Business Value: What is it?

On Wednesday, I will lead a session on Business Value in Charlotte, N.C. The topic will be, “What is it?” This is Part 1 of the full session I will lead at Agile 2007. (Part 2 in Charlotte will happen on May 24, 2007.)

My hypothesis is that we don’t know as much about Business Value as we need to know, and that we are discovering Business Value all along the way, just as Business Value is changing. (Yes, customers change their minds, for example.)

In that session on Wednesday we will discuss these questions:

  1. Why is Business Value important?
  2. What is Business Value?
  3. Which definitions of Business Value align best with which people?
  4. What do customers really want? What did you buy today and why?
  5. Does the Business Value of a project ever change? Why? How did you discover that change?
  6. Which tools should we use to uncover Business Value?
  7. In a project, who should care about Business Value?
  8. Does Business Value seem easier or harder now?

To me, this all relates to what Yogi Berra said: “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

Do all the people on your team agree on the definition of Business Value?
Is it tangible to them?

Are they always driving toward it (and nothing else)?

Or do they, like most humans, say after a few days, “What was it you wanted?”

Wilie Nelson sings a good version of the Bob Dylan song “What was it you wanted?” You might want to play that to the team and ask if they ever felt that way.




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