Sunday, February 13, 2011

Challenges with "We sell agile teams"

I recently chatted with some rather talented programmers who are considering entrepreneurship. Their business model would be to provide agile software development team to whomever who wants to get their software done. The value proposition is rather bound to agile software deliveries.

I wrote them an email that consisted the following points:

Some challenges:

  1. Customers do not know what agile means or they have no method to make agile RFQs. It is hard to get to make a value proposition as the "get the team to do it" is rather late in the purchase process. The RFQs have already been made and they usually are not considering agile delivery model.
  2. Say that the customer would be willing and would have the knowledge how to make an agile bid. The challenge is still the surrounding ecosystem that will affect to the delivery (contracts, organizational boundaries, multi-vendor projects where some are applying waterfall, merging the team into the project organization..)
  3. Product Owner issues that block the successful delivery of the proposed value: PO cannot make the decisions or does not know what should be get done and why. The code might be clear but the implementation would not serve the purpose.

Small software development companies are forced to be rather opportunistic. They often end up selling "resources" (= individual programmers) to projects via larger company (either another subcontractor or pure resource renting house). Selling projects requires some mass and commercial investments. Small subcontractor is seen as risky business from the customers point of view - no matter how skillful or agile they might be.

However we need the enthusiasm that has created such a great companies like energizedwork and Reaktor - so be brave and go for it! :)

Something to checkout for anybody considering to become an entrepreneur (by Steve Blank):

photo credits: soldiersmediacenter