Are you delivering business value?

Posted on November 10th, 2010 in Agile, Kanban, Lean by siddharta || 2 Comments

Scott Ambler has posted a thought piece on what the agile manifesto would look like if it took into account new learning over the last ten years. The new wording has a heavy influence from the lean and kanban communities.

The line that stood out for me was:

Where the original manifesto focused on software development, a term which too many people have understood to mean only software development, we suggest that it should focus on solution delivery.

My interpretation of this is that we should look at the whole value stream and deliver business value. I’ve emphasised “business value” because a lot of people in the agile community believe business value is delivered when software is built (“potentially shippable”). I don’t buy this. If its potentially shippable, and not shipped yet, then its hard to say that the organization has accrued any value.

I’ve talked to teams that believe that they are delivering continuous business value because they do a demo to stakeholders once a fortnight. Never mind that they actually release to the customer to be used in a live environment only at the end of the project. This is a myopic view of business value that has a narrow focus on software development alone. If software development is to add real business value then we need to start looking at the whole value stream.

For a stakeholder or customer, business value is generated only when the a solution is delivered that fulfills business goals. A software team should also have this outlook.

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2 Responses to “Are you delivering business value?”

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