Agile Customers

Either external to the provider, or internal, an Agile Customer regulates how fast they need their Agile Team to deliver value.

This speed is defined by the urgency through which the Agile Team’s product, or service must satisfy the Customer’s needs.

The Agile Customer and Agile Team must work closely together to ensure the Product/Service Vision and The Goal can be realised.


Shared Responsibilities

Specific responsibilities include working with the Agile Team to:

  1. Define long-term needs, wants and desires which will be formalised in the Product/Service Vision.
  2. Define short-term, value-based priorities which are formalised in a Product/Service Backlog.
  3. Refine Backlog requirements, priorities and measure value realised.
  4. Reduce waste by identifying which Product/Service features are no longer adding value.
  5. Plan, execute and collect data from value-based experiments.
  6. Develop competencies to deepen our understanding of the Product/Service.
  7. Explore new ways to evolve the Product/Service to maximise long-term value.

4.1.1 Critical Success Factors and Challenges

Specific CSF:

  • Are real customers, or have access to real customers
    • Customer representatives may be used
  • Enabler assignment is clear and practical
    • One person, may assume multiple Enabling roles (e.g. Customer/Team)

Challenges:

Using Customer Representatives instead of Real Customer’s

‘Customer representatives’ refers to internal roles that represent one or more customers.  Examples include, Account Manager, Customer Relationship Manager, Business Development Manager, Product Owner and many others.

Whilst it is normal practice to use representatives in scenarios where the customer-base is large, geographically dispersed, or when access to real customers is difficult.  This practice can increase the risk of not realising the Goal.

The Goal of Business Agility requires that the three enablers work together.  This will be difficult to achieve if a customer representative cannot execute the Agile Customer value streams due to a lack of insight, authority, or control.

I.e. a Non-Agile Customer can disable the realisation of the Goal, irrespective of how much effort and support is given by the customer representative, Agile Team and Agile Leader’s.

For this reason, we recommend obtaining the commitment of all three Enablers, before attempting to implement and execute The Agile Value Streams.