Saturday, July 11, 2009

Value of Training (CSPO)

What's Scrum training worth?

I am about to lead a Certified Scrum Product Owner course. (2 days, in NYC and a bit later in Saratoga Springs.) The question comes up...what is this course worth?

I explain this in more detail in the course, but here's the summary.

In the course we talk about many things, and hope to get many improvements. Imagine, though, that we only make 2 improvements to a Product Owner. And that PO manages only one Team.

Assume the Team costs about $1 million all-in per year. Team of about 8 people.

Assume the Team currently produces about $3 million per year in NPV (net present value, a core way of measuring business value). (Microsoft seems to be averaging about a 5:1 ratio or better overall.)

OK. We teach Sam, the PO, how to create 20% better stories. So, instead of $3 million per year, the team can get $3.6 million per year.

Now, we also teach him the Pareto Rule, and how to work it all the time. (80% of the value comes from 20% of the work.) Now, we and Sam aren't perfect, so Sam comes back only able to execute the 85-33 rules, ie, 85% of the value in close to double the 20% of the time that Pareto's rule calls for.

OK, this means in 33% of a year, the Team can get 85% of $3.6 million. Let's round down and call that $3 million. We assume Sam (and the firm) can find more work of the same value. So, in the next 33% of a year, the Team produces another $3 million in BV. And in the last third of that year, the Team produces another $3 million in BV. So, now we have $9 million in BV in one year. A 3x improvement. (I will note we assume that the Team did *not* increase Story Point velocity at all. No other impediments removed...very conservative assumption.)

Even if we (the teacher and Sam) don't immediately achieve quite the same level of improvement we assumed (which itself was far from perfection), I think you can see that, a million here, a million there, pretty soon you're talking real money. And, in my opinion, those improvements alone justify the costs for the 2-day course. Even in a serious recession.

What do you think?

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