During a recent customer design session (combination requirements meeting and design discussion), I was surprised when one of the stakeholders quoted me as saying that it was the development team’s job to build whatever the customer wants. I paused for a second and thought, “What did I say that was interpreted that way?” I know I would never intentionally tell a customer that our job is to build whatever they want. Our job is, of course, to build what the customer needs. There is a world of difference in those two statements and I took care to explain that difference to all of the stakeholders at the table. Neither of the teams truly knows what the application we’re developing will look like in the end. We all have ideas (at least as many different ideas as there are people on the team). My job as an agile project leader and business analyst is to facilitate communication between all of the players in a way that uncovers customer needs and results in a system that can meet those needs in way that our customers find at least acceptable (but hopefully exceptional).
I was invited to speak at the Nebraska Digital Government Summit as part of the Fast Track Session yesterday (Nov. 6, 2013). The topic was an introduction to agile development and its benefits. It’s always great experience putting a presentation together, especially when you haven’t approached the topic from that direction before. I’ve delivered many “Intro to Agile” type presentations before, but typically it’s to an audience of developers. This one was to a room full of mostly non-development people. I think it went well. Here’s the slide deck along with my notes.