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Explaining Agile for Executives

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

We can define agile, know about its benefits and all about it. But are we able to convince the executives using traditional ways, who are so used to it that they feel there can be no better option or are not ready to leave their comfort zone?

People always avoid changes even if it’s good for them which reminds me of a statement quoted, “one reason people always show resistance to change is because they focus on what they have to give up instead of what they have to gain.” Today we will learn to explain it to executives so they can accept it wholeheartedly.


What is agile?

When we answer agile is a methodology or set of values explaining its definition to the executives you will observe that their body language will provide you with some negative feedback. This occurs because they are highly busy with their work and don’t have much time to understand this concept with definition putting their more time making them squint or resist to go further. A better way to make them more likely towards it is to make the explanation shorter and easy to understand with the benefit of agile. For example, agile is a free side-road or a route change on the way for agile cars (i.e. traditional way) where traffic (obstacle in processes) is blocked. The difference in agile cars is that they can navigate unknown constraints making them go on a side road. This example can also be provided with visual image making it simpler to understand the agile concept and lock the interest and attention of executives which further create curiosity to know more about agile.

This curiosity can be used as an opportunity to give further details of agile by arranging a meeting with executives.

Pitching the Executives

Once booked the meeting, pitch them with agile details explaining what is a methodology, framework, and agile.

The methodology is a set of rules or documentation which explains what to do and how to do somethings to achieve your end goals. These rules are rigid and are not allowed to be broken while following those methodologies. For example, the waterfall is a methodology.

A framework is a guideline that explains what to do but gives you the freedom on how to do it. For example, a scrum is a framework. Frameworks are based on some values and principles binding it with one or the other reason in doing it. This reason creates a belief making it a mindset. For example, scrum is based on agile manifestos, values, and principles. If explaining agile, we can say Agile is a mindset, instead of methodology and framework.

Agile is a mindset which says there is always a way to navigate around uncertainties by sensing and responding at an accurate time which can be achieved by practice.

With our agile car example, we can explain how a car is less costly and efficient to change its track for the convenient route but if taken the train (traditional waterfall system) it’s almost difficult and a lot more costly to change track in emergencies.

Agile Vs. Waterfall
Agile vs waterfall

Now executives got the theory behind agile but business survival is based on profit. So now is the time to show executives with profit in numbers. Profits are generated from products, products created by teams. To explain, provide an example as below.

Let’s consider a team have 5 workers working on product XYZ

This product XYZ has three features to develop within 24 months as features will get absolute after 24 months. The returns on investment as per features are

Feature A= 75 $

Feature B= 50 $

Feature C= 25 $

Calculating the ROI

As per waterfall, the team works on all three features at a time and release them on the 18th month giving 6 months for ROI to generate results will be

A- 75 x 6 = 450

B- 50 x 6 = 300

C- 25 x 6 = 150

Giving in total ROI at 24th month = 900$

As per Agile the teamwork on each feature as priority and MVP at a time and release them first at every 6 months giving results as

A- 75 x 18 = 1350

B- 50 x 12 = 600

C- 25 x 6 = 125

Giving total ROI at 24th month = 2075$

The ROI of agile is 1175$ more compared to the waterfall system.

Along with this Agile also provide flexibility as per market change. If after 12 months feature C seems of no use to release the company can skip the feature and move towards valuable and other priority items.

Hence we can see that agile is more beneficial as compared to a waterfall and make the executives buy on it.

“It's not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent but the one most responsive to change.”

About Advance Agility

We, at Advance Agility, are the new-age Agile Coaching, Consulting and IT services company. We enable end-to-end Digital Transformation. Agile execution is integral to our being. We are doing SAFe implementation with small, medium and large organization across the globe. Our vision is to be the leading Agile execution player globally. To keep adding value at every process stage. We are on a mission to empower our clients, move from concept to cash in the shortest sustainable lead time by adopting human centric approach to business agility. Embracing the change is in our DNA. Things that keep us apart are Quicker and Seamless execution with End-to-end gamut of services. Our Global presence and Stellar Track Record give us an edge over our competitor.

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