The Aligning talk wasn't as engaging as I'd hoped. Not because Geoff didn't know what he was talking about or wasn't personally engaging, rather by necessity it was somewhat introductory and is is something I've been thinking about a lot in my new role of VP.
Geoff's "secret sauce" is:
- Tie development investments specifically to business goals and priorities.
- The development process should match the business processes
- Enable the development staff to deal with business drives that drive projects
- Measure development performance against business goals
Geoff pointed out that the business needs to know what it's goals are before there can be any alignment.
When talking about business value Geoff identified 3 different types:
- New opportunity
- Staying open
- Cost reduction
Increasing revenue and decreasing costs are types I've dealt with commonly. The cost of staying open was a new way of thinking about certain problems for me. The example he used was the need to upgrade a database server from an older version to a newer version. Typically I've had a hard time arguing the value of such a project. Now I have a way to think and explain why we might want to do such a thing. One of the audience members rightly pointed out that this is really a risk decision. Do we want to stay on the old version even though it is no longer officially supported (risk) or do we want to upgrade (different kind of risk).
The other point that resonates with me is the identification of the value of not doing something. I don't think enough businesses think about opportunity cost. For example the other day I was involved in a discussion about an upcoming meeting with 4 people to discuss whether an extra $400 software license should be purchased. Just looking at the $100/hr burden rate for those employees was enough for me to justify just purchasing the license. Even more significantly the opportunity cost for those employees is in the $300/hr range. I'd much rather have those people producing value.
Geoff had a couple of book recommendations:
I also think Software by Numbers is another great resource.
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