Toward a general theory of business value

I presented yesterday at Agile 2008. Here is the link to the slide deck.

I said more than is on the slide deck. Still, here it is.

Two key ideas today.

Business Value is about learning, as a team. BV is always changing (on many dimensions) and we learn, in part, to keep up with that change.

Business Value is about communicating to change behavior. As in a lot of situations, it takes some effort to communicate successfully. It might not happen very well the first time you do it, so inspect and adapt.

Many ideas and assumptions around our use of Business Value (or at least many of them) are addressed in the slide deck.

But let me mention these today:
(A) Definitions of Business Value — I propose that you clarify for each project what you mean by Business Value. Even down to something (perhaps as a proxy of BV) that you might measure, and get agreement with your Business Stakeholders and the whole Scrum Team.
(B) Identify relatively specific actions during the course of an effort to improve our Business Value engineering, and of course take those actions.

This is a quest for mastery of a very difficult skill. The skill is understanding and delivering more Business Value. Even intermediate skill levels take a good deal of time to achieve. It is my belief that the effort pays real dividends.

The deck uses a circular and episodic approach. All the interconnections between the ideas are not spelled out, and it is for the observer’s mind to actively engage and discover them for himself. The whole is more than the sum of the parts.

I hope these ideas are useful to you.

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