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Allan Kelly has held just about every job in the software world, from sys admin to development manager. Today he provides training and coaching to teams in the use of Agile and Lean techniques. He is the author of "Changing Software Development: Learning to become Agile" (2008) and "Business Patterns for Software Developers" (2012) and a frequent conference speaker. Allan is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 85 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Agile elevator pitch

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My (our) entry in the Agile elevator pitch competition:

“[Agile] Provides philosophy, techniques and tools to alleviate the pain of traditional development and make teams more effective thus increase your profit.

Companies such as the BBC, GE Energy, Yahoo, the Financial Times, The Guardian and others have already adopted the approached.”

As some people know, I’ve been doing a lot of work in Cornwall recently. This involves working with a variety of companies all involved in software development - from online e-commerce website builders to companies creating embedded software for medical devices.

My partner in this endeavour, Michael Barritt of Oxford Innovation and Grow Cornwall, suggested we really need an elevator pitch statement for what all this Agile is about. The above is our result.

Of course this is context specific. Too many senior managers this is irrelevant because they don’t know anything about software development. At that kind of level Agile itself becomes meaningless because it is a solution to a problem which they know nothing about. And actually, they don’t want to know about.

There is always a danger with Agile elevator pitches, or any other type of elevator pitch, that it just becomes “Will increase your return on investment.” At some point such pitches become meaningless, you don’t know if the product will fix your software development issues, cure cancer or make you tea in the morning.

So what do you think?
Got a better one?
Published at DZone with permission of Allan Kelly, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)



Jon Archer replied on Thu, 2010/11/04 - 9:40am

I'm afraid I'm kinda indifferent to it. I know getting negative feedback sucks when you've worked hard on something. This is meant as constructive criticism rather than me being a jerk. My specific thoughts:

First sentence sounds a little too much like a corporate mission statement for my personal tastes. It's the use of words like "philosophy", "thus" and "profit" I think. Also, you wouldn't be so likely to use "thus" in a spoken sentence, so it doesn't seem quite right for an elevator pitch.

Second sentence is basically an "appeal to authority" (ooh the BBC and FT use it...must be good). Although appeals to authority can work well as a sales technique they turn me off a bit. I'd save them for the almost inevitable follow-up question of "So is this just academic or is anyone mainstream really using it?"

BTW, you say "Agile elevator pitch competition". So someone's running an actual competition? If so, gotta link?

Emma Watson replied on Fri, 2012/03/30 - 5:00am

I think you'll get greater integrity if you identify who you are pitching it to and couch it in terms meaningful to them.

Sounds like you know all this and just want reassurance. Consider this it :-)


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