Day 14 of 100 There is more than customer value

May 15, 2013 — Posted by Al Shalloway

Continuing with the 100 Things You Must Know to Be Effective In Software Development

While adding value to the customer is the ultimate goal, there is more than customer value. There are actually at least six different types of business value:

  1. knowing what will be of value to the customer
  2. knowing how to build this
  3. building this
  4. deploying this value so it is consumed by the customer
  5. being able to do any of the above faster
  6. preparing for or improving the support of customer value

Although many in Lean and Agile say it's all about customer value, this is an inaccurate statement.  While the focus should be on the customer, ignoring other business value opportunities often leads to ineffective practices.  Numbers 5&6 are also valuable to the customer and can provide a unique selling proposition to them.  For example, a company may not have the most features, but if they are in a position to add new features faster when requested, they may be more attractive to customers than businesses with lots of features (many likely not used) that can't add new ones quickly enough.

If you are doing Scrum and you realize that the team should be about delivering business value every sprint, many insights present themselves.  When one is not able to deliver quickly, one still wants to discover and build thin, vertical slices of functionality quickly.  If one is doing Kanban and there is no timebox, the need to deliver business value quickly requires you to slice stories up into smaller chunks.  One should not build what one is not sure of.

A customer centric focus is a good thing since it keeps the customer in mind when we are building our software instead of looking at the systems we are building.  Software, in itself, is useless.  It becomes useful only if it assists the customer.  But that does not mean we don't have value in learning how to achieve customer value.  

Enjoy, and, of course, ask questions on our user groups

Al Shalloway
CEO, Net Objectives

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About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With 45 years of experience, Al is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, Scrum and agile design. He helps companies transition to Lean and Agile methods enterprise-wide as well teaches courses in these areas.



        

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