söndag 11 november 2012

Cashing In

As both the Agile Manifesto and its underlying principles states: it is shipping things that work that matters! The manifesto specifically mentions software, but that is merely an example. Making valuable stuff available for people is what justifies our existence no matter what we are delivering be it a physical device, a painting, or a theatre production.

You should regard the very release moment as the point in time where you actually accomplish things. Everything up to that point is merely a cost: things have been thought out, planned for, implemented, tested, documented. But no real value has been created, until someone starts to use the "product" (agilistas use the term "product" in the broadest possible sense).

This means that everything you do with your product between releases is creating debt: you invest time and effort in it, but you don't get any benefits. Doing things creates a cost, but every day not being able to ship is a day with no gain. Especially not gaining insights on how your product is received by its audience. You won't get no inspection, and thus have no ability to proper adaption.

Both factors: high debt and slow feedback loop, leads to high risks and a costs. If you want agility in your organization, no matter what role you have, you have to focus on releasing! Focus on cashing in!

While there are some organizations that are able to release many times a day, it is not uncommon that the release process is expensive, due to structural factors in your own organization, and may not even be wanted due to structural factors in the receiving organizations.

The good news is that even if we won't be able to deliver (and no one will be able to receive) that often, we will still benefit from making everything we do easy to release. Hard to release means expensive to release, and that will be a cost even when there is no pressing need to release early. And when there is a pressing need to release, the cost associated with having the release take so much calendar time will skyrocket.

So take a critical look on your release processes. Could you be able to release more often, at least internally? What would it take to bring down the costs associated with releasing? What can you do to minimize the calendar time, so that you won't lose being slow to market, or slow to release that critical bug fix? Focus on cashing in.

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