Agile and the bottom line, revisited

A big thanks to the folks at Rally Software for the opportunity to co-present, with Rally CTO Ryan Martens, today. Check the Agile Commons web site later for the archived presentation, if you missed it.

And a big thanks to the attendees, especially for the many excellent questions (my favorite measure of whether or not a presentation went well).

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Two views of the downturn

Regardless of the topic du jour--whether or not to adopt Agile, whether or not to revamp product requirements, where the market development opportunities lie, how to use Web 2.0 as a vehicle for marketing--the downturn inspires two distinct reactions in technology companies:

  • We live in the best of all possible worlds. We may need to economize a bit, but we don't need to explore any significant changes to how we do business. All we need to do is wait, and not do anything stupid.
  • We could improve what we're doing. In fact, even if the downturn hadn't happened, we'd be in the middle of a discussion about how we might [fill in the blank] better.

Of course, there's always a strong argument behind the first position. Aside from Old Man Inertia, the other culprit here is the perceived cost and risk of change. The perception is important--moreso, in some organizations, than the measurable costs, benefits, and risks of change.

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Agile and the bottom line

On December 17, I'll be co-presenting (with Ryan Martens, founder and CTO of Rally Software) a webinar, "Making Agile Work For Your Bottom Line." This is part two of a series, "Agile In Turbulent Times," that Rally is hosting. (Click here for the link to the series.)

* SPOILER ALERT *

Yes, Agile definitely can have a profoundly positive effect on your bottom line. In fact, it addresses directly some of the chief sources of financial anxiety for technology companies.

Agile is also a change that's necessary in the evolution of the technology industry. "Turbulent times" just raises the urgency of making the change, if Agile is right for you. My inevitable historical analogy is how the maniple defeated the phalanx. I say no more until Thursday.

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