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Agile-Customer-Today

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  • Brian Marick
    It seems that customers (product owners, goal donors, etc.) on agile projects don t have the support network that, say, programmers or testers do. So I created
    Message 1 of 6 , May 11, 2004
      It seems that customers (product owners, goal donors, etc.) on agile
      projects don't have the support network that, say, programmers or
      testers do. So I created a mailing list for them. You can subscribe by
      sending mail to:
      <mailto:agile-customer-today-subscribe@yahoogroups.com>
      or visiting:
      <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/agile-customer-today/>

      I dearly hope such a group does not exist already. If so, I'll redirect
      members to that list. (I don't think extremecustomering or
      extremebusiness match.)


      The blurb (note the narrowly pragmatic focus):

      This group is to serve those people whose role on an agile team is to
      guide the project. They're called, variously, "customers", "product
      owners", "business experts", "Goal Donors", etc. It's a really hard
      job, so this group is for those people to ask questions, share ideas,
      and describe their experiences.

      A typical conversational thread might start with one customer saying,
      "I am having real trouble explaining my stories clearly enough that
      they're really 'done' when the programmers think they're finished. For
      example, <...>. What do other people do?" Then other people on other
      projects will share tricks of the trade.

      This group isn't only for customers. Having worked with customers on
      past projects, programmers, testers, and managers can help other
      customers today. But this is not a group *about* customers; it's a
      group *for* them. The acid test for posting should be: "Will my words,
      read today, help some customer on some project do her job better?"

      -----
      Brian Marick
      Consulting, training, and contracting
      Mostly on agile methods with a testing slant
      www.testing.com, www.testing.com/cgi-bin/blog
    • Dominic Williams
      Hello Brian, ... It strikes me as odd, given all the effort we go to to have everyone sitting together in one room, that we should have a separate list for
      Message 2 of 6 , May 12, 2004
        Hello Brian,

        > It seems that customers (product owners, goal donors, etc.) on agile
        > projects don't have the support network that, say, programmers or
        > testers do. So I created a mailing list for them. You can subscribe by
        > sending mail to:
        > <mailto:agile-customer-today-subscribe@yahoogroups.com>
        > or visiting:
        > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/agile-customer-today/>

        It strikes me as odd, given all the effort we go to to have everyone
        sitting together in one room, that we should have a separate list for
        customers.

        Do you know customers who have failed to get support from this list? I
        for one would be both prepared to help and interested to know what
        issues they have.

        Best regards,

        Dominic Williams
        http://www.dominicwilliams.net
        ----
      • J. B. Rainsberger
        ... The last separate customer list we spawned was Extreme Customering. I count that as a relatively failed experiment, though others may disagree. -- J. B.
        Message 3 of 6 , May 12, 2004
          Dominic Williams wrote:

          > Hello Brian,
          >
          >
          >>It seems that customers (product owners, goal donors, etc.) on agile
          >>projects don't have the support network that, say, programmers or
          >>testers do. So I created a mailing list for them. You can subscribe by
          >>sending mail to:
          >><mailto:agile-customer-today-subscribe@yahoogroups.com>
          >>or visiting:
          >><http://groups.yahoo.com/group/agile-customer-today/>
          >
          >
          > It strikes me as odd, given all the effort we go to to have everyone
          > sitting together in one room, that we should have a separate list for
          > customers.
          >
          > Do you know customers who have failed to get support from this list? I
          > for one would be both prepared to help and interested to know what
          > issues they have.

          The last separate customer list we spawned was "Extreme Customering." I
          count that as a relatively failed experiment, though others may disagree.
          --
          J. B. Rainsberger,
          Diaspar Software Services
          http://www.diasparsoftware.com :: +1 416 791-8603
          Let's write software that people understand
        • Dale Emery
          Hi J. B., ... I agree. In my view, it wasn t the separateness that killed it. The moderator, in his laudable attempts to make sure the conversation was
          Message 4 of 6 , May 12, 2004
            Hi J. B.,

            > The last separate customer list we spawned was "Extreme
            > Customering." I count that as a relatively failed experiment,
            > though others may disagree.

            I agree. In my view, it wasn't the separateness that killed it.
            The moderator, in his laudable attempts to make sure the
            conversation was respectful, inadvertently squelched the
            diversity of ideas. That, for me, sucked the life out of the thing.

            Dale

            --
            Dale Emery -- Consultant -- Resistance as a Resource
            Web: http://www.dhemery.com
            Weblog: http://www.dhemery.com/cwd (Conversations with Dale)

            Truth is always subversive. --Anne Lamott
          • Dale Emery
            Hi Dominic, ... I like the idea of a separate list as a way to focus specifically on Customers concerns. There s a lot of stuff on the main list that isn t
            Message 5 of 6 , May 12, 2004
              Hi Dominic,

              > It strikes me as odd, given all the effort we go to to have
              > everyone sitting together in one room, that we should have a
              > separate list for customers.

              I like the idea of a separate list as a way to focus specifically
              on Customers' concerns. There's a lot of stuff on the main list
              that isn't directly relevant to the Customer's world.

              Dale

              --
              Dale Emery -- Consultant -- Resistance as a Resource
              Web: http://www.dhemery.com
              Weblog: http://www.dhemery.com/cwd (Conversations with Dale)

              The War Office kept three sets of figures: one to mislead the
              public, another to mislead the cabinet, and the third to mislead
              itself. --Herbert Asquith
            • Brian Marick
              ... A fair point, and well put. I don t have a convincing argument in response; I m operating mainly on gut feel. That gut feel goes like this. I m a big
              Message 6 of 6 , May 12, 2004
                On May 12, 2004, at 6:44 AM, Dominic Williams wrote:
                > It strikes me as odd, given all the effort we go to to have everyone
                > sitting together in one room, that we should have a separate list for
                > customers.
                >
                > Do you know customers who have failed to get support from this list? I
                > for one would be both prepared to help and interested to know what
                > issues they have.

                A fair point, and well put.

                I don't have a convincing argument in response; I'm operating mainly on
                gut feel. That gut feel goes like this. I'm a big believer in
                community, especially communities of practice. There's a lot of power
                when people with the same role get together and talk about what they
                do.

                A customer is outnumbered on a project. She can certainly talk to
                programmers, and should, about all kinds of things - but there's still
                value to talking with people who do the same things you do. But there
                may be no such people anywhere near our customer.

                Even if there are, they're not "professional customers". There really
                isn't any such beast (leaving aside analysts, which I think are a
                somewhat different beast). So everyone around is something of a newbie,
                which I think leads to more of a feeling of isolation, of groping
                around.

                Customers could come to this list, you're right. But there's a
                difference between approaching a community and inserting a question
                into the clamor, and talking amongst one's peers or people who've
                specifically come to support customers.

                At least, that's my hope. If it doesn't work out, no harm done.

                -----
                Brian Marick
                Consulting, training, and contracting
                Mostly on agile methods with a testing slant
                www.testing.com, www.testing.com/cgi-bin/blog
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