Last update: 27/07/2016 14:24

Business Value

Agility is very much about creating and delivering Business Value as swiftly as possible [1] , and preferably in small increments. But what is Business Value exactly? Customer Value? User Value? Stakeholder Value? Shareholder Value? Simply Value? Multi facets ? Does it materialize immediately or with time? Directly or indirectly? How do we evaluate it? Is there a math for it? Isn't Scrum wrong about the role of the Product Owner when it relates to value?

What I propose we do in this article is to have a sort of exploratory reflection about value, what drives value, how it can be unearthed, who is responsible for value in the organization, etc. Actually, there will be more questions than answers, I am afraid!

Would it be possible that Business Value means something different in function of the context, something different in function of the place and time, something different in function of the company?

When I designed the L(i)VID Formula [2] , I deliberately sidestep what value was because it was too damn hard to define! Instead, I dodged it with a number that was basically a stagger on a Fibonacci sequence resulting from a vote, pretty much like Planning Poker weights user stories. Period!

Still, in my life of Project Manager or Agile connoisseur or Architect or Technical Lead, I had to deal with value all the time. In my current Business Intelligence mission I am once again confronted to … value and I need to be able to define it if I want to be able to bring it to the right people! So what is this?

Mandatory Additional Reading

This article was already in preparation long time ago when I came across another article—I can't remember what it was nor who wrote it, sorry for that—that spotted this seminal book: Mark Schwartz in The Art of Business Value. I urge you to read it because it addresses a serious loophole in the literature about Agility and gives you many pointers you may come to pay attention to when dealing with value in your Agile endeavors: it is simply brilliant.


[1] … Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

[2] … L = Labor; V = Value; I = Importance; D = desired launch Date – The formula is supposed to return a prioritization index

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