I published a post called "Why
is Agile so Hard to Sell?
". If you haven't checked out the comment
thread, you should really take a look. Most of the comments were
really supportive and added serious value (no pun intended) to the
conversation. One comment caught my attention, not because it was
negative, because it said something to the effect of "nice problem
statement, now tell us what to do about it". After thinking about it, I
wanted to elevate my response to more than a few lines in the blog
One of the tough things about writing a blog is that
you really only have 500-1000 words to make a point. Blog posts are
better if they are short and get right down to business. For me, that
often means that my posts don't stand alone. Sometimes I get an idea in
my head and I'll noodle around on it for 5-10 separate articles. Often
these will start off as an intentional series, sometimes they just end
up that way.
As I look back over my writing the past few years,
my content related posts tend to fall into one of two different
Sometimes I am writing to help clarify a problem.
Understanding that we have a problem is often half the battle. This
last post on selling agile fell into that category. I am not convinced
that on the whole, we all are on the same page regarding what value
means and how to map team value to enterprise value. I see too many
folks applying simple process to complex problems and doing some goofy
stuff along the way. I am trying to figure out how to clearly
communicate that something just isn't right.
Sometimes I am
writing to help clarify a solution. It's not uncommon when I start out
writing a series of posts, that I don't know 100% where I am going. I
may have a general idea where the solutions space lives, but I am
thinking it through and exploring language around how to solve it.
Sometimes I know exactly how I think a problem should be solved and I am
using Leading Agile, and your feedback, to help me figure out how to
communicate the idea. Ideas have to be simple and resonate with the
community for them to be effective.
So to answer the commenter's
question directly... the solution to the value problem lies in how we
go about our agile transformation. It lies in the scope of what we are
able to impact. It lies in how we think about roles, and process, and
artifacts... in how we give guidance to our teams and what we train them
to do. It lies in project management and portfolio management. It
lies in Lean, and Kanban
, and Theory of Constraints. It lies
in thinking less about keeping people and teams busy and more on
getting products out the door. It lies in doing less instead of
crowding out our highest priorities.
Many of my posts over the
past year have dabbled in this space. The book that Dennis and I are
writing is going to be all about applying what we know and directed
right at the solution to this problem. The challenge is that the
solution doesn't fit into 500 words or less... not even 1000. We are
hoping to fit it into around 140,000. We have the tools at our disposal
to make this work. We have the knowledge of how to focus an
organization on it's highest priorities. We know how to make
investments that are going to really matter. We can talk about
incremental adoption and value based agile transformation and put
together a roadmap
for making this all happen.
So... you have several options:
Go back and re-read Leading Agile to see how we are thinking about
2. Wait for the book... where this will all be in one place...
3. Stay tuned to Leading Agile where we'll continue to
explore both the problem space and solution space around this value
And, just so you know... this is really what the folks at
Pillar and I do for a living. If you are interested in having someone
help you jumpstart
this process... give me a call. I'd be happy to have a phone
conversation with you, we could setup a Q&A or a webinar
to talk about the issues you are struggling with. We can help you
identify some very tactical next steps that will bring attention to this
problem... and how we can work together to fix it.
My team and I
have some availability over the next few months, so if you are
interested in talking, let me know.