structured development process at all”
  18. 18. Good Agile / Bad Agile Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization
  19. 19. How do we know Agile when we see it? ?
  20. 20. What is Agile? Agile modeling Agile unified process (AUP) Disciplined agile delivery Dynamic systems development method (DSDM) Extreme programming (XP) Feature-driven development (FDD) Lean software development Rapid application development (RAD) Adaptive software development (ASD) Lean startup Kanban Scrum Scrumban Crystal SAFe
  21. 21. 12 Principles of the Agile Manifesto 1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. 2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage. 3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. 4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. 5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. 6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. 7. Working software is the primary measure of progress. 8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. 9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility. 10. Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential. 11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. 12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
  22. 22. What is Agile? It doesn’t matter how we define our development process. If it actually is valuable, we should be able to prove it.
  23. 23. Good Agile / Bad Agile Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization
  24. 24. 38% 63% 77% What % of new products fail?
  25. 25. >80% $29.5 billion spent creating features that aren’t used Fail What % of new products fail? No improvement after shift from Waterfall to Agile
  26. 26. If our current best practices are so good, why is our failure rate so high?  Admitting the problem
  27. 27. How do we know bad Agile when we see it? ?
  28. 28. Waterfall Discover Design Develop Test Release Learning comes too late
  29. 29. Release Pseudo agile (incremental waterfall) Discover Design Develop Test Learning still comes too late
  30. 30. Agile What are we learning here?
  31. 31. Changing the Product to Find a Fit CUSTOMERS ? PRODUCT x x
  32. 32. ! Convincing the Market to Want our Product CUSTOMERS ? PRODUCT $
  33. 33. Why build before we measure?
  34. 34. Why sprint before we know the right direction?
  35. 35. Why fail fast? Why not focus on succeeding sooner?
  36. 36. B2B Products & Services B2C Products & Services Not for Profit Startups SMB Fortune 500 Cognitive Psychology Computer Science Fail Why listen to Alan? QA & Support Marketing Manufacturing Partnerships Legal Product Marketing Software Development Strategy Board of Advisors Board of Directors Board Chair CEO $1B Contributor User Researcher UX Designer Product Designer Product Manager Software Engineer Company Lead V.P. Corporate Co-Founder Acquirer Acquired
  37. 37. Discovering the value of multiple perspectives
  38. 38. Speed of data entry! We never looked at things from her perspective. Bugs? No Missing features? No Slow performance? No Hard to use? No Bugs? Missing features? Slow performance? Hard to use? Discovering where we went wrong
  39. 39. We didn’t know what our customers really cared about We thought we knew Thinking we knew got in the way of learning What did I learn?
  40. 40. Would you rather… prove you’re right be proven wrong learn something new
  41. 41. Choose carefully… prove you’re right be proven wrong learn something new It gets harder to or try too hard to not If you try too hard to
  42. 42. Good Agile / Bad Agile Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization
  43. 43. What is Value? ?
  44. 44. What is Value? What something is worth in an exchange
  45. 45. What is Value? What something is worth in an exchange as perceived by the recipient
  46. 46. Value Beauty≈ What is Value?
  47. 47. Perception of value Recipient’s values Where does value come from?
  48. 48. motivations goals concerns emotions what people care about the “whys” that drive people’s decisions What are values?
  49. 49. Introducing 
 Customer Perception of Value
  50. 50. Customer Values = motivations goals concerns emotions what people care about the “why” that makes them buy
  51. 51. Values spark emotions & drive decisions Buying Usage Retention Recommendation
  52. 52. Examples of Customer Values Minimizing costs Increasing revenue Reducing risks Gaining confidence Making friends Protecting privacy Environmentally friendly Socially conscious Rapid deployment Minimizing disruption Global presence Local office Convenience Wide selection Low price
  53. 53. PRODUCT VALUES FEATURES BENEFITS
  54. 54. PRODUCT FEATURES BENEFITS VALUES
  55. 55. PRODUCT VALUES FEATURES BENEFITS PRODUCT VALUES FEATURES BENEFITS Start Here Or Here People with different values choose different products
  56. 56. People with different values react differently to the same product
  57. 57. People who share the same perception of what’s most valuable New definition of Market Segment:
  58. 58. Segment by customer values to increase value
  59. 59. Adding features often reduces value More features does not mean more value
  60. 60. You can create value by amplifying the shared top values Competition, Fitness, Recognition Energy, Stamina Unified data, Controlled access Performance, Ecology Interoperability, Efficiency Make me look good, Find my next job Peloton Red Bull Slack Tesla Zapier LinkedIn
  61. 61. Coke Zero Netflix Salesforce Slack Calories Paying for unwatched movies Installation fees, lengthy implementations Unmanageable inboxes, CC hell Or you can create value by minimizing shared negative values
  62. 62. No EvidenceNo TaxiNo Hotel Disruptive innovations omit “essential” features to deliver exceptional value No Horse No keyboard No Engine
  63. 63. ≠ Customer perception of valueYour perception of value Whose Perception of Value?
  64. 64. Good Agile / Bad Agile Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization
  65. 65. What do we mean by proof? ?
  66. 66. What is proof? Working definition: Evidence that compels others to accept an assertion as true
  67. 67. What is proof of value? Demonstrating worth, according to their values
  68. 68. How could we prove the value of Agile? ?
  69. 69. Proving value Effort Definition Amount of exertion Measures Team Example Overtime hours Timing Immediate Proof? No
  70. 70. Proving value Outputs Definition Quantity of work Measures Product Example Velocity points Timing Lagging Proof? No
  71. 71. 12 Principles of the Agile Manifesto 1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. 2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage. 3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. 4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. 5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. 6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. 7. Working software is the primary measure of progress. 8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. 9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility. 10. Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential. 11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. 12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly. Measuring Outputs
  72. 72. “Concentrate on what will produce results rather than on the results, the process rather than the prize.”
  73. 73. Proving value Inputs Definition Quality of effort Measures Team Example Team health check results Timing Leading Proof? No
  74. 74. Proving value Outcomes Definition Impact on business Measures Business Example KPIs, OKRs Timing Lagging Late Proof? Yes
  75. 75. Proving value Effort Outputs Inputs Outcomes Definition Amount 
 of exertion Quantity 
 of work Quality 
 of effort Impact 
 on business Measures Team Product Team Business Example Overtime
 hours Velocity 
 points Team health check results KPIs, 
 OKRs Timing Immediate Lagging Leading Lagging Late Proof? No No No Yes
  76. 76. Identifying the problem We don’t know whether our effort, inputs or outputs are going to deliver the desired outcomes until it’s too late
  77. 77. How can we prove the value of agile? An observation: We can only prove the value of agile, if it is valuable
  78. 78. Is there a better way? Effort Outputs Inputs Outcomes Definition Amount 
 of exertion Quantity 
 of work Quality 
 of effort Impact 
 on business Measures Team Product Team Business Example Overtime
 hours Velocity 
 points Team health check results KPIs, 
 OKRs Timing Immediate Lagging Leading Lagging Late Proof? No No No Yes Is there a leading indicator that can prove we’re on the path to delivering value?
  79. 79. Good Agile / Bad Agile Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization
  80. 80. How do we know good Agile when we see it? ?
  81. 81. 1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. 2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage. Agile Manifesto: 12 Principles
  82. 82. Three laws of Agile • Law of the Customer—an obsession with delivering value to customers as the be-all and end-all of the organization. • Law of the Small Team—a presumption that all work be carried out by small self -organizing teams, working in short cycles and focused on delivering value to customers • Law of the Network—a continuing effort to obliterate bureaucracy and top-down hierarchy so that the firm operates as an interacting network of teams, all focused on working together to deliver increasing value to customers Credit: Steve Denning, Forbes, Sept 2019
  83. 83. How do we know good Agile when we see it? Agile is good only if it delivers value to customers
  84. 84. So how can we best deliver value to customers? ?
  85. 85. Customer values are discoverable. Knowing customer values can prevent catastrophic failure. Why skip this step?
  86. 86. • Software developers not talking to users • Meeting requirements more important than getting something useful to the field quickly • Stakeholders acting “more-or-less autonomously” (e.g. it’s not my job) • Manual processes are tolerated in situations when automation is possible US DoD flags for detecting ‘Agile BS’ Credit: Steve Denning, Forbes, Sept 2019
  87. 87. Why not just ask “what are your values?”
  88. 88. To discover customer values, we don’t need to show anything We won't learn more about customers by asking them later
  89. 89. Learning from customers What Your
 Customer 
 Cares About Your Idea 
 or 
 Solution What your customer will talk about What you won’t learn
  90. 90. Discover ➔ Measure ➔ Validate
  91. 91. Interviewing for Customer Perception of Value Ask them to describe their behaviour in your chosen context What did they actually do in that context? Ask only about the past — not the present or future Then ask about their thinking at that time What led them to do the things that they did? How did they go about making their decision? Don’t ask about features. Focus on learning how they decided.
  92. 92. Customer Perception of Value Mini-Workshop 1. Ask your neighbour to name a considered purchase they made recently Focus only on how they decided what to buy, not on after they bought 2. Then ask them to describe their buying behaviour in detail, start to finish What did they actually do, to make the choice? Ask only about the past — not the present or future 3. And then ask about their thinking at that time What led them to do the things that they did? How did they go about evaluating and arriving at their final decision?
  93. 93. Your insights into Perception of Value
  94. 94. The next time you talk to a customer, try not mentioning your idea, product or feature at all.
  95. 95. Discover your Customers’ Values CUSTOMER PERCEPTION OF VALUE UNDERSTANDING OF VALUE
  96. 96. and gain competitive advantages Design to Match Your Customers’ Values CUSTOMER PERCEPTION OF VALUE UNDERSTANDING OF VALUE PRICING MARKETING INNOVATING
  97. 97. UNDERSTANDING OF VALUE Avoid Designing for Everyone’s Values CUSTOMER PERCEPTION OF VALUE Adding features not valued can reduce CPV
  98. 98. CUSTOMER VALUES PRODUCT VALUES PRODUCT - MARKET FIT Designing for Product-Market Fit MARKETING “PROMISE OF VALUE”
  99. 99. Proving value Value Definition Perception of worth Measures Customers & Stakeholders Example Speed of data entry Timing Leading & Lagging Proof? Yes
  100. 100. Ways to demonstrate value Effort Outputs Inputs Outcomes Value Definition Amount of exertion Quantity of work Quality of effort Impact on business Perception 
 of worth Example Overtime 
 hours Velocity points Team health check results KPIs, 
 OKRs Speed of 
 data entry Measures Team Product Team Business Customers & Stakeholders Timing Immediate Lagging Leading Lagging Late Leading & 
 Lagging Proof? No No No Yes Yes
  101. 101. Customer Values tell us… • Where to head • Why head there • Where to focus to get there • How to measure progress all along the way
  102. 102. When facing multiple stakeholders and competing priorities, how can teams consistently deliver value? ?
  103. 103. Diversity Alignment Expertise Which is most important on teams?
  104. 104. Facts vs. Opinions
  105. 105. Customer values in decision making The customer is always right about their perception of value
  106. 106. Diversity vs. Alignment Diversity brings differing perspectives that add value Alignment enables us to work together efficiently To create value efficiently, we must reconcile the conflict between diversity and alignment
  107. 107. Reconciling diverse opinions Understanding Customer Perception of Value helps bring diversity into alignment
  108. 108. The ROI from Understanding Values More customers More revenue Greater customer retention More referrals Lower risk of failure Fewer features Lower cost of development Faster delivery of greater value Cost Savings Revenue Profit Market Share
  109. 109. Customer Perception of Value as North Star
  110. 110. Good Agile / Bad Agile Proving the value of Agile to a skeptical organization Alan Albert marketfit.com alan@marketfit.com linkedin.com/in/alanalbert @a_albert

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