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Business Value proposal

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 11 months ago

Business Value Proposal

 

Below is the proposal submitted to Agile2007.  From this the Discovery Session was approved.

 

Back to Business Value session.


 

Proposal #999: Discovery Session: Business Value: What is it and what do we do about it?

 

Presenter: Joe Little (Facilitator)

 

Type of Session: Workshop

 

Duration: 180 minutes (although this might be done, a different way, in 90 minutes)

 

Recommended Size: 25, if we are to have face-to-face communication amongst all attendees.  With a larger crowd, we might do a modified fishbowl, where say 15 “participate” and the others watch.

 

Goal: That everyone learn and remember what they’ve learned.  And take action on what they’ve learned.  That pre-conceived notions of Business Value are challenged. That new techniques for using Business Value are identified so that they can be used later.

 

We also will produce and publish the notes from the session.

 

Abstract:

The first principle of Agile is to deliver value to the customer.  But, after the motherhood, apple pie and weather platitudes, we often don't seem to have much more to say.

 

We have found that a lack of understanding of Business Value can have a severe

impact on the project, and that this is all too common. As some know, there are

several competing definitions of business value, as taught by the several

schools (Business schools, Lean, etc, etc). We intend to let all views compete

in the marketplace of ideas.

 

Perhaps more importantly, we intend to explore the various small scale patterns

used to take action on business value during all phases of a project.  As part

of this, we will start with the various benefits that a focus on business

value could bring to the Team, the Project, and others.

 

It is our view that Business Value is a complex and difficult subject with similarly difficult activities, where art is ultimately more important than science.  Thus, I quite honestly continue to look at this as a discovery session for all.

 

Scalability Concerns:

If a lot of people wish to attend, we can use different facilitation techniques to make it interesting for more people.  For example, we could break the group into teams, and have the teams compete and compare their results.

 

Presentation History:

I have given this workshop before at ScrumGathering 2006 and at a recent

OpenSpace at Capital One. This is a topic I have explored from Business School

days, and during much of my career in IT projects.  I continue to explore how

best to communicate on this topic.

 

Timing and Organization:

We view the likely timing and organization of the workshop as follows. If the size or attendees of the group are different, we will inspect and adapt.

 

The intent is to make the session highly interactive, and to draw the best ideas from the Team(s).  Several facilitation techniques will be used to draw the Team out.

 

 

Duration (mins)

Step

1

10

Introductions and why you are interested in this topic

2

5

Basic organization of the workshop

 

 

What is Business Value

3

10

Why is Business Value important? Ideas and experiences.

4

20

What is Business Value?  (Break into small teams to discuss.)  Then each team shares.

5

15

Which definitions of business value align best with which people?  (eg, with customers, with shareholders, with workers)

6

15

What do customers really want?  What did you buy “today” and why?

7

10

Does the Business Value of a project ever change?  Why?  How do we discover that change?  Ideas and experiences.

8

10

Tools used to identify Business Value.  Brief discussion to identify and explain.  Small teams and report.

9

5

In a project, who should care about Business Value?  And who is responsible?

10

5

Does Business Value seem easier or harder now?

 

 

What do we do about it?

1

5

Quick review of what we’ve done so far

2

7

What is your biggest learning so far?

3

5

Do we need some basic concepts around using Business Value? (eg, cost-benefit analysis and decision-making)

3

10

What should we do before we commission an IT project?

4

10

What should we do first, once a project is commissioned? (Product Backlog / Stories)

5

10

What should we do in the Iteration Planning Meeting?

6

5

What should we do during an Iteration?

7

10

What should we do at Iteration Review?

8

10

What should we do at Release Time? What should we do at the end of an IT Project? What do we do well after an IT project is over?

9

5

Can we use Business Value across multiple projects?  If so, how and when?

10

5

If there is change and learning about Business Value, how is that best incorporated?

11

5

Who should take all the actions you’ve proposed?

12

8

What is the biggest thing you learned in this session?

 

 

 

 

Comments about some views we expect to see:

 

Business Value provides a basis for lots of decision-making.

 

Business Value has a huge impact on Team motivation, at least for good teams.

 

Business Value tends to be defined in different ways, depending upon one’s focus upon one or more of three constituencies: customers, workers, or capital providers (shareholders).  With customers, one tends to see business value in terms of what customers want (best product, speed, lower price, quality, etc.). With a shareholders view, ROI or NPV tends to be more important.

 

Peter Drucker, Lean and others have suggested that the customer is king. So I tend to put more emphasis there.  As for clarity, customer-oriented metrics across projects tend not to be comparable, so NPV and ROI are attractive concepts for more clarity of this type.

 

We will drive the conversation away from philosophical disagreements toward concrete examples.  Thus, we expect to ask “how would you know that Business Value or greater Business Value is actually being delivered?”  So, one answer might be: “If we are delivering the product at least 25% faster than we did last year.”

 

We are impressed by the number of people who seem to think that Business Value is decreed once by God (the product owner, perhaps), is always accurate and never changes.  When one makes visible that underlying assumption, many will, obviously, say “well, that’s not quite right.”

 

We expect to talk about tools such as: focus groups, customer interviews, demographics, showing them the sizzle, Kano analysis, value stream mapping, etc.

 

We believe you need a basic cost-benefit concept (or something similar) to use business value in many contexts.  Related to that, far too many business actions are being taken as senseless “cost reduction”, with insufficient discussion of a reasonable relationship between cost and benefit.

 

It is tempting to restrict Business Value to discussions that compare one project to another.  Instead, we would prefer to see Business Value involved in the life blood of the day-to-day project.

 

Many are tempted to believe that Business Value is someone else’s problem (“only the Product Owner should think about this, and explain it to us”).  This seems too simplistic to us.

 

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