Why Agile - An Investor's Perspective

This article is meant for those people who believe in making right investment choices. It is not for the people who see agile as another process for software development. Organizations make huge investment in the product development, hence, it is important to think as an investor when you choose product execution methodology. Here are top four reasons for considerations for moving to Agile:


1) Project Value Distribution
These is a subtle difference between Agile and non-agile execution methodologies. This difference is based on how you distribute value across you execution cycle. Agile focuses on delivering value in small increments and stresses on inspect & adapt fundamentals. Here is an example of how your investment grows in different methodologies:

Agile: Invest --> Value --> Invest --> Value -->  Invest --> Value...

Non-Agile: Invest --> Documentation --> Invest --> Design --> Invest --> Value...


You may want to see continuous growth in your portfolio. Agile is for the smart investors. It is not for day-2-day traders or conservative investors. What is your investment style?

2) Ineffectiveness of the big requirements upfront
Can someone guarantee if market will go up or down tomorrow? What about after a month? Isn't quarter too far away to predict even for the smartest economist?

It is hard to predict what your customers wants well in advance. It is important to have an Agile Strategy which is will supported by Agile Execution. Strategy and Execution goes hand-in-hand. A well known survey shows that  64% requirements in traditionally managed projects are "never" or "rarely" used. Teams spend more time in documentation than coding. Traditional processes are more on the lines of change prevention rather than change management.  Focus is on writing software as per the specifications instead of meeting customer needs by enabling a continuous feedback loop. Agile helps you iterate the process every 2-4 weeks to enable a feedback loop.


3) Time To Market is shrinking rapidly
Gone were the days when companies had luxury to wait for a few years after introducing a new innovation to the market. Now-a-days it hardly takes a few months for the competition to catch up even for highly complex products; for e.g. how many iPad equivalents did you hear within a year of its launch? Your task doesn't end after delivering a good product.You  should be agile enough to turn around very quickly to compete.


4) Cost of change
If you are a good investor then you would know about various kinds of costs and which one is more crucial to control. In a nutshell, you would control the costs which adds the least value to your investment portfolio e.g. you can rent a small warehouse to fill your foreseeable needs instead of buying a multi-million dollar warehouse that block half your money. If your business grows then you can move to bigger warehouse. Cost of change in this case is much smaller in comparison to buying a big warehouse. You can increase fluidity of your money by reducing cost of change which comes from making incremental investments.


WHEN NOT TO USE AGILE

Finally, Agile pills do not cure all the diseases. These are most effective if applied to the RIGHT projects, teams, and organizations, hence, it is important to take these pills with caution. AGILE is NOT appropriate for a(an):
  • PROJECT without significant urgency, complexity and novelty (uniqueness).
  • TEAM, which is not self-organizing and does not believe in inspecting and adapting.
  • ORGANIZATION, which improperly invest in good engineering practices (e.g. TDD, CI etc.) and cross-functional teams.



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      3 comments:

      1. I completely agreed when you said that investors should control the costs which adds the least value to their investment portfolio. It also works the same way in option trading.

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      2. These are great tips about the importance of Agile process in the world of investment. Controlling the costs is indeed one of the most important skills that an investor needs to learn and practice.

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      3. Agile process is indeed something that any investor should learn before engaging to the stock market. Thanks for these information.

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