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Author: Markanthony Akem Bsc Economics, MBA

ROI vs ROV – An Agile Insight

ROV (Return on value) is the amount of value-Built-in (VBI) that an organization gains as a result of continuous improvement in new and existing people (employees), customer service delivery and platform technology respectively.

On the other hand, return on investment (ROI) is the amount of money an investor receives as proceeds from an investment. By tradition, ROI has always been measured in monetary terms, but not in the value return to the overall business or organization. Return on value (ROV), in my opinion, is the back bone of organizational emancipation. As we move deeper into a customer driven market, investors and business leaders alike should worry about the VBI (Value-built-in) engine. Although most may argue that measuring the intangible nature of value may make ROV a difficult KPI to measure, research shows organizations that make ROV a key indicator have recorded more success. These days, the “what “questions do not cut it any longer, but the “why” questions, sure make all the difference when integrated into the strategic business thinking.

In Mark .C. Crowley’s book “ Lead from the heart” subtitled transformational leadership for the 21st century, he explains how organizations with a value engagement and process tend to maximize returns as a result of continuous stream of value, customer satisfaction, employee engagement as well as conducive and flexible working environments. Companies such as SAS are driving engagement versus perks. It clearly shows the driver for$3.2billion revenue in 2016 up 1.3 % from financial year ending in 2015.In the words of SAS CEO Jim Goodnight, he stated quote; “We aim to help every customer turn analytic insights into value” and to deliver such customer value, Jim requires the right people with the right attitude and understanding of his vision. SAS as a company has created a value proposition that has in the past 33 years, increased its revenue in its 40 years of doing business. Mark Crowley pressed further to say that, individuals are seeking self- actualization and happiness in today’s work environment. As such, for organizations to return on investment, it is contingent on employees to be wholly engaged and contributing to the over all goal. After all, the driving force behind organizational success is people. Changing times have led to changing needs, which in turn, have brought about change in how individuals perceive treatment.

No doubt, employees want to work in an environment that makes them feel wanted, recognized and rewarded while having work-life balance. In my discussion with an employee of a company, and I quote “I spend more time at my job than anything else and as such my actualization derives from it” which meant “I depend on my job for a lot of things that are defining” as stated by the employee. This does not mean people are selfish but rather it underlines the fact that, when an individual is on the path to actualization, commitment to and by actualization drivers like work, is very primary.


These days, organizations and business leaders have to constantly ask “why” at every stage of driving forward their vision and goal statements. Technology taking the center stage has forever changed consumer perspectives and the spread of information. Globalization and deregulation have both increased competition and created overwhelming access for consumers who are looking to compare products before purchase. This has forced the hands of businesses to change their method of engagement. The push to adopt new ways of doing business has created a disruption to most existing business models, but it is a welcomed development as it is required to drive profit. Investment return today for any organization, requires appropriate synchronization of all components of sustainable ROV (Return on value) and includes respect for people, the way standards are stipulated and the laid out method of doing business.

Every organization has to continuously weigh the value proposition in the projects and tasks approved, people performing the task, what problem the solution addresses and why the solution is viable for the business at the time. Nonetheless, the VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complex and Ambiguous) scenario has set stage for a more incremental way of delivering value and ensuring there is return on value as well as investment. The first approach would be to agree on transformation and get in the swing of re-defining what an organization wants to be known for in the market place. The second approach involves pursuing an aggressive agenda to transform the market place. Mindset at this point would matter for the organization and its employees as a certain persona is required for this type of re-definition.

In summary, the VUCA challenge has made it almost impossible for businesses to run a centric model for long. The base for continued ROI (Return on investment) is ROV (Return on value) and it entails a dynamic approach to the driving factors such as people, customer and technology. No longer would businesses see significant ROI without the required flexibility in adoption, adaptation and acceptance of a value stream model in business engagement and dealings.

Think ROI! Think ROV!

Agile Evangelization – 7 Must Haves For Evangelization

The use of waterfall methodology has typically been the standard for project development and management.

Nonetheless, the spread of agile as a concept began at a time not too long ago as a result of rapidly growing productivity needs and faster product to market delivery requirements. With agile being a framework that reflects on change in mindset, implementing it as a practice requires well-crafted initiatives such as evangelization to derive required result(s).

Agile evangelization as defined by Guy Kawasaki is the act of leading people towards better ways of developing software. He went further to state that evangelism is firmly rooted in what is good for us individuals and organizations alike. But contrary to Guy’s reference to software development, agile evangelization can defined as the process of structuring and positioning of self-organized team activities to drive better process development, product delivery and people management through effective leadership and respect for people. In other words, certain components of teams that are self-organized and performing defined activities are required to drive specific results. Such teams require specialized roles of;

  1. Evangelist,
  2. An agile champions
  3. An extended team.

We have used the phrase agile evangelization quite a bit as well as pointed out its roles but what does it really mean? In my understanding, agile evangelization can be defined as a stakeholder buy in initiative(s) that is aimed at familiarizinga non-agile team, group or individual with the core principles and practices of agile.

In my studies, I identified the following as being the core items needed for a successful agile evangelization;

  1. Leadership approval.
  2. Plan to communicate transparency.
  3. Purpose in Message.
  4. Train and Coach.
  5. Set designated meeting location.
  6. Use radiators.
  7. Create group for champions.

Leadership approval: Leaders carry influence and as such their approvals hold water. Employees tend to take serious what their leaders support or voice concerns on. Leadership guidance shields evangelization and introduction of net new initiative(s) into an environment. So, for effective and meaningful evangelization, leadership engagement is critical to success of such initiative. Also if there is a leader, people follow as against work for such person. Leaders sell and deliver on well thought out vision and can earn trust and confidence of people they lead.

Plan to communicate transparency: People respond better to change and transformation, when there is an understanding of the obvious. In other words, change should be transparent and communicated in lieu of its commencement. As a leader, it is a sole responsibility to ensure all employees understand and are willing to align with an agile evangelization initiative put forward.


Purpose in message: Common sense rules require purpose clarity in message delivery and so does agile evangelization. Part of communicating an agile evangelization is that, supposed adopters of the framework require understanding, as to how the overall change vision aligns with their existing process. People want to know their place in the change, what does the change means for their role and where obviously they fit in. Clarifying this would advance any agile evangelization initiatives that are brought forward for adoption.

Train and Coach: Train your people and expose them to the concept of agile. In light of the training, there should be reinforcement with coaching as a way of maintaining continuous knowledge transfer. In transitioning from waterfall to agile, evangelization is most crucial as people are usually not fully aware of the agile concept and its practices. As such, training and coaching to reinforce knowledge, plays key role in maturing people in that environment with the concept.

Designated meeting location: When kicking off an evangelization initiative, ensure there is a designated location for meetings. All participating groups should know of the designated meeting location. An accessible location not too far but centrally positioned, will drive participation during knowledge sessions.

Use radiators: Use of information radiators is the best way to keep knowledge flow constantly streaming to agile adopters. Information radiators server as visual aid and constantly reiterate learning for people who have no prior knowledge of the concept. Designated locations for agile evangelization meetings can always have radiators posted on the walls to visually remind people of the initiative goal.

Create a group for champions: The fifth principle of agile encourages building a team around motivated people. As such, an experienced evangelist would identify, select, train and coach a group of motivated individuals to be champions. Who is an agile champion? What does an agile champion do? After a close review, I came to the conclusion that while an evangelist provides and interprets the concept of agile core values and principles, champions reinforce the already defined concept and sell it to non-motivated members on their immediate teams. The point is that people relate to change better when it is from a trusted source.

In summary, agile evangelization is a best practice for introducing agile in non-agile environments. Delineation of roles further breaks down the responsibilities and thus, makes evangelization efforts far more reaching and entrenched in the process DNA of an organization.