Getting the REAL Customer - was Re: More newbie questions...
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Ken Schwaber"
> I worked with a one-year fixed budget project. The department headwas
> delighted with the functionality. The IT management felt that shehad
> unwisely spent the money on short term enhancements and not derivedthe best
> value. The question is, who is right. The customer? or the auditor?Ah yes. The "who is the Customer?" question.
I wonder if this is not one of the biggest roadblocks to Scrum
success - not talking to (not being allowed to talk to) the "real"
customer. If we don't get access to the right Customer
representatives, don't we risk building more shelfware?
If we deliver the requirements of group A as software to group B, we
become political pawns... this happened in a large crown corporation
where our requirements came from HR for a system that would move HR
work out onto the corporation's department heads... as an analyst
(and a consultant), I had no idea that HR was not mandated by the
receiving parties to define requirements... the resulting system was
unintelligible to the end users. I realised too late that we'd been
made the agent of a significant organisational change, imposed on the
receiving managers in the guise of a new system. Sigh.
We must also be prepared to live with the organisational flak if we
deliver to the real customer exactly what they want, but other parts
of the organisation disagree - it sound like Ken's story above is one
We deliver software to Customers, that's what we do. Organisational
priorities and politics probably are best left outside the project,
if we can.
Does anyone have any success stories about getting the real customer?
> From: "Christian Knott" <chrisknott@...>Christian:
> With Scrum, we get to show what's been done every 30 days. That means
> that the "alignment smell" gets to be put on view once a month
> instead of, well, never in many other cases.
But in Scrum we also show what is done every day. Remember,
"Daily Build" and "Daily Scrum" are basic Scrum patterns.
A while ago Jeff Sutherland pointed to an article written by
Martin Fowler about continuous integration. All good and dandy.
It is great to have things like Anthill produce automatic builds
and run batches of unit tests. But it is also important for
the Customer to interact with stable versions of the application
and give feedback from hands-on experience on a daily basis.
Also, there are things like Fit and Fitnesse that attempt to
Automate "acceptance testing". Our style is to do this
through "human interaction" -- there are some things that
we feel are best leaving non-automated i.e. where we want humans
In our development we have perhaps hundreds if not thousands
of builds every day, and thousands of check ins and updates,
but we advertise at least one stable build daily for the customers
to play with.
> For the specific problem of fuzzily defined requirements for reports,done.
> I'm with Ron, pretty much. My difference: do something. Anything.
> Guestimate what the report should be, do it quickly, then mark it
Well, "mark it done" might be pushing your luck.
Some customers take it very offensively to "mark things done"
if they are not done. But certainly, getting a report out
for someone to see will start the feedback loops. (Don't forget
to update your daily estimate to completion after some work
and feedback are produced :-)
> The donors/owners will soon start griping, and you can convertTrue.
> their gripes into requirements that go on the product backlog.