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Agile for farmers!

November 19, 2012

Agile development has proven itself already as a great way of developing software. It is based on communication and pulls the different stakeholders into the project. This is the opposite of the past where we treated development projects as a blackbox, and pushed the stakeholders as far away as possible to avoid change.

Apart the changes in development departments there are a few more areas of discipline that need to undergo change in order to get the maximum out of Agile. I think there is a massive unrecognized challenge for Account Management. Many things are put on the plate of the Product Owner, which actually are activities for Account Manager. I can say that for farmers there is a great opportunity.

I believe that Account management need to manage the engagement of the customer in the development process. There are several things that customers need to do and understand. The list below is what I have experienced. Now my experience is mainly based upon developing products for the B-to-B market with high level of customer involvement.

  • The customer needs to invest time during the project to take part in demo’s
  • The customer needs to allow users to review and provide freely feedback (uncensored feedback)
  • The customer needs to allow communication between their users and the Product Owner
  • The customer needs to understand the concept of development in iterations, concept of backlog and the priorities principle
  • The customer should be able to agree upon functional business goals, not on detailed unrealistic requirements
  • The customer should understand their level of control on created functionality (Here there is a huge difference between product companies and projects, but for both it is valid to say that the customer should not be in the product owner seat)

All in all, this comes across as a great opportunity for Account Management to increase their value and improve the success rate of projects, especially since the success of these development projects depend completely on the engagement of the customer.

Think it makes sense to take our time to educate Account management and Sales.

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