A metaphor in agile development of building a transportation device in the picture below. There were a few tweets about stretching the metaphor, or my favorite of course you could build a car, if that's what you wanted.
If You Don't Know What Done Looks Like in Units of Measure Meaningful to the Decision Makers, You're On a Death March Project To Nowhere
Starting a project without the end in mind has been a bad idea for a long time
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him saying, "This fellow began to build and was not able to finish." - Luke 14:28-30
The logic of the picture goes like this:
- In the end I want a Panel Van to deliver groceries for my door-to-door organics company.
- I want vehicle for a purpose, to provide a capability to do something that fulfills a need or a mission, to conduct my business.
- I've defined the need, capability, or mission up front - I know what I want to do with the outcome - I want to deliver groceries.
- I have some idea of why I need this vehicle, what value I will receive from it, and some sense of how much I'm willing to pay to receive this value. Since my ROI for the vehicle is is simple.
- ROI = (Value - Cost) / Cost
In the agile example below - the Like this! panel makes none of these examples
- I don't really know what I want, otherwise I wouldn't be willing to pay for something that doesn't meet my needs.
- I can't use a skateboard, a scooter, a bicycle, and a motorcycle to accomplish my mission. I need a Panel Van.
So when it is suggested that the second path to the car (the bottom picture) is the way to produce a capability - in the absence of a domain and a context of that domain, I'd suggest
This is a Solution Looking for a Problem to Solve
In that condition there are not many people willing to spend money for vehicles they're not interested in using for their final purpose. And simply saying not this, but this has little value to someone needed to Panel Van and without the Panel Van, can't do their business. So it's going to be hard to get a seat at the table until the connection with the Needed Capabilities, fulfilling the business case, or accomplishing the mission are the starting point, rather than the suggested solution.
In the bottom picture, if those outcomes can't be used, re-used, or resold, the Car in #5 is then burdened with a unrecoverable sunk cost of all the vehicles that come before it. This rarely seems to be discussed in the agile paradigm where this picture is common.
Not Knowing What You Want - in terms of a Capability - is a good way to waste money
Imagine a Toyota production line where the assembly of the car takes place incrementally. The car dealer sells you the car AFTER it comes off the assembly line. You'd not want to pay for a partially completed car. You want a Whole car. A car that meets your needs. In the bottom picture you may in fact want to own the skateboard, scooter, bicycle, motorcycle and then the car. We have a garage full of skateboards, scooters, bicycles, no motorcycle, a 4 cars. But those vehicles, each with a purpose, a cost and a value.