How to convince Clients and Management on AGILE
As a Project Manager you want to run your projects in an Agile way - Great! However, the reality is that the journey is not as easy as it first appears, for two key reasons:
a) Your clients have never worked in an Agile way,
b) Your senior management and executives who, for nothing other than historical and familiarity reasons, are fixed on traditional project approaches.
You know that without their backing, you have no chance. So, how and where do you start to address this?
This session will focus on building awareness and then aim to create desire to adopt Agile practices. We will be looking at the view point of a CEO, COO and CFO. We will then illustrate why complex problems are best resolved by self organising teams and finally we will address the concern of remote and distributed team work.
Creating Awareness & Desire
Persuading Clients and Management to
adopt Agile Practices
PMI CH Chapter, 28th August 2013
Matthew Caine & Klaus Bucka-Lassen
Co-Founders, The Swiss Agile Leaders Circle
some people call it a
methodology or an approach
yet it is about
1. Let's face the “Facts”
2. The Management Team’s
Concerns & Questions
3. Solving Complicated and
Klaus Bucka-Lassen is the CEO and founder of
aragost Trifork ag.
Since graduating in 1996 with a Masters in
Computer Science Klaus has worked as a
software developer and architect, project leader,
entrepreneur, speaker, trainer and coach for
organisations in CH, DK, DE, CA and Australia.
In his free time he flies, skis, drives motor bikes sadly his formula 3 licence expired.
Line C.A. Sorensen
Matthew Caine is the CEO and founder of M.C.
Partners & Associates.
Since graduating in 1992 in Computer Science
Matthew has worked as a Software developer,
project leader, people manager, consultant,
entrepreneur, speaker and coach for
organisations in CH, UK, DE, US and Poland.
When he cannot be found, he will be in remote
Northwest Scotland fishing in the sea.
Pragmatic Solutions Zühlke Engineering
● You have heard of “Agile”
● You are not looking for tips on Standups
● You are looking for persuasive ideas
● You want immediate take-aways
The bigger the harder
McKinsey & Company October 2012 | by Michael Bloch, Sven Blumberg, and Jürgen Laartz
The Project Management Hut, Nov 2012
And there is more ...
● “Agile projects have a three time higher success rate”
[Standish Group, 2012]
● “Water-Scrum-Fall … fails to realize Agile’s business
benefits, such as faster time-to-market, increased business
value, and improved flexibility and responsiveness”
● “Say Goodbye to Waterfall” [Gartner, 2012]
● What is a
Get your facts first, then
you can distort them as
There are lies, damned
lies and statistics
● How do you
● Representative surveys?
However, evidence is overwhelming, that there
are better ways of doing things ...
Convincing the Management Team
The Drowning CEO
The Bouncy COO
The mad CFO
Goto Conference 2013:
“That Gantt chart, the greatest lie of the last 20 years… it is immediately out of date”
Swiss Alternative Investment Firm
Each time the software vendor was 1 day
2 man years of UAT re-planned
External resources re-secured
Internal “business” expectations dashed
Reputation loss for vendor and client
Put a figure on it...
With Agile you will have Something!
No more MS-Project licences to pay :-)
What Would You Prefer to Pay For?
Does Your Organisation Learn?
After each project we write a debrief report
Is one really written?
Are the right people still available to write it?
Is it ever read?
What about during the work?
Plan Do Check Act Cycle
Learn as we go, not afterwards: Continuous Improvement
● Retrospectives & Reviews
● Impediments Management
● Managers that “clearing the way” for the teams.
e.g. Product (Scrum) Development
Retrospect every Sprint!
What about Priorities?
Everything in every project is a must-have!
Maybe, but in Agile we have to Prioritise…!
Unlike traditional where developers decide based on a 100+ page
The business decides (highest value item first) and re-evaluates
To save costs we have near-shored to Krakow, Poland.
Agile only works with Co-Located teams!
Well, what if I told you most teams are not co-located,
traditional or Agile… Remote means:
on another continent
in another country
in another company
in another building
on another floor
in another room
more than 25m away…
… outside of passive hearing.
Remote Teams & “Community Decay”
But traditional promotes decay
Yes co-location is ideal for all types of project, but
Agile is better when the team is remote
Collaboration & Contracting
My client wants
We only do Time & Materials…
also heard of this thing called
“Money for Nothing, Change for
But we don’t trust!
Prefer Partnership to Contracts!
Clients want FP. Suppliers want T&M.
We prefer a mix, based on partnership e.g.:
FP for each Sprint
T&M until the client says enough (making it cheaper anyway)
The partnership is tested early rather than at the end:
Frequent delivery (of software!)
Legally, put into a “Framework” Contract (Rahmenvertrag)
How can I book/cost the efforts if
requirements, design, code and
testing are all in one short period
Actually Agile is great if you want to write off the
investment over a number of years (CapEx).
With limited OpEx, the ability to capitalize software
development costs can make the difference between
starting a project and having it rejected due to budgetary
Partnering with an Agile firm can give you the flexibility to
capitalize more of your software development costs. i.e.
start projects now!
e.g. Tier 1 bank chose an Agile supplier for 9000 days CapEx’d
over 5 years… worth 13m CHF.
An Agile Attitude, If not STOP!
We are flexible…
we are thus Agile...
No… what matters is this:
The work is aligned to the company’s strategy
You are comfortable with uncertainty
You and your team accept that change is inevitable
That the project does not have to be 100% completed
You do not need to have everything planned in detail and
thus known in advance
We like silos… we have clear handovers and we can scale…
Matrix is the answer!
Aren’t the co-ordination efforts high?
Don’t things fall through the gaps?
Isn’t there a “Them and us” blame game?
How about the Project Manager, with all the responsibility
and accountability but no executive power?
Of course all our people are Motivated! I am!
They work for me, we pay them, they get 20
days holiday and coffee is cheap...
Denning discovered 1 in 5 were motivated.
One exception: A certain set of people.
So to raise motivation 100%, you only need to have 2 in 5 motivated!
Think about it… what would this means to your revenue!
Agile motivates because of: Autonomy, Purpose & Mastery (Dan Pink, “Drive”)
What Projects Suite Agile?
Our projects are large and very complex
… Agile will not work!
Sorry, wrong answer
Complex vs. Complicated
Is this the shortest route
from A to B?
Is it the fastest then?
Changing the nature of the problem
● Can we reduce complexity
○ Typically not
○ Complexity will continue to increase
● Trying to reduce complexity leads to
○ Organizational silos
○ Working in big batches
We Need Agility for Complexity
Our projects are large and very complex
… THEREFORE we need to be Agile!
Agreed, the world gets more and more complex
(globalization, social networks, communication,
information flood, etc.)
In IT we have
○ Many stakeholders with different needs that change
frequently and are difficult to articulate
○ Context changes rapidly, e.g. competitors, law &
compliance, economy, globalization, public opinion
○ Near infinite number of approaches, technologies
and tools to help achieve the goal
○ Individuals with different skills, adaptiveness,
opinions, interests; Teams with trust, antipathies,
ambition, language, culture, etc.
● The Facts are there!
● The Management Team’s concerns and
questions have been answered (and more!)
● Agile is the most appropriate approach for
large complex projects
● You have a set of persuasive arguments and