Selling Agile to the CFO: A Guide for Development Teams - Slide 2

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Before you meet with your company’s CFO, learn about their roles and responsibilities. CFOs aim to predict financial performance and the return on potential investments, but often they make key contributions outside of finance. Your CFO may know a lot about all aspects of the business, and may be more interested in software development than you expect.

CFOs are responsible for budgets and controls. They need measurability, transparency, and benchmarks to help plan for and predict future performance. They’re routinely asked to invest in improvements. Be prepared to show how agile provides an ability to quantify software development where traditional methodologies don’t.

Your programming team is on board with agile and the notion of iterative design and development, but the financial executives prefer to think in terms of “Just tell me when it’ll be ready and how much it’ll cost.” If you can sell the CFO on the agile methodology, you’ll have an ally in the board room.

Agile adoption requires a big investment by your company, not just by the development and QA staff. Your team needs time to master agile values, principles, and practices, and to apply them to your unique situation. A culture of learning, time to experiment, and tolerance for mistakes are essential to successfully improving software quality and responding to changing business requirements. How can you get the resources and long-term support you need from the business?

Here’s a good strategy: Get your chief financial officer (CFO) on board. Telling the CFO, “We want to do this” probably won’t work. After speaking with both financial and software experts, including her own company’s CFO, Lisa Crispin, an agile testing practitioner and coach, is confident that you can make agile an easy sell.

Here are seven tips from Lisa Crispin, highlighted in her post on the Software Quality Connection, to help you sell agile to your CFO.

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