By How Much?
Thanks to a social media friend, I was directed to an agile transformation case study written by a management consultant and posted on the consultancy’s site along side several other huge success stories. At the end of the long writeup, the following outcomes were asserted:
When I see fancy, professionally-crafted, “qualitative” success lists like these, knowing that they are touted by highly subjective people whose livelihoods require the projection of infallibility, my BS detector starts beeping. For this specific list, these questions come to mind:
- “Feature time-to-market has been reduced“: by how much?
- “Ability to release frequently has been increased“: by how much?
- “Technical debt has been reduced“: by how much?
- “Reactivity to portfolio prioritization is much improved“: by how much?
- “WIP has been reduced”: by how much?
- “Morale is strongly improved within and between teams“: by how much?
- “Trust between sites is improved“: by how much?
- “The dispersion of development over many sites has been reduced“: by how much?
- “Global product and technical leadership is visible“: by how much?
- How much did this 18 month transformation cost the client? How much money did you make?
- How much have client revenues increased and costs decreased as a result of your effort?
Of course, no quantitative percentages were given because no pre-transformation benchmarking was performed. If benchmarking was indeed performed, there would’ve been a chance that the before-and-after metrics may have driven the client to conclude that the whole effort was a huge waste of time and money.
It’s funny how managers who love to hold others accountable for adhering to micro-defined, quantitatively specified, burndown charts, not only get to evaluate themselves, but they get to do so qualitatively, with no supporting data.
In God we trust; all others must bring data. – W. E. Deming
In Consultants we trust; all others must bring data. – BD00