In Agile beyond boundaries, we discussed using agile in our interactions with stakeholders to enable stronger positive relationships with the client teams, with the focus of delivering increased value. Keeping in mind that agile manifesto values good collaboration with customers over contract negotiations, below are some of my takeaways expanding on the topic with common scenarios/statements and respective tips.
Let’s start! Where are the requirements?
Tip: Story board creation exercises with preferably co-located client and internal teams! Then, requirements and other documentation can follow.
Everything is important!
Tip: Questions to remind yourself: What do the customers really need? What is simplest to do? Prioritize the low effort high value, or the low hanging fruit features. Momentum can really help a team feel comfortable before tackling some of the bigger hurdles. Try the value vs complexity chart.
They will love this when the project is complete!
Tip: Striving for perfection and completeness can surely lead to success. However, demonstrating progress while setting clear expectations with incremental demos will provide transparency and build trust with stakeholders. MVPs help! (Photo Credit)
I dropped an email last week with a screenshot showing the change, did you not get that one?
Tip: Strive to get immediate feedback, thereby eliminating common “dropped the ball” scenarios.
I’m a dev! I don’t really care or know why feature X is important. I’m here to code.
Tip: If all conversations surrounding the value of a feature need to be repeatedly addressed by the PO, it’s likely that team members do not understand the value proposition. Understanding the impact of a feature on the client can help a team greatly. Remember that the dev team is also a stakeholder, and therefore has direct impact on key decisions.
Surprise! We created something else that is not the desired product.
Tip: Scope changes are going to happen. Being proactive in communicating these can build a good relationship, and allow room for discovery. Using lean startup principles, learning through feedback from incremental builds can help the team avoid unnecessary or unwanted effort. Lots of demos!
The project needs to be completed! It has X number of tasks left, with Y number of days, and Z number of people.
Tip: While there’s nothing inherently wrong with knowing the numbers behind a project, fixating on it may lead to losing sight of the product/features and the value they provide to the end user. Understanding the features, and how they fit into the end result may allow scope to be changed to achieve the same goal.
These tips may allow a team to create an environment with fast feedback loops, thereby speeding up the development cycle. If you have insights on what has worked well for your team, or you want to share your own experiences, please feel free to comment below!