Lean Sales and an Agile Journey

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In our latest experience report, Jorge Silva tells how he learned to eliminate the gap between pre-sales and engineering. Where he had worked previously, there wasn’t much trust between sales and development. He was always thinking, “How many impossible commitments has this salesman promised?” and, “How much time has he trimmed out from our estimates?”

But then in 2009, he and his business partners founded 10pines. They were inspired to form a business and create software in a way that aligned their technical values with their people values. They wanted transparency in the sales process. No more overpromising and then struggling to deliver on unrealistic promises.

Over the past 5 years, 10pines has crafted a sales process that incorporates practices aimed at integrating their sales with their development processes. The first contract they landed went OK, but they made mistakes. So after completing that initial project where they worked too hard, over-specified what they would deliver, and didn’t make much profit…they reflected and adapted.

Their sales process today is much different than when they first started. Jorge’s report tells of 10 things they now routinely do. They came to these current practices through a series of experiments and adaptations. They took known agile practices and made them their own. For example, they modified user story mapping to incorporate user workflow so as to better understand what needs to be done first to achieve the most value. They ask their customers to prioritize the work at the beginning. They also learned how to explain the values and practices of agile development in ways that prospective customers could appreciate and understand. And how to establish pricing while presenting options that their customers could relate to.

lean-sales-agile-journey2Not every experience report author is so forthright in sharing his or her mistakes along with their observations. Thank you, Jorge, for your transparency, enthusiasm and insights.

I cherish experience reports telling about how people learn and adapt their thinking along with their practices.

If you are interested in sharing your agile experiences and experiments via the Agile Experience report program, contact me with a proposal. Also, I am happy to meet with prospective authors at the Agile conference in August. If you have an itch to write about your agile experience, I’m here to help you share your story.

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