New Horizons Central Blog

Agile Project Management Meets Customer Needs

Posted: Feb 24, 2014
Categories: Project Management
Comments: 0
Author: Nicole Winn

Value in Agile Development

Agile projects involve the customer regularly—not just at the beginning and the end. This customer involvement mitigates one of the most consistent problems on software projects: What they will accept at the end of the project differs from what they told us at the beginning.

While good Business Analysis practices can help with this risk, they can only take you so far. There is no substitute for demonstrating to the customer what we are building and getting their feedback regularly throughout the project. This is precisely what Agile projects do.

Although every Agile practice is not necessarily appropriate for every organization, each practice has delivered real value to many organizations, and some Agile practices can be used by anyone!

Agile Planning & the Changing Business Environment

Customer needs may change. It really doesn’t matter whether that change constitutes the customer gaining a new and better understanding of their needs, or it is a result of very real changes in their environment. The bottom line is that delivering a product that meets the original (obsolete) needs is wasteful and counter-productive.

But the customer is not the only source of change. The development organization’s situation could change as well. The changing business environment might impact the value proposition for the project, causing management to allocate more or fewer resources, rearrange priorities, extend or contract the timeline, or even suspend or cancel the project.

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What it takes to Develop Software

Most customers have little or no understanding of what it takes to develop software. This can result in many problems and arguments on projects as the customer makes demands that they imagine would be easy for the development team and question where the time and effort is going and why the project is taking so long.

Agile projects include the customer in all of the most important activities. That is why the customer is counted as a member of the Agile team!

Because of the high visibility into the developers’ work, the customer quickly comes to appreciate the work the developers do and to respect them as the professionals that they are. When the customer’s needs or understanding changes, they recognize that it will cost the developers time and effort, and they come to rely on the developers for estimates of those impacts.

All of this gives rise to a positive and collaborative working relationship between the developers and the customer; they quickly begin to operate as members of one team.

New Horizons Upgrading People

If you would like to learn more about Agile Project Management training and certification, click here.

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