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Jan 12

Bring home the bacon not the receipt

BaconWhen did we start to lose track of what we really needed and began focussing on how much something costs? As a Scrum Coach I see it more than often that customers ask how much time something takes. How much effort and money is needed. The planning of a project is build upon the time people are consumed by it and decisions are taken on these plannings. Often I hear that developers need to do something within a certain time. It no longer is important what they do but it seems it is more important on how long it takes.

Somehow it seems that businesses have lost track of what it is all about, namely the delivery of something that is needed. Something of value. A product or service that can help the customer to do business with. The fact that at the end of the year in almost every company, people start to worry about the budget. Either they have to spend the last dimes in order to preserve the same budget for next year. Or there is not enough and more is needed. It is never about what is really needed. I have always disliked the thinking in budgets and end of year nonsense. Somehow customers and companies have lost track of what they are doing. Al the energie seems to go in the effort and not in the result.

In the time before software it seems it was all a bit easier. You needed something. You got it. And you paid for it. You left the store with something that brought you value or satisfaction. Over time products have become more complex and we no longer know what it is that we need. Sofware is no longer something that you can save on a disc, it is intricate and has connection with other networks and services. The scope is lost and the only thing that people seem to hold on to is how much lose is made on something. It seems easier to control how much is spent than how much is gained. This is strange. When you walk into a store, you will look at what you want to have and you make sure that you take it home. I never walk into a store to get something but the only thing I take from the store is the receipt. What I got is not important. Can you imagine going to the grocery and buy stuff you need. But when you get home you tell everybody how much you spend and that you stayed within budget. The groceries you left at the store, but hey you stayed within budget. Seems strange but we do it all the time.

Big companies only seem to focus on controlling budgets and not on what is gained in value. They have lost track of what it is all about and forgot the groceries. No wonder that employees of large companies have no idea what everybody is doing. As long a they work hard, show some results and don’t take to long in doing so. So think of this. What is more important to you as a customer. Getting something of value, something you really want. Or spent money and stay within budget. Do you want the groceries or the receipt? If you want the groceries start by focussing on the value output and not on the cost. Stop wondering how much time something will cost, but focus on what is delivered and why. The why is important, because if you get something that you don’t know why you want it, then why spend money on it.

In order to move towards a more logical delivery of goods, companies need to change their way of thinking. Stop looking at the cost and start looking at the value. Stop thinking in budgets and start with value streams. And most important, start with looking at you groceries and bring home the bacon.

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