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Simple Arguments for Scrum to Support Sales People

20 August 2013

Mirko Kleiner

In presentations but also negotiations about booking Scrum teams, I like the following visualization. It shows in the most simple way the advantages of using Scrum compared to traditional approaches.
Traditional methods for project management set the focus on fulfillment of initial scope (Features). With this unilateral prioritization, customers unconsciously accept that project delivery (Time) and budget (Costs) will be variable. In other words, the provider is anxious to deliver just the initially agreed-upon deliverables, while any tiny change will influence the planning, budget, and usually also quality.

In the visualization above you can see at one glance that the Agile approach has more advantages (three to one). Let me explain why.

Milestones and throughput time are fixed

According the given milestones, the sprints and delivery dates will be set and not postponed. The customer knows in advance that he will get, on these dates, a working increment of the software. Not to mention that this also helps in planning the development of surrounding systems by other providers and teams.

Costs are fixed

The monthly costs are defined by the team size (for more details see my article from April 16, 2013). Knowing the project costs are fixed, the customer has fixed budgets, especially because any change will be possible without additional costs (Changes for Free).

Quality is fixed

The quality level needed and the actions to reach it will be defined initially according to the customer's requirements. Of course, it can be adapted to any changed needs of the customer. But the quality level won't be changed during the project simply to stay within time or budget.

Features are variable

The delivery of most possible business value -- following the changing requirements within the given time frame and budget -- has higher priority than the delivery of the initial features.
In my experience, everybody wins with the Agile approach -- customer as well as provider. The satisfaction in cooperation increases and everybody feels empowered and involved, while the controlling/billing process is simplified dramatically.

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

Article Rating

Current rating: 5 (5 ratings)


Sameer Chudaman Patil, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 8/22/2013 5:17:30 AM
Very good article explain fix date with variable contents.
In Agile; when you plan sprint team always commit to deliver what they have committed in sprint planning meeting, but its commitment and not guarantee to deliver.There may be also good chances that team may take some more time than which they have estimated earlier so it won’t be always case that “customer will get exactly same as what has been committed in planning
Mirko Kleiner, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 8/22/2013 8:12:58 AM
thx for your comment. I really can say that this graph helped in negotiations with managers to understand advantages of booking scrum teams
Sameer Chudaman Patil, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 8/22/2013 10:48:48 AM
Yes i Do agree that this graph can help during negotiations
Markus Rohrbach, CSM,CSPO, 9/13/2013 5:12:52 AM
very good description and visualization!
will be very helpful to convince customers of mine in the future, thank you!
Dave Spooner, CSM, 9/13/2013 7:20:23 AM
Thanks Mirko, I think this is the most succinct way to display the benefits of scrum over waterfall I have ever seen! I will most definitely be using this in the future.
Mirko Kleiner, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 9/13/2013 11:08:15 AM
you're welcome!-lets move the traditional projects to agile

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