Yet Another Agile Elevator Pitch

June 7, 2011

Let’s say that you are talking with a couple of people whose organization hasn’t adopted Agile development yet, but wants to understand why they should. They want to understand what is behind the hype. They want a good elevator pitch.

What would you use as an elevator pitch for Agile development?

We all know the history of Agile development and how it seeks to overcome some common problems with software development, but an elevator pitch needs to be something more than just quoting the Agile Manifesto and telling people that they’ve what they’re doing all along is completely wrong. Why should people change their development approach? What will they gain as a result?

Here’s some links to posts that I found related to the Agile Elevator Pitch:

What's the Elevator Pitch for Agile?

The Agile Elevator Pitch: It's all about Low Risk

Agile Elevator Speech

Agile Elevator Pitch

Do You Know Agile as Well as You Think You Do?

Agile development is difficult to define because it is an umbrella term for different frameworks/approaches, but I decided to take up the challenge, in part because my own efforts to define Agile in the past have been poor. Here’s what I came up with:

Agile development’s primary goals are to optimize the delivery of the highest-valued work and be responsive to changing business conditions. Agile development employs tools and techniques designed for teams to visualize and manage their own work in a transparent, collaborative, self-directed manner.

These techniques keep the work informal in appearance, but in reality this demands disciplined, professional execution to be successful. Agile teams are expected to make use of sound technical practices and regularly ask themselves what they can do better. Continuous improvement is expected.

Because people work on autonomous teams, they have direct responsibility and control over their work. As a result people become more involved and connected to their work, improving morale and productivity.

Would you like to hear more? I’d be happy to talk to you about the advantages and changes that Agile development brings to the table.

What do you think? Does this elevator pitch work for you? I also came up with a follow-up, talking more about the changes that someone can expect to see:

Collaboration is also an important productivity technique that Agile development fosters. This can involve counter-intuitive change. For example, instead of crisp, documented hand-offs of work between functional roles, there are typically conversations and sharing of ideas to develop a common understanding. Effective teamwork and collaboration means that lines between functional roles are often blurred, and at other times people will need to help the team by operating outside of their defined functional specialty.