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Re: [XP] XP in sales

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  • Dan Bunea
    Hi Jason, Thanks for the advise. We are trying to be agile as much as possible, all together, but we have some borders unfortunately. We develop in Romania,
    Message 1 of 26 , Mar 4, 2006
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      Hi Jason,

      Thanks for the advise. We are trying to be agile as much as possible,
      all together, but we have some borders unfortunately. We develop in
      Romania, some of the clients are in the UK, so we need to cope with
      the overhead of that, however, we are in direct contact all the time
      with the customers, going there, them coming here, on phone, skype, on
      IM etc. But this is done after getting the contract mostly although we
      are involved in the prediscussions with the customers also, so being
      less involved in the trust building phase makes me put this question
      here.

      Thanks,
      Dan


      On 3/3/06, Jason Nocks <nocksj@...> wrote:
      > On Friday 03 March 2006 3:10 am, Dan Bunea wrote:
      > > Hi,
      > >
      > > Although I do belive we have made remarcable progress, using XP, a few
      > > days ago someone from sales asked me about How do you seel XP to the
      > > customers. Since I believe in collaboration, and that everyone needs to be
      > > involved, the sellers as the first line with a new customers, need to know
      > > about it very well. He asked:
      >
      > My group gets developers involved during the sales effort. We view much of
      > Sales to be about communication and planning with the prospective customer. I
      > think a lot of XP is very helpful there. Rather than "selling XP", we're
      > "doing XP" during the sales effort. Plus, a lot of pattern interrupts and
      > trying to help the prospective customer to open up in a what is traditionally
      > a rather guarded situation.
      >
      > > What do I do when the first thing the client wants is how much is this
      > > going to cost me?
      >
      > Great question. I run into what seems like a similar situation quite often
      > (although it's not the first thing anymore). My company does a lot of custom
      > consulting. Someone from the customer role almost always wants an idea of
      > budget and/or timeframe. Since we hear the questions a lot, I'm trying to
      > find better ways to get fromt the customer what they really need along these
      > lines and how can I get better at providing that.
      >
      > Have you read "Agile Estimating and Planning" (ISBN 0131479415), by Mike Cohn?
      > I just started reading it maybe a few weeks back. I think there's some good
      > advice there to help with situations like this.
      >
      > > I tried to explain the shopping cart mechanism (defining the stories,
      > > development team estimating the cost, customer prioritizing), but maybe I
      > > can get a better opinion here.
      > >
      > > Thanks,
      > > Dan Bunea
      > > http://danbunea.blogspot.com
      >
      > --
      > Cheers,
      > Jason Nocks
      >
      > Bliki:
      > http://wiki.sourcextreme.org/index.php/Bliki:Jason
      >
      >
      > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
      >
      > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
      >
      > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >


      --
      Dan Bunea
      http://danbunea.blogspot.com
    • Dan Bunea
      Hi Willian, ... Thanks for the complete answer. All clients tend to be pushy, going for the 4 question. It is a defensive mechanism most of us use in everyday
      Message 2 of 26 , Mar 4, 2006
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        Hi Willian,


        On 3/3/06, William Pietri <william@...> wrote:
        > Dan Bunea wrote:
        > > What do I do when the first thing the client wants is how much is this
        > > going to cost me?
        > >
        >
        > I think this question is so hard because it is at least two questions
        > together, and just from the questions you can't tell what is being
        > asked. If you break it up, it's easier to deal with. Here are some of
        > the possible things I hear in that:
        >
        > 1. What's a ballpark estimate for my project?
        > 2. I have a certain budget to spend. What can I get for that?
        > 3. If we start work and the estimate is wrong, what happens then?
        > 4. I want a fixed price right now that you guarantee.
        >



        > Three of these are reasonable questions. The fourth isn't a question at
        > all: it's a desire that is natural but unreasonable. If you are dealing
        > with number 4, you will need to educate the client. McConnell's "Rapid
        > Development" has a great chapter on estimation with some cartoons and
        > graphs that I have found very helpful in doing a 20-minute Estimation
        > 101 class.
        >


        > One way to answer either of the first two questions is with a planning
        > game. The raw output of that planning game may need to be modified to
        > fit the sales cycle, but that should be pretty obvious.
        >
        > The third question is partly a business question, and that part XP
        > doesn't answer. One or both will take a risk on this, and there are a
        > lot of ways you can structure that.
        >
        > To the extent the client is taking the risk, you should make it clear to
        > them that XP makes their risk much, much smaller. It gives them working
        > systems early. It lets them see weekly progress. It lets them start the
        > project sooner. It allows them to change the upcoming schedule without
        > penalty. And it puts them in much, much better control of tradeoffs
        > between scope and schedule.
        >
        >

        Thanks for the complete answer.

        All clients tend to be pushy, going for the 4 question. It is a
        defensive mechanism most of us use in everyday life. It is very common
        to run away from products that do not have their prices visible, since
        we automatically assume that they will be more costly that we can
        afford.

        I will try to emplasize to our sales people the necessity to come up
        with a better way to explain that risks are minimized dramatically
        with an agile approach, and also costs. Possibly this way they can be
        more efficient in building the initial trust.

        Thanks,
        Dan

        > Does that help, Dan?
        >
        > William
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
        >
        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
        >
        > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >


        --
        Dan Bunea
        http://danbunea.blogspot.com
      • Ron Jeffries
        ... Dan, I guess I m not understanding quite what the problem is. Are your sales people imagining that they have to give your prospects a price BEFORE they
        Message 3 of 26 , Mar 4, 2006
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          On Saturday, March 4, 2006, at 7:49:55 AM, Dan Bunea wrote:

          > The answer is yes. We have worked together on planning (planning game
          > - releases and iterations) before. They are happy with it, but what
          > they seem to be worried is the first contact with new customers (that
          > are used to a more waterfall approach, with tons of documents before
          > anything is done). The building thrust phase where they have to get
          > the clients to work with us, where we need to compete with much larger
          > companies, with "names".

          Dan, I guess I'm not understanding quite what the problem is. Are
          your sales people imagining that they have to give your prospects a
          price BEFORE they know what is needed? That seems a bit tricky -- do
          your competitors somehow set prices before they know what they have
          to do?

          Or is the problem really something else, such as that your company
          does not as yet have a track record that can be referred to? In that
          case, I'd probably want to talk about the value of seeing the
          software every couple of weeks, and the ability to stop whenever the
          customer wants, to keep risks low, and the ability to change their
          minds ...

          So ... maybe tell us a bit more about what your sales people are
          really thinking?

          Ron Jeffries
          www.XProgramming.com
          The work teaches us. -- Richard Gabriel
        • Henrique Borges
          ... Somehow, I have the impression that Waterfall-style development actually do this. After very few meetings, collecting requirements, my competitors guess
          Message 4 of 26 , Mar 4, 2006
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            > Dan, I guess I'm not understanding quite what the problem is. Are
            > your sales people imagining that they have to give your prospects a
            > price BEFORE they know what is needed? That seems a bit tricky -- do
            > your competitors somehow set prices before they know what they have
            > to do?

            Somehow, I have the impression that Waterfall-style development
            actually do this.

            After very few meetings, collecting requirements, my competitors
            "guess" the effort it will take then, add a few slack for the risks
            involved and present a "Project Proposal" with major features and
            deliverables, price and date constraints. Only then the client sign
            off for the project. After that, my competitors strive (most of the
            time without success) to keep the planed scope, date and cost.

            If I'm understanding correctly, Dan is referring to that "Project
            Proposal" phase where prices are, sorry for the word, guessed.

            Maybe during the first project "Pre-sale" phase, your sales people
            could do something like a project proposal showing your prospect what
            they could expect from the project, with the major features that they
            expect to be developed, the necessary resources to be allocated, and
            the first estimates (not constraints) of time and cost.

            I think this proposal can compete with Waterfall-style ones. But
            better than the Waterfall-style development, as Ron said, I would
            stress the values of the frequent delivery of tested software, the
            ability to stop whenever they want and the ability to change their
            minds about the features. I think this is far better than tons of
            documents.

            --
            Henrique Borges
          • Dan Bunea
            Hi Ron, It seems that Henrique has helped me a great deal here. Our competitors usually use waterfall, and they guess prices and lenght in time for
            Message 5 of 26 , Mar 5, 2006
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              Hi Ron,

              It seems that Henrique has helped me a great deal here. Our competitors
              usually use waterfall, and they "guess" prices and lenght in time for
              development withought really analysing the product to be developed, assuming
              incredible risks.

              On the other hand, the customers like to have a price with as little
              involvment as possible, as fast as possible, and they are given this by our
              competitors, which usually are much bigger names then us. It has happened
              that someone has told our sales representative, that we're trying to hide
              the real cost and we will go for ever and ever with the project, and ask for
              more and more money, and he will be have to pay as the product won't be
              finished. My response was that he's actually in the control of what's being
              done, "steering" direction, and seeing progress all the time, and planning
              for a few month releases on which he'll have the cost up front, but he had
              already made his decision against us.

              Then we have the sales staff, somehow confused by the new
              approach, that need real guidance, step by step, in much detail.

              Thanks for all, I am forwarding all these responses to them, and will
              probably discuss all these together one of these days,
              Dan

              On 3/5/06, Henrique Borges <henriqueborges@...> wrote:
              >
              > > Dan, I guess I'm not understanding quite what the problem is. Are
              > > your sales people imagining that they have to give your prospects a
              > > price BEFORE they know what is needed? That seems a bit tricky -- do
              > > your competitors somehow set prices before they know what they have
              > > to do?
              >
              > Somehow, I have the impression that Waterfall-style development
              > actually do this.
              >
              > After very few meetings, collecting requirements, my competitors
              > "guess" the effort it will take then, add a few slack for the risks
              > involved and present a "Project Proposal" with major features and
              > deliverables, price and date constraints. Only then the client sign
              > off for the project. After that, my competitors strive (most of the
              > time without success) to keep the planed scope, date and cost.
              >
              > If I'm understanding correctly, Dan is referring to that "Project
              > Proposal" phase where prices are, sorry for the word, guessed.
              >
              > Maybe during the first project "Pre-sale" phase, your sales people
              > could do something like a project proposal showing your prospect what
              > they could expect from the project, with the major features that they
              > expect to be developed, the necessary resources to be allocated, and
              > the first estimates (not constraints) of time and cost.
              >
              > I think this proposal can compete with Waterfall-style ones. But
              > better than the Waterfall-style development, as Ron said, I would
              > stress the values of the frequent delivery of tested software, the
              > ability to stop whenever they want and the ability to change their
              > minds about the features. I think this is far better than tons of
              > documents.
              >
              > --
              > Henrique Borges
              >
              >
              > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
              >
              > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
              > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
              >
              > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >


              --
              Dan Bunea
              http://danbunea.blogspot.com


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Ron Jeffries
              ... The story above makes me think that you are bidding an incremental X money per iteration response to a customer who wants a fixed price. It is not
              Message 6 of 26 , Mar 5, 2006
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                On Sunday, March 5, 2006, at 4:43:35 AM, Dan Bunea wrote:

                > It seems that Henrique has helped me a great deal here. Our competitors
                > usually use waterfall, and they "guess" prices and lenght in time for
                > development withought really analysing the product to be developed, assuming
                > incredible risks.

                > On the other hand, the customers like to have a price with as little
                > involvment as possible, as fast as possible, and they are given this by our
                > competitors, which usually are much bigger names then us. It has happened
                > that someone has told our sales representative, that we're trying to hide
                > the real cost and we will go for ever and ever with the project, and ask for
                > more and more money, and he will be have to pay as the product won't be
                > finished. My response was that he's actually in the control of what's being
                > done, "steering" direction, and seeing progress all the time, and planning
                > for a few month releases on which he'll have the cost up front, but he had
                > already made his decision against us.

                The story above makes me think that you are bidding an incremental X
                money per iteration response to a customer who wants a fixed price.
                It is not necessary to do that.

                The reason I asked whether you know how to do an XP Release Plan is
                that this can be done at the very beginning of the project. The best
                way -- and it's a good sales approach as well, I'd think -- is to
                have reps from the technical team sit down with the customer, draw
                out the stories (requirements). Then the team estimates the stories,
                asking the customer questions about them. When the estimates are
                done, the team uses their experience and estimated velocity to say
                how long the project will take.

                During the process, if I were in a sales situation, I'd want the
                sales person to be making note of each case where the technical team
                asked questions of the customer and changed their estimate or
                audibly changed their design view of the system. In a subsequent
                sales meeting, or a later part of this one, the sales person would
                then be in a position to summarize those situations something like
                this:

                Mr Customer, I noticed some interesting things in this session,
                situations where our approach has extra value to you. For example,
                when we were talking about the Flying Widget feature, the team had
                at first thought that was a four-point story but conversation with
                you told them it was only a two. Without that conversation, our
                bid would have had to be higher, and we might not have provided
                what you really need.

                If you're talking with organizations who merely come in, do a
                superficial look at what you want and then guess a price and a
                solution, there's always uncertainty. Whether they raise their
                price to cover those contingencies, or whether they make it up by
                charging extra for changes, you can be sure you'll be paying the
                price.

                We work closely with you all through the project, to ensure that
                there's clear understanding between us on what you really want,
                and to keep your costs as low as possible. And remember, our
                approach shows you a working program all the time. You'll know how
                we're doing and will be in a position to guide the project to
                success.

                (Blah blah more sales stuff)

                > Then we have the sales staff, somehow confused by the new
                > approach, that need real guidance, step by step, in much detail.

                Yes, no doubt they do. And to do the planning well, the technical
                team need training and practice as well. Based on what Kent Beck had
                the C3 team do a decade ago, and what we wrote in /XP Installed/,
                and our experience since then, Chet and I have been teaching
                planning and estimation tutorials at the Agile conferences for
                years, and presenting the material for our clients. Perhaps you and
                some of your gang could attend one of our conference sessions.
                There's also good material in Mike Cohn's /Agile Estimating and
                Planning/ book, and don't forget Beck and Fowler's /Planning XP/.

                If I were going into the contract programming business, I'd work up
                a sales approach around the ideas of XP and Agile planning. I'd
                involve technical estimators early; I'd describe the burn charts
                we'd provide; I'd explain our approach to change; and so on. I'd do
                this with gentle comparisons to the way other companies work,
                raising the customer's confidence in our way and their concerns
                about how a company that just guesses could possibly do a decent job
                for them.

                I'd work with the staff to practice and hone our approach to
                estimation and planning and sales, so that we'd continue to get
                better and better. I'd get training for the people, and I'd work
                with customers, to get feedback on how we're doing. I'd work with
                prospects who didn't buy our service, to find out why they didn't,
                what we could have said -- and to find out how satisfied they are
                with what they got from the other company. And I'd do that all the
                time.

                That's what I'd do if I were a sales guy. I'm not -- it's hard work
                that needs to be done well.

                Ron Jeffries
                www.XProgramming.com
                Wisdom begins when we discover the difference between
                "That makes no sense" and "I don't understand". --Mary Doria Russell
              • Victor
                Thank you to all participants in this thread for your valuable contributions. It has been very interesting to follow it. Victor ... From: Ron Jeffries
                Message 7 of 26 , Mar 5, 2006
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                  Thank you to all participants in this thread for your valuable
                  contributions. It has been very interesting to follow it.

                  Victor

                  =====================================

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Ron Jeffries" <ronjeffries@...>
                  To: <extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Sunday, March 05, 2006 7:14 AM
                  Subject: Re: [XP] XP in sales


                  > On Sunday, March 5, 2006, at 4:43:35 AM, Dan Bunea wrote:
                  >
                  > > It seems that Henrique has helped me a great deal here. Our competitors
                  > > usually use waterfall, and they "guess" prices and lenght in time for
                  > > development withought really analysing the product to be developed,
                  assuming
                  > > incredible risks.
                  >
                  > > On the other hand, the customers like to have a price with as little
                  > > involvment as possible, as fast as possible, and they are given this by
                  our
                  > > competitors, which usually are much bigger names then us. It has
                  happened
                  > > that someone has told our sales representative, that we're trying to
                  hide
                  > > the real cost and we will go for ever and ever with the project, and ask
                  for
                  > > more and more money, and he will be have to pay as the product won't be
                  > > finished. My response was that he's actually in the control of what's
                  being
                  > > done, "steering" direction, and seeing progress all the time, and
                  planning
                  > > for a few month releases on which he'll have the cost up front, but he
                  had
                  > > already made his decision against us.
                  >
                  > The story above makes me think that you are bidding an incremental X
                  > money per iteration response to a customer who wants a fixed price.
                  > It is not necessary to do that.
                  >
                  > The reason I asked whether you know how to do an XP Release Plan is
                  > that this can be done at the very beginning of the project. The best
                  > way -- and it's a good sales approach as well, I'd think -- is to
                  > have reps from the technical team sit down with the customer, draw
                  > out the stories (requirements). Then the team estimates the stories,
                  > asking the customer questions about them. When the estimates are
                  > done, the team uses their experience and estimated velocity to say
                  > how long the project will take.
                  >
                  > During the process, if I were in a sales situation, I'd want the
                  > sales person to be making note of each case where the technical team
                  > asked questions of the customer and changed their estimate or
                  > audibly changed their design view of the system. In a subsequent
                  > sales meeting, or a later part of this one, the sales person would
                  > then be in a position to summarize those situations something like
                  > this:
                  >
                  > Mr Customer, I noticed some interesting things in this session,
                  > situations where our approach has extra value to you. For example,
                  > when we were talking about the Flying Widget feature, the team had
                  > at first thought that was a four-point story but conversation with
                  > you told them it was only a two. Without that conversation, our
                  > bid would have had to be higher, and we might not have provided
                  > what you really need.
                  >
                  > If you're talking with organizations who merely come in, do a
                  > superficial look at what you want and then guess a price and a
                  > solution, there's always uncertainty. Whether they raise their
                  > price to cover those contingencies, or whether they make it up by
                  > charging extra for changes, you can be sure you'll be paying the
                  > price.
                  >
                  > We work closely with you all through the project, to ensure that
                  > there's clear understanding between us on what you really want,
                  > and to keep your costs as low as possible. And remember, our
                  > approach shows you a working program all the time. You'll know how
                  > we're doing and will be in a position to guide the project to
                  > success.
                  >
                  > (Blah blah more sales stuff)
                  >
                  > > Then we have the sales staff, somehow confused by the new
                  > > approach, that need real guidance, step by step, in much detail.
                  >
                  > Yes, no doubt they do. And to do the planning well, the technical
                  > team need training and practice as well. Based on what Kent Beck had
                  > the C3 team do a decade ago, and what we wrote in /XP Installed/,
                  > and our experience since then, Chet and I have been teaching
                  > planning and estimation tutorials at the Agile conferences for
                  > years, and presenting the material for our clients. Perhaps you and
                  > some of your gang could attend one of our conference sessions.
                  > There's also good material in Mike Cohn's /Agile Estimating and
                  > Planning/ book, and don't forget Beck and Fowler's /Planning XP/.
                  >
                  > If I were going into the contract programming business, I'd work up
                  > a sales approach around the ideas of XP and Agile planning. I'd
                  > involve technical estimators early; I'd describe the burn charts
                  > we'd provide; I'd explain our approach to change; and so on. I'd do
                  > this with gentle comparisons to the way other companies work,
                  > raising the customer's confidence in our way and their concerns
                  > about how a company that just guesses could possibly do a decent job
                  > for them.
                  >
                  > I'd work with the staff to practice and hone our approach to
                  > estimation and planning and sales, so that we'd continue to get
                  > better and better. I'd get training for the people, and I'd work
                  > with customers, to get feedback on how we're doing. I'd work with
                  > prospects who didn't buy our service, to find out why they didn't,
                  > what we could have said -- and to find out how satisfied they are
                  > with what they got from the other company. And I'd do that all the
                  > time.
                  >
                  > That's what I'd do if I were a sales guy. I'm not -- it's hard work
                  > that needs to be done well.
                  >
                  > Ron Jeffries
                  > www.XProgramming.com
                  > Wisdom begins when we discover the difference between
                  > "That makes no sense" and "I don't understand". --Mary Doria Russell
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
                  >
                  > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                  extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
                  >
                  > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • Dan Bunea
                  Thank you Ron for your very concise and helpful response. It has a very good example in it that will back me up when we will discuss about sales again this
                  Message 8 of 26 , Mar 6, 2006
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                    Thank you Ron for your very concise and helpful response. It has a very
                    good example in it that will back me up when we will discuss about sales
                    again this week.
                    Dan


                    On Sun, 5 Mar 2006 07:14:15 -0500, Ron Jeffries
                    <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

                    > On Sunday, March 5, 2006, at 4:43:35 AM, Dan Bunea wrote:
                    >
                    >> It seems that Henrique has helped me a great deal here. Our competitors
                    >> usually use waterfall, and they "guess" prices and lenght in time for
                    >> development withought really analysing the product to be developed,
                    >> assuming
                    >> incredible risks.
                    >
                    >> On the other hand, the customers like to have a price with as little
                    >> involvment as possible, as fast as possible, and they are given this by
                    >> our
                    >> competitors, which usually are much bigger names then us. It has
                    >> happened
                    >> that someone has told our sales representative, that we're trying to
                    >> hide
                    >> the real cost and we will go for ever and ever with the project, and
                    >> ask for
                    >> more and more money, and he will be have to pay as the product won't be
                    >> finished. My response was that he's actually in the control of what's
                    >> being
                    >> done, "steering" direction, and seeing progress all the time, and
                    >> planning
                    >> for a few month releases on which he'll have the cost up front, but he
                    >> had
                    >> already made his decision against us.
                    >
                    > The story above makes me think that you are bidding an incremental X
                    > money per iteration response to a customer who wants a fixed price.
                    > It is not necessary to do that.
                    >
                    > The reason I asked whether you know how to do an XP Release Plan is
                    > that this can be done at the very beginning of the project. The best
                    > way -- and it's a good sales approach as well, I'd think -- is to
                    > have reps from the technical team sit down with the customer, draw
                    > out the stories (requirements). Then the team estimates the stories,
                    > asking the customer questions about them. When the estimates are
                    > done, the team uses their experience and estimated velocity to say
                    > how long the project will take.
                    >
                    > During the process, if I were in a sales situation, I'd want the
                    > sales person to be making note of each case where the technical team
                    > asked questions of the customer and changed their estimate or
                    > audibly changed their design view of the system. In a subsequent
                    > sales meeting, or a later part of this one, the sales person would
                    > then be in a position to summarize those situations something like
                    > this:
                    >
                    > Mr Customer, I noticed some interesting things in this session,
                    > situations where our approach has extra value to you. For example,
                    > when we were talking about the Flying Widget feature, the team had
                    > at first thought that was a four-point story but conversation with
                    > you told them it was only a two. Without that conversation, our
                    > bid would have had to be higher, and we might not have provided
                    > what you really need.
                    >
                    > If you're talking with organizations who merely come in, do a
                    > superficial look at what you want and then guess a price and a
                    > solution, there's always uncertainty. Whether they raise their
                    > price to cover those contingencies, or whether they make it up by
                    > charging extra for changes, you can be sure you'll be paying the
                    > price.
                    >
                    > We work closely with you all through the project, to ensure that
                    > there's clear understanding between us on what you really want,
                    > and to keep your costs as low as possible. And remember, our
                    > approach shows you a working program all the time. You'll know how
                    > we're doing and will be in a position to guide the project to
                    > success.
                    >
                    > (Blah blah more sales stuff)
                    >
                    >> Then we have the sales staff, somehow confused by the new
                    >> approach, that need real guidance, step by step, in much detail.
                    >
                    > Yes, no doubt they do. And to do the planning well, the technical
                    > team need training and practice as well. Based on what Kent Beck had
                    > the C3 team do a decade ago, and what we wrote in /XP Installed/,
                    > and our experience since then, Chet and I have been teaching
                    > planning and estimation tutorials at the Agile conferences for
                    > years, and presenting the material for our clients. Perhaps you and
                    > some of your gang could attend one of our conference sessions.
                    > There's also good material in Mike Cohn's /Agile Estimating and
                    > Planning/ book, and don't forget Beck and Fowler's /Planning XP/.
                    >
                    > If I were going into the contract programming business, I'd work up
                    > a sales approach around the ideas of XP and Agile planning. I'd
                    > involve technical estimators early; I'd describe the burn charts
                    > we'd provide; I'd explain our approach to change; and so on. I'd do
                    > this with gentle comparisons to the way other companies work,
                    > raising the customer's confidence in our way and their concerns
                    > about how a company that just guesses could possibly do a decent job
                    > for them.
                    >
                    > I'd work with the staff to practice and hone our approach to
                    > estimation and planning and sales, so that we'd continue to get
                    > better and better. I'd get training for the people, and I'd work
                    > with customers, to get feedback on how we're doing. I'd work with
                    > prospects who didn't buy our service, to find out why they didn't,
                    > what we could have said -- and to find out how satisfied they are
                    > with what they got from the other company. And I'd do that all the
                    > time.
                    >
                    > That's what I'd do if I were a sales guy. I'm not -- it's hard work
                    > that needs to be done well.
                    >
                    > Ron Jeffries
                    > www.XProgramming.com
                    > Wisdom begins when we discover the difference between
                    > "That makes no sense" and "I don't understand". --Mary Doria Russell
                    >
                    >
                    >
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                  • Jason Nocks
                    ... ... This resonates a lot with some of what I ve been doing in a Sales Role for SourceXtreme, a company in the contract programming business. There s
                    Message 9 of 26 , Mar 7, 2006
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                      On Sunday 05 March 2006 7:14 am, Ron Jeffries wrote:
                      > On Sunday, March 5, 2006, at 4:43:35 AM, Dan Bunea wrote:
                      <snip>
                      >
                      > If I were going into the contract programming business, I'd work up
                      > a sales approach around the ideas of XP and Agile planning. I'd
                      > involve technical estimators early; I'd describe the burn charts
                      > we'd provide; I'd explain our approach to change; and so on. I'd do
                      > this with gentle comparisons to the way other companies work,
                      > raising the customer's confidence in our way and their concerns
                      > about how a company that just guesses could possibly do a decent job
                      > for them.

                      This resonates a lot with some of what I've been doing in a Sales Role for
                      SourceXtreme, a company in the contract programming business. There's a lot
                      of stuff that sounds like "educate the customer" here.

                      > I'd work with the staff to practice and hone our approach to
                      > estimation and planning and sales, so that we'd continue to get
                      > better and better. I'd get training for the people, and I'd work
                      > with customers, to get feedback on how we're doing. I'd work with
                      > prospects who didn't buy our service, to find out why they didn't,
                      > what we could have said -- and to find out how satisfied they are
                      > with what they got from the other company. And I'd do that all the
                      > time.

                      Yes, yes, yes. Very well put Ron. Mind if I quote you in a Bliki entry at some
                      point? As best as I can tell, this is exactly what we are trying to do in my
                      group when we are in a Sales Role. We've had much better results when we take
                      this approach.

                      One thing that's pretty surprising to me is that "educating the customer" has
                      turned out to not get the best results. We've found excellent results by
                      focusing on the customers problems, helping them figure out what they really
                      want by starting to do it (or at least plan like we are actually doing it),
                      rather than explaining how we do it. And "it" is XP Planning, XP Stories,
                      small spikes, etc. Plus some extra techniques to help break through some
                      guards people put up when they think someone might try to sell them
                      something.

                      We actually have a well-defined Sales process we've been trying to follow. We
                      are continually refining our understanding of what it really means and how to
                      do it better. It's pretty similar to XP in terms of values, etc. At the heart
                      of it, it's what Ron is describing in the paragraph above. I'd call it Agile
                      Sales, for lack of a better term.

                      And some of the XP practices help us to do Sales better and seemlessly
                      transition from Sales to Development Roles. On the other hand, I also feel
                      that some of the things we've learned from the Sales Role have helped us do a
                      better job communicating with the customer when we are in a Developer Role.

                      Again, if you don't have Mike Cohn's book, and you'd like to improve your
                      ability to estimate and plan XP-style, I can't recommend it enough.

                      > That's what I'd do if I were a sales guy. I'm not -- it's hard work
                      > that needs to be done well.

                      To me, doing Sales well also requires being very focused on communication and
                      getting feedback from the customer. Things that we are also trying to improve
                      in some of the people on our team that also fill the Developer Role (myself
                      included).

                      > Ron Jeffries
                      > www.XProgramming.com
                      > Wisdom begins when we discover the difference between
                      > "That makes no sense" and "I don't understand". --Mary Doria Russell

                      Cheers,
                      Jason Nocks

                      Bliki:
                      http://wiki.sourcextreme.org/index.php/Bliki:Jason
                    • Kent Beck
                      Dan, When we built our house, the first thing we wanted to know was how much it was going to cost. Our contractor said, That s pretty much up to you. Custom
                      Message 10 of 26 , Mar 7, 2006
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                        Dan,

                        When we built our house, the first thing we wanted to know was how much it
                        was going to cost. Our contractor said, "That's pretty much up to you.
                        Custom homes cost approximately $100/sq ft, although they can cost up to
                        three times that." And so began a conversation that lasted as long as they
                        were building the house.

                        How would you respond if the client asking, "How much is this going to
                        cost?" was the opening gambit in an extended conversation, not a demand for
                        a fixed-forever number?

                        One of the big advantages of XP (and this applies to Paolo Perotta's earlier
                        post) is that it gives you the opportunity to build a strong, mutual,
                        trust-based relationship with your clients. If you work transparently and
                        accountably, sharing responsibility for the project with your client, you
                        can learn to trust each other and work in your shared best interest. Before
                        going this route, I would want to make sure that the whole team is committed
                        to accountability, honesty, integrity, and transparency. You can't fake it.

                        That's how I would sell an XP project--we want to earn your trust and to
                        learn to trust you. Our prices are competitive with the other offers you
                        will receive, because we don't have any hidden charges. We fix defects in
                        the software for five years for no additional fee. Change requests are not
                        extra as long as the work fits into the team's capacity for the contracted
                        period. The same "battle" is going on in the mortgage market in the
                        US--apparently "low cost" providers with lots of hidden charges vs higher
                        fees quoted honestly and transparently. Once you've signed a "low-cost"
                        mortgage and seen fees totaling 2-3% added after you're committed to
                        signing, you know the value of the honest quote and are willing to pay for
                        it.

                        Whether you make a particular sale or not, though, you have the satisfaction
                        of trying to work with integrity in your customer's best interest as well as
                        your own. If you go this route, I would love to hear from your sales people
                        how it went.

                        Take care,

                        Kent Beck
                        Three Rivers Institute

                        > -----Original Message-----
                        > From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                        > [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Dan Bunea
                        > Sent: Friday, March 03, 2006 12:10 AM
                        > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                        > Subject: [XP] XP in sales
                        >
                        > Hi,
                        >
                        > Although I do belive we have made remarcable progress, using
                        > XP, a few
                        > days ago someone from sales asked me about How do you seel XP to the
                        > customers. Since I believe in collaboration, and that
                        > everyone needs to be
                        > involved, the sellers as the first line with a new customers,
                        > need to know
                        > about it very well. He asked:
                        >
                        > What do I do when the first thing the client wants is how
                        > much is this
                        > going to cost me?
                        >
                        > I tried to explain the shopping cart mechanism (defining the
                        > stories,
                        > development team estimating the cost, customer prioritizing),
                        > but maybe I
                        > can get a better opinion here.
                        >
                        > Thanks,
                        > Dan Bunea
                        > http://danbunea.blogspot.com
                      • Ron Jeffries
                        ... Kent ... I share your views here on how it ought to be. I m even fairly confident that I could have a conversation such as you describe here, and win the
                        Message 11 of 26 , Mar 7, 2006
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                          On Tuesday, March 7, 2006, at 3:45:31 PM, Kent Beck wrote:

                          > How would you respond if the client asking, "How much is this going to
                          > cost?" was the opening gambit in an extended conversation, not a demand for
                          > a fixed-forever number?

                          > One of the big advantages of XP (and this applies to Paolo Perotta's earlier
                          > post) is that it gives you the opportunity to build a strong, mutual,
                          > trust-based relationship with your clients. If you work transparently and
                          > accountably, sharing responsibility for the project with your client, you
                          > can learn to trust each other and work in your shared best interest. Before
                          > going this route, I would want to make sure that the whole team is committed
                          > to accountability, honesty, integrity, and transparency. You can't fake it.

                          > That's how I would sell an XP project--we want to earn your trust and to
                          > learn to trust you. Our prices are competitive with the other offers you
                          > will receive, because we don't have any hidden charges. We fix defects in
                          > the software for five years for no additional fee. Change requests are not
                          > extra as long as the work fits into the team's capacity for the contracted
                          > period. The same "battle" is going on in the mortgage market in the
                          > US--apparently "low cost" providers with lots of hidden charges vs higher
                          > fees quoted honestly and transparently. Once you've signed a "low-cost"
                          > mortgage and seen fees totaling 2-3% added after you're committed to
                          > signing, you know the value of the honest quote and are willing to pay for
                          > it.

                          Kent ... I share your views here on how it ought to be. I'm even
                          fairly confident that I could have a conversation such as you
                          describe here, and "win" the bid. I can understand -- and I'm sure
                          that you can also -- that someone else going into the situation
                          might not be so confident. And I suspect that some prospects, who
                          were expecting a fixed price, would be taken aback.

                          Folks want to "limit their exposure", by getting a maximum figure.
                          And they do expect to "hold the development company" to that figure
                          and to the delivery of whatever is wanted, within it.

                          I've not had any experience selling a contract of that kind, and it
                          sounds like you haven't either. I hope that our combined and similar
                          suggestions will encourage people to enter into the conversations
                          necessary to bid projects in XP style, and, with you, I hope that
                          they'll tell us about their experiences. That said ...

                          > Whether you make a particular sale or not, though, you have the satisfaction
                          > of trying to work with integrity in your customer's best interest as well as
                          > your own. If you go this route, I would love to hear from your sales people
                          > how it went.

                          I suspect we both know that while integrity may be central to our
                          being, it can be cold comfort when the revenue isn't coming in. I'm
                          confident that a company entering into this conversational approach
                          to the contract, and the business, will prevail often enough to be
                          successful. I'm also pretty sure that they'll feel fear going into
                          this approach, with which they're largely unfamiliar.

                          Again, I hope our advice will be part of their getting the
                          confidence they need to give it a try.

                          Ron Jeffries
                          www.XProgramming.com
                          The practices are not the knowing: they are a path to the knowing.
                        • Dan Bunea
                          Hi Kent, ... Based on this trust we ve been able to deliver lots of products to our clients. However, this trust has been gained previously as we have a set of
                          Message 12 of 26 , Mar 8, 2006
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                            Hi Kent,

                            On Tue, 7 Mar 2006 12:45:31 -0800, Kent Beck <kentb@...> wrote:

                            > Dan,
                            >
                            > When we built our house, the first thing we wanted to know was how much
                            > it
                            > was going to cost. Our contractor said, "That's pretty much up to you.
                            > Custom homes cost approximately $100/sq ft, although they can cost up to
                            > three times that." And so began a conversation that lasted as long as
                            > they
                            > were building the house.
                            >
                            > How would you respond if the client asking, "How much is this going to
                            > cost?" was the opening gambit in an extended conversation, not a demand
                            > for
                            > a fixed-forever number?
                            >
                            > One of the big advantages of XP (and this applies to Paolo Perotta's
                            > earlier
                            > post) is that it gives you the opportunity to build a strong, mutual,
                            > trust-based relationship with your clients. If you work transparently and
                            > accountably, sharing responsibility for the project with your client, you
                            > can learn to trust each other and work in your shared best interest.
                            > Before
                            > going this route, I would want to make sure that the whole team is
                            > committed
                            > to accountability, honesty, integrity, and transparency. You can't fake
                            > it.
                            >

                            Based on this trust we've been able to deliver lots of products to our
                            clients. However, this trust has been gained previously as we have a set
                            of clients, that continually give us work (large companies usually needing
                            this and that to automate different business processes specific to them),
                            so that trust has been gained in the years of working together, the
                            learning curve was steeper in some cases but we have delivered projects
                            that they use every day. Probably because of that confort, we're know less
                            about approaching new clients.

                            > That's how I would sell an XP project--we want to earn your trust and to
                            > learn to trust you. Our prices are competitive with the other offers you
                            > will receive, because we don't have any hidden charges. We fix defects in
                            > the software for five years for no additional fee. Change requests are
                            > not
                            > extra as long as the work fits into the team's capacity for the
                            > contracted
                            > period. The same "battle" is going on in the mortgage market in the
                            > US--apparently "low cost" providers with lots of hidden charges vs higher
                            > fees quoted honestly and transparently. Once you've signed a "low-cost"
                            > mortgage and seen fees totaling 2-3% added after you're committed to
                            > signing, you know the value of the honest quote and are willing to pay
                            > for
                            > it.
                            >
                            > Whether you make a particular sale or not, though, you have the
                            > satisfaction
                            > of trying to work with integrity in your customer's best interest as
                            > well as
                            > your own. If you go this route, I would love to hear from your sales
                            > people
                            > how it went.
                            >
                            > Take care,
                            >
                            > Kent Beck
                            > Three Rivers Institute

                            I knew and explained these concepts, about the honesty that comes with XP
                            working style, but now with your advice, Ron's and others I and all here
                            have managed to see that this approch is the right one.

                            Thank you,
                            Dan

                            >
                            >> -----Original Message-----
                            >> From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                            >> [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Dan Bunea
                            >> Sent: Friday, March 03, 2006 12:10 AM
                            >> To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                            >> Subject: [XP] XP in sales
                            >>
                            >> Hi,
                            >>
                            >> Although I do belive we have made remarcable progress, using
                            >> XP, a few
                            >> days ago someone from sales asked me about How do you seel XP to the
                            >> customers. Since I believe in collaboration, and that
                            >> everyone needs to be
                            >> involved, the sellers as the first line with a new customers,
                            >> need to know
                            >> about it very well. He asked:
                            >>
                            >> What do I do when the first thing the client wants is how
                            >> much is this
                            >> going to cost me?
                            >>
                            >> I tried to explain the shopping cart mechanism (defining the
                            >> stories,
                            >> development team estimating the cost, customer prioritizing),
                            >> but maybe I
                            >> can get a better opinion here.
                            >>
                            >> Thanks,
                            >> Dan Bunea
                            >> http://danbunea.blogspot.com
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
                            >
                            > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                            > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
                            >
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                            > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >



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                          • Kent Beck
                            Ron, From the contents of your message I don t think we share the same view. When you say that integrity is cold comfort , I am certain we don t agree. Yes, I
                            Message 13 of 26 , Mar 9, 2006
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                              Ron,

                              From the contents of your message I don't think we share the same view. When
                              you say that integrity is "cold comfort", I am certain we don't agree. Yes,
                              I need money (very badly right now in fact), but giving up my integrity for
                              money is "cold comfort". No one is going to win all their bids, not even
                              sleazeball liars who quote unreasonably low prices and more than make it up
                              on exhorbitant charges for change requests and bug fixing. When you abandon
                              your standards to get business, you always lose.

                              There is nothing magical or special about me that lets me sell with
                              integrity. Anyone can choose to. I have made contracts in just the way I
                              described and others have reported similar experiences to me. Selling is
                              unpredictable, for example whether you will win this particular contract.
                              When you are selling business relationships you want some level of
                              compatability with the client. Not all clients would be good matches. Better
                              to find that out at the onset.

                              Selling from a position of integrity takes less bravado and provides its own
                              confidence. The consequence you can count on is being able to sleep nights
                              with your integrity intact. If that costs me a little fear sometimes, I'll
                              pay. I'm told it gets easier with practice. There is plenty of fear for the
                              client in the old style of bidding jobs as well. The customer's fear that
                              they will not get what they need from you (based on their past experiences
                              with contractors) is one of the biggest barriers to selling your services.
                              This seems like a good opportunity to embrace change.

                              Sincerely yours,

                              Kent Beck
                              Three Rivers Institute

                              > -----Original Message-----
                              > From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                              > [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Ron Jeffries
                              > Sent: Tuesday, March 07, 2006 3:07 PM
                              > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                              > Subject: Re: [XP] XP in sales
                              >
                              > Kent ... I share your views here on how it ought to be. I'm even
                              > fairly confident that I could have a conversation such as you
                              > describe here, and "win" the bid. I can understand -- and I'm sure
                              > that you can also -- that someone else going into the situation
                              > might not be so confident. And I suspect that some prospects, who
                              > were expecting a fixed price, would be taken aback.
                              >
                              > Folks want to "limit their exposure", by getting a maximum figure.
                              > And they do expect to "hold the development company" to that figure
                              > and to the delivery of whatever is wanted, within it.
                              >
                              > I've not had any experience selling a contract of that kind, and it
                              > sounds like you haven't either. I hope that our combined and similar
                              > suggestions will encourage people to enter into the conversations
                              > necessary to bid projects in XP style, and, with you, I hope that
                              > they'll tell us about their experiences. That said ...
                              >
                              > > Whether you make a particular sale or not, though, you have
                              > the satisfaction
                              > > of trying to work with integrity in your customer's best
                              > interest as well as
                              > > your own. If you go this route, I would love to hear from
                              > your sales people
                              > > how it went.
                              >
                              > I suspect we both know that while integrity may be central to our
                              > being, it can be cold comfort when the revenue isn't coming in. I'm
                              > confident that a company entering into this conversational approach
                              > to the contract, and the business, will prevail often enough to be
                              > successful. I'm also pretty sure that they'll feel fear going into
                              > this approach, with which they're largely unfamiliar.
                              >
                              > Again, I hope our advice will be part of their getting the
                              > confidence they need to give it a try.
                              >
                              > Ron Jeffries
                              > www.XProgramming.com
                              > The practices are not the knowing: they are a path to the knowing.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
                              >
                              > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                              > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
                              >
                              > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com
                              > Yahoo! Groups Links
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                            • Ron Jeffries
                              ... I don t abandon my standards to get business, as your statement above, I hope just due to awkward phrasing, seems to imply. Perhaps the term cold comfort
                              Message 14 of 26 , Mar 9, 2006
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                                On Thursday, March 9, 2006, at 1:17:29 PM, Kent Beck wrote:

                                >From the contents of your message I don't think we share the same view. When
                                > you say that integrity is "cold comfort", I am certain we don't agree. Yes,
                                > I need money (very badly right now in fact), but giving up my integrity for
                                > money is "cold comfort". No one is going to win all their bids, not even
                                > sleazeball liars who quote unreasonably low prices and more than make it up
                                > on exhorbitant charges for change requests and bug fixing. When you abandon
                                > your standards to get business, you always lose.

                                I don't abandon my standards to get business, as your statement
                                above, I hope just due to awkward phrasing, seems to imply.

                                Perhaps the term "cold comfort" means something different to you
                                than it does to me. The term means "limited consolation". To me it
                                means that while I do hold integrity very highly, it doesn't keep me
                                warm at night nor food in the larder. I wouldn't give up my
                                integrity, but in times of no money, I don't think I would get much
                                comfort from knowing that I had held on to integrity. More than I
                                would had I given it up, but I have felt how scared and powerless
                                one feels in times of no money, and I wasn't comforted much by
                                knowing I had done the right thing.

                                I continue to think our views on the matter of selling are rather
                                similar, because as far as I can tell we would do much the same
                                things for much the same reasons. I could, of course, be wrong.

                                Ron Jeffries
                                www.XProgramming.com
                                Perhaps this Silver Bullet will tell you who I am ...
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