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What Is The Goal?

Reading: What Is The Goal?

What is the goal?

I seem to lead with that question a lot these days. Is the goal to practice Scrum? Is the goal to apply SAFe? Is the goal to use some other Agile delivery framework? Is the goal to uphold the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto?

They are all means to an end. Your goal depends on your organization. Fundamentally, every for-profit organization I’ve come in contact with has pretty much the same primary goal. Make money!

Before committing budget for that next project, let’s first ask ourselves if we know our core business drivers.

Common Business Drivers

  • Predictability
  • Higher Quality
  • Shorter time to market
  • Lower Costs

But let’s look at this again. What is the primary goal? Make money!

How do we achieve the goal?

  • Through predictability, we get better at forecasting sales and delivery (lead times)
  • Through higher quality, we lower costs of rework and increase customer satisfaction
  • With shorter time to market, we can get an earlier ROI and increase cash flow
  • With lower costs, we free up capital for other areas of our organization

Answer these questions:

  1. What is your primary organizational goal?
  2. What are your core business drivers, relative to your primary organizational goal?
  3. If you don’t know the goal, how do you know where to spend your time or money?
  4. How do you know where to start?
Next Good Agile Metrics or Working Software

Comments (5)

  1. Steve Colasinski

    In my new role, I am observing very little understanding of goals yet a high focus on utilization. The lack of goals are contributing to the problems that the application of Agile will solve.

    • Derek Huether

      Thanks Steve for your comment. So, is the goal for your organization high utilization? If not, I think the focus is on the wrong thing. One of our coaches was conducting an assessment earlier this week. During the assessment, he asked someone in a technical position how their job was related to the goal (making the company profitable and make the company shareholders money. The response was that what he has absolutely nothing to do with the customer. With that, we identified a problem. Clearly, there is not a shared understanding of the goal. If there was a shared understanding, perhaps this individual would then be able see how he contributes toward that goal, or at least business drivers.

      • Steve Colasinski

        I am trying to get our management to understand that although they may have goals most of the people do not understand nor can identify with their goals. The perspective is on how many hours they work to achieve a task. I know the focus is wrong. Just trying to get a culture change on perspective. Had a meeting yesterday and I identified the goal versus utilization issue and all of the managers were surprised that there people did not know or understand their goals,

  2. Eddie

    Hi Derek, very helpful. I had a bit of a think about this for my own context and came up with the following:
    * Stable Predictability
    — Better forecasting of costs and lead times
    — Long range planning
    * Higher Quality
    — Lower cost of rework
    — Increased customer satisfaction
    * Shorter Time to Market
    — Increased cash flow, lower COD, earlier (risk adjusted) ROI
    — Flexibility, Responsiveness, Pre-emption
    * Cost-effective Value delivery
    — Productivity through higher throughput
    — Free up capital for other areas

    I’d love to know if that is congruent with your thinking.

    • Derek Huether

      I’m totally in agreement with you. Regardless where you are on the compass, your outcomes align with my thinking.


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