CT-SPIN #54: Agile Business Development

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Why only apply agile principles and practices when developing software? Why not be agile in life and in business as well? We have heard from a number of startups that do apply agile concepts in business. One of these companies is FireID. Malan Joubert, co-founder and CTO, will speak about the ways in which they have been able to iterate rapidly in the business domain, decrease the cost of learning and provide an agile roadmap for business development.

Slides: Agile Business Development

Snacks kindly sponsored by Factor10.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010, 18h15
Bandwidth Barn
Cape Town

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Venue

Bandwidth Barn
125 Buitengracht Street
Cape Town

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Agenda

18:15 Welcoming and Introduction
   Christian Oloff
18:20 Agile Business Development – A slightly silver bullet
   Malan Joubert
19:20 Closing and Thanks
   Christian Oloff
19:25 Networking & Discussion

Abstract

Agile Business Development – A slightly silver bullet

Building software products is *hard*; it requires a careful balance of creativity, technical excellence, communication and discipline. Throughout all the software projects I’ve been involved in, I have always searched for that elusive silver bullet and the promise of dramatically increased productivity.

In the early years at FireID we wrote unit tests, implemented Scrum and released frequently – and managed to build a great product that had no business case whatsoever. It was an interesting predicament; somehow our initial ideas about the business value of the product were off. People would love to use the product, but no-one would be prepared to pay us enough to recover the sales and technical support costs.

It didn’t require a massive epiphany to realize that another failure of this magnitude would be our demise. We set out to find faster and easier ways of obtaining the same kind of information we paid so dearly for in the first iteration.

Steve Blank, Toyota and Geoffrey Moore provided inspiration to tackle the business side of things with an agile toolbox. We discarded the assumption that building a business is a linear process and started approaching it like an agile software project. The agile business development approach has eliminated the largest inefficiency in our development process; building the wrong product.

This talk will focus on the ways in which we’ve been able to iterate rapidly in the business domain, decrease the cost of learning and provide an agile roadmap for business development.

Speaker Profile

Malan Joubert

Malan is a co-founder and CTO of FireID, a mobile authentication startup in Stellenbosch.

At FireID he is trying to create an agile business development strategy that can translate a technology vision into business reality. He believes that applying agile principles to business development will result in faster profitability and significantly less risk.

He has a background in Computer Science/Electrical Engineering and a keen interest in security. In his limited spare time he enjoys rock climbing and is also the co-founder of a green engineering and simulation firm.