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My boss wants advice.

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  • Jim Hughes
    Actually, he s my grandboss. I ll call him Ed . Ed asked me today if I had ideas on how sell Agile to his bosses. Most of Ed s groups use Agile practices
    Message 1 of 63 , Feb 1, 2006
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      Actually, he's my grandboss. I'll call him "Ed". Ed asked me today if I
      had ideas on how sell Agile to his bosses.

      Most of Ed's groups use Agile practices internally to one degree or another.
      Ed's problem is that the external forces on the groups can't or won't change
      the way they think about software development. A typical exchange might go
      like this: Bob, Ed's boss, says, "How long is important new feature X going
      to take? How many new people will you need?" Ed replies, "We can't yet
      say. We've only got three sentences about the feature from Todd. Until we
      get it fleshed out we can't give any meaningful estimate. After we've got a
      bit of definition, I can give you a rough idea, and then as we proceed
      through a few iterations, we can improve the estimate." Bob says, "Yeah,
      okay. So, how long will it take? We need to know what to tell customers
      and marketing."

      Eventually Ed makes up a date. Bob overrides the date, substituting an
      earlier one. Ed's coders and analysts work like hell to make the date,
      usually producing hellish code with hellish bugs. We ship something we call
      Feature X, and live with the maintenance of the hellish code, making Feature
      Y that much harder to develop.

      My problem used to be selling Agile to Ed's predecessors. When Ed took
      over, and embraced Agile, I thought I was done. Surely at Ed's exalted
      position he could run his projects the way he wants.

      Guess not. Now Ed has asked me how to sell Agile to his bosses. Many of
      them come from sales and marketing, a few from software development (long
      ago).

      Any advice is welcome. Pointers to books, articles, blog entries, etc.
      would be great.

      Jim


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • yahoogroups@jhrothjr.com
      From: Dave Churchville To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      Message 63 of 63 , Feb 22, 2006
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        From: "Dave Churchville" <dchurchv.at.yahoo.com@...>
        To: "extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com"
        <extremeprogramming.at.yahoogroups.com@...>
        Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2006 5:42 PM
        Subject: Fwd: Re: [XP] My boss wants advice.


        > --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries
        > <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
        >> If the scope changes, the date changes. The best way to make the
        >> date is to change the scope to get the date you want. The best way
        >> to change the scope is to eliminate details from all critical
        >> stories, but not to eliminate their essence. Often that will get all
        >> the necessary functionality into the system, though not the specific
        >> stories originally contemplated.
        >
        > This strategy has worked very well for me on my projects. Instead of
        > cutting scope by cutting entire stories, often I've been able to cut
        > just a specific implementation of that story, and opt for a less
        > robust, but satisfactory one.
        >
        > About 80% of the time, the more robust version is never asked for
        > again because the "good enough" flavor is, well, good enough.
        >
        > Classic example from my not so distant past:
        >
        > Customer (sales VP): "We need to integrate our reporting system with
        > Customer XYZ's internal system. Can you estimate how long that would
        > take?"
        >
        > Me: "Really? What are they trying to do with our information?
        >
        > Customer: "Well, I'm not sure, but they say they need all our reports
        > electronically to import into their billing system. We send them
        > FAXes today, and they don't want to deal with that."
        >
        > Me: "What if they could just download reports as PDF documents from
        > the Web application, and use those however they want?"
        >
        > Customer: "Um. Oh. I guess that would work. Well, how long will that
        > take to implement?"
        >
        > Me: "It's already in the current version."
        >
        > Estimated savings: $250K.

        Did anyone walk the value path with the customer on this one? My suspicion
        is that either they set up a parallel system to archive the PDF's
        and that their customer service people (or whoever) are taking
        extra time to access it (extra time compared to what they would
        have to take if it was on their main system), or they're hireing
        someone to input the data they need into their system from the PDF's.

        John Roth
        >
        > --Dave
        >
        > Dave Churchville
        > http://www.extremeplanner.com
        >
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