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Pitching Agile to Senior Management


Scott is a DDJ Senior Contributing Editor and author of numerous IT books. He can be contacted at www.ambysoft.com/ scottAmbler.html.


A common lament amongst developers who want to adopt agile techniques is that they don't know how to convince senior management to let them do it. Until recently, agile software development was on the left-hand side of Moore's technology adoption chasm where it is relatively easy to convince people to try new ideas—often a 30-second elevator pitch was enough to get the go-ahead. Now that we're on the right-hand side of the chasm and dealing with early majority and late adopters, the elevator pitch at best might get you permission to give a detailed presentation sometime next quarter. The rules of the game have changed and many of us are struggling to adapt.

This inability to articulate to senior management why they should adopt agile techniques is ironic considering our focus on communication. My experience is that management is often very willing to become more agile if you're able to describe to them the costs and benefits in an understandable and meaningful way. This column shares some of my insight for doing so.


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