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Re: [XP] XP in sales

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > 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
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >



                  --
                  Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/mail/
                • 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 8 of 26 , Mar 7, 2006
                  • 0 Attachment
                    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 9 of 26 , Mar 7, 2006
                    • 0 Attachment
                      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 10 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 11 of 26 , Mar 8, 2006
                        • 0 Attachment
                          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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                          >
                          >



                          --
                          Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/mail/
                        • 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 12 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 13 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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