Delivering Value With The Kids

April 27, 2012
“Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.”
1st principle, Agile Manifesto

No, I’m not selling the kids to the circus…yet. Actually, my wife is out of town, so I get the kids for the weekend. Aside from making it the usual “Dad weekend” with all the pizza and cake you can eat, I’ve been trying to think of some ways to share this whole “delivering value” lesson with them. Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with:

  1. Teach the children to cheat on their math homework using the Ruby interpreter
  2. Teach kids to play blackjack or 5 card stud
  3. Take kids to the horse races and show them how to place a bet
  4. Have them make my stock picks – if the numbers are up, they get desert

They are going to have a blast! I’m just getting started. It’s going to be  great weekend!

Of course what I’m doing is playing with the idea of value. Are there bad values? Is there value that we deliver that has a negative effect on our customers? How does that affect our ability to deliver?

Value Creation is a Dialog

April 25, 2012

Day two of trying to live the first principle of the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto (“Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.”). So far so good. I spent much of the day co-training a class. It was a unique training because we asked the attendees to pick the topics that were most valuable to them, prioritize them, then taught the material. Finally we finished up with periodic retrospectives throughout the day. It seemed fairly obvious that this was a great example of asking the customer what they value, delivering the value, then checking to see if they thought it was really useful. After an entire rather exhausting day of this, it occurs to me that continuously providing value is actually a dialog (or perhaps an ongoing experiment) that works like this

  1. Ask what value you can provide
  2. Attempt to provide that value
  3. Ask the customer if they got the expected value
  4. Adjust and repeat

I think that value cycle lies at the heart of a lot of Agile processes. You see this in the sprint reviews and retrospectives on projects. It really is the PDCA cycle all over again. But speaking for myself, I think I’m going to have to modify my approach this week. Here’s a sample:

  • Ask friend: How can I provide value
  • Friend: Buy me a beer
  • Beer provided
  • Ask friend: So, how’s that beer?
  • Friend: Excellent! Too warm! Too foamy! bitter, etc.

Value delivered.