Customer Value-Centered Negotiation May Eliminate Many Scope-Time Dilemmas

Could your management skills be lacking basic supply and demand knowledge? Mine is. Consider the scope-versus-time dilemma. The Business wants Engineering to deliver a lot of scope. However, Engineering only has so much time. Why does the Business want to deliver a lot of scope? Better yet, what value does the Business want to deliver? The answer will likely fall on a continuum. The lowest end of this continuum is “same as at present.” This is inherent in the development of a new system that replaces an existing one. The highest end of the continuum is “as much as possible.” This is about as helpful as Engineering saying, “We think it would be cool to migrate the system to an n-tier architecture.” Neither solution addresses business value. In reality Engineering likely will push back with a sad story about their limited capacity, production issues, and internal woes.
Perhaps asking for desired value isn’t as cleaver as I thought. In fact, it’s just another form of focusing on engineering solution and not true business value. Business metrics don’t usually say that a given quantity of a product or service is needed by such and such a date. Usually they consider values realized by the customer and increases of those values over time.
You would think that business metrics have a central role in marketing communications. If not, it might get there with a little help from being the focus of conversations between Business and Engineering. These conversations might feel a little out of place in an environment that is focused on engineering solutions. But with a little perseverance from IT leadership, I expect the benefits will become noticeable — benefits including better marketing and less scope-versus-time dilemmas.


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