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Growing Customers

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  • Benjamin Schroeder
    Hello all, I have seen a lot of advice on how to start doing XP programming practices, like unit testing or pair programming. Do any of you have advice on how
    Message 1 of 14 , Jun 30 3:59 PM
      Hello all,

      I have seen a lot of advice on how to start doing XP programming
      practices, like unit testing or pair programming. Do any of you have
      advice on how to grow into a Customer relationship?

      Here's my situation. I work on a very small team writing internal
      software for a company. We work on a variety of projects, some short
      and some medium-length. Most (but not all) of the drive behind these
      projects comes from our management, but many of the details come, of
      course, from how other departments work.

      I would like to see more interaction with the other departments, and to
      see them begin to have steering input within a project. It seems as
      though we would understand better how to build the systems and they
      would feel happier about new software.

      The programmers and management are XP-friendly, although we don't
      practice XP. (Our practices are influenced by it, though.)

      I suppose one easy thing to do would be to just say, hey, programmer X,
      or manager Y, what do you think about inviting so-and-so to our planning
      meeting for project Z? and try to grow more direct involvement from
      there. But I wanted to see what the group thought, and what ideas
      people had.

      I should take pains to say, I don't think things are horrible or
      anything; quite the opposite. I'm just looking for ways to improve
      something I've felt could be better.

      Thanks,
      Ben Schroeder
      schroeder@...
    • Ron Jeffries
      ... Right. Or how about if we go talk with so and so about what s needed . Then whip out your cards. Or even how about if /I/ go talk with so and so and
      Message 2 of 14 , Jun 30 4:04 PM
        Around Sunday, June 30, 2002, 6:59:58 PM, Benjamin Schroeder wrote:

        > I suppose one easy thing to do would be to just say, hey, programmer X,
        > or manager Y, what do you think about inviting so-and-so to our planning
        > meeting for project Z? and try to grow more direct involvement from
        > there. But I wanted to see what the group thought, and what ideas
        > people had.

        Right. Or "how about if we go talk with so and so about what's
        needed". Then whip out your cards. Or even "how about if /I/ go talk
        with so and so and bring back some stories".

        Then while you're there, invite them ...

        You're on the right track: ease into it.

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        Inigo: You are wonderful!
        Man in Black: Thank you. I have worked hard to become so.
      • Benjamin Schroeder
        ... That s a good idea. I hadn t thought about asking them to tell us stories when we talked with them in other contexts. We had been asking more targeted
        Message 3 of 14 , Jun 30 4:26 PM
          On Sunday, June 30, 2002, at 07:04 PM, Ron Jeffries wrote:

          > Around Sunday, June 30, 2002, 6:59:58 PM, Benjamin Schroeder wrote:
          >
          >> I suppose one easy thing to do would be to just say, hey, programmer X,
          >> or manager Y, what do you think about inviting so-and-so to our
          >> planning
          >> meeting for project Z? and try to grow more direct involvement from
          >> there. But I wanted to see what the group thought, and what ideas
          >> people had.
          >
          > Right. Or "how about if we go talk with so and so about what's
          > needed". Then whip out your cards. Or even "how about if /I/ go talk
          > with so and so and bring back some stories".

          That's a good idea. I hadn't thought about asking them to tell us
          stories when we talked with them in other contexts. We had been asking
          more targeted questions. Looking for stories should in itself involve
          them more in what the system will do.

          I think this should go over well. We are already used to programming in
          terms of stories, although our planning rhythm is low (of which more
          below). In fact, I was trying to synthesize a story the other day, and
          one of the other programmers, our lead, said something like, shouldn't Y
          tell us a story? (Where Y was the person we had talked to earlier.)

          > Then while you're there, invite them ...

          Right, that makes sense. We do have a regularly scheduled planning
          meeting, albeit a very informal one. For purposes of getting people
          involved initially, though, at least, I think that it would be enough.

          Thanks,
          Ben Schroeder
          schroeder@...
        • Doug Swartz
          Ben, Your idea of having the customer invited to planning meetings is good. Do you know who the customers are who you d like to have a closer/better
          Message 4 of 14 , Jun 30 5:16 PM
            Ben,
            Your idea of having the customer invited to planning meetings is good.

            Do you know who the customers are who you'd like to have a
            closer/better relationship with? Are you using XP like
            practices to build small slices of user functionality in each
            iteration/card?

            Why not just call up the person you know in the other department and
            ask them if they'd like to see and comment on some of the
            functionality you've created?

            Why not simply ask them if you can come and observe their work so
            you'll better understand how the software you're building will fit
            into their environment? When observing, you can ask questions and
            get very good input from customers, even if they're not directly
            involved in the XP planning process.

            Conversing with customers is not new to XP. Nor is getting their
            input. The only way to build a relationship is to do it. The best way
            (for me, anyway) is one-on-one. I've found that, given a chance,
            most customers love to help steer.

            Sunday, June 30, 2002, 5:59:58 PM, Benjamin wrote:

            BS> I have seen a lot of advice on how to start doing XP programming
            BS> practices, like unit testing or pair programming. Do any of you have
            BS> advice on how to grow into a Customer relationship?

            BS> Here's my situation. I work on a very small team writing internal
            BS> software for a company. We work on a variety of projects, some short
            BS> and some medium-length. Most (but not all) of the drive behind these
            BS> projects comes from our management, but many of the details come, of
            BS> course, from how other departments work.

            BS> I would like to see more interaction with the other departments, and to
            BS> see them begin to have steering input within a project. It seems as
            BS> though we would understand better how to build the systems and they
            BS> would feel happier about new software.

            BS> The programmers and management are XP-friendly, although we don't
            BS> practice XP. (Our practices are influenced by it, though.)

            BS> I suppose one easy thing to do would be to just say, hey, programmer X,
            BS> or manager Y, what do you think about inviting so-and-so to our planning
            BS> meeting for project Z? and try to grow more direct involvement from
            BS> there. But I wanted to see what the group thought, and what ideas
            BS> people had.

            Doug Swartz
            daswartz@...
          • Benjamin Schroeder
            ... We are working with small slices, although very informally. I m fairly new to the company, so I m just getting an idea who would be good to get input from,
            Message 5 of 14 , Jun 30 5:30 PM
              On Sunday, June 30, 2002, at 08:16 PM, Doug Swartz wrote:

              > Ben,
              > Your idea of having the customer invited to planning meetings is good.
              >
              > Do you know who the customers are who you'd like to have a
              > closer/better relationship with? Are you using XP like
              > practices to build small slices of user functionality in each
              > iteration/card?

              We are working with small slices, although very informally.

              I'm fairly new to the company, so I'm just getting an idea who would be
              good to get input from, but the other programmers would know. Some of
              our projects are fairly small, and it of course varies by project.

              The good news is that we're already talking to these people sometimes,
              just in what seems to me a more targeted way, so we are starting from a
              good place.

              > Why not just call up the person you know in the other department and
              > ask them if they'd like to see and comment on some of the
              > functionality you've created?

              That sounds good. In fact, one of the people we were talking to last
              week asked for as much. She wanted to see a prototype of the system to
              get a better feel for it before it became the One True Way. (To which I
              say, fantastic!)

              We have done some demos and the like before, with good results, so it
              might just be a matter of doing them earlier or more frequently.

              > Why not simply ask them if you can come and observe their work so
              > you'll better understand how the software you're building will fit
              > into their environment? When observing, you can ask questions and
              > get very good input from customers, even if they're not directly
              > involved in the XP planning process.

              I like this idea. If I could manage not to get too underfoot ;) , that
              might be a good way to build the relationships as well as grow my
              understanding.

              > Conversing with customers is not new to XP. Nor is getting their
              > input. The only way to build a relationship is to do it. The best way
              > (for me, anyway) is one-on-one. I've found that, given a chance,
              > most customers love to help steer.

              That's my hope. From what I would guess, and what I had heard last
              week, there would be some interest.

              Thanks for your advice.

              -- Ben Schroeder
              schroeder@...
            • Bryan Dollery
              Hi Ben, My advice on growing customers is this: 1. Try to use a peat based compost - it s worth the extra cost in the long run. 2. Don t listen to them when
              Message 6 of 14 , Jun 30 8:22 PM
                Hi Ben,

                My advice on growing customers is this:

                1. Try to use a peat based compost - it's worth
                the extra cost in the long run.
                2. Don't listen to them when they say that you're
                trespassing on God's territory - that's what
                they said to uncle Frank, and now look at him!
                3. Try to avoid hiring a hunchback assistant. I
                know that they're en vogue at the moment,
                especially in eastern Europe, and yes, I know
                that they're effective at keeping the aphids and
                spiders off the customers as they grow, but really
                they're rather distasteful and awful at a tea-party.
                4. keep an eye on the local village's general
                store - if people start buying a large number
                of burning-brands it's time to move.
                5. Do not, under any circumstances, invite any dripping
                wet waifs in, out of the rain, during your grand
                unveiling ceremony.

                <sing: I'm just a sweet Ron Jeffries, from trans...>

                Cheers,

                Bryan
              • JUDD John
                That sounds like an organic farming method to me. Do you have any recommendations for the more traditional broadacre methods? How about G.M. Customers? ;-)
                Message 7 of 14 , Jun 30 8:30 PM
                  That sounds like an organic farming method to me.

                  Do you have any recommendations for the more traditional broadacre methods?
                  How about G.M. Customers? ;-)

                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: Bryan Dollery [mailto:Bryan.Dollery@...]
                  > Sent: Monday, 1 July 2002 12:52
                  > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: RE: [XP] Growing Customers
                  >
                  >
                  > Hi Ben,
                  >
                  > My advice on growing customers is this:
                  >
                  > 1. Try to use a peat based compost - it's worth
                  > the extra cost in the long run.
                  > 2. Don't listen to them when they say that you're
                  > trespassing on God's territory - that's what
                  > they said to uncle Frank, and now look at him!
                  > 3. Try to avoid hiring a hunchback assistant. I
                  > know that they're en vogue at the moment,
                  > especially in eastern Europe, and yes, I know
                  > that they're effective at keeping the aphids and
                  > spiders off the customers as they grow, but really
                  > they're rather distasteful and awful at a tea-party.
                  > 4. keep an eye on the local village's general
                  > store - if people start buying a large number
                  > of burning-brands it's time to move.
                  > 5. Do not, under any circumstances, invite any dripping
                  > wet waifs in, out of the rain, during your grand
                  > unveiling ceremony.
                  >
                  > <sing: I'm just a sweet Ron Jeffries, from trans...>
                  >
                  > Cheers,
                  >
                  > Bryan
                  >
                  > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
                  >
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                  >
                • Dossy
                  ... At the end of the project (or iteration, even) does your team reflect upon the recent past? Being subversive, I d say in the reflection meeting, Gee, you
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jul 1, 2002
                    On 2002.06.30, Benjamin Schroeder <schroeder@...> wrote:
                    > I suppose one easy thing to do would be to just say, hey, programmer X,
                    > or manager Y, what do you think about inviting so-and-so to our planning
                    > meeting for project Z? and try to grow more direct involvement from
                    > there. But I wanted to see what the group thought, and what ideas
                    > people had.
                    >
                    > I should take pains to say, I don't think things are horrible or
                    > anything; quite the opposite. I'm just looking for ways to improve
                    > something I've felt could be better.

                    At the end of the project (or iteration, even) does your team reflect
                    upon the recent past?

                    Being subversive, I'd say in the reflection meeting, "Gee, you know
                    pain-point X this past (project, iteration)? I think we really
                    could have avoided or at least eased it by inviting person Y from
                    this other-department Z to speak with us ..."

                    Of course, only say this if you really feel it's true. After a
                    while, when you suggest inviting someone from another department
                    in during the project, people may recall you repeatedly mentioning
                    bringing in someone from another department and perceive this
                    particular invitation you're suggesting now as a kind of foresight
                    to avoiding whatever potential pain your group is about to face ...

                    -- Dossy

                    --
                    Dossy Shiobara mail: dossy@...
                    Panoptic Computer Network web: http://www.panoptic.com/
                    "He realized the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own
                    folly -- then you can let go and quickly move on." (p. 70)
                  • Dossy
                    ... No, no ... It s: I m just a little Amish farmer, from Nantucket ... Pennsylvania ... ah-ha! -- Dossy -- Dossy Shiobara mail:
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jul 1, 2002
                      On 2002.07.01, Bryan Dollery <Bryan.Dollery@...> wrote:
                      > 5. Do not, under any circumstances, invite any dripping
                      > wet waifs in, out of the rain, during your grand
                      > unveiling ceremony.
                      >
                      > <sing: I'm just a sweet Ron Jeffries, from trans...>

                      No, no ... It's: I'm just a little Amish farmer, from Nantucket ...
                      Pennsylvania ... ah-ha!

                      -- Dossy

                      --
                      Dossy Shiobara mail: dossy@...
                      Panoptic Computer Network web: http://www.panoptic.com/
                      "He realized the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own
                      folly -- then you can let go and quickly move on." (p. 70)
                    • Benjamin Schroeder
                      ... Thanks for your post. That s sort of what I was thinking -- but I wanted to make sure. ;) Laughing my smex off, Ben Schroeder schroeder@surfree.com
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jul 1, 2002
                        On Sunday, June 30, 2002, at 11:22 PM, Bryan Dollery wrote:

                        > Hi Ben,
                        >
                        > My advice on growing customers is this:
                        >
                        > 1. Try to use a peat based compost - it's worth
                        > the extra cost in the long run.
                        > (...)

                        Thanks for your post. That's sort of what I was thinking -- but I
                        wanted to make sure. ;)

                        Laughing my smex off,
                        Ben Schroeder
                        schroeder@...
                      • Benjamin Schroeder
                        ... Nice idea. We don t have a reflection meeting as such, but I could see talking about this kind of thing just before planning. In any case, I think the
                        Message 11 of 14 , Jul 1, 2002
                          On Monday, July 1, 2002, at 06:01 AM, Dossy wrote:

                          > At the end of the project (or iteration, even) does your team reflect
                          > upon the recent past?
                          >
                          > Being subversive, I'd say in the reflection meeting, "Gee, you know
                          > pain-point X this past (project, iteration)? I think we really
                          > could have avoided or at least eased it by inviting person Y from
                          > this other-department Z to speak with us ..."
                          >
                          > Of course, only say this if you really feel it's true. After a
                          > while, when you suggest inviting someone from another department
                          > in during the project, people may recall you repeatedly mentioning
                          > bringing in someone from another department and perceive this
                          > particular invitation you're suggesting now as a kind of foresight
                          > to avoiding whatever potential pain your group is about to face ...

                          Nice idea. We don't have a reflection meeting as such, but I could see
                          talking about this kind of thing just before planning. In any case, I
                          think the team would be happy to get people more deeply involved, so
                          they should be open to such suggestions.

                          Thanks,
                          Ben Schroeder
                          schroeder@...
                        • Ron Jeffries
                          ... Have I mentioned this: http://www.xprogramming.com/xpmag/flowersofevil.htm ? Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com Computers are useless. They can only give
                          Message 12 of 14 , Jul 1, 2002
                            Around Monday, July 1, 2002, 8:15:13 AM, Benjamin Schroeder wrote:


                            > On Sunday, June 30, 2002, at 11:22 PM, Bryan Dollery wrote:

                            >> Hi Ben,
                            >>
                            >> My advice on growing customers is this:
                            >>
                            >> 1. Try to use a peat based compost - it's worth
                            >> the extra cost in the long run.
                            >> (...)

                            > Thanks for your post. That's sort of what I was thinking -- but I
                            > wanted to make sure. ;)

                            Have I mentioned this:

                            http://www.xprogramming.com/xpmag/flowersofevil.htm ?

                            Ron Jeffries
                            www.XProgramming.com
                            Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. -- Picasso
                          • schroeder@surfree.com
                            ... I had not seen that. Very nice. Thanks, Ben Schroeder schroeder@surfree.com
                            Message 13 of 14 , Jul 1, 2002
                              On Mon, 1 Jul 2002 09:51:28 -0400 Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

                              > Have I mentioned this:
                              >
                              > http://www.xprogramming.com/xpmag/
                              > flowersofevil.htm ?

                              I had not seen that. Very nice.

                              Thanks,
                              Ben Schroeder
                              schroeder@...
                            • Dave Rooney
                              Bryan, ... ACK!! Now _that_ is a mental image I did not need!! :) Dave Rooney Mayford Technologies http://www.mayford.ca
                              Message 14 of 14 , Jul 2, 2002
                                Bryan,

                                >> <sing: I'm just a sweet Ron Jeffries, from trans...>

                                ACK!! Now _that_ is a mental image I did not need!! :)

                                Dave Rooney
                                Mayford Technologies
                                http://www.mayford.ca
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