Selling Agile to the CFO: A Guide for Development Teams - Slide 7

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When Crispin’s company adopted agile development (a decision by the CEO and CFO), the methodology was relatively rare, practiced by only a few teams. Now agile is mainstream, used in many companies of all sizes and in all industries. As her company’s co-founder and CFO, Dan Gutrich notes, this means that practicing agile has become a recruiting and retention tool for Human Resources. Just as CFOs are aware of incentives to attract and retain salespeople, they want to hire the best developers as well. The chance to recruit the most talented developers is another good selling point: People will want to work there!

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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