Around the world, companies are challenged by the financial crisis. Companies face declining revenue and fixed costs. Lean, Agile and Scrum help your company at all levels to focus on doing the right things, like creating value for your customer and eliminating wasted cost and effort, to get you company back to profitability. Lean, Agile and Scrum help you focus on getting the right Vision, Values and Execution to meet challenging times. Now is the time to start the discussion with your top management.
Your CEO wants your company to survive and even prosper during the recession (and we’d all be happier if there were no recession or if we could turn it around quickly). Together with Sales and Marketing, the CEO is trying to figure out whether and how much sales will dry up in 2009. He is under pressure to cut costs. If he does nothing, the company will be stuck with the fixed costs, but not have the revenue to pay for it.
Lean is an adaptation of the principles of lean manufacturing to software development. Pioneered by Tom & Mary Poppendieck, Lean explains (particularly to management) why agile works.
Lean thinking helps management and staff focus on the right problems at the right time:
Concentrate your efforts. Get new products and services “out the door”, one after the other. Get your corporate response times to a minimum.
Agile values ensure effective information flow. Openness, Honesty, Courage and Trust ensure that everything which must be said can get said. If your staff fears for their job, or fears the consequences of telling the truth, they will be less willing to raise difficult issues. If your staff do not trust each other to do a good job, then people will devote energy to proving themselves or shielding themselves from blame. All these activities detract from your company’s mission to create value for its customers.
Adopt agile value to create an environment where
Agile is also a set of practices. For instance, Incremental Delivery means products are ready quickly for the customer (80/20 rule) and ROI can start quicker.
User Centered Design provides the basis for creating great products and services. Get inside your users heads. Understand what they want better than they do. Create a product which meets their needs, even the ones they didn’t know they had.
Create those innovative and convincing products, which give your customers products and services that they just have to buy.
Scrum organizes work based around simple principles to produce concrete results predictably and with ever improving productivity. In a company organized around Scrum, everyone knows what they have to do:
Vision is about knowing where the company — and each project — is going. Focus is ensuring that people really act to accomplish the defined goals (without distraction). Flow is having a continuous supply of work, not too much and not too little, so that the company can consistently and predictably deliver new value to its customers.
Scrum rituals ensure everything which must be said does get said. Continuous Improvement means your productivity will be at least 30% better by the end of the year than it is today.
For each company, the way out of the recession means getting customers to buy your products and services. So follow Dieter Zetsche’s advice and give them something wonderful to buy.
Get you top management interested in the problem and the solution. Tell them you want to their support for a pilot project, which will 1) create an innovative new product this quarter (which your customers will just have to buy next quarter), and 2) show how Lean, Agile and Scrum lay the foundation for a highly competitive enterprise.
You will need 1) management support and involvement, 2) an interdisciplinary team of 7 to 10 top people from your around company — all the experts needed to make a new product and 3) probably some coaching and training to make it all work effectively.
Then go create something wonderful!
Originally published on my blog at AgileSoftwareDevelopment.com.