Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
– Agile Principle #1
This agile principle refers specifically to customer satisfaction. By delivering product features and functionality that offer value to the customer, you keep the customer happy and satisfied by delivering their requested features not only early in the project, but also continuously during the project.
· When a project team develops a product feature in a month or two weeks, as opposed to a year, they are sending a powerful message to the customer. Concentrate on the features that are most important to the customer at the very outset of the project and demonstrate working functionality. You will provide value early, at the project start, ensure development of the most necessary features, and assure the customer of the team’s ability.
· Working product features must not only be delivered early in the project but also delivered often. The project and project team must be organized in a way to enable continuous delivery of product features. If your project team is new to agile it may take some time to embrace this type of thinking. However, as you and your project team work closely with the customer within each sprint to fully understand the product features they need, you will be offering continuous value to the customer throughout the duration of the project.
· When implementing your project, you will need to validate that the delivered product features provide value to the customer. The project team can ensure customer value by constantly engaging the customer and turning their feedback into working features and functionality. As most of us have witnessed on our own projects, often the customer doesn’t even know what they want in the beginning, and the end result is much different than what they thought they initially wanted. It is more important for you to give the customer what they need, as opposed to what they intended.
Agile project teams must always strive to place valuable product features into the hands of the customer quickly and to provide necessary updates often. All three of these aspects of customer satisfaction will help to ensure agile project success.