Last year Chris Matts wrote an insightful post reflecting on the Agile Manifesto and business analysis. At the time it sparked some creative thinking but I didn’t turn it onto the right words.
Now I have them.
Writing software is just a means to an end. Our customers and users don’t always want software (with the exception of games). They want to be able to achieve something and fulfil their role.
Software was developed to help us achieve things in more effective, efficient, accurate ways. We have CAD tools because it’s seen as better than traditional draughtsmanship. We have Financials applications because it adds more value than traditional double-entry book-keeping. Software is written for commercial fighter aircraft because we made them too complicated for people to fly alone.
I could go on…
Remember you’re solving someone else’s problem or making someone’s life easier or safer, not just writing software for the sake of software.
The next time you think about adding a speculative “neat” feature or idea to the backlog, think about who will actually get value from it.
Admittedly, sometimes it might just be to tick the box on an RFP in which case your investment should be lower than if you’re delivering for real end user value but there is business value in doing something.