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Getting the REAL Customer - was Re: More newbie questions...

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  • Deb
    ... was ... had ... the best ... Ah yes. The who is the Customer? question. I wonder if this is not one of the biggest roadblocks to Scrum success - not
    Message 1 of 33 , Aug 3, 2003
      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Ken Schwaber"
      <ken.schwaber@v...> wrote:
      > I worked with a one-year fixed budget project. The department head
      > delighted with the functionality. The IT management felt that she
      > unwisely spent the money on short term enhancements and not derived
      the best
      > value. The question is, who is right. The customer? or the auditor?
      > Ken

      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
      such instance.

      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?

    • Mike Beedle
      ... Christian: 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
      Message 33 of 33 , Aug 12, 2003
        > From: "Christian Knott" <chrisknott@...>
        > 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,
        > 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 convert
        > their gripes into requirements that go on the product backlog.


        - Mike
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