Thursday, December 01, 2011

Dialogue sheets: more sheets & pricing

A quick follow up to my last two entries about Dialogue Sheets (Retrospective Dialogue Sheets: feedback & updates 1 of 2 and Retrospective Dialogue Sheets: feedback & updates 2 of 2).

Several people who provided feedback said they found the cost of the sheets to be off putting. Since the soft copies are fee the true cost of the sheets depends on where you live and what access you have to large printers, I have little control over that. However, I did set up a print-on-demand service for getting pre-printed sheets.

I’ve looked over the settings and I’ve managed to reduce the price on most of the sheets - while I was there I’ve also uploaded some new sheets - a general discussion sheet, a Sprint level retrospective sheet and a Kick-Off sheet.

The cheapest sheet is now priced at $13.75, or £8.74, €10.20. Since the printer is based in the US the exact price depends on your currency.

Unfortunately, shipping needs to be added to that. Within the US the cheapest sheet should total about $30 - if you order multiple sheets the shipping costs doesn’t rise proportionately so it gets cheaper per sheet.

Apologies to everyone in Europe - myself included, or Asia, or elsewhere - shipping something across the Atlantic costs more. Again, if you buy several sheets at once its cheaper - and is what I do, I have a stack in my office.

I would be interested to know from people who do find cost a barrier just how much they could pay. If I know the restraints I can look into other options.

However, the skeptic in me thinks that the actual price is not important: $13 might as well be $3, $30 or $300. It is the fact that any money needs to be spent that is the barrier.

Which is silly really because sitting half a dozen software developers in a room for an hour isn’t cheap: say $100,000 per developer per year means $50 x 6 = $300, the cost of the sheet is trivial. (This might be why so few teams do retrospectives in the first place.)

Look at it another way: A dialogue sheet costs about $30, which means you save $50 (at least) it would have cost for a facilitator.

Cost arguments always loose so look at it another way: if as a result of the exercise the team save more than one hour it has paid for itself.

As I said, if you have any information that can help me find the right answer please e-mail me.