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Follow the Money - How to Speak to Executives about Agile

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When agile transformations fail, many agilists blame their executives for not caring about or understanding agile. However, few people focus on the different languages that IT and business people speak, and the different outcomes that both sides desire. Rather than blaming each other, what is needed is more empathy for the results that others care about and more understanding of the languages that others speak. Steven Granese will share his stories from working with executives while leading their agile transformations. He will describe how to explain agile using the language of executives: business outcomes and financial results. You will leave with a new appreciation for communicating with executives. Get ready to realize that you've been advocating for and evangelizing agile all wrong!

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Follow the Money - How to Speak to Executives about Agile

  1. 1. P re s e n t e d b y Follow the Money: How to Talk to Executives about Agile Steven Granese Vice President, Transform Practice
  2. 2. By The Numbers 3 Office Locations Tampa Atlanta Orlando 400+ Professionals 10 Consecutive Years Inc. 5000 2004 Launch Date Training Coaching Consulting Enterprise IT Solutions TransformationsCustomSoftwareDevelopment Enterprise Application Development System Integration and digital implementation Data Analytics Solutions Cloud Solutions (including Cloud Factory) Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence User Interface and Experience Design Collaboration Development Studio
  3. 3. My Background Developer Dev Manager Dev Consultant Agile Coach Director, Agile Consulting Transformation Consultant VP, Transform Consulting Experience speaking to execs When I learned Scrum
  4. 4. Exercise: Elevator pitch
  5. 5. My Story of “Follow the Money”
  6. 6. Reality Check Executives don’t care about agile… … and they never will… … so stop trying.
  7. 7. Executives Care About Results
  8. 8. No Pain, No Change Follow the Money!
  9. 9. Develop Empathy for Executives Speak the Language of Business Use Agile to Solve Business Problems
  10. 10. Develop Empathy for Executives
  11. 11. Execs Just Don’t Get It!
  12. 12. What do you think Execs care about?
  13. 13. Top Motivators for Executives Advancement Shareholder Value Bonuses
  14. 14. When I Learned to Develop Empathy
  15. 15. Develop Empathy for Executives Speak the Language of Business Use Agile to Solve Business Problems • Ask Better Questions • “What else could be going on here?”
  16. 16. Speak the Language of Business
  17. 17. The EBIDTA Drinking Game
  18. 18. The Language of Business “R-C-R” REVENUE COST RISK
  19. 19. Sample Conversation – Developer to Executive "Agile is so awesome. When the customer changes their mind, we just update the backlog and they are so happy. Our team doesn't have to work extra hours because we know our velocity and we make sure our tech debt is reasonable. Everyone on the team is loving it!" Jargon Lack of numbers
  20. 20. Sample Conversation – Developer to Executive "We reduced our costs by 40% by getting more regular feedback from the customer, which allowed us to eliminate roughly 20% of the features that we never had to build. “You had me at reduced costs by 40%...”
  21. 21. Your Primary Challenge How can you explain the benefits of agile while speaking the language of business?
  22. 22. Capture REVENUE Faster Waterfall Agile Time Revenue Missed Revenue Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
  23. 23. Reduce COSTS by Reducing Waste
  24. 24. Reduce COSTS by Reducing Waste
  25. 25. Reduce RISK with Realtime Feedback RECALCULATING…
  26. 26. Develop Empathy for Executives Speak the Language of Business Use Agile to Solve Business Problems • Ask Better Questions • “What else could be going on here?” • Mirror language of Executives • Read business books
  27. 27. Use Agile to Solve Business Problems
  28. 28. What if you could keep your teams together?
  29. 29. What is Agile? FOCUS ITERATE DELIVERFEEDBACK IMPROVE LEARNING Measure Results
  30. 30. Example of Solving a Business Problem with Agile FOCUS ITERATE DELIVERFEEDBACK IMPROVE LEARNING Projects falling behind schedule Daily Standups Daily DashboardHighlight Risky Projects Two Daily Standups Measure Results
  31. 31. Example of Solving a Business Problem with Agile FOCUS ITERATE DELIVERFEEDBACK IMPROVE LEARNING Losing Sales Deals Pricing Options New Pricing SheetsAsk Friendly Customers Better Market Research Measure Results
  32. 32. Your goal is to build trust. And that will take patience.
  33. 33. Develop Empathy for Executives Speak the Language of Business Use Agile to Solve Business Problems • Ask Better Questions • “What else could be going on here?” • Mirror language of Executives • Read business books • Take ownership • Focus on measurable business results
  34. 34. Develop Empathy for Executives Speak the Language of Business Use Agile to Solve Business Problems Is there truly any pain? What is the business pain? How can agile relieve the pain?
  35. 35. “Follow the Money” Exercise 1. Review the scenario 2. Decide on the Exec’s primary motivation 3. Identify 3 reasons why this Exec may be resistant Advancement Shareholder Value Bonuses
  36. 36. “Follow the Money” Scenario Your organization is starting an agile transformation. The VP of IT has been named as head of the transformation team. She skips most preliminary team meetings, and is hesitant to make decisions. She seems to be stalling, despite her previous positive experience with agile. • Exec’s primary motivation • 3 reasons Exec may resist Advancement Shareholder Value Bonuses
  37. 37. Exercise: Let’s Discuss • Previous experience with agile was great for her teams, which led to her promotion • Part of that success was due to overhaul of reporting structures • Current bonus was based on headcount in her organization Advancement Shareholder Value Bonuses
  38. 38. Debrief – What are you taking away? Develop Empathy for Executives Speak the Language of Business Use Agile to Solve Business Problems
  39. 39. Steven.Granese@agilethought.com Thank you and stay in touch! @sgranese stevengranese

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