I just finished a terrific session of the Sage Consulting Academy in Vancouver today. While I always find teaching this class invigorating, this session was notable for a few reasons.
First, the majority of folks who were attending were originally there under, errr, duress. In other words, they needed to maintain their certification. While it was a bit rough going at first, to everyone’s credit, by the end of the week they had truly bonded as a and were very open to new ideas and even excited about the possibilities for the future.
Second, one member of the class, José A. Lomelí, is from Mexico and has already translated some of the documents from the class into Spanish. He planned on using one of them today during a phone meeting scheduled for after class. For example, this is the Change Request.
Third, many have agreed that they have adopted the goal of killing their timesheets in the firms. This, of course, is music to my ears.
Fact #1 – I travel a lot for work. In the next five weeks it is unlikely that I will spend ten nights at home with my beautiful wife and kids. This is not meant as a plea, but only to emphasize the first sentence of this post.
Fact #2 – I am also a staunch Libertarian. I am running for Texas State Senate. This is not plea for money, but only to emphasize this second point.
It is these two facts which have caused me some personal conflict. Because most of my travel requires air transport, I am intimately familiar with the TSA. I am guessing that by now you see the challenge.
In any case, about three months ago I received an email from American Airlines asking me if I would like to sign up for the TSA’s Pre program. This program allows travelers to register with the TSA and undergo a background check. In exchange, travelers get to go through a lower security regimen at airport security.
If an airport has the Pre line (and my home airport of DFW does), you can cut right to the security gate where you do not have top take off your shoes or remove your computer or liquids from your travel cases. Instead, your bags are x-rayed and you walk through a metal detector only, no micro scanning (and therefore no naked pictures). Basically, this is the same security procedure as existed on September 10, 2001.
Now the dilemma:
To Pre, or not to Pre: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The pokes and prods of outrageous agents, Or to take arms against a sea of lawyers, And by opposing end them? To Pre: to bypass; No more; and by a bypass to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand unnatural scans That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish’d.
We want to feature you at Sage Summit! In a short video, up to 30 seconds, simply follow the instructions and lines we include below. Be creative! Accepted videos will be featured during the Sage City opening video at Sage Summit. It’s a great way to stand up and be recognized! Deadline to submit videos and photos is June 22, 2012.
You can even use your phone! At the opening of your video, state your full name and whether you are a business partner or customer. Then simply read one or more of the following lines to the camera, pausing between segments and completing the thought where indicated:
“A Sage business knows that the key to our success is in our hands.”
“<Sage product name>
helps me take my business from here in <your city name> to the next level so that I can <make or provide>
the finest <your product/service>.”
“A Sage business knows how to <your favorite Sage benefit>.
“I have the key.”
“Altogether, we are the key to Sage City.”
Video success tips:
Don’t worry if you stray from the script; ad libbing is encouraged.
Stay close to the subject as you shoot. This will ensure you get the best quality audio.
Find a background that represents your business or city.
I think the answer to the question of when should I start getting paid is another question, “When do you begin to provide value?” Let me give a very specific example.
Many professionals will provide a free needs analysis. OK, fair enough, but what if the prospective customer has not developed a complete list of needs. Should the professional give away an engagement in which they help a customer develop such a list? Isn’t that providing value? I believe it is.
So here is my new answer to this imponderable question: When you are confronted with a prospect who thinks that the needs analysis should be free (i.e., part of the sales process), I would say, “Fine, the analysis of your needs will be free, however, we charge a fee of $X to develop a needs assessment.”
I am thrilled to announce a new addition to Zanaflex high
(up to 16 firms now) – Resolv of Appleton, WI.
Principles Angela Talano and Luke Russell turned off their timesheet system one week ago today! My congratulations.
This is not because I think there is something inherently wrong with Agile, but because those that espouse it have always tried to convince me of two things:
Agile Development requires little to no planning
There is no way to do agile development in a fixed price environment
You can imagine that I begin to shake violently at either of those ideas.
In the past month I have had two conversations that have corrected some of these misgivings. Mostly because I have come to the conclusion (confirmed by my conversations) that the folks with which I have had these previous conversations about Agile were full of shit.
Rick had just taken a class and was kind enough to take me through the materials. I found that in many ways I am in alignment with many of the principles of Agile. For example, I really like the idea behind this:
Now, I would enhance the idea of customer collaboration
to a more broad idea of comprehending customer value. Indeed, one weakness of all of the project management methodologies I have seen is the assumption of customer value. In all fairness, it is difficult to integrate value into any methodology because of it subjectivity, but that is for another post.
My conversations have led me to a few conclusions, all of which I am open to change based on more learning.
Agile is probably not for ERP implementations.
While I certainly see Agile working in many other places (some noted below) the actual implementation is not one of them. The reason is that ERP projects tend to be more holistic in nature. For example, you cannot get the full value from an inventory tracking process without having first set up a properly structured general ledger. Agile call for prioritizations that make no sense in the context of ERP.
Agile makes a ton of sense for CRM projects
which a normally more development related than ERP. With ERP, ultimately debits must equal credits (i.e., conform to GAAP), with CRM there are no rules.
One area where Agile could make sense for ERP would be in dealing with change requests and change orders.
Often, these are mini-development projects and therefore Agile might be quite effective. I say might because on small engagements, some of the change requests might be so small as to only need an adjustment to the statement of work.
Another area where Agile excels is in communication.
The daily standup meetings and one to two week scrums have some excellent communication touch points built in. I hope that when Agile is implemented that these processes are truly adhered to. There are definitely some things that Agile can teach us about better communications.
Ultimately, I think Agile is very much in line with the concept of Norvasc 10 mg
a few weeks back. This gives me some hope for being able to integrate some of the best idea from both methodologies into one more coherent approach.
My thanks again to Stephen and Rick who contributed to my thinking about this post.