This post has been superseded by a new version. The new version can be found here:
How Do You Go About Selling Agile?
I visited with Stephanie Stewart and Tom Loftus at Valpak last night and gave a presentation on my new book to a Tampa Bay Agile Meetup. We had a great audience and they asked some great questions that stimulated me to do a couple of blog posts. The first question was “Do you have any tips and tricks for ‘selling’ Agile to management?” That’s a great question and I’ve certainly learned some lessons about that (the hard way) that I can share.
- First, you have to look at it from an overall business perspective , not from a more limited development process perspective. It’s very easy to get “tunnel vision” with Agile – we get so enthusiastic about the benefits of Agile from a development process perspective that we assume that what’s good for the development process must be good for the company as a whole and that’s not necessarily the case. Agile is most beneficial to companies whose success is driven heavily by product innovation (see my prior blog on corporate culture).But what if you work for McDonalds? How does becoming more Agile benefit the company? McDonalds is not known very much for leadership in introducing new products. They have improved in introducing new products in recent years (for example, their McCafe coffee has helped them take business away from Starbucks) but rapid product innovation still may not be the most important driver of their business. Rather than attempting to force-fit a company to an Agile approach; you may have to craft an approach that is more well-aligned with the primary success factors that drive the company’s business and becoming more Agile may or may not be the most important factor in the company’s overall business success.
- Second, you have to recognize that some companies are scared to death of Agile – they’re afraid of losing control and that fear is not totally unfounded if the Agile approach is not well-designed and managed. So, you may need to start off with more of a hybrid approach as an initial first step to demonstrate success rather than going full-bore into a complete corporate Agile transformation. You also need to recognize that an Agile transformation can take a long time and demands a lot of patience and perseverance.
Finally, nothing sells better than results. Work on developing good results and that will sell itself.
I hope that helps some people avoid learning some of these lessons “the hard way” as I have.