How Agile Principles help us enhance customer value

February 24, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Posted in Blogroll, Out of my mind, Practice Excellence, Scrum and agile | Leave a comment

CPIE captures what a customer values most. It stands for Certainty / Productivity / Innovation / Elegance. The concept can also be extended to internal customers.

When agile manifesto was announced in Feb 2001, twelve supporting agile principles were also identified. Even after 13 years very few people know about these principles; even those who are using agile practices in their work.

These 12 principles can be broadly divided in 3 categories.
Customer: Satisfy Customer | Working Software | Deliver Frequently | Sustainable Development
People: Motivated Individuals | Work together | Self-organization | Face to face
Process: Welcome Change / Technical excellence / Inspect & Adapt / Simplicity

It would be interesting to see how these agile principles can help and guide us to achieve CPIE.

Certainty is a perception that customers form based on their interactions with us over a period of time. It is partly subjective and partly objective. To provide certainty, we must have the desire and will to keep our commitments. If we don’t have that, the customers will see it through our actions. But however well we plan, everything is not under our control. Things change, new situations emerge. “Welcome change” mindset helps us to see the new reality because we are not stuck to our existing assumptions and beliefs, and through “Inspect & Adapt” can quickly adjust to the new situation. “Deliver frequently” provides instant feedback about the changes in customer expectations. All this helps to make mid-course corrections to meet the current situations and customer expectations by the promised date.

Productivity is all about output upon input. Output is the value delivered to the customer. Input is the efforts we put in. “Simplicity” – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – helps us to get more done with less. “Satisfy customer” helps us to be always focused on the customer value. Similarly focus on “Working software” helps to avoid unnecessary activities that are not adding any value.

Innovation is required in two areas; technical and practices. Continuous attention to “Technical excellence” and good design fosters the culture of Innovation. “Motivated individuals” can quickly identify opportunities for practice innovation and when they “Work together” it leads to useable results.

Elegance is an elusive concept which can only be experienced. It has been variously described as neatness, precision, simplicity, tasteful design, dignified gracefulness, and restrained beauty. It requires continuous attention to quality which is possible only with “Sustained development”. To experience the elegance requires full use of multiple senses, which is enhanced with “Face to face” interactions. It is difficult to achieve elegance with command & control culture. It requires “Self-organization” to bring out the best from each team member.

Though we have looked at each element of CPIE separately for better understanding, they need to be approached holistically. Together they produce the kind of synergy that is impossible if attention is divided.

To summarize, understanding the agile principles and related practices is important to achieve CPIE. But even more important is an agile mind to understand and use the right principles / practices as may be required for a given situation.

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