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On Customer Participation in Agile Projects

On Customer Participation in Agile Projects
By Andy Hayward

Recently I participated in a series of instructor-led online courses on Scrum/Agile. During the section on Sprint Planning, the instructor mentioned that shorter iterations provide more agility, and organizations should aim to achieve weekly sprints. This prompted one student to ask:

“The business people I need won’t attend my monthly meetings. How can I get them to attend a weekly planning meeting?”

This is one of the most common complaints or questions I receive, so it was no surprise that a student asked it here. However, what did surprise me was the instructor’s response:

“Tell them that if they don’t participate they can expect the software to be buggy and not meet their needs.”

I have witnessed this sort of approach before, but I was shocked at this answer from someone who claimed to be an expert in Agile. It contradicts the fundamental principals described in the Agile Manifesto:

  • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software

  • Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project

Agile requires consistent and constant collaboration between the development staff and the customer, and in my experience, veiled threats and extortion do not foster teamwork. Read the Complete Article

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