Context and Stakeholders

We believe we make experiences,
but the experiences make us.
– Eugène Ionesco

To more clearly illustrate the things that we’ve discussed in this course, this chapter covers an example of a large project that decided to adapt an agile process. This is actually an experience report, which brings together the practices described earlier.

The project’s history

This project had roughly 200 members and had been under development for about two years when the customer realized there was no working software available and it was impossible to even guess when it would be available. Therefore, the customer decided to cancel the project.

The large company that was developing the project tried to convince the customer to give the project a second chance. The developing company promised to do everything differently this time. Somehow, this was so convincing that the customer agreed (mainly because the customer was also the co-owner of the company), but with strict regulations. Although almost everybody was happy about this decision, the developers still weren’t really motivated because they had just seen two years of work get tossed in the bin. But now, with this second attempt, the project became mission-critical for the development company.

Because several million dollars had been spent already, the customers were very suspicious of how this second attempt would fare. So they decided to not promise monetary support for the duration of the project, but instead they would discuss financial support every three months, depending on the project’s progress. When the project restarted, everybody assumed that after the first (successful) three months, the customer would commit to financing the rest of the project. Instead, the customer decided to stick to the probationary three-month period because of the previous development attempt. Making a decision about whether or not to continue financing the project was going to be based on the outcome of each release cycle. Luckily, the team kept on delivering a new functionality every three months. Seeing the system grow reestablished the customer’s confidence in the team.

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