4 Things About Agile Your Boss Wants to Know

If you’re an engineer, a software developer, a QA specialist, or anyone else living deep in the development and operations world, Agile project management probably makes a lot of sense to you. You can see how it helps speed production, offers added value, presents a better finished product more consistently… it just works.

But, if you’re like many of your fellow Agile practitioners, you have at least one man or woman on a higher rung of the corporate ladder who just doesn’t get it.

Maybe they’ve never actually worked in production or development, maybe they’ve been in a supervisory or executive roll for longer than Agile’s been in use. Whatever the reason, they’re not trying to throw a monkey wrench into things, but they don’t see the value and they aren’t 100% behind an Agile transition or supporting Agile initiatives.

What can you do to help them see the value of Agile? Here are four things your boss wants to know about Agile, and how you can help them figure it out:

What’s the effect on the company’s bottom line?

Understandably, this is the big question anyone in an executive position is going to want answered. Especially, if the company is considering a full Agile transformation with a significant investment involved. It’s even normal to expect a slight drop in productivity as workers get used to the new arrangements.

But, in cases where development projects are optimized for Agile, and where Agile funds are appropriately spent, Agile has proven again and again to produce a higher ROI in the long run when compared to more traditional development methods. An excellent resource for gathering specific statistics and real world case study information is the webinar The Economics of Scrum, available from cPrime online.

How long will the transformation take?

Looking at the “big picture” and making strategic decisions requires a solid understanding of time lines on major projects. An Agile transformation certainly falls into that category, especially if it’s being considered on an enterprise scale.

There is no blanket answer to this question, as there are a host of variables unique to your organization that will affect the time line. It’s important to understand the major steps involved in transitioning to Agile and how those steps will affect everyone in the company. It’s also important to take into account that going Agile is really a journey, not a destination. So you’ll be putting Agile processes into action and deriving benefit from it long before your entire transformation is complete.

The best bet is to have a professional assess your organization’s current status and Agile goals, then they’ll be in a better position to provide a more concrete time line.

How will I know if it’s working?

Responsible leaders must continually keep their fingers on the pulse of the company. A successful transformation to Agile doesn’t automatically mean Agile is providing value over the long term.

To answer this question, you’ll need to reference the kinds of metrics that will need to be tracked from the beginning to validate and optimize Agile in your company. Likewise, you’ll need to discuss where some companies go wrong and how to avoid those pitfalls.

What can I do to help?

Now this is the question you’ve been waiting for. If your supervisor, manager, or C-suite executive is convinced that Agile is going to benefit the organization, they’re going to want to be a part of the transition and help in any way they can.

Let them know their support – both verbally, and by action – is priceless. Depending on their position, they’ll be able to rally support among their team or department, or the entire organization. With the help of high-profile organizational leaders, ongoing resistance to Agile can be eliminated and a successful transition can proceed quickly and efficiently.

If you need any more help gathering information for your next conversation with the boss, stop by our Resource Center and Blog. They’re full of helpful tidbits that just may sway those folks who are higher up the ladder.