Fast way to be rich: spend less then you earn.

I have lived a few years on welfare.
I had 345 euro per month. When people in my local youth club said they had no more money, they meant “I can’t drink anymore.” They usually went home at that point. When I said I had no money, that meant I could not buy food. I did not go home. I decided at that point that I would not let money define who I was.
According to most people’s standards I was extremely poor. At that time learned the real definition of being rich (although it took a few years to understand it)

Rich people spend less money than they earn.

In my last year on welfare I was able to save 20 euro a month. Although that was less than 10%, according to my definition I was rich.
The first year I worked, I bought a car, television, computer and a house … I did not save any money, I actually had to borrow extra money when someone crashed my car.
Allison: Nice story Yves, what does it have to do with the agile mindset?
Yves: Good question. For me it makes sense to continue to spend money on agile projects if the value they create is more then what we spend to create it.
In that sense you can easily evaluate the risk/reward profile of your project: you know what a sprint costs,  at the demo you look at what the sprint gave you. And  if it was more than you spend, the project is helping you be rich. If not, then you might want to stop asking for features.
Another reason to deliver quickly into production is that you get real money (cash on cash return on investment) and you don’t have to guess the value of what you deliver.
People at Flickr are doing A/B testing out in the open: they see the difference in speed and server load of two options based on real use.
I think Facebook goes even a step further; the features that get the most attention from its users, get the most attention from the developers. By deploying frequently Facebook can learn what is valuable to its users.
I stress this, because I know that companies that want to spend less then they earn have trouble figuring out the value their teams are producing.
The crowd funding initiative Sonic Angel uses the same principles to fund music bands. The bands can go to the studio once they have convinced enough people to invest in them.

Do you want to be rich? Start spending less then what you earn.

Some of my friends used this idea to have a quality life traveling the world.

Agile practices that support “Spend less then what you earn”:

  • Continuous deployment
  • Emerging Design
  • Refactoring
  • PairProgramming