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Customer vs user

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  • acockburn@aol.com
    In a message dated 11/30/2004 6:28:25 A.M. Mountain Standard Time, agile-usability@yahoogroups.com writes: That said, there are those within the user
    Message 1 of 17 , Nov 30, 2004
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      In a message dated 11/30/2004 6:28:25 A.M. Mountain Standard Time, agile-usability@yahoogroups.com writes:
      That said, there are those within
      the user experience world who conflate customer and
      user as well.
      --->
       
      I'm afraid I've never understood what "customer" meant. To me it's a word that crept in from XP and got seriously overloaded at that same instant. I try not to use it when talking about projects, because I don't know what it means and as far as I can tell, other people have its meaning shift ambiguously from one instant to the next.
       
      There's the end User. Actually there are several, e.g., the novice user and the expert user. I like to talk about a "usage expert" to get information on usage patterns. This will typically be an expert user, as it turns out.
       
      There's the person paying for the product, the Buyer, if you will. May be the Purchasing department or the boss of a User.
       
      There's the Project Sponsor, who often isn't the person paying for the product or system.
       
      There's a "business expert" who may on occasion be an end user but quite often not.
       
      I can't fit Customer neatly into these, or perhaps I can, and it would be the Buyer. But Buyer doesn't fit into most of the sentences that get written about Customer.
       
      Do you have some particular notion in mind for the word Customer?
       
      Alistair
    • Chris Pehura
      Me, I tend to call everyone a stakeholder with varying interests . I know with the terminologies out there, this is incorrect, but it tends to work well with
      Message 2 of 17 , Nov 30, 2004
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        Me, I tend to call everyone a "stakeholder with varying interests". I know with the terminologies out there, this is incorrect, but it tends to work well with me.
        Each person is separate. Can't group them together.
         
        Examples -
        Jim, a developer has an emotional involvement with the product.
        Tom, a developer has the need to explore and make work the cutting edge technologies.
        Susan, the project manager wants to implement her vision of an innovative product.
        Jackie, the product manager wants to sell a product that is twice the features, yet half the cost.
        Dorleen, the business owner wants to make money with software at clinics just like the ones she owns.

         -----Original Message-----
        From: acockburn@... [mailto:acockburn@...]
        Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 10:23 AM
        To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [agile-usability] Customer vs user

        In a message dated 11/30/2004 6:28:25 A.M. Mountain Standard Time, agile-usability@yahoogroups.com writes:
        That said, there are those within
        the user experience world who conflate customer and
        user as well.
        --->
         
        I'm afraid I've never understood what "customer" meant. To me it's a word that crept in from XP and got seriously overloaded at that same instant. I try not to use it when talking about projects, because I don't know what it means and as far as I can tell, other people have its meaning shift ambiguously from one instant to the next.
         
        There's the end User. Actually there are several, e.g., the novice user and the expert user. I like to talk about a "usage expert" to get information on usage patterns. This will typically be an expert user, as it turns out.
         
        There's the person paying for the product, the Buyer, if you will. May be the Purchasing department or the boss of a User.
         
        There's the Project Sponsor, who often isn't the person paying for the product or system.
         
        There's a "business expert" who may on occasion be an end user but quite often not.
         
        I can't fit Customer neatly into these, or perhaps I can, and it would be the Buyer. But Buyer doesn't fit into most of the sentences that get written about Customer.
         
        Do you have some particular notion in mind for the word Customer?
         
        Alistair

      • Jeff Patton
        ... a word ... instant. ... would be ... get written ... I d be interested in the usability/UCD community s understanding and position on this word. To
        Message 3 of 17 , Nov 30, 2004
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          --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, acockburn@a... wrote:
          > I'm afraid I've never understood what "customer" meant. To me it's
          a word
          > that crept in from XP and got seriously overloaded at that same
          instant.

          <snip>

          > I can't fit Customer neatly into these, or perhaps I can, and it
          would be
          > the Buyer. But Buyer doesn't fit into most of the sentences that
          get written
          > about Customer.
          >
          > Do you have some particular notion in mind for the word Customer?
          >

          I'd be interested in the usability/UCD community's understanding and
          position on this word.

          To me I think it's a point of dissonence - part of the weird language
          that comes from the agile community [by way of the XP community] that
          creates confusion with usability people, and lots of others for that
          matter. I believe usability people are especially confused by it
          since part of their discipline is to develop user models that that
          encapsulate their understanding of the diverse people who use the
          software. I beleive UCD/usability emphasis starts with understanding
          users and those paying for the software and the goals of each.
          They/we focus on identifying distinct types and giving them helpful
          names. Calling everyone a customer seems to trivialize that work,
          and downplay that importand understanding.
          </opinion>

          The word "customer" for me only has meaning in an agile methodology
          context. I know what a customer role is on a project and how it
          might be filled. I don't think the term has any value from a user
          centered /design/ context.

          thanks,

          -Jeff
        • Josh Seiden
          ... Your post completely captures my thoughts. How d you do that, Jeff? JS
          Message 4 of 17 , Nov 30, 2004
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            > I'd be interested in the usability/UCD community's
            > understanding and
            > position on this word.

            Your post completely captures my thoughts. How'd you
            do that, Jeff?

            JS
          • david broschinsky
            Speaking directly of our situation, we have our users who interact with the software on a day in day out basis, a primary persona and the person s whose goals
            Message 5 of 17 , Nov 30, 2004
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              Speaking directly of our situation, we have our users who interact with the
              software on a day in day out basis, a primary persona and the person's
              whose goals are most important to the project.

              The person who the product is pitched to is not the person using the
              product day in day out in most situations. This person wants to hear about
              quantities of reports, cost of hardware to support it, cost of support,
              etc.. They don't typically care how hard or easy the product is to use as
              they aren't in it all the time. They consume the by-products. If the
              by-products are considered carefully along with the user requirements then
              the software is never purchased. Is this a secondary persona?

              This does map at times to the boss of the user, or sometimes to the IT
              department. Either way, they are going to have needs that are just as
              important as the end users. If they aren't met, the other requirements
              won't matter because the end user won't have the product.

              daveb
              daveb at startide dot net


              Alistair asked:

              There's the person paying for the product, the Buyer, if you will. May be
              the Purchasing department or the boss of a User.

              There's the Project Sponsor, who often isn't the person paying for the
              product or system.

              There's a "business expert" who may on occasion be an end user but quite
              often not.
              >I can't fit Customer neatly into these, or perhaps I can, and it would be
              >the Buyer. But Buyer doesn't fit into most of the sentences that get
              >written about Customer.
              >
              >Do you have some particular notion in mind for the word Customer?
            • Keith Nicholas
              I ve never liked customer as the name for the role in XP. But its hard to come up with a better word. A customer is responsible for making choices about
              Message 6 of 17 , Nov 30, 2004
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                I've never liked "customer" as the name for the role in XP.  But its hard to come up with a better word.
                 
                A customer is responsible for making choices about what goes into the software.  I think the word customer came about to try and convey that this person/team should be aligned with the business and the money.  So this "customer" makes appropriate choices to gain the *right* business value.
                 
                end users often won't know what the best value choice is
                Project Sponsors may not know enough to make choices they just recognise theres value in the project
                Buyers could potentially just be "sold" on the idea and are backing it with money
                business expert may or may not know the money tradeoffs.
                 
                So you don't really have a customer with any one of these, but you could make a customer team, probably with the business expert being the leading customer representative.
                 
                Keith

                From: acockburn@... [mailto:acockburn@...]
                Sent: Wednesday, 1 December 2004 5:23 a.m.
                To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [agile-usability] Customer vs user

                In a message dated 11/30/2004 6:28:25 A.M. Mountain Standard Time, agile-usability@yahoogroups.com writes:
                That said, there are those within
                the user experience world who conflate customer and
                user as well.
                --->
                 
                I'm afraid I've never understood what "customer" meant. To me it's a word that crept in from XP and got seriously overloaded at that same instant. I try not to use it when talking about projects, because I don't know what it means and as far as I can tell, other people have its meaning shift ambiguously from one instant to the next.
                 
                There's the end User. Actually there are several, e.g., the novice user and the expert user. I like to talk about a "usage expert" to get information on usage patterns. This will typically be an expert user, as it turns out.
                 
                There's the person paying for the product, the Buyer, if you will. May be the Purchasing department or the boss of a User.
                 
                There's the Project Sponsor, who often isn't the person paying for the product or system.
                 
                There's a "business expert" who may on occasion be an end user but quite often not.
                 
                I can't fit Customer neatly into these, or perhaps I can, and it would be the Buyer. But Buyer doesn't fit into most of the sentences that get written about Customer.
                 
                Do you have some particular notion in mind for the word Customer?
                 
                Alistair

              • Jon Meads
                Not having been elected as a representative, I can t speak authoritatively for the usability/UCD community but just about everyone I know in that community
                Message 7 of 17 , Nov 30, 2004
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                  Not having been elected as a representative, I can't speak authoritatively for the usability/UCD community but just about everyone I know in that community considers the customer to be the person who is making the purchase, the one who recommends or makes the purchase decision and/or authorizes the purchase expense.
                   
                  The user is more diffused. You have the hands-on user, often called the end user, who directly interacts with the system and you have secondary users, the people who utilize the results of the system (reports, etc.). The latter are often affected by issues such as timeliness, accuracy, readability, conciseness, etc.
                   
                  Finally, there are stakeholders. Stakeholders are those individuals or groups with an interest in the performance and success of the project and in the delivery of intended results. They usually include any person or group who can affect or is affected by the project’s outcome. Stakeholders include, by definition, both users and customers.
                   
                  These are the definitions I use when discussing issues with clients and have found them to resonate with other members of the usability/UCD community but that is a large community and there are bound to be differences.
                   
                  Regardless of our desires to design for the user, the Golden Rule ("them that has the gold makes the rules") specifies that the customer is always right, no matter how wrong. As a professional, I have a responsibility to educate and communicate when I think that customer may be making an error but if I'm taking their money, I'm going to do as they ask.
                   
                  Cheers,
                  jon
                   

                             Jon Meads
                             Usability Architects, Inc.
                             PO Box 3222
                             Kirkland, WA 98083-3222
                   
                      Voice: 425-827-9296
                       Cell: 206-409-7548
                        Fax: 425-827-6692
                      Email: jon@...
                   
                     Specialists in User-Centered Design & Engineering
                         http://www.usability-architects.com/


                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Jeff Patton [mailto:jpatton@...]
                  Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 11:01 AM
                  To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: [agile-usability] Re: Customer vs user


                  --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, acockburn@a... wrote:
                  > I'm afraid I've never understood what "customer" meant. To me it's
                  a word 
                  > that crept in from XP and got seriously overloaded at that same
                  instant.

                  <snip>

                  > I can't fit Customer neatly into these, or perhaps I can, and it
                  would be 
                  > the Buyer. But Buyer doesn't fit into most of the sentences that
                  get written 
                  > about Customer.

                  > Do you have some particular notion in mind for the word Customer?


                  I'd be interested in the usability/UCD community's understanding and
                  position on this word. 

                  To me I think it's a point of dissonence - part of the weird language
                  that comes from the agile community [by way of the XP community] that
                  creates confusion with usability people, and lots of others for that
                  matter.  I believe usability people are especially confused by it
                  since part of their discipline is to develop user models that that
                  encapsulate their understanding of the diverse people who use the
                  software.  I beleive UCD/usability emphasis starts with understanding
                  users and those paying for the software and the goals of each. 
                  They/we focus on identifying distinct types and giving them helpful
                  names.  Calling everyone a customer seems to trivialize that work,
                  and downplay that importand understanding.
                  </opinion>

                  The word "customer" for me only has meaning in an agile methodology
                  context.  I know what a customer role is on a project and how it
                  might be filled.  I don't think the term has any value from a user
                  centered /design/ context.

                  thanks,

                  -Jeff





                • Ron Jeffries
                  ... Indeed. It is necessary to recall that Customer is the name of a /role/ in the process. As with any such name, it is necessarily imprecise. The spirit of
                  Message 8 of 17 , Nov 30, 2004
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                    On Tuesday, November 30, 2004, at 3:48:33 PM, Keith Nicholas wrote:

                    > I've never liked "customer" as the name for the role in XP. But its hard to
                    > come up with a better word.

                    > A customer is responsible for making choices about what goes into the
                    > software. I think the word customer came about to try and convey that this
                    > person/team should be aligned with the business and the money. So this
                    > "customer" makes appropriate choices to gain the *right* business value.

                    Indeed. It is necessary to recall that "Customer" is the name of a /role/
                    in the process. As with any such name, it is necessarily imprecise. The
                    spirit of XP was and is one of simplicity and I believe that the name was
                    chosen specifically for its overtones and because it was not stilted or
                    frightening.

                    Ron Jeffries
                    www.XProgramming.com
                    Hold on to your dream. --ELO
                  • Jeff Patton
                    ... a /role/ ... The ... name was ... stilted or ... For me the XP/agile customer is the role that guides the development process. The customer role supplies
                    Message 9 of 17 , Nov 30, 2004
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                      --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries
                      <ronjeffries@X...> wrote:
                      > Indeed. It is necessary to recall that "Customer" is the name of
                      a /role/
                      > in the process. As with any such name, it is necessarily imprecise.
                      The
                      > spirit of XP was and is one of simplicity and I believe that the
                      name was
                      > chosen specifically for its overtones and because it was not
                      stilted or
                      > frightening.

                      For me the XP/agile customer is the role that guides the development
                      process. The customer role supplies both general and specific
                      information on what a development team should be working on. The
                      custmer role makes decisions on priority. The customer role relies
                      on the development team for estimates on costs to implement the
                      functinality they request. The customer role is generally filled by
                      a diverse team, but can be filled by one diverse person, or one smart
                      person collaborating with a diverse team.

                      There's more to it than that. [I'd look to Angela's research for
                      specifics on what an XP customer actually does:
                      https://www.mcs.vuw.ac.nz/~angela/%5d But, the idea of customer in the
                      agile context is the person supplying money and to pay for
                      functionality to develop.

                      That said, how would this group suggest that cutomer be implemented?

                      Usability/UCD people recommend specific functionality based their
                      research - so are they part of the customer team?

                      Usability/UCD people might precisely design the user interface and
                      user interactions. UI designers often act a bit like programmers and
                      find themselves on the developer team. Are they developers?

                      Usability/UCD often do user centric testing. Are they testers?

                      Usability/UCD work often supports or validates marketing work. Are
                      they deep in the business side of the customer team?

                      In an ideal world, how would a usability person help to implement a
                      customer role? Would they help implement other roles? What's an
                      example of an agile process involving UCD people in a healthy way.
                      [I can elaborate on way I think is healthy, but I'd like to hear
                      responses from those who are doing it, and suggestions from those
                      with thoughts on the subject - including Ron ;-) ]

                      We've touched on this subject before. In this message Lynn @ alias
                      talks a bit about how they do things:
                      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/agile-usability/message/298 I have
                      every indication that alias is a shining example of how to involve
                      usability in an agile process in a very healthy way.

                      thanks,

                      -Jeff
                    • aacockburn
                      ... Then you re on the hook, Jeff --- please say what a customer role is on a project . Alistair
                      Message 10 of 17 , Nov 30, 2004
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                        --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff Patton" <jpatton@a...>
                        wrote:

                        > The word "customer" for me only has meaning in an agile methodology
                        > context. I know what a customer role is on a project and how it
                        > might be filled.

                        Then you're on the hook, Jeff --- please say what a "customer role is
                        on a project".

                        Alistair
                      • aacockburn
                        ... and/or ... . . . ... ( them ... always ... Jon, may I take it that you are using the word customer consistently here, so that you intend: the person
                        Message 11 of 17 , Nov 30, 2004
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                          --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Jon Meads" <jon@u...> wrote:
                          > community considers the customer to be the person who is making the
                          > purchase, the one who recommends or makes the purchase decision
                          and/or
                          > authorizes the purchase expense.
                          . . .
                          > Regardless of our desires to design for the user, the Golden Rule
                          ("them
                          > that has the gold makes the rules") specifies that the customer is
                          always
                          > right, no matter how wrong.

                          Jon, may I take it that you are using the word "customer"
                          consistently here, so that you intend:
                          " 'the person who is making the purchase, the one who recommends or
                          makes the purchase decision and/or authorizes the purchase expense'
                          is always right, no matter how wrong." ?
                        • Jon Meads
                          From: aacockburn [mailto:acockburn@aol.com] ... . . . ... Jon, may I take it that you are using the word customer consistently here, so that you intend:
                          Message 12 of 17 , Nov 30, 2004
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                            From: aacockburn [mailto:acockburn@...]
                            --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Jon Meads" <jon@u...> wrote:
                            > community considers the customer to
                            be the person who is making the
                            > purchase, the one who recommends or
                            makes the purchase decision and/or
                            > authorizes the purchase expense.
                            . . .
                            > Regardless of our desires to design for the user, the Golden Rule
                            ("them
                            > that has the gold makes the rules") specifies that the customer
                            is always
                            > right, no matter how wrong.

                            Jon, may I take it that you are using the word "customer"
                            consistently here, so that you intend:
                            " 'the person who is making the purchase, the one who recommends or
                            makes the purchase decision and/or authorizes the purchase expense'
                            is always right, no matter how wrong." ?

                             With appropriate exceptions. I've had situations where the person who made the purchase decision was replaced by another person just before a project started. Which implies that roles are important for customers as well as users. But basically, it is the person(s) who have purchasing responsibility that have objectives and who are expecting a return in value. A good customer, like a good boss, will state the objective and what value is expected and will let you do what you need to as a professional to deliver. But most customers are people and few are perfect.
                             
                            The critical thing to remember is that the customer is not always the user and, in order to meet the customer's objectives and provide the desired value, it is often a requirement to design with the user in mind. An example, the customer is concerned about productivity and believes that a redesign of the system can improve productivity.
                             
                            You do the contextual (user, environment, and domain) studies and see several possible solutions. Solution A will improve productivity by 30% but will increase training time and costs by 100%. It is also likely to increase turnover because users are unlikely to be satisfied with it. Solution B will improve productivity by 20% and will increase training time and costs by 50%. It is unlikely to affect turnover. Solution C will improve productivity by 10% and will increase training time and costs by 25% but will make the users more satisfied with their work, thereby reducing turnover significantly. There is no question that the users would prefer Solution C but A or B may be more in keeping with the customer's objectives and value requirements.
                             
                            And then there may be Solution D, which the customer wants that improves productivity by 50% and training by 200% and causes users to quit immediately after they are trained. You have a difficult decision if the customer insists on Solution D as much as you try to explain the folly of it. You have started the project but don't want to complete it as the customer is likely to blame you for the result.
                             
                            I think the above example illustrates the difference between customer and user and the customer being "always right".
                             
                            Cheers,
                            jon
                             

                                       Jon Meads
                                       Usability Architects, Inc.
                                       PO Box 3222
                                       Kirkland, WA 98083-3222
                             
                                Voice: 425-827-9296
                                 Cell: 206-409-7548
                                  Fax: 425-827-6692
                                Email: jon@...
                             
                               Specialists in User-Centered Design & Engineering
                                   http://www.usability-architects.com/


                          • Myhill, Carl S (GE Energy)
                            Not sure I get the problem with this customer and user thing but as Josh says, this is an essential distinction to make. I guess the context of your work can
                            Message 13 of 17 , Dec 1, 2004
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                              Not sure I get the problem with this customer and user thing but as Josh says, this is an essential distinction to make. I guess the context of your work can confound clarity.
                               
                              If you are amazon.com for example, your customer and your user are the same person, so that's nice and easy.
                               
                              In what I do, working on designing large systems for corporates, I regard the customer as the 'business visionaries' with purchasing power. Marketing folks need to understand what the customers in the market are demanding, in order to shape our products such that they will sell to those with purchasing power.
                               
                              Users, are often unrepresented people who work in the businesses headed up by these business visionaries. Sometimes a 'super user' will get involved in specification of a new system but typically these super users are themselves unrepresentative. The regular people normally get no say about the software at all, in this context, until it arrives on their desk. But when it hits their desk, only then do they suddenly become empowered and can turn around and say "we can't use this". Acceptance problems, software rejected, etc.
                               
                              For example NY Times Article - Wanted by the Police: A Good Interface ( November 11, 2004 ) http://tech2.nytimes.com/mem/technology/techreview.html?res=9401E3DC1E3CF932A25752C1A9629C8B63 
                               
                              So, I see marketing folks interested in customers; and ucd folks interested in users. Often the needs of these two groups in my context are in conflict, and that needs to be hammered out, with the customers having the upper hand of course; but with us listening to users because we don't want acceptance failures.
                               
                              Well, this is my model for my context anyway.
                               
                              Carl
                            • Desilets, Alain
                              just about everyone I know in that community considers the customer to be the person who is making the purchase, the one who recommends or makes the purchase
                              Message 14 of 17 , Dec 1, 2004
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                                just about everyone I know in that community considers the customer to be the person who is making the purchase, the one who recommends or makes the purchase decision and/or authorizes the purchase expense.
                                 
                                -- Alain:
                                In an in-house development setting, the customer could also be the person who commisionned the system to be built.
                                ----
                                 
                                Regardless of our desires to design for the user, the Golden Rule ("them that has the gold makes the rules") specifies that the customer is always right, no matter how wrong. As a professional, I have a responsibility to educate and communicate when I think that customer may be making an error but if I'm taking their money, I'm going to do as they ask. 
                                 
                                -- Alain:
                                Very concisely and eloquently put.
                                ---- 
                              • Dan Rawsthorne
                                Just my $02. Users are those that actually use the software Clients are those that pay us some money Customers are those *on my team* that speak for the users
                                Message 15 of 17 , Dec 1, 2004
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                                  Just my $02.
                                    Users are those that actually use the software
                                    Clients are those that pay us some money
                                    Customers are those *on my team* that speak for the users and clients
                                   
                                  Dan  ;-)

                                  Dan Rawsthorne, PhD, Sr. Consultant
                                  www.netobjectives.com
                                  DrDan@...
                                  office:
                                  425-269-8628

                                  Net Objectives' vision is effective software development without suffering. Our mission is to assist software development teams in accomplishing this through a combination of training and mentoring.

                                   


                                  From: Desilets, Alain [mailto:alain.desilets@...]
                                  Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 2004 6:15 AM
                                  To: 'agile-usability@yahoogroups.com'
                                  Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Re: Customer vs user

                                  just about everyone I know in that community considers the customer to be the person who is making the purchase, the one who recommends or makes the purchase decision and/or authorizes the purchase expense.
                                   
                                  -- Alain:
                                  In an in-house development setting, the customer could also be the person who commisionned the system to be built.
                                  ----
                                   
                                  Regardless of our desires to design for the user, the Golden Rule ("them that has the gold makes the rules") specifies that the customer is always right, no matter how wrong. As a professional, I have a responsibility to educate and communicate when I think that customer may be making an error but if I'm taking their money, I'm going to do as they ask. 
                                   
                                  -- Alain:
                                  Very concisely and eloquently put.
                                  ---- 


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                                • William Pietri
                                  Hi! Sorry for joining this thread late, but I was on vacation. ... Two small notes: First, I suspect that this use of customer comes from TQM jargon:
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Dec 3, 2004
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                                    Hi! Sorry for joining this thread late, but I was on vacation.

                                    On Wed, 2004-12-01 at 09:48 +1300, Keith Nicholas wrote:
                                    > I've never liked "customer" as the name for the role in XP. But its
                                    > hard to come up with a better word.

                                    Two small notes:

                                    First, I suspect that this use of "customer" comes from TQM jargon:

                                    http://quality.org/TQM-MSI/TQM-glossary.html

                                    I was exposed to this when the University of Michigan's Information
                                    Technology Division went through a TQM phase. My recollection is hazy,
                                    but I'm pretty sure the TQM experts involved in that had some sort of
                                    history with Chrysler.


                                    Second, I avoid using the term "customer" except with people already
                                    steeped in XP; because "customer" already has a common meaning, it can
                                    be confusing.

                                    Generally the term I use is "product manager". I like this because it
                                    puts the focus on what we are doing -- making a product for others to
                                    use. In contrast, terms like "project manager" and "development manager"
                                    focus more on the methods we use in pursuit of the goal.

                                    William

                                    --
                                    William Pietri <william@...>
                                  • Charlie Trainor
                                    I m happy with the term Customer , but if you don t like that I suggest the Scrum role Product Owner . In different situations this might be a Product
                                    Message 17 of 17 , Dec 4, 2004
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      I'm happy with the term "Customer", but if you don't like that
                                      I suggest the Scrum role "Product Owner". In different situations
                                      this might be a Product Manager, an end user, a business expert,
                                      or even a committee - whoever makes the decisions on what the
                                      development team builds.

                                      Currently I'm playing the Product Owner role, even though there
                                      is also someone with the title of Product Manager, various
                                      business experts, partners, end users, and other stakeholders.
                                      I seek input from all of them, and some of them have a lot of
                                      influence over me, but in the end I'm the single hand on the
                                      development team's steering wheel.

                                      Since this is an agile usability list - but I've lost track of the
                                      original post that started all this - I'll just point out that
                                      Product Owners need to be able to weigh the costs and benefits of
                                      usability-related activities, just like other development activities.
                                      If there is a usability professional available, that person
                                      would be one of the experts providing input into the decision
                                      making process. The biggest risk (for me currently, but also
                                      quite a common problem) is not getting enough feedback from
                                      end users. But at least it is clear that it will be my fault
                                      if the usability of the product isn't up to scratch - we can't
                                      point fingers at each other and wonder who was supposed to
                                      worry about it.

                                      - Charlie

                                      William Pietry wrote:

                                      > Second, I avoid using the term "customer" except with people already
                                      > steeped in XP; because "customer" already has a common
                                      > meaning, it can be confusing.
                                      >
                                      > Generally the term I use is "product manager". I like this
                                      > because it
                                      > puts the focus on what we are doing -- making a product for
                                      > others to
                                      > use. In contrast, terms like "project manager" and
                                      > "development manager"
                                      > focus more on the methods we use in pursuit of the goal.
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