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Can an agile approach make a client interact more?

cooperate.pngI was recently talking with a team of people who are supporting a client that seems to be reluctant to dedicate the time necessary to ensure that the requirements are defined properly and that the test cases actually test how the system will be used. When interactions did occur it didn’t see like the focus was on the value the system can deliver, instead it was on minutia related to the design...

 

This work has been going on for a while, and although work is being done and progress made there is a gnawing concern that the solution may never be accepted.

 

Rather than allowing this to continue, the team is now proposing a more agile approach. This is going to require significantly more involvement from the client and move testing and requirements validation from something that is done at the end of release development to something that is done every day.

 

I think anyone who has worked in the development space will likely feel that this arrangement is better for reducing rework… but is it really going to change the behavior of those involved? If the agile shift just raises a flag about a lack of customer involvement earlier in the interaction, that will be helpful – but the behavior of the development team (and its leadership) will need to change. If they didn’t address the interaction before, having the same concern raised more often may not make a difference… What do you think?

Comments
terencengai | ‎04-05-2014 02:06 AM

Based on what you described, I am not sure using an agile approach will ensure a better chance of acceptance by the client. It might help minimze rework and maximize the efficiency of the development process, but it sounds to me there are some real underlying issues here that an agile approach might not be solving. For example, is there internal alignment within the client organization on system requirements, desired outcome or success metrics?  Has there been clear communication to the client team why the success of this project is important to them?  More interactions might not be the answer.  The right interaction is.

| ‎04-08-2014 01:36 PM

I agree with you. Agile is definitely not a cure for all the ills a relationship may have. It may bring the underlying cause to the surface quickly, but the root cause will still need to be addressed.

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