The Customer

Learn about the role of the customer and strategies to integrate the customer in agile development in the large.

Most often, the customer of a large company is either the company itself or the parent company. This is a completely alien situation to small companies. There is one big advantage to the customer being either ourselves or our parent company: the domain knowledge is in-house, even though accessing the knowledge is not always easy.

Challenges with “a group of customers”

It is also common, on projects in large companies, for the customer to really be a group of customers. If this is the case, the project’s result will probably be standard software or something similar. The problem when developing for a group of customers is that there rarely is a single customer who can be integrated into the project. Even worse, the customers may compete among themselves. This makes it hard to get a customer on-site because there is no accepted representative of the group. Of course, the project team cannot solve these competition problems, but it can ask for regular feedback. Unfortunately, since the customers are competing with each other, this feedback can easily be contradictory and therefore not really helpful.

Moreover, it can also happen that the group of customers is anonymous. Usually, the number of customers is relative to the size of the project. Often, there are either several invisible customers, like for standard software, or there is a community of customers who have a similar—but unfortunately not the same—interest in the project.

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