One reason for "Business Value Engineering"

This content is syndicated from Agile & Business by Joe Little. To view the original post in full, click here.

I said recently that "business value engineering" is the place we can improve the most.  By which I mean:
(a) identifying the small features that the customer will want the most (once they get them), and
(b) identifying the MMFS (minimum marketable feature set).

Perhaps we should also add to this:
(c) identifying a "business model" that is reasonably attractive to customers and successful for the firm.

By this we mean, all the pricing and servicing and delivery things we put around the product.  If these don't work, the "product" per se may be wonderful, but it will fail.

We need to at least briefly mention the time dimension. For most products, the customer explicitly or intuitively realizes that he is entering into a long-term relationship with you. (At least with all the new products that I deal with.)  So, you must also have something like a "product life cycle" approach that is reasonable.  If you want to succeed longer-term.

I think that improving velocity (as defined by story points) is important (as suggested by recent posts), and important in many ways.  But I think improving business value engineering is, virtually always, the path to more success quicker, for the team.

Almost always, the biggest impediment for a Scrum team is a weak Product Owner (who is responsible for business value engineering).  Usually the person per se is very strong (smart, articulate, etc), but largely untrained and ill-equipped to be a fairly good product owner. Much less an excellent one.

When I talk about business value engineering, I always want to talk about the full end-to-end "process".

I think many people have many wonderful ideas about how to improve things.

But, I find that...
(a) no one can implement all of these proposed improvements at one time (usually it would take years to fully implement them)
(b) some of the proposed improvements are contradictory, or at least don't work well together with certain other things
(c) for a given company in a given industry, given their own current "processes," Improvement A is often much more useful than Improvement B.  While, for another company, Improvement B is more important.

So, as with Lean Value Stream Mapping, one of the key reasons to do a business value engineering map (with hypotheses and assumptions) is to identify the priority of the improvements.

Prioritizing the improvements is very important.
I'd rather make a little progress each month than "lots and lots" of progress that is supposed to arrive in 3 years.

Leave a Reply

What is 4 + 9 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
Please do this simple sum so I know you are human:)

There are 101 ways to approach anything.
To find the best way, sometimes you need expert help

What People Say

“Kelly revolutionised the way our digital department operated. A true advocate of agile principles, he quickly improved internal communication within our teams and our internal clients by aligning our business and creating a much enhanced sense of transparency in the decisions the business was making. Kelly also introduced a higher sense of empowerment to the development teams...”


“Kelly’s a leading program director with the ability to take charge from day one and keep strong momentum at both a program and project level driving prioritisation, resourcing and budgeting agendas. Kelly operates with an easy-going style and possesses a strong facilitation skill set. From my 5 months experience working with Kelly, I would recommend Kelly to program manage large scale, complex, cross company change programs both from a business and IT perspective.”


“Kelly is an extremely talented and visionary leader. As such he manages to inspire all around him to achieve their best. He is passionate about agile and has a wealth of experience to bring to bear in this area. If you're 'lucky' he might even tell you all about his agile blog. Above all this, Kelly is great fun to work with. He is always relaxed and never gets stressed - and trust me, he had plenty of opportunity here! If you get the chance to work with Kelly, don't pass it up.”


“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”


“Kelly and I worked together on a very large project trying to secure a new Insurer client. Kelly had fantastic commercial awareness as well as his technical expertise. Without him I would never had secured this client so I owe a lot to him. He is also a really great guy!”


“Kelly came to the department and has really made a huge impact on how the department communicates, collaborates and generally gets things done. We were already developing in an agile way, but Kelly has brought us even more into alignment with agile and scrum best practices, being eager to share information and willing to work with us to change our processes rather than dictate how things must be done. He is highly knowledgable about agile development (as his active blog proves) but his blog won't show what a friendly and knowledgeable guy he is. I highly recommend Kelly to anyone looking for a CTO or a seminar on agile/scrum practices - you won't be disappointed!”


“Kelly was a great colleague to work with - highly competent, trustworthy and generally a nice bloke.”


“Kelly was engaged as a Program Director on a complex business and technology transformation program for Suncorp Commercial Insurance. Kelly drew on his key capabilities and depth of experience to bring together disparate parties in a harmonised way, ensuring the initiate and concept phases of the program were understood and well formulated. Excellent outcome in a very short time frame. ”


“I worked with Kelly on many projects at IPC and I was always impressed with his approach to all of them, always ensuring the most commercially viable route was taken. He is great at managing relationships and it was always a pleasure working with him.”


“I worked with Kelly whilst at Thoughtworks and found him to be a most inspiring individual, his common-sense approach coupled with a deep understanding of Agile and business makes him an invaluable asset to any organisation. I can't recommend Kelly enough.”


“Kelly was a brilliant CTO and a great support to me in the time we worked together. I owe Kelly a great deal in terms of direction and how to get things done under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thanks Kelly.”